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LDC legal bill tops $50k per month

Updated: Thursday, March 20 2014, 07:45 AM EDT

Rochester, N.Y. -- A law firm retained by Monroe County to provide legal services throughout the ongoing LDC investigation is billing taxpayers at an average of more than $50,000 per month.

The latest information provided to 13WHAM News through a Freedom of Information request includes invoices for the month of November 2013 submitted to Monroe County from Dennis Vacco and the law firm he represents. 

Vacco is a former U.S. attorney and New York state attorney general.  His law firm in the Buffalo area was retained in July 2013 by the county.  His role, while debated by some, has been described as one that involves assisting with compliance requests during the ongoing criminal case, reviewing legal and county documents, and offering legal counsel to the county administration.

The ongoing criminal case involves a public corruption probe into the county’s use of two local development corporations (LDCs) to perform county tasks at taxpayer expense.

November invoices reveal Vacco’s firm billed the county $38,959.98 for services provided that month.  Nov. 6, 2013 was the day a criminal indictment was unsealed naming four men, including Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks’ husband. On that day, Vacco was at Brooks’ side for a press conference following the criminal arraignments.

These invoices reveal that Vacco and his lead associate both billed the county for a twelve-hour work day.  When mileage for gas, expenses for tolls, and even parking were added up, taxpayers paid $6,121.50 for that one day alone.

For previous reports by 13WHAM News on detail in the findings in past reports, click here.

When the most recent invoices are tabulated the current total billed to taxpayers equates to $259,792.50.  That includes a $21,849.80 “professional courtesy” discount that Vacco’s firm credited the county during the October 2013 billing cycle.

13WHAM News has requested similar information from other government agencies regarding the cost of this investigation. 

The New York State Comptroller’s Office provided information this month to 13WHAM News that tabulates some expenses incurred and man-hours invested in two audits the agency conducted.  The comptroller’s office continues to work with 13WHAM News to convert that information into approximate dollar amounts.

In November, the New York State Attorney General’s Office received a similar request for information from 13WHAM News.  After asking for more time to gather records on multiple occasions, the AG’s office denied the request to provide any cost information in February.

13WHAM News intends to appeal that denial.

LDC legal bill tops $50k per month

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