Thursday, September 27, 2007

AG’s office blocks Asti settlement

So, the Attorney General’s office has apparently decided that $400,000 is $143,000 too much to pay Alison Asti to go away.

If you thought that call belonged to the governor, comptroller and treasurer — collectively, the Board of Public Works — think again. First, the deal needs the attorney general’s blessing.

(And as a short aside, how is it that the Attorney General himself, Douglas F. Gansler, has managed to keep himself out of this entire episode? Check back on all the stories in our paper and in Brand S Major Metropolitan Daily … his name doesn’t appear.)

Maryland Stadium Authority board member Howard J. Stevens Jr. is none too happy that the AG’s office has decided not to forward the deal that was worked out between the board and Asti on to the Board of Public Works for approval.

“I don’t know what happens next, but I do have a question: Why?” Stevens told The Daily Record's Louis Llovio. “We have a board and chair and we approved this unanimously, I don’t understand this,” he said. “I’m just wondering why we even took a vote.”

Is Stevens right? Should the AG’s office have approved the settlement that was worked out between the parties?

-ED WALDMAN, Managing Editor, Business


Anonymous said...

Saying that the Board approved the settlement is no different than saying the head of an agency approved a settlement. This does not suffice. State settlements are not left in the hands of one person or group of people because the public fisc is at stake. The Chief of Civil must approve all major settlements and, in turn, the Board of Public Works must approve them. Asti's settlement was not singled out for special treatment; to not have subjected her proposed settlement to Civil Division review would have constituted special treatment. If a proposed settlement is truly in the public interest, it should have little difficulty garnering support from the agency, the Chief of Civil and the Board of Public Works.

XLegalLady said...

I agree with anonymous (8:52 post).

In addition, if the AG's office has a good faith belief/legal argument that the contract is invalid, why should the office sign off on any settlement related to it? To do so would be a disservice to the State and its taxpayers.

Also, it seems contrary to the notion that clients are free to choose their own counsel when there is a supposedly a provision that requires a client (in this case, MSA) have a particular general counsel (here, Asti).

Anonymous said...

Who would have thought men could be so petty with such long memories?