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.