October 20, 2004
The law firm Lewis and Roca has denied a Scottsdale school board subcommittee’s request to reconsider $226,000 in fees to investigate a former elementary school principal.
The firm, however, did offer to donate $10,000 to a local charity in an effort to get "closure" over the incident.
Lewis and Roca partner Fred Petti said the firm wants to donate money to the Scottsdale Arts in Education Council because the organization supplements school arts programs. He said the donation was chosen over reducing the bill to the Scottsdale Unified School District. "We think our fees are fair and appropriate, but we also recognize this has been a controversial matter and we’d like to end it in some way and do it in a positive fashion," Petti said.
The board will meet at an undetermined date to decide if it wants to accept the offer or take the legal bill to arbitration with the State Bar of Arizona.
Lewis and Roca sent a 10-page letter to governing board president Sandra Zapien Ferrero and board member Joel Feldman, who are on the subcommittee. The district had not complied with public records requests from the Tribune on Monday and Tuesday to obtain the letter.
"I need to go through and make sure it is not privileged information," said Kim Clark, the district’s attorney.
The letter is a response to a 33-page document Feldman sent to the firm July 29. Feldman’s document asked Lewis and Roca to review its "over the top" fees. He pointed out several areas where the subcommittee believes the firm failed to meet its contract with the district, including not submitting monthly bills to the district during the four months spent investigating Maureen Booth on suspicion of changing Stanford 9 test scores at Sequoya Elementary School.