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UPDATED: BP Settlement Raises Questions About City Legal Fees

Posted on July 29, 2015

UPDATED: BP Settlement Raises Questions About City Legal Fees

UPDATE: On July 27, 2015 the Tallahassee Democrat reported “The city of Tallahassee approved a $2.6-million settlement earlier this month. Shelley estimates a net payment of $1.5 to $1.6 million after legal costs.”

The City Attorney for Tallahassee, Lew Shelley, contacted Tallahassee Reports late this afternoon and said that the net payment information reported by the Tallahassee Democrat was incorrect.

Shelley told Tallahassee Reports that the City should recover no less than $2 million after legal fees instead of the $1.6 million reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.

UPDATED CHART

Government

Settlement

Legal Fees

% Legal Fees

City of Tallahassee

$2,600,000

$520,000

20.0%

Leon County Government

$951,342

$190,200

20.0%

Leon County Schools

$1,000,000

$200,000

20.0%

Wakulla County

$434,000

$86,800

20.0%

Jefferson County

$350,000

$75,000

21.4%

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ORIGINAL POST

Reports detailing settlement amounts for local government entities arising from damages due to the BP oil spill is raising questions about legal fees.

Shown below is a chart of regional government entities that are scheduled to receive settlements, the amount of the settlement, the amount of legal fees, and the percentage paid in legal fees.(Numbers from Tallahassee Democrat report)

Government

Settlement

Legal Fees

% Legal Fees

City of Tallahassee

$2,600,000

$1,000,000

38.5%

Leon County Government

$951,342

$190,200

20.0%

Leon County Schools

$1,000,000

$200,000

20.0%

Wakulla County

$434,000

$86,800

20.0%

Jefferson County

$350,000

$75,000

21.4%

The information reveals that the City of Tallahassee will receive the largest settlement, but will pay almost twice the rate as other government entities in fees.

Based on reports, the City of Tallahassee will pay approximately 38% in fees while other government entities will pay approximately 20%.

More than one source told TR that 20% was consistent with other contingency settlements and that usually the rate goes down if the settlement amount is higher.

If the City of Tallahassee was paying the 20% rate instead of the 38% rate, the City would have saved approximately $480,000 in fees.

TR was able to confirm that the same Tallahassee Lawyer, Don Hinkle, was representing both the Leon County Commission and the City of Tallahassee.

Why the difference in fees? TR has requested information from the City of Tallahassee.

6 Responses to UPDATED: BP Settlement Raises Questions About City Legal Fees

  1. BEC Reply

    July 29, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    What a shame! There’s the difference for the body cameras.

  2. BEC Reply

    July 29, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Sorry….who can really believe him?

  3. bob fulford Reply

    July 29, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Where in Tallahassee did the BP oil wash ashore? Perhaps that is the reason for the higher legal fees. Explaining that mystery.

  4. John Reply

    July 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Corruption gets curbed thank to Tallahassee Reports

  5. Rosemary N. Palmer Reply

    August 1, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Were all the governments represented by the same law firm? If so then I’d think it worth someone’s while to look at the individual bills to see how the settlement required that much work.

  6. Lee Reply

    August 7, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Would like to see a list of those who got the legal fees.

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