A Broward County Circuit Judge ruled former Broward Health Chairman David Di Pietro cannot recover his legal fees from the State Of Florida. In March 2016, Florida Governor Rick Scott removed Di Pietro, spouse of Judge Nina Di Pietro, for interfering in a State investigation of contracting practices at Broward Health. Di Pietro sued to have the Governor's decision overturned. One month later, Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips ordered that Di Pietro be reinstated to his position. While Governor Rick Scott appealed the decision, David Di Pietro resigned from the post.

Di Pietro demanded the State pay the fees for his legal "dream team" (Bruce Green, Brian Silber, Jay Spechler and three lawyers from Di Pietro's firm). The six lawyers claimed they spent 367.40 hours working on the case. The bill for these six lawyers came to $155,036.24 including the cost of two easels and dry erase markers from Office Depot.

Published reports questioned the veracity of the billing. BROWARD BEAT reported on the billing from March 20, 2016. In a sworn affidavit, Attorney Brian Silber claimed he spent fifteen hours at David Di Pietro's offices. BROWARD BEAT wrote, "Silber said on his timesheet that he arrived at Di Pietro’s office at 10 a.m. on March 20, but it doesn’t say when he left. Having worked 15 hours, he got little sleep that day. Especially since he attended Lynch’s fund raiser in the late afternoon and his picture appeared on Lynch’s campaign Facebook page."

BROWARD BEAT reported Bruce Green and Jay Spechler attended the same fundraiser.

In May 2017, Judge Phillips ruled that while Di Pietro is entitled to legal fees, he cannot recover them from the State as he wanted. Phillips ruled that any fees would have to be recovered from his "employer" i.e. Broward Health.

Great news you say? Broward taxpayers are off the hook? Not so fast.

Broward Health, a.k.a. the North Broward Hospital District, gets its funding by taxing Broward residents.

Since the lawsuit, Jay Spechler has joined David Di Pietro's law firm. This means lawyers at DDP Law spent 162.90 hours on this case and at cost of $62,572.79. Will David Di Pietro see any benefit from the fees generated fighting claims he was interfering with an investigation of illegal practices at Broward Health?

Published by Tom Lauder

Covering South Florida Politics Since 2010...As Seen On: POLITICO, The Huffington Post, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, WPLG LOCAL 10 (ABC MIAMI), The New Times

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