LAWREADER RECEIVES ALLEGATIONS REGARDING THE QUESTIONABLE USE OF OUTSIDE COUNSEL BY THE KBA BAR COUNSEL
In a recent e-mail a respected party commented:
“Tthe bill of costs served upon attorney Stan Chesley in his disciplinary case included $15,736.86 paid as fees to Jane Graham, a Lexington attorney, apparently for attending and observing Mr. Galllion’s criminal trial.
Chesley was billed some $88,000 as a condition of having the right to file an appeal to the Ky. Supreme Court. After Chesley paid the $88,000 to the KBA, the Supreme Court repealed the SCR which conditioned an appeal on the payment
of the “cost and expense” bill submitted by the Bar Counsel.
Chesley was not a defendant in the criminal trial and has not been charged with any criminal offense. (Chesley has not been consulted regarding this report.)
The invoices from attorney Graham were alleged to have been so severely redacted that it is unclear what services were rendered for which the KBA paid Jane Graham $15,736.86.
David Helmers reports that he was billed $4000 for Jane Graham’s services in sitting in on the Gallion criminal trial at the direction of the KBA Bar Counsel. Helmers was not
a criminal defendant but nevertheless received a bill for the KBA participation in the Gallion criminal trial.
“The legal services rendered by Ms. Jane Graham to Bar Counsel Linda Gosnell were described in a letter written in June 2011, two years after the fees had been paid by the KBA.”
One of the letters “tersely explained that Ms. Graham’s services had been rendered in connection with Ms Gosnell’s appearance as a witness in the federal prosecution “ of Gallion and Cunningham.”
If these cost demands are correctly reported, it suggests that the Bar Counsel was hiring outside counsel to help her prepare for her testimony in the criminal trial, but instead of the KBA being responsible for the
outside counsel fee, they billed attorneys who had pending ethics charges (and who were not parties to the criminal trial.)
Last month the KBA President announced that Bar dues would be increased by 1/3 over the next three years. In the last budget cycle the Bar Counsel’s office received $1.6 million dollars paid out of dues paid by Kentucky’s 17,000
lawyers. The Bar Counsel’s office has nine full time attorneys, 3 secretaries, and 13 para-legals and legal assistants. Dues paying attorneys are beginning to question the wall of secrecy by the KBA which fails to explain the high cost of
operation of the Bar Counsel’s office, the need for expensive outside counsel, and secrecy about why Linda Gosnell was fired as Bar Counsel on Nov. 21, 2011.
LawReader has received reports in four cases where the Bar Counsel has hired outside counsel. One case imposed an outside counsel’s fee on Eric Deters of $44,000. The KBA Board granted Deters a
hearing and set aside the demand of the Bar Counsel for reimbursement of the $44,000 outside counsel fee. Since most ethics prosecutions are hidden behind the confidentiality rules, it is not
known how frequently the Bar Counsel has employed outside counsel. Nor is it frequently revealed how outside counsel are selected, how much they are paid.
No one has explained by the 24 employees of the Bar Counsel’s office cannot handle their workload, and why outside counsel is so frequently required. A review of Supreme Court rulings in KBA matters reveals a very large number of KBA cases go on for more than five years, some cases take as long as eight years to work their way through the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court Rules include a rule which requires all discipline matters to be handled, “promptly”.
The criminal courts frequently dismiss cases which have not provided the defendant a trial within one year.
The Ky. Supreme Court in Lococo v. KBA, held that a three year delay was “prejudicial” but they only suggested the penalty for violation of the promptness rule was “consideration of mitigation” of the penalty.”