WATER WAR: Court Adjourns, Judge Hints He’s Persuaded

September 23, 2009 by George Bromley · Leave a Comment 

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WATER WAR: Objections Fly Frequently in Sixth Day of Trial

September 23, 2009 by George Bromley · Leave a Comment 

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WATER WAR: City Expert & Fairfax Counsel Spar Again

September 22, 2009 by George Bromley · Leave a Comment 

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WATER WAR: A Map of the Battlefield and a Brief History

September 21, 2009 by George Bromley · Leave a Comment 

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WATER WAR: Fairfax Attorney Grills Falls Church Witness

September 18, 2009 by George Bromley · Leave a Comment 

Defense witness Glenn Watkins endured extensive cross-examination Thursday, Sept. 17, from Fairfax Water attorney Stuart Raphael in the fourth day of trial in Fairfax Circuit Court.

Many of the exchanges concerned questions regarding comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) from Falls Church City and other Virginia jurisdictions.  At issue was whether or not other municipalities transfer their water system profits to general fund accounts in the same manner as the City. 

In one example a CAFR appeared to show that a city was moving water funds in the same fashion as Falls Church.  However, Mr. Raphael pointed out that the example was not really valid because the municipality in question had wholesale customers, but that no wholesale contract is in force between the City and its Fairfax County customers.

Mr. Raphael also questioned the depth of Mr. Watkins’ knowledge of other city’s practices and their administration.  The witness was unable to name the trust engineer of Richmond, who, according to Mr. Raphael, affirms the city’s financial processes are correct.

At one point while discussing American Water Works Association guidelines the witness and the plaintiff’s counsel could not even agree on the meaning of  “fee for service.”

The lot of an expert witness is never an easy one.  On Wednesday Mr. Raphael argued that  Mr. Watkins was not qualified to offer opinions as a municipal rates expert, in part because a Leesburg case in which he had testified did not involve the issue of fund transfers, as is the case here.  

In over-ruling the objection, Judge R. Terrence Ney sagely observed that if a dispute involved exactly the same circumstances as a case that had previously been adjudicated, then the matter would no longer be in dispute.

Court was adjourned early Thursday afternoon with Mr. Watkins still on the stand.

Mayor Robin Gardner and Councilman Dan Maller were in the gallery yesterday.  Mr. Maller offered his own observations on the session in a comment posted on an earlier Falls Church Times story. 

Thus far three of the seven members of the City Council have attended the proceedings.  Of the seven, Mr. Maller, Nader Baroukh, and Dave Snyder are attorneys.

The trial is in recess Friday.  It will resume Monday morning at 10 a.m.  

This report could not have been prepared without the contributions of Fairfax Water Public Affairs Officer Jeanne Bailey and Falls Church City Director of Communications Barbara Gordon.  Many thanks to both.

WATER WAR: Plaintiff Rests; City Begins Its Defense

September 17, 2009 by George Bromley · 2 Comments 

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WATER WAR: Fairfax Water Presents First Witness

September 15, 2009 by George Bromley · Leave a Comment 

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WATER WAR: Showdown Begins in Circuit Court

September 14, 2009 by George Bromley · Leave a Comment 

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