Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spent more than $1 million on legal fees to defend a board member in a dispute with Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.
In June, McDonnell (R) attempted to remove Dennis Martire, a union official, from the board, which is overseeing construction of the $5.6 billion Dulles Rail extension. But Martire resisted. He filed suit to block his ouster, although after months of litigation, he reached a settlement in September and agreed to step aside.
Under MWAA’s bylaws, the authority was obligated to pay for Martire’s legal expenses in the dispute, and in all MWAA spent about $1.5 million on legal fees. The biggest share — $855,000 — went to Williams & Connolly, which represented Martire in the case. The authority paid $360,000 to Hunton & Williams, which represented the authority in the litigation.
“The complexity and the number of parties led to the significance of the fees,” said Michael Curto, chairman of the MWAA board. “That’s why we were very supportive of the parties reaching a settlement before the fees got higher.’’