The Journal Gazette
Friday, September 11, 2020 1:00 am

Cost of Hill case continues to rise

Legislature alone spends $274,000 in legal services

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Attorney General Curtis Hill's time in office is almost over, but the financial cost of his alleged inappropriate touching in 2018 continues on.

The Indiana House and Senate have spent the most so far – more than $274,000 on legal services surrounding the issue. Most of that was to represent the General Assembly in a federal civil suit.

That litigation moved to state court in July and legal costs could continue.

A joint statement from House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said, “While we do not comment on pending legal matters, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana acknowledged that the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives are the proper employers despite not being named in the initial lawsuit.”

Hill is accused of groping several legislative employees and a state representative during an after-hours work-related function at a bar in March 2018. 

Taft, Stettiunius & Hollister was paid $18,286. That law firm was first hired by the General Assembly to assess the legal liability of the legislature when allegations that Hill groped several employees came to light.

The rest of the money – about $255,000 – went to Jackson Lewis, who represented the General Assembly in court and related to a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The amount also includes about $9,000 spent helping to draft a new harassment policy for the legislature.

Another major cost of the incident is the prosecution of a disciplinary complaint against Hill, who ultimately was suspended from the practice of law by the Indiana Supreme Court for 30 days. That ruling came down in May and said “the costs of this proceeding are assessed against (Hill).”

But it has been months, and the Disciplinary Commission hasn't filed those costs with the court.

The Journal Gazette sought how much in taxpayer dollars was spent on the case but the Indiana Supreme Court refused to provide it.

Hill's office said no state money was spent on the case.

Other costs included Marion County paying $5,217 for a special prosecutor in the case and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department paying $3,226 to a detective who investigated whether Hill broke any criminal laws.

The prosecutor chose not to file charges.

The governor's office also reported no related costs.

Indiana's inspector general investigated whether any ethics laws or regulations were broken – spending more than $17,000. That included hundreds of hours of work by a special agent, attorney time on the case and thousands paid to a transcriptionist.

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