WINNSBORO — District 41 Rep. Mary Gail Douglas has informed David Ferguson, Mary Lynn Kinely and Mikel Trapp that Sen. Creighton Coleman intends to file a class action lawsuit against them on behalf of at least 20 plaintiffs.
The legal action comes after the delegation said it did not receive a response by a Sept. 25 deadline for the three to state how, or if, they intended to repay payments they were given in lieu of health insurance, payments an attorney general’s opinion said exceeded compensation levels for public officials..
The delegation received a letter from Interim County Administrator Milton Pope sent to Coleman. Pope’s Sept. 25 letter stated, “County council unanimously approved this aforementioned action (to end its previous expense allocation) and will further deliberate (individually) on the previous insurance and expense amounts and decide how to respond to the citizens of Fairfield County.”
That letter did not go far enough for Douglas.
“Pope sent out a letter to us but it did not address the issue,” she said during Monday’s meeting of Fairfield County Council. “(Kinely, Trapp and Ferguson) should have responded individually.”
Douglas said in 2005 that she informed county council members at a county meeting that receiving a cash payment in lieu of health insurance was wrong.
“This will be seen through until closure and the court system will not deal with that,” she said. “The money paid to (them) needs to come back to the county. We don’t expect anything less.”
Douglas said this issue and the Saving Fairfield Group are not going away, unlike the Concerned Citizens group from a few years back. Noting that some Saving Fairfield members filed an ethics complaint against the three council members, Council Chairman Ferguson said he was waiting until the Ethics Commission made its ruling before responding further on the matter.
Kinely also said she was waiting for the commission investigation to conclude before responding. Trapp could not be reached for comment.
Douglas said the suit would be filed as soon as the paperwork for the plaintiffs is complete.