"Baltimore Housing Authority Racking Up Legal Bills for Lead Cases"

"The Housing Authority of Baltimore City often cites a lack of funds to explain its refusal to pay nearly $12 million in court-ordered judgments to former public housing residents who suffered permanent lead-paint poisoning as children. But the city's public housing agency has paid private lawyers about $4 million since 2005 to defend against those lead-paint claims. In May and June alone it spent $228,000 on legal fees, a total that works out to more than $5,000 per day, including expenses."

"The housing authority's bills for outside legal work, details of which were revealed to The Sun in response to a Maryland Public Information request, show individual charges ranging in price from 15 cents for a single photocopy to $4,304.50 in unspecified "expert fees." One attorney whose firm was fined by a judge for flawed legal work charged the agency an identical amount marked "miscellaneous" — plus more than $1,000 to attend court the day of the fine. The authority paid thousands of dollars to a Towson-based firm for the time its attorneys spent driving back and forth to Baltimore."

Scott Calvert reports for the Baltimore Sun September 17, 2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011