BHUSD Approves $418,000 Payment for Legal Fees in Subway Fight

The school board unanimously supported the expenditure at its regular meeting Tuesday without comment.

The Board of Education voted 5-0 Tuesday to pay three legal bills totaling $418,213.47 to Hill Farrer & Burrell LLP, the firm representing the school district in its against Metro's plans to tunnel under Beverly Hills High School.

The charges were among the many Beverly Hills Unified School District expenses contained in a 38-page warrant register that was passed without comment. The warrant report was part of the so-called consent calendar, which includes items that don’t require debate. Board members can pull items from the consent calendar for discussion, but no member raised the legal fees before the vote.

The Hill Farrer bills were listed on page 5 of the report. Former board member Myra Lurie noted the fees in a .

“We believe these expenses are necessary for our legal fight and we expect to recoup them when the litigation is over,” BHUSD board President Brian Goldberg said in an email to Patch.

Hill Farrer attorney Kevin H. Brogan is the lead attorney for the district in its legal fight against Metro. He signed the to the Metro Board of Directors asking them to delay its final decision on the subway route.

A majority of the funds to pay Hill Farrer came from , the $334 million bond fund passed by voters in 2008 to modernize the district’s five schools. BHUSD officials have said they have legal permission to use Measure E funds to fight the subway because tunneling under BHHS would impact the district’s reconstruction plans for the high school.

According to Goldberg, the funds to pay Hill Farrer came from the following sources:

  • $82,954 from Measure E for attorneys fees.
  • $237,021 from Measure E to pay experts.
  • $98,238 from the general fund for lobbying expenses.

BHUSD also paid law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan $12,461, according to page 6 of the warrant report. It isn’t clear what those charges cover, but Quinn Emanuel has represented BHUSD in legal proceedings against former facilities director and former superintendent . Both officials were convicted and ordered to pay the district restitution.

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Simon July 20, 2012 at 03:07 PM
What a disgrace. Send that money to LAUSD instead of flushing it down the toilet (or lining the pockets of wealthy lawyers).
Tom Culp July 20, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Hey BHUSD? I asked you to hold my wallet not set it on fire!
Bob L July 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM
“We believe these expenses are necessary for our legal fight and we expect to recoup them when the litigation is over,” BHUSD board President Brian Goldberg said in an email to Patch. The waste of money comes from either our right pocket or our left pocket. We still pay for this ridiculous lawsuit.
WM GOLDSTEIN July 20, 2012 at 06:38 PM
The " legal permission to use Measure E funds to fight the subway" comes from what source?.
Simon July 21, 2012 at 12:52 AM
I live within the borders of Los Angeles, but if I lived in BH, I would be heading straight to my lawyer for a class-action suit.
joninla July 21, 2012 at 11:16 PM
How exactly does Mr. Goldberg plan on "recouping" the expenses for this litigation? First the City would have to win and there is virtually no chance of that since this is a Federally Funded major national cost project that was all fully researched before any plans were drawn as to the right and ability of the MTA to do the final plan - right under BHHS. Learn to love it and learn to live with a much smaller budget until you pay off the expenses of this nonsense litigation.
Mark Elliot July 22, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Substance aside, it's critical for interested stakeholders to check these demand warrants spreadsheets. Same for City Hall: lots of interesting expenditures get buried in there. Because who wants to sort through 40 pages of line-item? City Hall's practice was to attach the demand warrant & check register to the agenda as a linked image PDF - which precluded searching. (That's transparency!) The communications folks there were persuaded to at least attach an OCR text file. But without an Excel or CSV format, no sifting or sorting for the stakeholders. I presume BH Unified operates the same way.
joninla August 02, 2012 at 07:57 AM
Do any of the followers of the 'never ending story tellers' of the latest 'real reason' the city is fighting to stop the MTA that the subway tunnels will be approximately 70 feet under ground. Layman generally would say that is roughly 7 stories below ground, using a tunnel boring machine through solid rock and invisible, sightless, soundless and unobservable from above both during the drilling (except at the starting point of course) and then when the most modern rail trains run which are optimized to be as smooth as have as little friction (and vibration) on the smallest metal well on metal track that all trains use (why they are more efficient than tires on roads) with such improved modern technology there will be no effect through 7 solid stories of rock between the steel reinforced concrete tubes between the trains and ONLY THE SMALL PORTION of BHHS that it will even pass under. That's why there is a similar fight downtown at the beginning, but there they are suing to get the Tunnel Boring Machines to avoid the years of mess the cut and cover method will cause. You want Santa Monica Blvd ripped up for years of construction????


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