The recent board newsletter made scant mention of the cost of the dog litigation we’ve been mired in for years. Under the heading “Dog Litigation — Resolution,” the newsletter mentioned $85,000 paid to two dog-owners by our insurance carrier, but did not resolve how much we’ve paid in attorney’s fees for this failed legal strategy.
At last year’s annual meeting, cooperator Tommy Loeb asked how much we’d spent on lawyers and was answered weeks later by board president Gary Altman: “The amount is approximately $575,000. It is expected that our insurance company will reimburse the Corporation for a substantial portion of this amount.” In its February newsletter, the board noted that $195,000 in legal fees had been reimbursed by insurance.
When the settlement was first reported in the news, back in March, Tommy again reached out to Altman, but was told that since the settlement was not final a full accounting could not be delivered.
Five months later, and Tommy’s getting a little impatient. He has sent a follow-up letter to Altman and the rest of the directors this week demanding accountability for the expensive, unnecessary, and unsuccessful lawsuits our coop has initiated over the past three years.
The line item for legal and audit expenses has increased 462% over the past three years, costing the coop an additional $1.2 million. And that’s only through June 2014, before most of the federal lawsuit played out. A whole year has passed since then, and the board is only willing to tell us how much was paid by our insurance carrier, not how much was paid by you and me.