Former councilman Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman settled a lawsuit with Saddle Brook attorney Curtis La Forge that stemmed from the ex-councilman’s failure to pay the entire amount of an almost $21,000 invoice generated by La Forge when he briefly represented Akhtaruzzaman in the 2012 election case filed by former councilman Aslon Goow.
Akhtaruzzaman paid a large chunk of the $20,963 invoice, but still owed $8,963 to the attorney, according to court records. La Forge made attempts to collect the remaining amount by sending letters and calling without success resulting in him filing a claim in court.
That claim was settled by both sides on May 19th, 2016, according to court documents. The ex-councilman agreed to make a $100 payment to La Forge every month for a period of one-year beginning June 1st, 2016.
Both sides will meet on June 1st, 2017 to negotiate how the remaining money should be paid.
“The settlement was correct. He was honorable and he’s living up to the settlement,” said La Forge on Tuesday afternoon. At the $100 per month rate, the ex-councilman will have to make payments for seven and a half years.
“We settled it based on mutual understanding,” said Akhtaruzzaman. La Forge and his daughter were part of the ex-councilman’s legal team battling Goow in 2012. Goow challenged Akhtaruzzaman’s May 2012 election victory by pointing to an issue with the then-newcomer’s residency.
Goow prevailed in the lawsuit. Akhtaruzzaman was forced out of office. A special election was held in November of that year which returned Akhtaruzzaman to the 2nd Ward city council seat.
La Forge billed Akhtaruzzaman at $450 per hour, according to court filings.