Friday, January 7, 2011

McHenry County Blog digs, and gets

Thanks to the persistence of Cal Skinner and his McHenry County Blog and the help of the Illinois Attorney General's office), taxpayers now get a view of another of the bills for the Special Prosecutor who is after Lou Bianchi, McHenry County State's Attorney.

In his article today, Cal publishes a copy of Judge Gordon Graham's Order, dated December 13, 2010, approving payment of $112,938.18 to Attorneys Henry Tonigan and Robert McQueen and to Quest Consultants, Ltd. And this is just for services from June 1 - August 31, 2010.

This is on top of previously bills for $74,306.69 and $34,231.40. The total racked up now (well, not "now"; just through August 31st) is $221,476.28. And the bills for September, October, November and December have yet to come in.

The County Board initially approved $100,000 for the Special Prosecutor. Then it approved another $100,000. Seems to me that it had better be sharpening its pencils and getting ready to part with still another $100,000.

On February 1, 2010, Henry Tonigan presented a handwritten Order for Judge Graham's signature for $34,151.40 for Attorney McQueen and him. H-A-N-D-W-R-I-T-T-E-N. No invoice. No statement to number of hours worked or the hourly rate. That was for September 4-December 31, 2009.

Pretty nice deal, eh?

And then there is the August 20, 2010 letter (bill) for $74,306.69 for January 1-June 30, 2010.

Whoaaaaaa there, big fella. Pull in the reins....   Looks to me like the period of June 1-June 30, 2010, got into two billings. Did it?

Without daily billing records, who can tell? Why would an attorney just say, "Trust me. This is my time" and a judge accept that? Will the County Treasurer, or whoever writes the checks over at Accounts Payable, pay on such requests?

Aren't attorneys supposed to break down billings? You know, number of hours each day and on what legal matter. This is so the client (ex., McHenry County) can know what it is paying for. Or does it matter? After all, it's "just" the government's money. No, it's your money, readers!

There seems to be some confusion about the McQueen lawyer's first name. On some documents and billings his first name is shown as Thomas. On others, Robert. With whom is Tonigan working? Or are Thomas and Robert one and the same?


Ned said...

Haven't spent too much time looking at court papers (orders)right Gus? 90% are handwritten. Of that 90%, at least half are darn near illegible. They look more like scripts than orders. You need to take them to a pharmacist to have them translated.

Gus said...

Ned, you're right about handwritten Orders for a judge's signature.

But a $34,000 bill for legal services?

Vince Nett said...

As Ned said, why the heart attack about hand-written orders? Happens all day, every day, all judges. The concern is about not having an itemized bill, that the McHenry County taxpayers have to pay. Voters, keep that Judge in mind.