Local

Latest bill: Gasser’s attorney now charges full rate of $400 an hour

Robert Hanlon billed $45,000 from May to June

Woodstock attorney Robert Hanlon.
Woodstock attorney Robert Hanlon.

The attorney representing Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser now is charging $400 an hour, billing records show.

Woodstock attorney Robert Hanlon had been charging Gasser a discounted rate of $375 on hour “as a courtesy,” according to billing records between June 2017 and April 2018. It now appears that courtesy has been rescinded.

Legal bills from Hanlon’s firm in the last fiscal year totaled more than $276,000, and from February to date, those bills already have topped $107,000. Gasser has $150,000 in his legal budget for the year.

Mounting lawyer fees remain a concern of township trustees who contend Gasser’s lawsuits are draining piles of cash from McHenry County’s most populous township.

“It really upsets me,” said Trustee Melissa Victor, who plans to challenge Hanlon’s bills after accusations that he plagiarized a recent legal filing. “I plan on fighting Hanlon’s bills. He is clearly not doing his own work.”

Hanlon’s most recent billing – for work performed between May 5 and June 6 – totaled $45,380.

The bill covers legal work for two separate lawsuits involving the highway department: $1,800 in a Freedom of Information Act case initiated by the Edgar County Watchdogs and $43,580 for Gasser’s complex labor battle with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150.

The jump to $400 follows the exit of Washington D.C. labor attorney Michael Avakian, who assisted Hanlon for $515 an hour. Avakian withdrew as an attorney in the union battle to join the U.S. Department of Labor.

“What this means to you,” Hanlon wrote in a May 8 letter sent to Gasser, “is that the hourly rate for legal services will decline.”

Hanlon’s letter makes no mention of his fees increasing from $375 to $400.

A bill submitted to the road district June 7 revealed Hanlon now is the only attorney working on the Local 150 case and charging his full rate.

The bill showed Hanlon spent 5½ hours reviewing the union’s latest motion to dismiss and charged $2,200. He billed an additional $2,080 for 5.2 hours of work described as “legal research further review of Illinois statutory scheme [regarding] Highway Commissioner being king like in the assessment of Local 150 argument.”

Hanlon billed $2,400 for six hours of meetings with Gasser, but he did not bill for a settlement discussion with Denise Ambroziak, the Crystal Lake attorney representing the Edgar County Watchdogs. Hanlon could not be reached for comment.

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