"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by editorial board member Jess Sessoms..
Recently, a WBTV News investigation revealed that the City of Charlotte has paid more than $13.3 million to defend and settle lawsuits over the past four years.
The news team's goal was to understand if your tax dollars were spent wisely in those legal matters, but unfortunately, questions remain unanswered because the city refused requests for an interview and redacted information from many of the documents they provided.
In a statement, a spokesperson said the city is a $2.4 billion enterprise and does incur some liability.
We understand that. But, it's public money. And to help explain if the city is effectively protecting itself against that liability, we want more transparency from our leaders.
Redactions were mostly made to the 13 agreements settling lawsuits from the city's own employees who claimed they were discriminated against or wrongfully fired.
Those cases totaled $1.4 million and are a direct result of how our local government is being managed.
We believe the taxpayers deserve more information about these legal payouts and encourage city leaders to answer the news team's questions in an interview, not a statement.