Court Rules Law Firm Can Forgive 2007 Brady Legal Fees

Cozen O'Connor has been trying to forgive $450,000 in legal fees stemming from a ballot challenge to Bob Brady. They finally won.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled Cozen O’Connor can forgive a 2007 loan made to Bob Brady. O’Connor worked to keep Brady on the ballot in the 2007 election after a challenge made by Tom Knox.

The Commonwealth Court ruled the money paid to O’Connor was money paid to influence the outcome of the election, and so it could only be legally forgiven in $10,000 annual installments. The Supreme Court agreed with O’Connor’s argument that the legal fees accrued fighting a ballot challenge was not money paid to influence the outcome of an election. An appeals court said this argument “invites the willful suspension of disbelief.”

The Legal Intelligencer quoted Justice Max Baer, writing for the court:

“The firm performed the legal services with the intent of receiving compensation, and it has suffered an unanticipated business loss,” Baer said. “Under the Commonwealth Court’s construction of ‘influencing an election,’ routine agreements to provide goods or services made in the ordinary course of business between a political campaign committee and a creditor are transformed into political campaign contributions merely because the political committee subsequently failed to pay an amount owed.”

Brady had owed $450,000. He did survive the ballot challenge, but lost to Michael Nutter in the mayoral election.

[The Legal Intelligencer]