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Attorney Fees

Legal Fees an Issue in Dynegy Case

Posted Jun 12, 2007 10:52 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The case of a former executive at Dynegy Inc. illustrates the importance of company-paid legal fees.

Former Dynegy accountant Jamie Olis maintains he didn’t have the resources to mount an adequate defense against criminal charges after his company ceased paying fees, according to a Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) account of his case. He claims then-U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby pressured the company to stop paying fees.

A civil jury in Texas agreed, ordering the energy company last month to pay $2.5 million in damages for wrongly holding back the fees.

The issue of attorney fees is currently playing out in another case, as former employees of KPMG seek dismissal of criminal charges based on government pressure on their employer to cut off fees.

The Texas civil verdict came too late for Olis, who is serving a six-year prison term for helping create sham financial transactions. He was originally ordered to serve 24 years in prison, but the sentence was overturned on appeal.

Olis’ wife found his original attorney, part of a three-person firm, after seeing a picture of him in the newspaper.

The government had prosecutors, FBI agents, postal inspectors and accounting experts. It used computer programs to find relevant documents among the 12 million pages produced.

Olin, though, couldn’t even afford the $100,000 needed to print out the documents, the newspaper says.

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