Latimer resigns as CVB attorney

December 24, 2012 10:32:13 AM

Sarah Fowler - sfowler@cdispatch.com

 

Chris Latimer, the board attorney for the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitor's Bureau, has resigned.  

 

CVB board members received a email from CVB Director Nancy Carpenter Friday evening informing them of Latimer's resignation. The email said Latimer's last day would be Dec. 31.  

 

"I'm just tired of their level of fighting and discord going on and just didn't want to be associated with it anymore," Latimer said Monday. 

 

Latimer, who has served as the attorney for the City of Starkville since 2009, was hired as the CVB's attorney in February and was often caught in a cross-fire when disputes over how his services were used erupted among board members. 

 

In October, a disagreement between board member Whirllie Byrd and CVB executive director Nancy Carpenter over the use of Latimer's services -- the attorney bills the CVB at an hourly rate -- played out in the CVB's monthly meeting. During a discussion of the financial statement for the month of September, board treasurer Bart Wise disclosed that more than $2,000 was owed to Latimer. 

 

Approximately $1,700 of Latimer's bill was attributed to Byrd's inquiries regarding Carpenter's use of the CVB vehicle and other Carpenter-related issues. 

 

"I think all of us are conscious to the fact that we can't handle high legal bills every month," board chairman Dewitt Hicks said during the October meeting. 

 

The dispute over the use of Latimer's services has continued to be a point of contention since then. 

 

During the board's Dec. 17 meeting, Latimer forcefully objected to being caught up in the running battles among the board members, at one point interrupting a discussion over board procedure. 

 

"Hang on,'' Latimer said, rising to address the board. "Let me say this: I'm tired of the fighting. I've done legal work for this board for six months and I've given you valid opinions on issues that needed to be cleaned up, legally. I have presented to you in writing every time you asked for an opinion. If y'all are going to continue the fighting and try to leverage me for political fights on this board and some of the feuds that are going on between board members, I don't want any part of it.''

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah