MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee taxpayers are footing the bill for $75,000-plus in legal fees as four residents continue their challenge of a mosque set to be built outside of Murfreesboro. An attorney for the four confirmed to The Tennessean their plans to fight the mosque through a final hearing on the matter, which is expected to happen sometime next year, keeping the tab open.
“I do think it is unfortunate that the county is having to bear this expense, but, that’s the way the legal system is,” said Rutherford County Attorney Jim Cope, whose law office contracts with the county to perform legal services.
Cope’s office billed the county almost $30,000 on Nov. 30 just for the first few days of an eight-day hearing on the May approval of the 52,000-square-foot mosque. Cope estimated the full cost for the entire eight days could top $75,000. The County Commission even added an extra $50,000 to its legal budget in October in anticipation of the legal costs.
Attorney Joe Brandon Jr. represented Rutherford County residents Kevin Fisher, Jim Estes, Lisa Moore and Henry Golcznski, who sued to challenge the county’s approval of the mosque. Brandon said in a statement that they plan to continue their fight to a final hearing on the matter, which is expected to happen sometime next year.
For details of the funding behind the lawsuit, see TPM.