Gov. Phil Bryant issued the following statement after the State Supreme Court ruled today the $14 million paid to attorneys who represented the state in a case involving MCI, formerly Worldcom before bankruptcy proceedings, were public funds and should have been paid to the State of Mississippi. The lawsuit over the legal fees was originally filed by then State Auditor Phil Bryant.
"The money attorneys received for pursuing the MCI case on behalf of the state is public funds, something I have long believed and fought for. The State Supreme Court's ruling is a welcome sign as we open up this age old process of hiring outside counsel and then paying them excessive amounts of money, in this case $14 million. While serving as State Auditor we published a report which looked into the process of paying attorney fees. The report clearly states the Attorney General did not have the authority to enter into such an agreement, because he may only pay private attorneys out of contingency funds in his budget or from other funds appropriated to the office of the Attorney General by the Legislature. I appreciate the work of State Auditor Stacey Pickering in the recovery of these public funds."