A school board president accused in Cook County Circuit Court of defaming a pair of Chicago attorneys will again ask taxpayers to pay his legal expenses.
At Monday’s school board meeting, Chris Welch is expected to ask for $24,277.50 to cover legal bills accrued in defending himself in civil court. In June, Welch persuaded his colleagues to spend more than $22,400 in school funds, though neither the district nor the school board has been named a party to the case.
According to a list of bills scheduled to be presented to the board, there are two invoices from the law firm of Richardson & Mackoff. The partners in that office, Travis Richardson and Myron Mackoff, are representing Welch in the defamation case. The invoices are for legal services provided between April and July.
An attorney for the school district has argued it is appropriate that the district pay Welch’s legal fees because Welch is a public official.
“The issue that Chris Welch – and any other board member – is a board member 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” District 209 attorney Michael DeBartolo said in June. “If Chris Welch comments on anything, some people may take it as him communicating as Chris Welch, president of the District 209 Board of Education.”
Welch is being sued by the school district’s former attorneys for statements he made anonymously on a blog soon after the plaintiffs were fired. According to DeBartolo, the court will decide whether Welch’s attempts to hide his identity preclude him from protection under the state’s indemnification laws.
The Proviso Township High School District Board of Education will meet Monday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Proviso Math and Science Academy on Roosevelt Road.