FRANCHISE FEES: Lawyers To Get $15 Million

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The legal team that worked on the franchise fee case against the city of Des Moines wants $15 million for its years of work.

The case began in 2004 when Lisa Kragnes sued the city for illegal fees on her utility bills. The lawsuit, which gained class action status, was proved in favor of Kragnes. The Supreme Court held up the ruling after a challenge to the verdict was made.

The city was ordered to re-pay nearly $40 million to residents. The contract with the three attorneys claimed 37-percent of the recovery amount. That adds up to about $15 million.

The attorneys say the city shouldn’t be surprised — it knew the contract terms.

“There would have been any attorneys’ fees if the city of Des Moines had just done the right thing and quit charging the illegal tax in 2004 when we filed this suit. I could not have anticipated, nor could anyone I think reasonably, that the city of Des Moines would have persisted all these years in charging this illegal tax,” says Brad Schroeder of Hartung and Schroeder LLP.

A Polk County judge must sign off on the payment request from the attorneys. A hearing on the matter is set for Monday morning.