Bruce accuses city attorney of charter violations in latest lawsuit

DANIEL CHACÓN Updated: March 9, 2010 at 12:00 am • Published: March 9, 2010

Douglas Bruce today filed a lawsuit against the city of Colorado Springs, the latest in a series of legal battles between the anti-tax crusader and City Hall.

“I filed it an hour ago,” said Bruce, who dropped a copy off at The Gazette about noon.

Among Bruce’s claims in the 15-page lawsuit is that City Attorney Patricia Kelly has been violating the city charter by hiring outside counsel without City Council approval.

“The city attorney is an executive position and cannot bind the city financially, nor spend city funds not first appropriated for the contracts first approved by council,” the lawsuit states.

Last year, the city government and two of its enterprises, Memorial Health System and Colorado Springs Utilities, spent more than $2.1 million on outside counsel.

City spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg said in an e-mail that she was unaware of the lawsuit.

Bruce is also accusing at least eight of nine council members of violating the city charter for receiving “benefits greater than those required by federal or state statute.”

“Council members should be ordered individually to repay with the legal rate of interest the excess contribution taxpayers have made to their retirement accounts, and be switched to the benefit plan that is the lowest cost to city taxpayers,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also names Kelly and the City Council as defendants.

At 1 p.m. today, the council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance that would implement Issue 300, which Bruce authored and voters approved in November.

Bruce opposes the ordinance, saying Issue 300 is “self-executing” and that the ordinance flies in the face of the plain meaning of the ballot initiative.

Bruce said the lawsuit is not related to his opposition to the ordinance. He also said he doesn’t plan to attend today’s council meeting, saying he’s already made his position known and that the council is going to approve the ordinance anyway.

“Every time I go to the City Council, I lose a few brain cells,” he said.

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