KATC Investigates

Oct 28, 2013 8:23 PM by Tina Macias

Lafayette school board attorney bills top $90k

Last week, District Attorney Mike Harson told the Lafayette Parish School Board that they are consulting a special attorney too much. They should direct most of their questions to the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the board, Harson said.

So, how much as the school system spent on special attorney Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice?

According to attorney bills released to KATC today, the Baton Rouge law firm racked up $94,129.37 in legal fees from the school board and system from August 2012 to August 2013.

Upwards of 80 percent of those fees came from requests made by school system staff with the rest -- at least $18,000 -- coming from School Board requests. School Board member Tehmi Chassion told Harson last week that calls from individual board members to Hammonds & Sills were free, but the bills showed that is not the case.

The firm's fees include payment for at least seven phone calls by individual board members. Two were made by Chassion, one each by Rae Trahan and Shelton Cobb and two by an unspecified board member. The total hours billed, however, were small -- 2.9 hours for a cost of $507.50.

Hammonds & Sills' charges $175 an hour for legal representation.

District attorneys are required by law to provide legal representation to parish boards and commissions who request it. Except for a few exceptions, the representation is done without cost to the school board.

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