Madoff trustee and law firm submit $22.1 million bill

NEW YORK Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:44pm EST

Bernard Madoff enters the Manhattan federal court house in New York, March 12, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Bernard Madoff enters the Manhattan federal court house in New York, March 12, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bernard Madoff's bankruptcy trustee and the law firm employing him have asked a U.S. judge to be awarded $22.1 million in fees for five months of work, boosting their combined total bill to more than $37.5 million.

Baker & Hostetler LLP requested $21.28 million of fees plus $280,682 to cover expenses for 56,688 hours of work in acting as counsel to trustee Irving Picard for the five months ended September 30, according to filings on Monday with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

The requested fees equal about $375 per hour, after the 10 percent discount from normal billing rates that many law firms in the case agreed to accept.

Baker & Hostetler, where Picard is a partner, had been awarded $14.66 million of fees and $274,203 for expenses for the December 15, 2008 to April 30, 2009 period, comprising more than 38,270 hours of work.

"No single document could comprehensively set forth all of the tasks engaged in by the trustee and Baker & Hostetler since their appointment," wrote David Sheehan, a partner at Baker & Hostetler, in the firm's fee application.

Picard is separately seeking $835,605 of fees for the May 1 to September 30 period for his 1,198 hours of work as trustee for the Securities Investor Protection Corp, the federally chartered agency that supervises brokerage liquidations.

He was previously awarded $759,229 for the 4-1/2 months ended April 30. The trustee issued a statement similar to Sheehan's about his own efforts.

Picard is supervising the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, home to Madoff's estimated $65 billion Ponzi scheme.

He is trying to recover assets to repay victims, including through auctions of Madoff's personal effects. Last month, he said he had recovered $1.4 billion of assets, just 7 percent of the $21.2 billion of investor losses he had found.

Picard is also responsible for determining which Madoff investors have valid claims and which benefited unwittingly from the fraud.

As of November 19, Picard had allowed 1,626 claims totaling $4.67 billion, denied 1,395 claims, and committed $554.8 million of SIPC funds, the trustee wrote.

Several other firms are seeking more than $2.6 million of fees for work over various periods, Monday's filing shows.

Most of the firms, including Baker & Hostetler as well as Picard, agreed to defer some fees until the liquidation ends.

A court hearing on the fee requests is scheduled for December 17. Objections are due by December 14. Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence in North Carolina.

The case is In re: Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-1789.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by John Wallace and Tim Dobbyn)

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