Miers firm paid millions in fraud damages while she was President
Ward Hakavy has the ugly, sordid details in the Village Voice:
But [Miers's] White House bio neglects to mention that, on her watch [as President of Locke Liddell], the big firm paid out $30 million to people who were bilked in the huge Austin Forex scandal, a Ponzi scheme engineered by former Texas placekicker Russell Erxleben, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for it. Erxleben and his partner were clients of Locke Liddell.
A 2004 continuing-ed course for lawyers, Texas Lawyer Liability for Negligent Misrepresentation to Nonclients, includes an April 2000 Texas Lawyer magazine article, which noted:
Locke Liddell & Sapp's agreement to pay $22 million to settle a suit alleging it aided a client in defrauding investors is expected to serve as a warning to other firms that they must take action when they learn a client's alleged wrongdoing may be harming third parties. The firm agreed April 14 [in 2000] to settle a suit stemming from its representation of Russell Erxleben, a former University of Texas star football kicker whose foreign currency trading company was allegedly a Ponzi scheme.
The firm wound up shelling $8.5 million more. A recent AP story reprising the scandal notes:
The investors said they were cheated in part because Locke Liddell helped make the operations look legitimate, including using a firm trust fund to direct millions in investor money to Stearns, and
ignored signs of fraud.
And that story adds:
While there was no evidence that Miers knew about the actions of a partner that led to one of the lawsuits, an attorney close to one of the cases blamed Miers for not instilling more integrity in the firm's lawyers and preventing them from representing bad characters.
In the Texas Lawyer article from 2000, an Austin lawyer for people who got bilked by what turned out to be four Locke Liddell partners â€” not flunkies but partners â€” noted:
"It's a very simple legal proposition â€” a lawyer can't help people steal money."
Isn't there some commandment about that? Looks to me like Miers needs to be born again, again.