In reference to a legal memorandum drafted by City Attorney Paul Wilbur at the Mayor’s request and concerning my testimony in Civil Case C07-0068 - Silverstrim, et al. for Judicial Review of the Decision of the Salisbury Housing Board of Adjustments and Appeals, my testimony concerned only personal events that occurred prior to my election to the City Council.
The only item that I could have testified to, in connection to my position as a member of the City Council, was a document written by the President of the Housing Board in his official capacity and sent to the Mayor in her official capacity, that the City refused to authenticate prior to trial. Upon my arrival in the court to authenticate the document, the City then decided to stipulate to the authenticity of this document. So my testimony to authenticate that document was not necessary and was not given.
At no time did I waive my legislative immunity. Further, Mr. Paul Wilbur was present as Council for the City of Salisbury at this hearing. Had there been any question of my testimony or legislative immunity, it was incumbent upon Mr. Wilbur in his capacity as City Council to advise me of my legal rights. Mr. Wilbur never counseled me as a member of City Council not to testify to personal events that occurred prior to my election to City Council, as the events testified to had no bearing on my official legislative status. When asked how I had voted on specific matters I referred to the meeting minutes provided and responded.
The Honorable Donald C. Davis pointed out how the laws were written to protect the landlords in his opinion from the bench:
----------"Some of the problems that have been identified and the shortcomings that are identified with the manner in which the building official and the Board handled the case are, I think, inherent in the language of the Statute itself. . . . I think it could well be argued that the language in a number of these provisions in the Statute sort of favors the landlords in that it requires the landlord to provide the minimum necessary to show that he or she is entitled to the authorization but does not require the landlord to show or to attest that the facts are such that he may not be, or she may not be entitled."
"The burden of disproving anything that the landlord would say in the way of showing that the bare minimum requirements have been satisfied is placed on the opponents. And it is indeed true that in these cases, just the nature of the situation is such that the only person who had ready access to the evidence that would disprove it is the landlord him or herself. . . .But wisely or unwisely the City by enacting this ordinance as it did has placed the burden on the neighbors, not the landlord."
Another question an investigative reporter should ask, is how a confidential legal memorandum drafted by the City Attorney wound up in the hands of a reporter. Who disclosed this information? Has this jeopardized the City's interests more than anything I could have testified to?