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Portsmouth police panel boots $800k deal for sergeant, departments
John Maher, a mediator and retired probate judge, spoke to residents Wednesday about the contested estate of the late Geraldine Webber. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/Union Leader Correspondent)
The city’s police and fire departments stood to gain $800,000 in total from the agreement.
Several residents, including Webber’s former neighbors, angrily protested to the commission on Wednesday about the city’s inaction regarding the embattled sergeant. The face-off comes as Goodwin fights efforts in Rockingham County Probate Court by other heirs, including charitable organizations, which claim Webber did not have “testamentary capacity” to re-write her will.
“There is a lot more to be shared,” Onosko said.
What may not be shared is Webber’s shrinking estate, while it is being fought over in probate court.
“I have no dog in this fight,” he said. “I don’t make a finding of right or wrong. As a mediator, I bring the parties together. I try to help them in that regard.”
With $400,000 in legal expenses already billed from the probate case, the Webber estate is already shrinking.
“There are 17 more depositions to take,” Maher said. “You can use your own sense of that. Add on a week to 10 days of trial.”
Maher acknowledged in an interview after the hearing that it was possible that legal expenses could stop if the parties agreed to stay the case. Meanwhile, commissioners say they do not want the integrity of the city to come at the cost of its so-called inheritance of $800,000.
Commissioner Brenna Cavanaugh said she could not support the settlement based on the public’s concerns over the department’s integrity.
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