What Urbana documents show on law firm expenses
When Urbana declined to turn over six months' worth of the Lowenbaum Partnership's invoices to The News-Gazette after requesting the documents under the state's Freedom of Information Act, the newspaper appealed to the Illinois attorney general. The office ruled that the city inappropriately denied the information, and ordered the city to turn over the documents with sensitive information redacted.
Here's what those documents revealed, between July and December 2013:
$137,671.97: The total amount the city paid to the Lowenbaum Partnership in the first half of the city's fiscal year.
$46,891.25: The amount the city paid to St. Louis-based Lowenbaum Partnership attorneys on days they were in Urbana. This amount includes time spent traveling.
$1,074.86: Mileage reimbursement paid to those attorneys.
$46,905.75: How much the city spent to have attorneys in conferences, often with city or union officials.
$29,134.90: The amount it cost the city to have Lowenbaum partnership attorneys research or otherwise prepare for legal proceedings.
$18,065: The amount those attorneys were paid for telephone calls.
$3,511.25: The amount the city paid the outside attorneys for emails.
$28,562.50: The amount it cost to have those attorneys review and analyze material.
$33,701.25: How much was spent drafting and revising memos, arguments or other documents.
'Special counsel' spending
City spending on a suburban St. Louis law firm called the Lowenbaum Partnership has grown in the past seven years — totaling $554,136.98 since 2007. Overall spending on outside attorneys in most years is even a bit higher than what the city has paid the Lowenbaum Partnership, which itself far exceeds the budgeted amounts.
|Fiscal year*||Budgeted||Lowenbaum Partnership|
* Each fiscal year runs from July to June.
** Through May 5.
Source: City of Urbana