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Cape-Coral-Daily-Breeze.com - Cape Coral, FL
July 19, 2010

Time, cost may hinder completion of Kessler audit

By Drew Winchester

It's still unclear whether the documents Kessler International needs to complete the forensic audit will be available, or how far the Cape Coral City Council will go to obtain those records.

City Attorney Dolores Menen-dez told council Monday that not only is time running out to obtain copies of those records, but staffing levels of her office might not support the litigation, should it go that far.

The cost of that possible litigation is still unclear.

"There will probably be significant cost trying to obtain these documents through the litigation process," Menendez said.

Mayor John Sullivan said he's only willing to go so far where litigation is concerned, not wanting to mire the city in long-term court battles and the cost associated with that fight.

With the city having already pledged $60,000 to complete the audit, Sullivan said no money has been set to fund the potential litigation.

Michael Kessler has already submitted an invoice of more than $2,000 for work done to date.

Kessler told City Auditor Dona Newman that the amount of the invoice is set against the agreed upon sum of $60,000 to complete the job.

Councilmember Bill Deile said he feels the city should wait to see if those records can be obtained before moving any further.

"I makes me think we might get to our cap and still not have an answer," Deile said.

Councilmember Kevin McGrail cautioned the mayor that $60,000 can easily be exhausted without any real sense the audit can be completed.

"The $60,000, it looks like we're going to blow past that stop pretty quickly," McGrail said. "I thought $60,000 was a fantasy number."

Sullivan said he wants to continue the pursuit of the records because the city needs to know if they were done wrong.

"The citizens of Cape Coral have the right to know if they have been charged rightly or wrongly," Sullivan said.

City Council will vote on the issue next Monday.

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