Letter – Lawyer should stick to his job
Published 5:34 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
I read with great interest the article in last week’s Smithfield Times entitled “Panel favors moving farmers market.”
What I found intriguing about the article is how Smithfield’s town attorney can advocate on behalf of Joseph W. Luter II’s interests pushing LSMP LLC’s supposedly financial analysis — which nobody seems to fully understand — when he’s supposed to be representing the town and the taxpayers of Smithfield’s interests when it comes to potentially approving a million dollars of taxpayers’ money to fund the move of the farmers market. The town attorney should be the legal adviser to the Town Council and its committees and to the mayor, the town manager and other officers of the town, and when requested, shall furnish written or verbal opinions upon any subject involving questions of law in which the town is interested.
The purpose of the town attorney’s office is to provide effective and efficient legal services, promote accountability, trust and openness in government, and focus on outcomes that are fair and equitable while protecting the best interests of the client — which is the town, not a property owner.
Concerning matters involving LSMP LLC and Joseph W. Luter IV’s efforts involving either the farmers market or the construction of the four duplexes and single-family homes at the corner of Clay and James streets, when is our town manager going to hold the town attorney accountable concerning exactly who our town attorney is representing?
Bottom line, if our town attorney continues to advocate on behalf of Luter’s interests and LSMP LLC (which Riddick helped establish), ethically, he is in no position to continue providing any legal advice or guidance to the Smithfield Town Council pertaining to any of these projects and he should recuse himself immediately from any further decisions, be it county or town, going forward that involves Luter or LSMP LLC.