Puerto Rico bankruptcy judge approves $4.4M in legal fees, $215,000 in expenses
SAN JUAN – Judge Laura Taylor Swain has granted $4.4 million in fees and $215,000 in expenses for work related to Puerto Rico’s Title III bankruptcy process under the Promesa law over a five-month period by three firms and individuals.
In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Swain gave the green light for the fee payments after the court-appointed fee examiner adjusted two of the requests. O’Neill & Borges and Ankura Consulting Group’s requests for interim compensation were adjusted slightly by the examiner, who left the amount requested by economist Andrew Wolfe practically intact. He sought $50,000 in fees and $7,526 in expenses for a month’s work, with the latter cut to $7,367.
For the period between May 3 and Sept. 30, O’Neill & Borges was seeking $299,691 in fees and $20,863 in expenses. The fee examiner cut the amounts down to $289,000 in fees and $15,000 in expenses. The firm has 22 lawyers devoted to the cases. Each lawyer charges $125 to $335 an hour. Hermann D. Bauer, the lawyer who writes the most of motions and legal paperwork presented in court, charges an hourly rate of $280.
Ankura was seeking payment of $1.9 million in fees and $63,804.29 in expenses for work done for Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority from June 1 to Sept. 30. The fee examiner cut the fees by $35,983 but left the expenditures intact.
The firm also sought $2.2 million in fees and $129,303 in expenses for work done for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority from July 2 to Sept. 30. The fee examiner cut the fees by $35,983 but left the requested expenses intact.
Ankura’s work centered on the development of the fiscal plans, liquidity-related matters and the management of projects. Its fees were challenged by Whitefish, which contended that the firm failed to prepare the paperwork needed so Prepa could pay the Montana firm about $100 million related to its grid-repair work after the island was struck by Hurricane Maria. Whitefish withdrew its opposition.