Tuesday, May 09, 2000

Murdock shares in $265M fee

Son also benefits from tobacco deal

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Former Hamilton County Commissioner Norman Murdock, his son and another politically connected lawyer from Columbus will share $265 million for their role in negotiating Ohio's settlement with national tobacco companies, a national arbitration panel ruled Monday.

        “This is a day that the state of Ohio can say it hit the lottery twice,” Mr. Murdock said Monday from his Price Hill home. “They got a big tobacco award, and they don't have to pay the legal fees. It is being paid to us directly from the tobacco companies.”

Hours not revealed
        Lawyers with eight firms in six states participated in Ohio's negotiations and will share the money. Other Ohio lawyers involved were Charles R. Saxbe of Columbus, son of former Ohio Sen. William Saxbe, attorney general under President Nixon, and Mr. Mur dock's son, John C. Murdock of Cincinnati.

        Norman Murdock would not reveal how the money will be divvied up among the lawyers or how many hours he worked on the case. He did say the money will be paid over 17 to 24 years.

        The payout to Ohio's lawyers is about a quarter of the $1 billion they could have received under their contract with Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery.

        It called for the lawyers to receive fees equal to 10 percent of an out-of-court settlement.

        “It is less than we asked for, but I'm curtainly not displeased,” said Mr. Murdock, who has also served as a judge and state representative. “I feel fortunate, lucky, honored, blessed to be a part of what was the largest legal case in American history.”

Ohio gets $10.1B
        He said the lawyers waived their right to collect fees equal to 10 percent of the total award under the national settlement that was reached.

        Under the tobacco agreement, Ohio will receive $10.1 billion over 25 years.

        The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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