Hemet owes taxpayers an explanation for Webb defense and settlement costs

■ By Mary Ann Morris / Editor

A Southwest Justice Center jury took less than 30 minutes to find for the defendant in Norman vs. Darragh on Friday, Aug. 18.
That jury decision needlessly cost Hemet taxpayers approximately $650,000, give or take a buck or two, in totally wasted money that could have been better used for any number of projects needed to combat the city’s growing problems.
P. T. Barnum said there was one born every minute. Well, 78,657 decent citizens of Hemet were taken to the cleaners by Hemet’s Police Department, city attorney and City Council when they decided to bail out Charles “Rob” Webb as a defendant in the Anthony Norman wrongful death civil lawsuit.
We say “taken,” because the city was never a defendant, and Webb (an HPD captain on Christmas Eve 2012) was off duty in his Murrieta home at approximately 11:30 p.m. when a neighbor’s wife summoned him to come help her husband, who was in a combative situation with “an unknown male.”
Our City Council loves nothing better than spending the taxpayer’s money, as we well know from all the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars that have been tossed out the proverbial window in searching for and paying the salaries and bailouts of 10 city managers over the dozen or so recent years.
It is time for all involved to come clean and grant this newspaper live interviews in order to explain why all these events have taken place and why the taxpayers of Hemet have been kept in the dark. The City Council, Chief of Police and, especially, our contract City Attorney Eric Vail owe the taxpayers not only a full explanation, but also full exposure of all documents, depositions, legal fees and other information not previously made public in this matter.
We challenge the City of Hemet to be honest with its citizens and make full disclosure. For instance, why was contract City Attorney Eric Vail’s home firm brought in to represent Webb when customarily an outside law firm is hired to provide such representation? Considering that Vail earns a healthy salary for his services, is a partner with his law firm and receives a cut of the billing, it reeks of double-dipping.
The Valley Chronicle is Hemet’s only local newspaper. We provide news of the San Jacinto Valley – the good, the bad and the ugly. Our staff loves and lives in this community and wants the quality of life to improve. We care about the people in this community and we do not like to see them bilked.


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