Judge denies request to have City pay for officer's legal fees

By Tyler Emken

August 27, 2013 Updated Aug 27, 2013 at 7:11 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- A Peoria judge turned down the Peoria Police Benevolent Association's request to have the City of Peoria continue to pay an officer's legal fees on Tuesday.

City council decided a few weeks ago to stop paying the legal fees of Officer Jeff Wilson. Wilson is accused by fellow officer Donna Nicholson of watching her using department surveillance equipment.

The PPBA argued that Wilson is engaged in a long term legal dispute, and the City's failure to pay his legal fees is a breach of contract. In response, they requested that the judge order the City to continue paying Wilson's legal fees.

An attorney for the City of Peoria responded, saying there is no longer an ongoing legal dispute and that the decision to stop paying the fees did not represent a breach of contract as the law was written.

Judge Michael Brandt said that the City's obligation to pay or not pay Wilson would not be decided during the hearing. However, he said the specific injunction the PPBA sought is only used in extreme circumstances and that this case did not meet those criteria.

Another hearing on this matter is tentatively scheduled for 60 days from Tuesday's hearing.

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