There is some good news to report in this era of government austerity. The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Welfare Program for lawyers continues to expand. Lawyers billed JMAA $130,530 on the January and February claims dockets. The average monthly bills of $65,265 are an increase of 12% over 2015. The May Firm and Walker Group send four lawyers to each monthly work session and board meeting as well.
May Firm: $22,875
Walker Group: $42,829
May Firm: $21,883
Walker Group: $42,943
The fees are a slight increase from those charged in 2015:
Walker Group: $469,793 ($39,149/month)
May Law Firm: $125,140 ($10,428/month)
Baker Donelson: $101,064 ($12,633*)
Total 2015 legal billings: $695,997
Average monthly invoice for legal fees: $58,000
Baker Donelson represented JMAA for many years. The board voted in December 2013 to replace Baker Donelson with The Walker Group. Attorney John Walker is the principal owner of that law firm. He is the personal attorney and close friend of Congressman Bennie Thompson. The board took the action at the first meeting after Mayor Chokwe Lumumba appointed James Henley, Reverend Jeffrey Stallworth, and retired bureaucrat Vernon Hartley in November 2013. The vote was 3-1 in favor of the action as the Lumumba appointments voted in en bloc.
The board voted in early 2014 to retain the May Law Firm for additional representation as well. The husband and wife team of John May and Regina Quinn are the partners of that law firm.
JJ reported on October 8:
Attorneys have billed over $3.4 million to the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority since 2012. JJ obtained the monthly billings through public records requests and reviewing claims dockets. The years have been good to law firms that represented JMAA. The overall budget for JMAA in 2014 was only $17.8 million. The billings are:
2014 billings: $980,747
2014 monthly average: $81,728
2013 billings: $684,754
2013 monthly average: $57,062
2012 billings: $1,293,633
2012 monthly average: $107,802
This correspondent can report that all three law firms would attend regular board meetings and work sessions. Each firm would send at least two people to each meeting and bill JMAA accordingly. The annual budget for JMAA is over $17 million.
*The board terminated Baker Donelson's representation of JMAA. BD's last invoice was in August 2015.
Kingfish note: An agency with a $17 million budget spends around a million dollars a year in lawyers. It doesn't matter if its the lily-white law factory of Baker Donelson or the black power structure lawyers of Walker and May, the result is the same- alot of dough is going out the door to the lawyers and no one says a word.
Oh, and by the way, President Priester, these lawyer fees are not "small potatoes". They may be in the fight over JMAA, but they are anything but "small potatoes" in the actual operation of the airport.
JMAA paid nearly $700,000 in lawyer fees in 2015
JMAA pays nearly a million dollars a year to lawyers