City to pay for Reid Cain’s legal fees

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Selma Councilman Reid Cain will not have to pay his legal fees resulting from a municipal court case charging him with a misdemeanor.

The Selma City Council voted 4-2 with an abstention to pay the fees with the caveat that Cain will present the body with a bill for analysis beforehand.

Police officer Evelyn Ghant accused Cain of harassment after an argument between Council President George Evans and Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw ended the meeting.

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At one point, Evans asked the security officer, Ghant, to remove Crenshaw from council chambers. Ghant did not.

After the meeting, Cain sought out Ghant in the hall to ask her name. Ghant claimed Cain pulled her around by the arm to see her name tag. Cain denied he touched her.

The affair ended up in municipal court, and an appointed judge from Montgomery found Cain not guilty of the charge.

Cain didn’t have an amount for legal fees Monday night.

Councilman Cecil Williamson, an attorney, said he asked the council to approve paying the fees because Ghant is a city employee.

“What she did, we are responsible for,” Williamson said.

Councilman Johnnie Leashore countered by saying the meeting last August had ended before the incident and Cain had no authority as a councilman except during a meeting, so the city shouldn’t pay for his legal costs.

“This council is treading on some dangerous ground,” Leashore said.

Leashore and Councilman Sam Randolph voted against paying the fees.

Evans had reservations about not knowing the amount of the legal bill before approving payment, but said he could vote for it as long as the council would have an opportunity to look over the bill before the city wrote the check.

Cain abstained from the vote.

Council members Williamson, Geraldine Allen and Jean Martin joined Evans to pass the measure.

Councilwomen Crenshaw and Jannie Venter were out of town on city business and did not attend the meeting.