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There used to be a Memorandum Of Understanding between the Guam Memorial Hospital and The Attorney General's Office for legal services in fiscal year 2011. In exchange for Assistant Attorney General Rob Weinberg's legal services, the hospital would pay his salary of about one hundred fourteen thousand dollars per year.
But that MOU was terminated sometime last year for reasons unknown.
The GMH Board of trustees, through a procurement process, then hired attorney Tom Fisher to represent the hospital. According to Fisher, his contract was signed in Sept. 2011. The contract price-$175 per hour for a Junior Associate out of Fisher's office or $225 an hour for attorney Fisher himself. Fisher says his contract includes litigation services, as needed.
Now GMH is asking the Legislature to approve a budget of $360 thousand dollars in legal fees for fiscal year 2013. The amount is $160 thousand more than the $200 thousand GMH budgeted for this fiscal year.
While the number is more than triple what the hospital paid Weinberg, GMH interim CFO Jun Infante says Weinberg's MOU did not include medical malpractice or litigation services. Those services were being outsourced to Attorney David Mair from 2007 to 2011.
In fact, Mair's office was the sole legal counsel for GMH until 2011, when the MOU between GMH and the AG's office was signed. The reason may be because of the hefty price in legal fees GMH was paying attorney Mair. In 2007, GMH paid him $351 thousand, 2008, $481 thousand, 2009
248 thousand and in 2010, 283 thousand. Finally in 2011, GMH paid Mair only about $59 thousand and this is because GMH already hired Weingberg as its in-house attorney.
But now, Infante says, he's been told GMH may revert back to an MOU with the Attorney General's office because outsourcing legal services is getting too expensive for the hospital to afford. So far, GMH has spent $159 thousand of the $200 thousand it budgeted in legal fees this fiscal year. The average bill from Fisher's office, Infante says, is about $30 thousand a month.
The MOU between GMH and the AG's office was terminated in November 2011. Attorney Fisher's contract was signed just two months before in September 2011.
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