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Your money, their legal bills

[PoliticsWatch Updated 11:00 a.m. July 24, 2006]

The Usual Suspects: Five players, one scandal,  over $1.5-million in legal fees. Alphonso Gagliano, David Dingwall, Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and Chuck Guite have billed the government over  $1.5 million combined for their Gomery inquiry legal bills.

OTTAWA  — Canadians are on the hook already for nearly $2.8 million in legal fees for a number of witnesses who appeared at the Gomery inquiry.  
  
Access to information documents from the federal justice department obtained by PoliticsWatch show that former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano led the way, submitting 17 legal bills for a total of $727,917.23 for representation at the inquiry. 

The justice department notes in their release that all figures represent amounts billed to the government, not necessarily the amounts paid as of November 14, 2005. Some of the bills submitted by witnesses were under dispute and not approved as of November 14.

Former prime minister Jean Chretien ran up a tab of $587,430, substantially more than former prime minister Paul Martin whose bill totalled just $34,792. 

After running up more than half a million in legal fees to taxpayers, Chretien has said his further legal challenges of Gomery's findings will be paid for out of pocket. 

Former PMO chief of staff Jean Pelletier was a close second to Gagliano, with 14 legal bills totaling $636,366. Lawyers for another Chretien PMO staffer, Jean Carle, submitted six invoices totalling $225,233. 

The big winner for the law firms was Borden, Ladner, Gervais, which provided representation for three of the four biggest billers -- Chretien, Pelletier and former deputy public works minister Ran Quail. 

The only person on the list facing criminal charges is Chuck Guite, the bureaucrat that ran the sponsorship program in its heyday. Guite was recently convicted on five counts of fraud and sentenced to 42 months in jail.  Guite is currently out on bail and is appealing.

But for the inquiry, Guite's billed the government $170,789 for legal representation. 

Gomery's fact finding report was released in November and laid blame for the sponsorship scandal on Chretien, Pelletier and Gagliano among others. Gomery went out of his way to exonerate Martin and members of his government at the time. 

The Adscam legal line up Number of legal bills submitted Total billed to the taxpayer 
Alphonso Gagliano 17 $727,917.23
Jean Pelletier 14 $636,366.42
Jean Chretien 11 $587,430.26
Ran Quail 6 $233,845.30
Jean Carle 6 $225,233.87
Chuck Guite 15 $170,789.86
Jean-Marc Bard 5  $75,336.09
Denis Coderre 5  $66,205.32
David Dingwall 10  $45,491.40
Paul Martin 2  $34,792.52
Warren Kinsella 1  $11,329.27
Sheila Copps 1 $3,702.20
Pierre Tremblay 1 $1,847.60
Francoise Ducros 1 $1,648.87
Note: this list was compiled based on information released by the federal Department of Justice to PoliticsWatch News on March 27, 2006.



If you are interested in purchasing copies of documents obtained by PoliticsWatch for this or any other story contact us at news@politicswatch.com or call 613-232-0516.

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