The [Antonio B. Won Pat Guam International] airport is proud of the fact that legal fees during this administration have been substantially reduced when compared to past years. For instance during calendar year 2002 the airport spent approximately $95 000 per month on attorneys’ fees. During 2003 after the change of administrations the airport reduced attorneys’ fees by almost 50%.
Although the airport has reduced legal fees the airport nonetheless requires the services of competent counsel in order to perform its mission. On almost a daily basis the airport is faced with legal problems involving aviation law environmental law landlord-tenant disputes bond refinancing and federal grants. For this reason the Guam legislature by statute has authorized the airport to retain private counsel.
The attorney general’s office itself has found it necessary to use the services of several private attorneys. As a practical matter the airport must use the series of private counsel because the attorney general’s office does not have necessary manpower or expertise.
Ironically a substantial portion of the legal fees incurred by the airport since January 2003 have been related to litigation concerning the attorney general’s claim that he should be permitted to represent the airport – a claim which has repeatedly been rejected by the courts. During 2003 the airport incurred legal fees of over $138 000 in its dispute with the attorney general. On one hand the attorney general complains about legal fees from private firms to government agencies. On the other hand he is primarily responsible for a substantial portion of these same legal fees.
David A. Mair
Mair Mair Spade & Thompson
Editor’s Note: This letter follows publication of a chart on legal fees paid to attorneys by government of Guam agencies in the DataBank section of the Journal of Sept. 5 and an article by R. Todd Thompson in the same issue of the Journal. Thompson – an expert columnist for the Journal – is a partner in the law firm of Mair Mair Spade & Thompson and wrote about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejection of the attorney general’s appeal concerning whether the airport could retain legal counsel of its choice.
The MBJ site [www.mbjguam.net] looks nice and serves well. Kudos to all involved. You have moved onto the Web in a big way.
College Station Texas
We welcome letters to the editor on issues raised in our pages or other matters of interest and concern. Send your submissions to: P.O. Box 3191 Hagåtña Guam 96932 by fax to (671) 649-8883 or by e-mail to [email protected]. The Journal reserves the right to amend or edit letters as necessary.