The city of Hartford is paying the price as the criminal investigation of the mayor continues. A grand jury began looking into Mayor Eddie Perez' administration in 2008 -- he was arrested earlier this year on bribery charges.

     As of April 2, 2009, outside counsel fees totaled $135,258.50 covering the legal expenses for city workers and officials called to testify before a grand jury.

     The mayor was already arrested and charged in January -- prosecutors who say he had tens of thousands of dollars worth of free work done at his home by a city contractor.

     But the grand jury investigation has continued well beyond that.

     Since January 2008, Hartford has paid a dozen law firms to represent at least 25 city workers asked to answer questions, including:

     some 15-grand for the mayor's former finance director,

     more than 10-grand for his chief of staff,

     5-thousand for the mayor's former aide for capital improvement projects,

     more than 6-grand for an attorney to represent...the city attorney...

     and almost 9-thousand dollars for an attorney to advise former city worker Ed Lazu, who himself was then arrested in January on bribery charges.

     City councilman Pedro Segarra who chairs the operations and management and budget committtee filed a freedom of information request a few weeks ago asking for the legal bills. 

     He tells FOX 61 he is, "saddened that the city has had to spend money that could be put to better uses.  {He} understands the legal obligation Hartford has to provide attorneys for its workers, but in any event, the dollars could be much better spent doing the work of the people."