Judge to city: pay $1M in water lawsuit

Attorney John DiLorenzo, left, and Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, March 11, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Attorney John DiLorenzo, left, and Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, March 11, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A judge found at least $1 million was spent by the Portland Water Bureau on questionable expenditures over a 14-year period brought to light in a lawsuit focusing on money spent on political campaigns.

The judge was only asked to weigh in on four of the 35 contested expenditures. The judge also ruled in favor of the city on two projects totalling $10 millionm saying they were reasonable and related to water and sewer services.

But the attorney for the plaintiffs, John DiLorenzo, said he will bring the case to court again in an effort to get more money back.

The case centers around the spending for water and sewer funds on election campaigns since 2000.

“It’s a culture of spending. This was a slush fund for whatever the council wanted to spend them for,” DiLorenzo said. “If we can collect $20 million, $30 million for repairs, I’ll be very happy.”

City Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversees the Public Works Bureau, said the city is “still waiting for guidance from the city attorney” on how to pay back the $1.2 million.

“I feel like the guy that parachuted into a shootout at the OK Corral,” Fish told KOIN 6 News. Being the public works commissioner has “been my job now for seven months. It feels like longer. In that period I’ve tried to signal as loudly as I can that we’re under new management.”

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