State Auditor, AG divided over Langston’s MCI fees

A Hinds County Circuit judge must decide whether $14 million paid to the then-Joey Langston law firm as part of the 2005 MCI/WorldCom tax settlement case is public money.

An attorney for state Auditor Stacey Pickering argued Thursday in court that it is public money and should have been sent to the Legislature to appropriate.

But Langston’s attorney, Fred Krutz, argued the $14 million in attorney fees was separate from the $100 million settlement that the state received.

“Attorney fees are not public funds,” Krutz said. “The state has no right to these funds. …The special counselor fees were paid by a third party, not the state.”

Circuit Judge Winston Kidd heard more than an hour of arguments Thursday in the case.

The auditor’s office contends the Langston firm received its $14 million fee in violation of the Mississippi Code and Mississippi Constitution.

Clarion-Ledger 4/17/9