The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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July 24, 2013

Group waiting to release records

(Continued)

“Put your faith in the ACLU. Trust me. I don’t think they would have taken this if there wasn’t meat to it. I mean think about it. You think the ACLU wants to lose? Do you think they want to be embarrassed?” he said.

LEGAL MALPRACTICE FEES

During the town hall meeting, CFOG also discussed the city’s growing bills for legal fees related to its legal malpractice suit against its attorney in the EMS billing suit, Michael Walker.

The city is suing Walker for $3 million, claiming his negligence led the city to settle the EMS suit.

According to city finance documents, the legal malpractice suit has cost the city $663,536 since the firms were hired last year. To date, the city has paid Hannafan and Hannafan $506,779; Gosma, Tarbox and Associates $87,024; expert witness and whistleblower consultant Ronald Clark $59,463; and Herring Reporting Services $10,270.

The city recently changed the contract with Hannafan and Hannafan to a contingency fee contract. This means the firm will not receive an hourly rate, but will be paid 25 percent of whatever amount the city receives if the legal malpractice suit is ruled in the city’s favor.

O’Neill speculated that by the time the suit is resolved, the city will have spent more than $1 million on it.

O’Neill also decried the payments the city made to Hannafan and Hannafan in 2011 and March 2012 before the council officially hired them to represent the city in the legal malpractice suit on March 6, 2012.

Those payments were for $7,500 in March 2011, $4,538 in September, 2011 and $25,000 in March 2012.

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