Litchfield’s Borough Board of Warden and Burgesses will hold a special meeting Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. at the borough office on Russell Street to ask borough voters to approve the use of $60,000 to cover legal fees associated with the Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County lawsuit.
The extra money is necessary because the borough’s liability insurance carrier is no longer covering legal bills associated with the lawsuit Chabad filed against the historic district commission in 2009.
The lawsuit, which is pending in U.S. District Court in New Haven, charges the borough’s historic district commission with religious discrimination for rejecting Chabad’s plan to convert a 2,656 square-foot house at 85 West St. into a 21,011 square-foot synagogue and community center.
The borough has been paying its legal bills since being dropped by the United National Insurance Co. in late July after U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall granted the borough’s request that Chabad’s damage claims of more than $5 million be waived because they were speculative and unsupported by evidence.
Legal fees totaling $33,724 have been paid since Hall’s ruling. If Hall’s pending decision sides with the borough and Chabad appeals it, the borough would be on the hook for more legal fees. The United National Insurance Co. paid more than $500,000 in legal fees in the eight years the lawsuit has been active.
The $60,000 would have to be found within the borough’s budget for 2017-18, according to borough Warden Lee Losee.