Fayette to foot lawyer bill for Watts against GOP

County OKs defense for elections board member

The Fayette County Commission has authorized paying for the legal defense of a member of the county’s board of elections, whom the Republican Party is attempting to remove from office.

The lawsuit against Marilyn Watts was filed by the Fayette County Republican Party, which appointed Watts to the election board several years ago after the previous county commission dismissed her as the commission’s appointee.

The three-member elections board consists of a representative appointed by the commission, a representative appointed by the county Republican Party and a representative of the county Democratic Party as well.

There was some question as to whether Watts would have to fund her own legal defense in the case, but County Attorney Dennis Davenport said the lawsuit is based on actions she took while in office.

In late June, Watts won a temporary restraining order preventing her removal from office by the Fayette County Republican Party.

The commission decided Thursday to compensate Watts’ attorney at the same hourly rate it is paying County Attorney Davenport: $150 an hour.

Commission Chairman Steve Brown, who is being sued by Marilyn’s son Lane Watts along with several other defendants on a defamation claim, recused himself at the beginning of the matter and stepped off the dais so the rest of the commission could discuss the situation.