By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Top Cincinnati officials are demanding that U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott replace the Berkeley, Calif., lawyer appointed to oversee police reforms, or they say the city might pull out of two historic settlements to improve police-community relations.
Incensed over a $55,000 bill from Dr. Alan Kalmanoff after only three weeks on the job, city officials vowed Tuesday not to pay him. And Mayor Charlie Luken said he has told the monitor to reconsider his job and to stop working in Cincinnati.
"(Dr. Kalmanoff) said he will stop in eight days if we don't pay it. I think that this is great news," Mayor Luken said. "Dr. Kalmanoff has got to go. He has shown arrogance about the city, about the agreement and about the council. Our relationship is spoiled beyond repair."
City Council will vote today to refuse payments to the monitor and to file an appeal to Judge Dlott asking her to appoint another monitor.
The monitor's job is to enforce deadlines in settlements that ended this year's Justice Department probe of the police department and suspended the racial profiling lawsuit. The monitor will oversee the police department's overhaul of training, use-of-force policies and citizen complaint procedures.
ACLU lawyer Scott Greenwood, who represented African-American activists in the racial profiling lawsuit, said the city doesn't have the authority to make any demands on the monitor and doesn't have the option of not paying Dr. Kalmanoff's bills.
"This is becoming a tired refrain. They are stuck with us and stuck with the monitor," Mr. Greenwood said. "That's part of the (settlements) we made. The reason we filed a lawsuit instead of working with the city's political system is to put an end to the city's practice of making promises and not following through."
Some of the itemized expenses Cincinnati monitor Alan Kalmanoff listed in his $55,241.90 invoice to the city dated Nov. 1 for three weeks worth of work:|
Oct. 10: Announcement, ceremony and speech to those present: $100
Press conference and meeting with press in general: $100
Oct. 11: Meeting at City Hall to meet the mayor, who was not in, and to meet the city manager: $25
Attendance at NAACP (event); work on notes, e-mails, administrative tasks: $500
Oct. 12: With (Cincinnati Police) Chief (Tom) Streicher, driving around: $350
With Lt. Col. Ron Twitty, interviewing over his case: $250
With Richard Anglin (sic) of the Cincinnati Inquirer (sic), in a background interview with the press: $150
Ride-along with Cincinnati Police Department: $675
Oct. 13: Breakfast with (Cincinnati CAN Commission co-chairman) Ross Love: $250
Travel home to Berkeley (Calif.): $650
Oct. 18: Calls to the Department of Justice: $200
Oct. 20: Preparation for trip, travel to Cincinnati: $700
Oct. 21: Attempts to see City Council members: $50
Dinner with Judge (Susan) Dlott, Michael Rich and Judge Michael Merz in the evening: $300
Oct. 22: Meeting with Juleana Fireston (sic) of the Black United Front at the Vernon Manor Hotel: $150
Meeting with Alicia Ries (sic), Councilmember, and Councilmember Pat Dewine (sic), the Democratic and Republican leadership of the Cincinnati City Council: $50
E-mails and packing and getting ready for travel: $100
Source: Invoice from Dr. Alan Kalmanoff to City Manager Valerie Lemmie
Judge Dlott, who is overseeing the agreement, refused to comment on the city's demands.
Dr. Kalmanoff did not return phone calls Tuesday. His bill totals $55,241.90 and includes $41,175 for consulting and travel expenses, $2,125 for office rent and $11,941 in overhead fees.
He charges $100 an hour. Among things he billed the city for:
$675 for a ride along with a police officer.
$150 for an interview he arranged with an Enquirer reporter.
$350 for "driving around" with Police Chief Tom Streicher.
$25 for attempting to visit the mayor while the mayor was out.
$100 for e-mails, packing and getting ready for travel.
The itemized expenses are replete with misspellings, including the names of council members and key members of the settlement agreements.
Judge Dlott appointed Dr. Kalmanoff on Oct. 10 after becoming convinced the parties involved in the settlements could not agree on one of 11 candidates for the job. Dr. Kalmanoff's team of 19 legal and police experts will be joined next year by retiring Ohio Supreme Court Justice Andrew Douglas.
Under terms of the two agreements, the city is responsible for paying the monitor costs.
But council members on all sides of the political spectrum expressed concern Tuesday about Dr. Kalmanoff being the right man for the job. And a majority agreed not to pay anything until Dr. Kalmanoff is replaced and a written contract is signed with a new monitor.
"This is unbelievable," Councilman Pat DeWine said. "Unless we deal with this now, it is going to be a disaster."
Mr. DeWine said the bill is evidence of Dr. Kalmanoff's "complete lack of respect for taxpayers," his disregard for the limits and terms of the settlement agreements, and his inability to be forthright about his expenses.
On Oct. 22, council members questioned Dr. Kalmanoff about the total cost of his 20-member team of legal and police experts. Council members insisted that they had approved a maximum of $1 million a year for the next five years in agreements.
During the meeting - which he billed council members $200 to attend - Dr. Kalmanoff repeatedly told council members he could not give them an estimate for his expenses and told them to read the agreements for any interpretations.
But a week earlier, Dr. Kalmanoff told the Enquirer that costs could be more than $7 million. He said the figures were taken directly out of the settlement agreements. He said it is not an "estimate" because he does not yet know how much it will actually cost.
And Dr. Kalmanoff's own budget proposal, which was contained in his application for the monitor job, shows costs at $7.5 million.
For three weeks, Mayor Luken and Dr. Kalmanoff have exchanged e-mails about costs. The last one came Tuesday from Mr. Luken:
"I have told the city manager not to pay your bill," he wrote. "She says you told her you would stop work in eight days if the bill is not paid. I suggest you stop now. I have no intention of paying your bill."
Dr. Kalmanoff, in other e-mails, has insisted that there will be no money issues.
"We're inexpensive and nonprofit, have a low overhead and low fees," he wrote. "But I cannot be put in a situation where I predict the costs; they are dependent on the compliance and the work requirements. I hope the conflict passes."
"Dr. Kalmanoff sounds more like Mr. Ripoff to me," said Councilman Chris Monzel. "We want a monitor who is going to make us better, not one who is going to nickel and dime us to death."
Councilman John Cranley called Dr. Kalmanoff irresponsible.
"I don't believe, given this bill, that he can be trusted to do his job," Mr. Cranley said.
Council members DeWine, Monzel, Cranley, along with David Pepper and Jim Tarbell, said they would vote today to petition Judge Dlott for a new monitor and put Dr. Kalmanoff on notice that he is not to provide additional services.
Mr. Greenwood said this proves the importance of having an independent monitor.
"(City Council) is not going to get a sympathetic ear from us," he said.
Mr. Greenwood said the court can order the city to pay Dr. Kalmanoff's bill and Judge Dlott has no obligation to make a new appointment. He said the city can't just opt out of the agreement because it is a binding court order enforced not only by the judge but by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Rev. Damon Lynch III, leader of the Black United Front - a group of black activists that is party to the lawsuit settlement - said Tuesday that no decision can be made on rehiring the monitor unless all the parties agree to it.
"I hope we can continue to work together," he said. "I think it's too early to have an opinion on Dr. Kalmanoff. I think it needs to be understood that we hired an entire team of people. It is an excellent team. Other members of the team have been working with us, and we are satisfied by their work."
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