Among other topics to be discussed at the Pensacola City Council meeting today is whether to hire a law firm to sue BP for damages. You will recall that days before the recent local election, it was disclosed that there was a good possibility that the City might hire the Levin, Papantonio law firm to represent them in a suit against BP for ‘damages.’
The knee jerk reaction to that story was immediate and contrary. The Pensacola News Journal pulled the story and issued a correction. The nexus being that the name of the law firm (a huge advertiser in the paper) was not mentioned by city councilman Larry Johnson.
Councilman Johnson does have a connection to a local environmental group known as the Emerald Coastkeepers. He is on their board of trustees. And the chairman of the Emerald Coastkeepers is none other than mass tort lawyer and liberal talk radio host Mike Papantonio. Who, just days after the explosion made it known that it was his goal to hold Dick Cheney and the Bush administration responsible.
What happened next? “City Manager Al Coby said several firms have contacted city officials.” Really? Would Councilman Johnson be one of them? Would Levin, Papantonio be one of the firms?
Another blog known to be ‘up’ on local politics had this to say about it.
BP Legal Counsel: Staff has been meeting with the Levin firm and is recommending them to handle the city’s BP claims on a contingency basis. The Levin firm supported Ashton Hayward. Wiggins and Diane Mack rarely vote against a staff recommendation. Will they this time?
Why sue BP? File your claim already. There is $20 billion set aside for you. Why enrich the slip and fall lawyers anyway when a public adjuster is all you might need?
But of course, should the city council decide to sue, the law firm would be one with no connections to Levin, Papantonio, City Councilman Johnson, or the Emerald Coastkeepers club. Right?
After all, this recent election was all about getting rid of this good old boy network behavior wasn’t it?