Police union sues attorneys for overbilling

CHICAGO, IL &#8211 The Chicago Police officer’s union is suing three attorneys and a former high-ranking union official for allegedly over-billing the union for work done defending former Calumet Area police Cmdr. John Burge.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 claims it agreed to pay all legal fees to defend Burge, who was charged in October 2008 with perjury and witness tampering, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.

The FOP hired attorneys Richard Beuke, William Gamboney and Mark Martin to defend Burge, who was convicted of the charges in June 2010, according to the suit.

After the conviction, the FOP claims it again agreed to pay all legal fees to appeal the conviction, but this time only hired Martin on the condition that Beuke and Gamboney would not be involved because the union was dissatisfied with their work.

The suit claims the FOP agreed to pay Beuke $60,000 under the new conditions, but Gamboney billed the union $200,000 for legal work.

Gamboney said Saturday that he could not comment on the specifics of the suit, but said he did work on the appeal.

“There is no wrong doing here, and I think it’s just union politics,” Gamboney said.

The five-count fraud suit also lists former FOP third-vice president Greg Bella as a defendant. The suit claims Martin, Bella, former FOP President Mark Donohue, FOP Secretary Richard Aguilar and FOP General Counsel Paul D. Geiger were all present at the face-to-face meeting where Martin agreed to work without Beuke and Gamboney.

Bella’s attorney, Thomas Needham, denied his client did anything wrong, noting that he left the FOP in 2011 after a failed bid to be union president and is currently a detective on the Northwest Side.

“Obviously, he completely rejects any idea that he is guilty of fraud or any kind of misconduct,” Needham said. “We think this lawsuit is ridiculous and will be laughed out of court.

Beuke and Martin could not be reached for comment.

The FOP is seeking monetary judgment from against all four defendants.

From MyFoxChicago.com.

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