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Fired Blunt lawyer to meet with Pleban

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 7, 2009 - The legal fight may not be over for Scott Eckersley, the former lawyer to former Gov. Matt Blunt whose firing in 2007 sparked that long-running battle over government emails.

Eckersley is to be in St. Louis next week to meet with Chet Pleban, a lawyer who has made his reputation representing high-profile fired government employees, including policemen.

Pleban also has his own ties to the email controversy. He was the lawyer for the special investigative team set up by then-Attorney General Jay Nixon to probe the email retention practices in Blunt's office.

Pleban ended up having his own issues after the team had a rocky finish late last year, when court-appointed lawyers reached a settlement with Blunt and former aides over a court suit that the team had initially filed.

In any case, Eckersley is declining to discuss why he's meeting with Pleban. But it's public record that Eckersley fired his own lawyers several weeks ago, because of disagreements over his settlement of the suit. Eckersley just recently cashed the $500,000 settlement check with the state.

Eckersley confirmed Friday that he has yet to receive the apology letter he is seeking from the office of now-Gov. Nixon, to make clear that the accusations of personal misconduct made by Blunt's aides were unfounded.  Eckersley says such a letter was part of his settlement.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.