Legal fees in the lawsuit filed by the city of Missoula to condemn the water company that serves the city have hit $3.5 million and will likely head higher.
The city sued Mountain Water Co. and the Carlyle Group last spring in Missoula County District Court.
The Missoulian reports the city could be held responsible for all parties’ legal expenses. Trial is still three months away and an appeal is likely after that.
Mayor John Engen says he recognizes that the legal fees are large, but he says the long-term cost to the community of not owning the utility would be hundreds of times higher.
Mountain Water president John Kappes says the legal battle will prove unaffordable for the city and says it should focus on its basic needs.