Former Solicitor Reacts to Scranton’s Court Battle

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SCRANTON -- Scranton's mayor and city council are expected to take their differences to court next week.

Mayor Chris Doherty filed a lawsuit against council members Thursday.

Many city residents are now saying, whichever side wins, it's the city taxpayers who lose.

The long-running battle between Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and the city council's so-called supermajority hit a new high this week. Mayor Doherty is taking four majority members of city council to court.

He wants a judge to order council to take action on a recovery plan that the mayor said is needed for the city to secure a $16 million loan.

Or else, the mayor said the city will run out of money soon.

Amil Minora is a former solicitor for city council. He said lawsuits like the mayors aren't unusual. But, this one shows how bad the fight in Scranton government has become.

"The impact to the public could be horrible and dramatic, and it shouldn't be at that stage," said Minora.

Minora said city council's budget is law, and they are legally obligated to fund it. Therefore, he said the mayor has a good case. Minora said he'd advise council to do what the mayor's asking and vote on a recovery plan.

"Right now, city council has not demonstrated to a bank that they can pay it back. And until they pass a recovery plan, either their's or the mayor's, they're not going to be able to do that," added Minora.

So far, the mayor's lawsuit hasn't cost the city much money. But, it could, if city council fights back in court.

Newswatch 16 spoke to Ozzie Quinn, who runs the Scranton Lackawanna County Taxpayer's Association. He said no matter which way the lawsuit goes, the taxpayers lose.

"I could see this court situation going on all the way to the Supreme Court, just like the public safety did, you know who's going to lose on that? We are, we'll be paying," said Quinn.

The mayor said a court date will be set early next week.

Newswatch 16 spoke to council member Pat Rogan, he said the lawsuit was a desperate move by the mayor. Rogan said one reason why council hasn't moved on a recovery plan yet is because of the ongoing fight between Mayor Doherty and council president Janet Evans.

Evans is not commenting because the dispute is now in court.