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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

NMI Fund Trustee Ad Litem, Legal Team Bill Up To $94,000
Judge’s order for government to pay trustee still stands

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 18, 2013) – The latest bill is out for the services rendered by the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund’s trustee ad litem and lawyers with a combined amount of $94,732.11 for the months of November and December.

In its latest billing statement submitted to the District Court for the NMI, the Fund is requesting $30,290.46 in fees and expenses to be reimbursed for the trustee ad litem’s services for November and December 2012.

Based on trustee ad litem Civille and Tang PLLC, its requested fees for November totaled $17,695 while its December billing for fees amounted to $12,022.50.

Total costs and expenses asked to be reimbursed was $88.40 for November and $484.56 in December.

The breakdown of the fees for November is as follows: J. Razzano, 32.45 hours at $250 per hour, $8,112.50; P. Civille, 0 hour, $0; J. Tang, 12.60 hours at $250 an hour, $3,150; J. Walsh, 3.80 hours at $200 an hour, $760.

For December, the fees were Razzano, 29.30 hours at $250 an hour, $7,325; P. Civille, 7.50 at $250 an hour, $1,875; J. Tang, 26.30 hours at $250 an hour, $6,575; J. Walsh, 9.60 hours at $200 an hour, $1,920.

The trustee ad litem is also asking the court to approve and order payment for the legal services rendered by Attorneys Braddock J. Huesman and Daniel J. Berman for the same period.

For November, the total legal fees was $26,402.50 and total expenses requested for reimbursement was $1.90.

Huesman’s total billable hours was 77.30 at $200 an hour. His total fees for November was $14,500.

Berman’s total billable hours for the same month was 46.50. With a $250 an hour rate, Berman earned $11,625 in November.

Attorney Charles McDonald worked 1.5 hour at $185 an hour or $277.50.

In December, Huesman’s and Berman’s total fees was $36,980 and they asked $1,057.25 in reimbursements.

Huesman earned $12,480 for 62.4 hours in December.

Berman worked for 98 hours to earn $24,500 in the same month.

The Jan. 17 billing statement indicated that based on the Sept. 14 appointment order made by the court, the source of the compensation for these services is the CNMI government.

In its previous billings, the trustee ad litem requested $60,949.83 for services rendered in September and October.

The government opposed this order to pay the trustee ad litem and other professionals hired by the trustee.

Owing to the CNMI government’s opposition to the request for compensation made by the trustee ad litem, the Fund earlier asked the court to approve that in the interim, payment would come from the Fund’s administrative funds remaining for fiscal year 2012 budget.

Razzano asked the court last year to order the government to reimburse the Fund at an interest of 6 percent per annum.

However, the court has yet to hear the motion for reconsideration filed by the government in Oct. 2012 as it contests the payment of the fees.

District Court for the NMI designated judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s Sept. 14 order stated that the government will foot the bill.

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