Interim Lansing City Attorney Joseph Abood speaks out amid controversy

LANSING, Mich.(WLNS) –  Interim City Attorney Joseph Abood is sharing his side to the story amid the recent city attorney controversy.

It’s no secret that Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and some city council members don’t always see eye-to-eye.

The most recent disagreement comes after the city council learned Interim City Attorney Joseph Abood received a $30,000 pay raise.

The move also comes as the Lansing City Pulse reported Abood authorized at least $5,000 in payments and contracts to his former law firm.

“I’m very aware of what the ethical responsibilities are not only within city policies but also with the professional rules and responsibility,” said Interim City Attorney Joseph Abood.

In an exclusive interview with 6 News, Joseph Abood said he wants to clear his name on a number of controversial topics linked with his recent appointment.

That includes a $30,000 pay bump from Mayor Bernero’s administration.

“I do appreciate the raise. I’m actually proud of the recognition. I think it indicates the good and significant and important work this office has done,” said Abood.

Currently Abood’s former law firm which he has a 50 percent stake in is on the approved list of firms Lansing City Council can use for outside legal help.

But Abood says that working relationship was initiated by Former City Attorney Janene McIntyre and something he wants to completely remove himself from.

“I have an understanding from my brother that he is going to be asking that the Abood Law Firm be taken off the approved counsel list because he doesn’t want anyone to perceive that this could come up,” said Abood.

It’s a partnership Lansing City Council President Judi Brown Clarke says raises some red flags.

Clarke says, “Our concern is to ensure there were no violations to the city charter’s ethics ordinance, which prohibits officials from using their position to obtain financial gain for themselves, their immediate family members or businesses in which the family or employee have an interest.”

Clarke also says, “It is important that we maintain trust and integrity with the citizens of Lansing and any real or perceived actions counter that must be addressed immediately.”

But Abood says protecting the city of Lansing has always been his number one priority and will remain that way moving forward.

“I’m proud to say the city is my client and to represent the city in the best interests of the city is something I aspire to,” said Abood.

Joseph Abood’s position as Interim City Attorney will time out on May 29.

Mayor Bernero is then expected to recommend either Abood or a new candidate to fill that position.

It’s then up to Lansing City Council to vote on the mayor’s recommendation and start the formal selection process for finding a permanent city attorney.

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