Tuesday, April 12, 2016

City Legal Agreements...A Hot Mess of Manufactured Documents

I have been reviewing City engagement letters with various law firms.  What I have found is shocking!

Fictional engagement letters manufactured by the City and sent to attorneys for signature.  Most lacking the required city contractual review and required contractual language.

What is an engagement letter? It’s a document directed to the client, signed by both lawyer and client, reduced to writing, setting forth the exact duties of the law firm, the lawyer, and the client. The agreement identifies what the lawyer will—and won’t—do for the client. Setting the parameters of the attorney-client relationship, it can define when it begins and when it ends, what happens during the process, and even how materials received by the law firm will be stored and destroyed.

While there’s no set format, an engagement letter should leave nothing to memory or chance. Not only invaluable protection in case of ethical complaints, it also shows the client that you take your relationship with the client seriously.

http://www.americanbar.org/

Below is a list of engagement letters I have reviewed AND THE DATE THEY WERE PREPARED. See if you can find any trends.

Beggs & Lane - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Lewis Longman & Walker- September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Louis F. Ray, Jr. - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Roderic G. Magie, P.A.  - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Quintairos, Prieto Wood -  - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Rumberger, Kirk  - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Wilson Harrell Farrington - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Allen Norton & Blue - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Philip Bates PA - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Gray Robinson - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Hammons Law Firm - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017
Jolly & Peterson - September 26, 2014 three years ending September 30, 2017

All of the above engagement letters were prepared BY THE CITY and sent to the law firms.

Most merely signed what was sent and returned.  THEY EVEN LEFT THE SPOT THAT STATES (INSERT LAWYERS NAME) IN THE LETTER.  See the example below.

Insert Name Here

This is the type of JV administration Ashton Hayward runs.  These letters do not provide the necessary detail of a formal legal engagement letter.

One law firm retained, Bondurant Mixson, & Elmore of Atlanta prepares professional engagement letters one would expect. It contains details on:
  • Scope of representation
  • Fees for our Services
  • Payment of Expenses
  • Billing & Payment Terms
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Preservation of Evidence
  • Document Retention Policy
  • Conclusion of Representation
  • Other Important terms
  • Effective Date
The JV engagement letter exercise dictated above was directed by Jim Messer and Tricky Dick Barker.




4 comments:

Anonymous said...


My guess is that the "contracts" were not prepared on September 26, 2014 at all. Instead, they were written soon after you made the records request as a CYA afterthought. There appears to be an open tap to our city treasury with money flowing unchecked into dozens of law firms located all the way up to Atlanta. If someone wanted to run for governor of Florida he could, in turn, tap into these law firms for his campaign money. Does anyone know of someone with those aspirations?

Meanwhile, one lawyer continues to milk the open-ended commission that he received to investigate anything and everything under the sun. How much money has Van Sickle reaped from his piece of the pie, and what has he ever produced? How many hours has Van Sickle billed us as he tries to figure out how to be an investigator instead of a lawyer?

And let's not forget that we have, for almost three months, paid two top city administrators mucho bucks to sit home all day and play Dialing for Dollars. The citizens of Pensacola are not reaping one single benefit from these two highly experienced individuals. We can take comfort in the fact that when their lawyers get done with the city our treasury will be so bare that we will no longer have any money to pay scavenger law firms.

Sure, we have a mayor who is pillaging our city. But we have gotten to this point because there are no checks and balances in our city government. There are plenty of laws that DO provide for checks and balances, we just don't have representatives on our city council who want to do their jobs. That takes an effort, and they don't want to spend any effort. They only want to meet once a month and heaven forbid if the meeting lasts past 9:00 PM. The hot item on the agenda is what kind of pizza to order for the next meeting.

Anonymous said...

Check the invoices for the detailed services description of what was billed and the purposes for such charges.

Anonymous said...

No one should be surprised at the lack of competence and the unprofessionalism that we have grown accustomed to. Maren it's sad but your findings are not shocking. What would have been shocking would have been you stumbling upon something that this administration is actually doing right.

They never miss an opportunity to demonstrate their ineptness in anything that they touch. The truth is that Hayward and his crew aren't qualified to run student government at a middle school let alone the city government they are currently destroying.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, have you found any legal documents that the mayor actually signed and not just signed by his rep?