Details of legal bills for 2011 Minn. government shutdown revealed

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  • February 24, 2014 - 4:28 PM

A heavily redacted stack of legal invoices released by the the governor's office this month shows that the state was receiving shutdown-related legal bills months after the 2011 shutdown ended.

As the government shutdown was dawning in the summer of 2011, Gov. Mark Dayton's office had said that outside legal counsel would be pro bono. But early this year, a report from the Minnesota Legislative Auditor's Office revealed that in fact the office had paid about $77,000 for the work.

Dayton's outside counsel, David Lillehaug, first charge for his time was on July 5, 2011, just after state government began shutting down. On that day, Lillehaug charged the state $4,417 for 10 and a half hours of work. The government shutdown began on July 1.

Parts of the invoices Star Tribune received from the governor's office were blacked out so some details of the work remain unclear.

The bills for legal work from Lillehaug's firm continued well after the three-week shutdown ended. The state received a bill in October that included a charge for Lillehaug's time from late September.

All the bills were fully paid well before Dayton picked Lillehaug last year to fill a vacancy on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Dayton has said the money the state paid for shutdown-related legal work was well worth it.

"We hired the best constitutional lawyer in Minnesota and he performed superbly well," Dayton said last month of the legal charges. Of the payments, the governor said: "He earned it."

See the invoices below. If you are viewing this post on a mobile device, click to full site to see the embedded documents.


Lillehaug Bill by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Headline updated to add the word "some."

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