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Hopedale - Local Town Pages

Special ‘donation account’ accepting funds to help pay town’s special legal fees

By Theresa Knapp 
Hopedale Town Counsel has confirmed town officials can set up a special donation account to help pay town legal fees.
The account was established, by unanimous vote, at a Select Board meeting on June 27.
Select Board member Brian Keyes suggested donors should indicate in their donation to what issue they want their donation to apply. 
Keyes pressed a point he made in June to reveal the names of anyone who donates to this fund, referring specifically to the plaintiffs in the so-called “10-citizen lawsuit” in which a group of Hopedale taxpayers are suing the town alleging town officials did not follow an October 2020 special town meeting directive to activate the town’s right of first refusal on property located at 364 West Street. He asks that all donors be identified. 
“There’s obviously 10 or 11 citizens that are actively litigating two counts against the Town of Hopedale in appeal, I wouldn’t expect to see a check from any of those 11 people. You can’t sue us on one hand and donate to defend us on another on the same topic; I see a little bit of a conflict there,” Keyes said. 
“I would ask those 11 citizens if they want to donate money to have someone else do it for them, give them the money and have them do it. I don’t think that their 11 names should be on a check until that litigation’s over. If those appeals are done and there’s nothing going on, then I’m fine with it but I have a little bit of an issue with the conflict of interest…I don’t think that that’s an unreasonable ask.” 
At the town’s Special Town Meeting on July 11, Select Board Chair Glenda Hazard reported the account had been created and “a donor has come forward to pay for the special counsel process to pursue the acquisition of 364 West Street.” 
The donor was not identified.