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Judge: City Must Pay Hage Bill

Utica, NY (WIBX) – City Comptroller Michael Cerminaro has been ordered to pay the roughly $213,000 owed to attorney JK Hage for the GroWest Investigation.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Bernedette Clark ruled today that the payment is due Friday, according to Charles Brown, Utica’s Assistant Corporation Counsel.

The Judge has also denied Cerminaro’s request that city pay for his legal fees.

The city was suing Cerminaro for his refusal to pay the bill. He responded by hiring his own attorney.

“I felt very strongly about this issue from the begginning. I was willing to put skin in the game,” Cerminaro said of the portion of ruling that the city would not be responsible for his legal fees. “That’s not my primary concern.”

Cerminaro had said he would not pay the outstanding bill until his office could conduct a thorough audit and verify all of Hage’s work.

Cerminaro’s attorney Richard Frye says before he tells his client to pay the bill he’ll need to see a hard copy of the judge’s order. He said that would likely come Thursday night or Friday morning. When asked about a possible appeal, again Frye said he would need to see the order first.

It is unclear if the judge’s order includes interest for the late bill. That issue may need further clarification, Brown said.

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