Dann planning more visibility for outside counsel contracts

John O'Brien Apr. 24, 2007, 10:00am


COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new hire in his office will help reform the process used when Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann awards contracts to outside counsel.

Columbus attorney and former state senator Ben Espy, also formerly a member of the U.S. Air Force is Dann's new Executive Attorney General.

Dann said Espy will help institute a transparent process for awarding outside counsel contracts.

"I am confident that he has the integrity, courage and legal experience needed to take on the critically important task of instituting a transparent, accountable and objective process for awarding outside counsel contracts that will fundamentally change the way business is done by the state and save the taxpayers millions of dollars," Dann said.

Dann says that in the past two months his office has saved more than $1 million in bond counsel fees by asking law firms to bid on the work, and he saved another $4 million when he negotiated a fee reduction with the firm that represented Ohio in a case against AOL/Time Warner. The settlement was worth $144 million.

"That is just a preview of the savings we'll generate when Sen. Espy and other members of my staff fully implement the new outside counsel plan this summer," Dann said.

Dann's words coincide with the Monday release of the American Tort Reform Association's transparency survey, which was conducted in five states -- including Ohio. The numbers overwhelmingly showed that those surveyed in Ohio agree with more transparency.

Espy will also supervise revenue recovery and collections enforcement and will also serve as an external liaison to mayors and local governments.

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