Mayor Trotter, Vice Mayor Onoda, Spend $35,000 in Legal Fees Without Authorization

During discussion at the May 9 council meeting, it was revealed that Mayor Trotter and Vice Mayor Onoda - acting independently and without authorization from the town council or even as part of an official subcommittee - incurred over $35,000 in legal fees to negotiate a backroom deal with the owner of the Rheem Theater.

The deal has the owner transferring ownership of the theater to a local nonprofit in exchange for otherwise-prohibited development rights on his empty lot next door.

The agreement enables streamlined approval and waivers of zoning regulations for a four-story apartment complex on the commercially-zoned empty lot.

Councilmembers Korpus and Fritzky expressed concern about the unauthorized negotiations by Trotter and Onoda, along with their incurring significant legal fees without town council or public knowledge or approval.