11:29 PM MST
Yuma Mayor Al Krieger is suing the Yuma City Council over legal fees he accumulated while defending an investigation against him.
Yuma City Council members were served the papers Thursday night. In the documents, obtained by News 11, the suit names Council Members Cody Beeson, Bobbi Lewis, Paul B. Johnson, Leslie McClendon, Edward C. Thomas, and Jerry Stuart along with City Administrator Greg Wilkinson and Finance Director Pat Wicks as respondents.
Wilkinson said the members were taken back by the lawsuit. "We had heard little rumors here and there but...it came as a complete surprise to us," he said.
Krieger is suing for $15,525.25, the amount he says he accumulated in legal fees for defending an investigation brought last year by other members of the City Council.
Council members voted Feb. 1, 2012, to hire an independent legal counsel to investigate allegations of misconduct by Krieger. The report revealed that the mayor had committed several violations of the city's charter. Krieger and his attorney contend that the council spent $75,000 on the investigation against him.
The findings were sent to the Arizona Attorney General's Office for further investigation.
Krieger's attorney Joshua W. Carden with Davis Miles McGuire Gardner PLLC, based in Tempe, said there is a civil ordinance that covers legal council for members. He believes this is one such case that should be covered. Carden said, "I'm simply saying 'your Honor please have the city officials comply with their duty under this ordinance and reimburse Mayor Krieger for his legal fees.'"
Wilkinson defends that there are cases where members are entitled to defense but this is not one of them. "The mayor and the mayor's attorney differ with that opinion but that will be decided by the court," Wilkinson added.
The city council and the mayor have had previous tense public exchanges. Wilkinson said the mayor is out of line to ask the tax payers to pay for his legal bills and wants everyone to go back to serving the community.
Wilkinson said, "It's time for the mayor to stop and let us get back to business."
*Multiple calls to Mayor Krieger went unanswered at time of publication.