Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bill Powers' allies living large on Taxpayers

The latest in the Wallace Hall impeachment fiasco, via the Dallas Morning News:
Attorneys assisting the University of Texas System and a Legislative committee investigating embattled regent Wallace Hall billed the state upwards of $400,000 for 2013 work, pay stubs indicate.

The legal costs are a portion of the toll of the ongoing debacle, which critics say has sullied UT’s reputation and spurred the resignation of top leaders.

Hall is under investigation for massive record requests he made of UT Austin and his possible mishandling of private student information, among other matters. Many believe Hall sought to remove UT Austin President Bill Powers. The House committee could soon recommend Hall’s impeachment.


Legal costs

Rusty Hardin and company, counsel for the House committee investigating Hall, stayed at an Austin hotel for two nights for about $800 per person. The team also charged $500 for dinner at an Austin Italian restaurant with two individuals named “witness” and “Chief of Staff,” according to expense reports.

Overall, Hardin has billed just over $200,000 for work and expenses from August through October 2013, according to receipts provided by the Texas Legislative Council.

Philip Hilder, and his legal team representing UT System, billed nearly $200,000 for work from September through November of 2013. Hilder’s contract has a pay ceiling of $200,000.

Hilder’s bills are largely blacked out. The Dallas Morning News obtained the receipts through the Texas Public Information Act. Hilder’s team booked several Houston-to-Austin flights and stays at Austin hotels including the Hyatt. The team billed UT a maximum of $200 per night for hotel stays in Austin, though the actual cost exceeded that amount in a few instances, according to records.
The irony, of course, is that lawyers with close ties to Bill Powers living large on other people's money is one of the gems Wallace Hall's investigation turned up in the first place.

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