Word is still out on what it will cost the taxpayer to settle the wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former Idaho Transportation Department Director Pam Lowe. The details won't be released until a settlement agreement is formally reached, filed in federal court and approved by a judge.
But a new tidbit emerged in a partially fulfilled public records request I made last week. Shortly after Lowe filed her lawsuit in November 2009, the state's private counsel, Holland & Hart of Boise, hired Gallatin Public Affairs for advice in the Lowe case.
Three invoices released by ITD detail $4,419 billed by Gallatin for "litigation assistance." The bills were for work done by Isaac Squyres and Marc Johnson in January, May and June 2010.
Johnson said Gallatin offered advice on how the lawsuit would be portrayed in the media. "We were retained by Holland & Hart as part of its representation of ITD," Johnson said Monday. "They were anticipating a high degree of interest in the case."
They got that right. The gender discrimination allegations have been in the public eye since Lowe's firing in May 2009. Last week's news that the state would settle with Lowe was the buzz in political circles. Through March 8, the state had paid over $540,000 to Holland & Hart.
Johnson is Gallatin's managing partner in Boise and a former chief of staff to former Gov. Cecil Andrus. Squyres is a former chief of staff to former Congressman Walt Minnick. Squyres left Gallatin in May to become an equity partner at the Boise advertising firm of DaviesMoore. Squyres' father, Newell, is Holland & Hart's lead attorney in the Lowe case.
Johnson billed 2.25 hours at $275 per hour; Isaac Squyres billed 17 hours at $200 per hour. The balance was for administrative fees.
Asked about the father-and-son relationship, Johnson said, "Isaac has done a lot of this kind of thing for law firms for a long time."
The invoices show that two other lawyers at Holland & Hart, Fred Mack and Mary York, received the billings from Gallatin.
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