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Chapin residents concerned about mayor paying attorney's fees from town general fund

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It's a rare occurrence in Chapin.

On Thursday, the mayor and council came together for what some are calling a productive meeting.

But there are still some big controversies brewing, including how Mayor Skip Wilson paid his attorney after three council members recently sued him.

"People should be able to get along with everybody," said Chapin resident Margie Oswald. "It's sad that this has come on."

Oswald said it's an encouraging sign. Because she said the recent divide is having a noticeable impact on her beloved town.

"I was shocked, because it's been about two weeks since I was here," Oswald said. "When I came back in and I saw the grass and the weeds growing up in the sidewalk and, you know, right in the middle of town, that's just not the way Chapin is."

Wilson wouldn't speak to WIS on camera but said the meeting was refreshing as council members talked about ways to modernize Chapin.

Still, the unrest isn't over, as evidenced by the number of attorneys in the audience.

"Everyone spoke very nicely to each other, but I don't think any progress was really made," said Chapin resident Liesha Huffstetler.

One point of controversy Huffstetler said is the mayor's attorney fees.

WIS discovered he paid his personal attorney roughly $23,000 of taxpayer dollars out of the town's general fund without council approval.

"Since the town has no lawyer, he needs to pay his personal attorney with his personal funds," Huffstetler said.

The mayor tells WIS he's done everything by the books.

He said the lawyer was hired for the town when three council members named him, Councilman Gregg White, and the town as defendants in a suit.

He expects insurance will pay back most of the $23,000.

Still, it's upsetting to Oswald, too.

"I hear that the council members are paying their own legal fees, and I don't think you can use that money for legal fees," Oswald said. "They need to use that money to cut grass."

The mayor also said all the town's bank accounts are back to normal and employees are being paid.

Suspended town clerk Adrienne Thompson is still being paid also.

Wilson said Thompson, who was at Thursday's meeting, will remain suspended during the SLED investigation.

Meanwhile, Thompson's attorneys are pushing forward with an age discrimination charge against the mayor, and they say they will soon file a civil lawsuit too.

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