CROWN POINT | Lake County commissioners complained bitterly but eventually agreed to pay a Merrillville law firm an additional $80,000 to defend the Sheriff's Department from litigious jail inmates.
John Bushemi, legal counselor for Sheriff John Buncich, made the request on behalf of Burke, Costanza & Carberry LLC, of which he is a member.
He said he and fellow lawyers already had exhausted the $208,000 set aside in January for defending the Sheriff's Department against 45 lawsuits, primarily filed by disgruntled inmates. He said they have won dismissal of 13 cases so far.
Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, complained the cost was too much but voted to pay anyway, as did Commissioner Roosevelt Allen, D-Gary.
Commissioner Mike Repay, D-Hammond, voted against the payment.