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Atherton City Attorney's Law Firm Implodes

Original post made by John P Johns, another community, on Jun 22, 2010

When Atherton selected Wynn Furth as the City Attorney to replace Marc Hynes, Jerry Carlson said that a deciding factor was that Furth was with a large firm which had the resources to advise and represent the Town on a wide range of issues.

According to an article in the Daily Journal, Ms. Furth's Sacramento based law firm will close its doors at the end of the summer.

Now that the justification for selecting Ms. Furth as City Attorney no longer exists, it would seem logical that Atherton should go out to bid for a new City Attorney.

We know that at the last City Council meeting there was a closed session to review the performance of the City Attorney. It would be reasonable to deduce that during this closed session Ms. Furth announced the pending closure of her firm.

It would also not be surprising were Ms. McKeithen to have made a motion to fire Furth and to go out to bid for a new firm. Ms. McKeithen has been very clear in her level of dissatisfaction with Ms. Furth. Additionally, it is clear based upon the way Ms. Furth has interacted with Ms. McKeithen during public sessions, there is no love lost between the two.

I have submitted a public records request to the Town to determine whether such a motion was made and to determine how each member of the City Council voted.

This may be little more than idle speculation at the moment, however, should Ms. Lewis and Mr. Marsala have voted to retain Ms. Furth after her rulings exonerating both City Council members, there may be legitimate reason to call for an examination of how the Atherton City Council conducts its business by the Attorney General.

Comments (4)

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Posted by Second-class talent
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Palo Alto wanted nothing to do with Furth after she was an assistant city attorney there for several years, so Furth left and Atherton hired her out of a Sacramento law firm that is now going out of business.

Atherton also hired Jerry Gruber after he was suspended from his last job at Big Bear due to sexual harassment allegations.

WAKE UP CITY COUNCIL this is your chance to gracefully undo the serious mistake you made in hiring Furth to begin with.

Carlson's notion that he wants a big firm shows how primitive his thinking is. We should hire a solo practitioner city attorney who knows that s/he won't share in any of the legal fees from perpetuating litigation (unlike Furth). Litigation would be outsourced to big firms. Thus there is no incentive for the city attorney to profit from stringing out disputes.

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Posted by dump furth
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

The deeper Furth tries to bury the official misconduct of her elected masters, the worst the scandal becomes.

The free market has decided that Furth's law firm has no business being in business. Our City Council takes pride in having business acumen.

The decision on whether to keep Furth or to dump Furth is a no brainer.

Dump Furth.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm

It has become clear why Furth went through so many contortions of logic and fact to exonerate Lewis and Marsala. She desperately needed their votes to be able to hang on to her contract.

This is a clear conflict of interest on all parties involved.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hot off the presses
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 2, 2010 at 11:11 am

One can only hope that the town will truly evaluate different options as part of this news


July 2, 2010

As McDonough Holland & Allen is winding down its operations, the law firm has provided the
Town with its required 60-day notice of contract cancellation. It is anticipated that City Attorney Wynne Furth and her team will affiliate with another law firm in the weeks ahead, and the Town will evaluate options in light of these changes. In the meantime, Ms. Furth is committed to continuing to provide legal services to the Town.

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