When Hiring Lawyers Doesn't Make Cents
By Kevin Robinson in News on Nov 28, 2006 3:15PM
Besides appointing Tammy Duckworth to the state Department of Veteran's Affairs, Rod Blagojevich has made the news again recently for some other, not-so-sexy reasons lately, too.
Blago gave the boot to two East Coast law firms that had made large donations to the Governor. A third firm had been removed from the state's list of preferred law firms in May. The Sun-Times is reporting that the preferred list kept by the state (which is a legal procurement method), was dismantled by the Teachers Retirement Board, and that some of the firms on the list are part of a federal investigation into a kickback scheme that involved convicted Blagojevich associate Stuart Levine. The Feds are still sniffing around Blago's connection to Levine, the kickbacks for state business, and his connections to those firms.
In other gubernatorial news, the Blagojevich administration still owes the video game industry over half a million dollars in legal fees for it's failed attempt to regulate the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors. While the administration has said that it will "comply with any court order", the governor's office has yet to pay up. The state attorney general's office says that they are waiting for Blagojevich to identify what budget account the payments will come out of, something the governor's office has yet to do.
While the law and subsequent defense in court was both bizarre and politically motivated, the tardiness of payment from the governor seems a bit more odd. Since the ruling overturned the law on constitutional grounds in early August, interest has added nearly $8,000 to the bill, and that number is grown. G-Rod has appealed part of the ruling to a higher court, and if the state wins there the amount owed to industry lawyers will be reduced by about 6% (only $31,000). It seems obvious that the state will have to pay up eventually. The only question left is "how much."