Monday, March 14, 2016

Good news: The JMAAWPL continues to expand

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.

January
May Firm: $22,875
Walker Group: $42,829

February
May Firm: $21,883
Walker Group: $42,943

Total: $130,530.  
Average: $65,265. 

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

Background

 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. 

Earlier posts
JMAA paid nearly $700,000 in lawyer fees in 2015 
 JMAA pays nearly a million dollars a year to lawyers

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why this crap needs to end. Take the airport away from the moochers.

I hope the Airport bill passes and this crap stops. Hell they could hire their own legal counsel.

Kingfish said...

No, the lawyers need to be in-house employees of the JMAA. Republicans have done a pretty good job at throwing money at unqualified lawyers as well, right Gerald?

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, while actually spending $150,000 to get a law degree.....has not practiced a single day....which explains why this concept will be foreign to him.

Entities like the JMAA require outside counsel to keep an arm's length between the decisions and the people who run the place. In future litigation (and there will be plenty) JMAA needs "independent" advice which cannot readily be obtained from a lawyer employed by JMAA and "directed" by JMAA.

All of you who scoff at raw numbers submitted by lawyers are really as vapid as Trump supporters.....these things take time and time is money.

I would note that now that the JMAA is represented by AA lawyers....there seems to be more of a demand for accountability....which is a damn shame.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Republican Madison County hired a very inexperienced attorney whose Daddy happens to be Phil Bryant. It is about political patronage in Madison County. Always has been and still is.

Anonymous said...

I am for Jackson keeping their airport, but they should do a lot better than this. If they lose it, they can take part of the blame.

Anonymous said...

i am asking this not having any clue what the lawyers do. is the employee issues and they are protecting the airport from lawsuits? is the airport being sued by travelers? does the airport have a number of contractual agreements which are changing? I would think one could negotiate legal attendance at meetings for a very modest or no fee basis, something like a alliance, based on having a 'agreement' to use the firm for other work on a agreed upon payment structure? as KF presented the facts this seems like cronyism. somehow this relates to area growth and more air travel? I am just unable to connect the dots.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of thieves ahd thugs. They are everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Madison only pays Katie Bryant $200,000 per year for attorney with 5 years experience.

Madison only pays Pammie Hancock $128,000 per year, and she has to work full time at a general practice firm.

The airport should hire both if they want to continue the concept that one lawyer ain't enuf.

Anonymous said...

People, we are taking this way to personal. This type of behavior has been going for many years. Now that black attorneys are getting a piece of the pie we cry fowl. Did you know you are getting screwed by politicians from the Gov on down as we sIeep! I say find a Law Firm who can do this Pro Bono. It's not just black politicians it's all politicians that what more and more of your tax dollars. This shit ain't personal.

Kingfish said...

Bullshit. Read my posts about this subject. I pointed out Baker Donelson was paid very well as well. $1.2 million in one year alone.

I will say this, at least Baker showed itemized invoices. These guys don't because they think you have no right to know what they do.

Anonymous said...

Assuming they exist, it's the client's decision whether to publish the itemized invoices, not the lawyers'.

Anonymous said...

The airport "takeover" bill has nothing to do with running the airport, and is a direct result of this website's shining a light on how much money Baker Donelson was making off JMAA. When the other big firms found out, they started raising hell about getting their cut and all of a sudden there's a move to "diversify" who's running the show.

People in power, throughout history, have used race as a way of re-directing the public's attention from who the real bad guys are. If you're worried more about getting ripped off by someone with a different skin color than someone who has the same skin as you, you're a sucker. The only color that matters is green.

CPA said...

Baker Donelson is a first-class outfit. They never overbilled ANY of my tax clients. They have so much work they don't have to sneak an invoice in on you. They have clients waiting for work to be done at all times. If you think their price is too high, move on.

Anonymous said...

The law has become as specialized as medicine. The questions should be very much the same in choosing a lawyer as in choosing a doctor.
Did this person go to a good, accredited school? Did they graduate with honors or at the bottom of their class? Are they successful and experienced in the problem(s) you need fixed? Have they received recognition in their field? Do you need a specialist or a generalist? Great national firms don't have equally strong branches and you have to hope that the lawyer you hire will call upon his partners at other branches with more expertise and success if he gets in over his head.
That a firm would bring 4 lawyers is not necessarily bad if there 4 areas of expertise are to be addressed on the agenda and immediate advice is needed.
That said, prolonging a case to bill more hours, filing bogus motions to delay or increase billing, excessive and unnecessary use of other partners, associates and paralegals on a case are all unethical and even those who graduate at the top of their class from top law schools can be unethical as can doctors with excellent credentials.
And, with law firms, unlike medical groups, there are firms who have built their initial success on political connections and savvy. Richard Nixon wasn't hired by a prestigious firm for his legal skills but for his political connections that could benefit clients.
In house lawyers can reduce costs but seldom are able to deal with all the legal work . They seldom get enough litigation experience, for example. The exist to keep the " house" from making stupid legal mistakes and to help " the house" keep up with changing rules and regulations.
When an attorney is paid with tax dollars, his or her credentials and areas of expertise, their hourly billing rate, the hours their services are used and how many supporting staff hours are billed and at what rate, should be a matter of public record. None of that information adversely affects the client.
An ad on tv or " word of mouth" is a bad way to choose a doctor or a lawyer.
The Mississippi Business Journal does a good job of listing the top 50 lawyers in the State in different areas of expertise that are business related. They don't list firms for a reason but list " the guy" in a law firm.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of why JMAA would hire two firms whose specialties are insurance law, personal injury, and criminal law.
I would think they needed a firm with specialties in contract law ( particularly government contracts and federal procurement, construction law, and labor law and that has a partner with political savvy.

Anonymous said...

Not a lawyer here, so maybe one of the legal experts can explain why the airport board uses three law firms, and why does each firm have to send at least two lawyers to each board meeting and work session?

Anonymous said...

Now that black attorneys are getting a piece of the pie we cry fowl.

Fowl? Oh, Lordy.....you done injected chickens into this mess. They'll leave a foul odor.

I Pledge Allegiance said...

Most alarming to me is the number of lawyers attending board meetings, each of them billing for the meetings while enjoying the catered snacks.

PS: I don't shiv a git how many of them are black or white.

Kingfish said...

Uh-huh.

These guys charge more than double what the county attorneys each charge Rankin, Madison, and Hinds counties- and those counties have budgets in the $50-60 million range or so. I wrote once about the Blackmons charging the city of Canton around a quarter million dollars a year to be the city attorney. Not even close to JMAA.

You can tell who the attorneys are by the comments. These fees are their divine right and how dare you question a divine right. Sacrilege.

Anonymous said...

When people spend their own money they stay away from lawyers. It is only when spending someone else's money the lawyers are used .

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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