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Seven Hills Council votes to pay for councilman's legal bills after dereliction of duty charges

Posted at 11:18 PM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 07:07:39-05

The Seven Hills City Council voted Monday to pay for the legal bills accrued by Councilman Matt Trafis who pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty for obtaining confidential information at a public meeting. 

Trafis pleaded guilty to the charges in May and was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and asked to write an apology letter to Longbow Research. 

He completed a diversion program for first-time offenders and had the charges dismissed by a judge. 

On Monday, the passage of Ordinance No. 118-2016 authorized the deputy finance director to pay Matthew Trafis the sum of $5,490 for reimbursement of attorney fees incurred. The ordinance was declared and emergency and passed immediately. All council members voted for passage of the ordinance. 

“This is nothing but politics this is typical of Seven Hills this is something that council is breaking,” Trafis told News 5 after the meeting.

Former Mayor Gerald Trafis spoke in favor of his son, arguing that a version of the tax data he released at the meeting was already public record. Trafis said his son pleaded guilty to save the city the expense of a trial. 

Trafis’ supporters on the council also argued that he was targeted by political opponents and commended him for the work he's done for the city. 

But Special Prosecutor Michael Cicero, who was assigned to determine whether criminal charges should be filed, said Trafis was not innocent. 

“The evidence clearly established a violation of local law,” Special Prosecutor Michael Cicero told News 5. “The only reason he was not convicted was because of the nature of the diversion program for which he qualified.”

Law Director Richard Pignatello said the city’s insurance did not cover Trafis’ case.