Today’s Boston Globe reports that immediately prior to resigning as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Sal DiMasi currently under federal indictment for multiple public corruption charges connected with the Cognos contracting scandal, had the House of Representative sign a contract with the outside downtown Boston law firm of Gargiulo/Rudnick to represent DiMasi in the Cognos matter.
The state House of Representatives has paid, up to this point, according to House accounting records, $378,000 for work performed by DiMasi’s attorneys and legal staff at Gargiulo/Rudnick. According to a House spokesman referenced by the Boston Globe, the open-ended terms of the contract means that “the [private] lawyers could get paid until DiMasi’s case concludes.”
I would estimate, based on my knowledge of the private billing practices of white collar cases such as these, DiMasi’s legal bills for the Cognos matter, if his case goes to trial, will likely exceed $750,000 and approach $1 million. I would assert that this last-day legal fee payment arrangement by former Speaker DiMasi was an outrage to Massachusetts taxpayers, but I ceased being outraged when, a couple of years ago, former House Speaker Tom Finneran was caught trying to gerrymander legislative districts to benefit his political allies and was convicted for lying about his actions in federal court.
Oh well, I assume that if and when Sal DiMasi is convicted of federal corruption charges in the Cognos case, the U.S. District Court judge who sentences DiMasi can order the total amount of the legal fees charged to the state be reimbursed as part of the federal restitution order paid by DiMasi in this case. Until then, Sal and your Gargiulo/Rudnick lawyers, please enjoy your weekly working lunches from Legal Sea Foods in Boston and feel free to charge every dime to the citizens of the Commonwealth!