Medford Township is withholding an outstanding bill for $43,000 from a politically influential law firm accused of overbilling the town $50,000 in 2010.
A New Jersey Comptroller's report found the politically influential Parker McCay LLC in Mount Laurel had a $96,000 retainer to cover routine business and then charged additional hourly fees for matters that should have been part of the retainer.
Town officials believe the town is actually owed about $170,000 from a 10-year period when the law firm was the contracted solicitor. The firm has since been replaced. Officials are planning to take legal action to recoup the money. Meanwhile, they said an outstanding 2011-2012 bill for $43,000 will remain unpaid.
The town council, which came on board in 2012, replaced a governing body that had hired Parker McCay and that repeatedly renewed the firm's contract. The new council replaced the firm with Raymond, Coleman, Heinold and Norman, a Moorestown law firm.
Before they were elected to office, Councilmen Randy Pace and Chris Buoni had questioned Parker McCay's legal bills for many months. They said the town was being double-billed and charged excessive fees. In 2010, the firm charged the town more than a half-million dollars.
A spokesman for Parker McCay disputed the comptroller's report and said that the law firm saved the town money through its representation. He said the firm would ask the comptroller's office to reevaluate its findings.
The township council is expected to discuss a legal strategy at Tuesday's meeting to address the overbilling. As for the unpaid bill, Pace said, "Our stance was we're not paying it until this matter gets resolved."