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Behrens’ case settlement: $400,000 plus Attorney Fees of at least $320,000

Here is the signed Lisa Behrens vs. Mat-Su Borough Settlement Agreement. The MSB is paying Ms. Behrens $400,000. Each side is paying for their own attorney fees & costs.

The MSB’s attorney fees for this case are significant. The MSB Law Department hired the law firm of Perkins Coie to represent the MSB (and the two named MSB employees – John Moosey and Otto Feather)

I have ordered more records on the attorney costs, but here are the records for June 1, 2019 through March, 2020, so a total of 9 or 10 months of billings. The total amount the MSB paid Perkins Coie during these months was $319,240.00.

Note that the lawsuit was filed in May, 2018, so there were other attorneys fees from May 2018 – June 1, 2019 and there will be one more set of bills for April 2020. The all day settlement conference was held in mid-February and that is not in the expenditures/invoices I have received so far. The settlement documents were prepared after that date and I don’t have the bills for that work yet. Also, Perkins Coie got involved in this legal matter in the summer/fall of 2017 – many months before the lawsuit was filed. So, the total legal costs to the Mat-Su Borough are significant and will total much more than the $319K when everything is added up.

The below screen shot from the MSB Expenditures ledger shows that Perkins Coie was billing the MSB every two weeks during late May, 2019 through June 30, 2019. The four invoices paid during this time period totalled $118,071.33.

The below screen shot shows Perkins Coie’s two invoices for August and Sept 2019 which totaled $85,677.29.

The below screen shot shows the invoice/payment for October 2019 which was $89,795.20.

This ledger shows the Dec 31st, 2019, and February 6, 2020 invoices/payments which totaled $25,696.18.

2 Comments

  1. J.E. Wiederholt J.E. Wiederholt April 11, 2020

    Speaking as a person with a wee bit of knowledge of the case and the prior PERS litigation, the concern for the borought’s electorate should not be the size of the Perkins Coie bill [thought it is certainly obscene]. Rather, the voters should be concerned with the horrible ineptitude of its now-absent Manager, and seemingly gutless Mayor and assembly who stood dumb while the Manager presided over over two PERS-related lawsuits that have now cost the borough three quarters of a million dollars in damage settlements. The settlements and attorney fees well exceed a million dollars. Until such time as the mayor and assembly ACTIVELY do what they were elected to do, we the voters will pay for the ineptitude. I’d venture a guess that the borough has still not budgeted money to pay the decades worth of back PERS benefits it owes to scores of present and former borough employees. The voters can thank the manager, his manager predecessors, and consecutively dumb-struck Mayors and assembly members.

    The next time you vote, the next time you attend an assembly meeting, ask these questions….. more critically, demand answers.

  2. Nick Robertson Nick Robertson April 12, 2020

    Thank you for your comments this really brings the ineptitude home for a lot of us.

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