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Law firm sues Amherst for $65,000 in unpaid legal fees

A Rochester law firm has sued the Town of Amherst for failing to pay a $65,000 bill for its legal services.

The dispute stems from the Amherst Town Board's lawsuit against the town Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Zoning Board of Appeals granted variances for a controversial planned apartment complex. The Town Board hired Hancock Estabrook of Syracuse, while the Zoning Board hired Harter, Secrest and Emery of Rochester.

Stanley Sliwa, the town attorney, deemed the Rochester firm's charges exorbitant. Harter, Secrest and Emery rang up $64,927 in billable hours and expenses between July 2017 and this March. Sliwa said $26,749 was more appropriate. The lawsuit, filed this month in Monroe County, seeks $65,770 plus interest and other costs.

A collections attorney represents Harter, Secrest and Emery, which has withdrawn as the Zoning Board's attorney, general counsel Richard Alexander said.

After Amherst sued itself, a law firm in that case may sue the town for unpaid legal fees

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