Legal fees growing in Church bankruptcy case

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The Archdiocese of Agana is racking up a hefty bill in legal expenses associated with its bankruptcy case filed in the District Court of Guam and this has raised some concerns.

The price tag for attorney services is now at about $827,000. This is the latest billing in the Archdiocese of Agana’s bankruptcy case

Fee applications were submitted by Stinson LLP, the law office of Paul Richler, Blank Rome LLP, Paterson Buchanan Fobes and Leitch, John C. Terlaje, and Elssasser Anderson Chtd.

Court documents show invoices for services performed from April 1 through July 31st and a 10 percent reduction of fees. But the costs are still in the hundreds of thousands.

Ford Elssasser and John Terlaje are charging roughly $209,000; Edwin Caldie of Stinson LLP sent a bill for services at nearly $380,000. Paul Richler, the Special Insurance counsel to the official committee, was granted allowance for about $12,000.

These invoices have been monitored closely by the Committee of Unsecured Creditors which expressed a shared concern with the federal court over the accruing legal expenses.

Leo Tudela, the committee’s chairman, formed a subcommittee to address this concern.

The subcommittee is tasked with reviewing and providing a detailed and timely report on the monthly invoices submitted by the attorneys.

The subcommittee even invited a representative from the United States Trustee’s office to attend the most recent meeting. The meeting confirmed that approval of these fees does not prevent the committee from objecting to the fees at the conclusion of the case.

While the committee has reservations, they did ask the court to set forth conditions for the approval of the current fees to include all attorneys providing invoices to the subcommittee for August and September.

A hearing to review the fee applications is set for Tuesday, September 21st.\

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.