Sheriff George David has dropped a lawsuit he filed against Controller David Rossi.
Sheriff David filed the lawsuit in January, seeking to have the county pay for legal fees being incurred as a result of a lawsuit filed against him by County Commissioners, who were attempting to stop the Sheriff from violating provisions of the Pennsylvania County Code.
Attorney John Havey had previously filed a lawsuit against County Commissioners on Sheriff David’s behalf, asking Senior Erie County Judge John Bozza to force the county to pay for his legal expenses. Judge John Bozza denied that request, and subsequently denied a motion for reconsideration filed by Havey. Sheriff David submitted an invoice for $9,945 for Havey’s fees anyway, but Controller Rossi refused to pay it, citing the judge’s ruling. That’s when David filed the lawsuit against Controller Rossi, asking a judge to order him to issue payment on Havey’s invoice.
“The controller has no legal authority to refuse to process the transmittal for payment properly executed and submitted by the Sheriff,” wrote Havey in the lawsuit. “The Controller, if he has discretion to act upon these types of requests, has abused his discretion and acted in an arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional manner.”
Controller Rossi said at the time that Sheriff David was the one who had been acting improperly.
“The invoice submitted by the Sheriff for his attorney is incorrect on two fronts,” Controller Rossi told the Beaver Countian. “First, the Sheriff submitted the invoice to be paid from a part-time wage account. Mr. Havey is not a part-time employee of the county. Even more importantly, the invoice is for legal services on behalf of the Sheriff, and his budget for legal services was exhausted last year by payments made to his Solicitor, Myron Sainovich.”
Attorney Havey had previously approached the District Attorney’s Office suggesting criminal charges be filed against the Commissioners for refusing to pay for his fees — District Attorney Anthony Berosh deemed that request frivolous.
Havey filed a motion with the Prothonotary’s Office on Friday, dropping Sheriff David’s case against Controller Rossi. The move came just one day after a judge ruled Sheriff’s Office Solicitor Myron Sainovich must repay the county over $40,000 plus interest and fees for payments he improperly received while serving as the County Solicitor.
Note: In the interest of full disclosure, this reporter is a named victim in criminal charges filed against Sheriff George David by the Pennsylvania State Police.