In her first week on the job, District Attorney Heather Adams ended a lawsuit brought by her predecessor against the county commissioners' office.
The action ends a legal dispute between two parts of county government that has been going on for nearly a year.
Adams, the county’s first female district attorney, was sworn into office on January 6. On Friday, January 10, Adams filed paperwork to discontinue a lawsuit that had been filed in March by former District Attorney Craig Stedman. Stedman was also sworn into a new office this month; he is now a county judge.
"The former District Attorney used drug forfeiture money, that was supposed to go to fund the Drug Task Force, to secretly lease a luxury SUV for himself. When the Board of Commissioners said that, among other things, was improper, which it was, he threw a tantrum and sued us," Commissioner Josh Parsons said. "It has now thankfully and properly been completely terminated by the new District Attorney Heather Adams. The Board of Commissioners already has a great relationship with her and we look forward to continuing to work with her. "
Stedman sued the commissioners in March in the state’s Commonwealth Court, claiming they were interfering with his constitutional authority to independently run his office and also that they were trying to improperly audit his use of drug forfeiture funds.
The Commonwealth Court in November ruled in favor of the commissioners' argument that it was not the proper venue to hear Stedman’s claims. The appeals court transferred the case to the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas.
Adams said her office has not yet received a bill from Kleinbard LLC, the private law firm that represented Stedman in the litigation.
Mark Seiberling, a Philadelphia-based attorney with the Kleinbard firm, did not return a request for comment.
The commissioners have already spent $100,000 on their lawyers defending their position in the case.
Adams’ action on Friday has ended the lawsuit, but the question of Stedman’s legal fees remains.
The commissioners’ office directed LNP|LancasterOnline to file a public records request when asked about any legal bills for Stedman’s representation