HARTFORD (CN) – The Connecticut Bar Association says Gov. M. Jodi Rell is trying to snitch $2 million from the Bar’s Client Security Fund – which is not tax money, but is wholly funded by lawyers – to help bail out the state’s $8 billion budget deficit. The Bar says the money grab violates the separation of powers. The Client Security Fund is used to help victims of dishonest lawyers, and to help lawyers with substance abuse or gambling problems.
“The Fund has always been financed exclusively by monies paid into the fund by members of the legal profession for the specific, designated purpose of financing the stated activities of the fund, and for no other purpose,” according to the Superior Court Complaint. “The fees paid into the fund are assessed by the Judicial Department, and are not taxes. The fund is not, and never has been, a repository of tax revenues of any kind. To the best of plaintiffs’ knowledge and belief, no tax revenues of any kind have ever been deposited into the fund.”
Plaintiffs include attorneys Jacob D. Zeldes, William R. Davis, Charles A. Deluca, William F. Dow III, Kathryn Emmett, William F. Gallagher, Hugh F. Keefe, Kathleen L. Nastri, Hubert J. Santos, Hope C. Seeley, Matthew Shafner, and Frederic S. Ury.
Defendants are Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, and Comptroller Nancy Wyman.
The Client Security Fund is funded by $110 fees paid by lawyers.
Rell is a Republican.
The Bar and its attorneys are represented by Ernest Teitell with Silver, Golub and Teitell.