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Ottawa County Board gives legal counsel an additional $110K

Ottawa County Administration Building
Ottawa County Administration Building

Board Chair says no conflict of interest with Kallman Legal Group despite business relationship with family member

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners have agreed to set aside an additional $110 thousand for its new legal representation.

Ottawa County Board Chair Joe Moss says, that since being sworn in last January, Ottawa County has had an increased Freedom of Information Act requests, and its new counsel, the Kallman Legal Group, has already exhausted the $210,000 that had originally been budgeted to the law firm.

Kallman Legal Group and Corporate Council Attorney Jack Jordan defended the pay increase to board commissioners.

"We go to a lot of meetings, and here I am at a meeting. There have been meetings that have lasted until two o'clock in the morning," Corporate Council Attorney Jack Jordan told commissioners and Tuesday's board meeting. "I don't waste time. In fact, often I'm working through my lunch. I eat my lunch at my desk. We don't only represent this board. We represent all of the departments. Employees. Can we also more importantly, we represent all of the citizens of Ottawa County."

Back in January, the newly elected board voted to fire longtime county attorney, Doug Van Essen, and replace him with the Kallman Legal Group.

However, a number of county employees raised concerns about a conflict of interest between Kallman Legal Group and Ottawa County Board Chair Joe Moss.

Moss is business partners with Joel Kallman, who is related to the two primary attorneys at Kallman Legal Group but said the two are not connected.

“There is no conflict of interest but thank you for asking.”

Officials say the money will come out of Ottawa County’s general fund.

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