Alabama State University has paid the law firm of White, Arnold & Dowd, more than $83,000 in legal fees since March 15.
[Document: February Invoice (.pdf)]
[Document: April Invoice (.pdf)]
[Document: Payments to White, Arnold & Dowd (.pdf)]
ASU employed former Federal Judge U.W. Clemon to provide legal counsel while a forensic audit, ordered by Gov. Robert Bentley, is ongoing.
Judge Clemon told WSFA 12 News several weeks ago that ASU had retained him to provide legal counsel to all employees of the university that have and will be questioned during the process of the forensic audit.
The university is paying him $375 per hour for his services, which Judge Clemon said is a discount because he generally charges between $450 and $500.
An executive order signed by Gov. Bob Riley in 2010 prohibits any private legal fees from exceeding $195 per hour. Gov. Robert Bentley has not changed that policy. It is unclear what the penalty is within state government for an agency or university violating an executive order.
Alabama State's Board of Trustees met in executive session during a meeting on May 10 when it approved giving the university's president the authority to provide legal counsel to any employees questioned by forensic auditors.
According to documents provided by Judge Clemon, he was retained roughly two months the ASU's Interim President, Dr. William Harris, was given the authority to provide legal counsel to university staff.
Overall, the university has paid more than $240,000 in legal fees since November, 2012.
$83,000 of that went toward Judge Clemon. Alabama State provided WSFA 12 News with invoices that it received from White, Arnold & Dowd, but they were entirely redacted, with only the final balances visible.
The bulk of the payments, however, went toward the law firm of Michael Buckner who earned $99,000 from Alabama State since November, 2012. Buckner's firm specializes in issues relating to the NCAA.
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