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Mounting Legal Fees In Petters Case Now Top $80M

A judge recently approved roughly $3.5 million in legal and accounting fees tied to the Tom Petters bankruptcy case, reportedly bringing the tally to roughly $83 million.

More than four years after Wayzata businessman Tom Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison, the legal and accounting fees tied to his bankruptcy case continue to climb.

In mid-June, Twin Cities Business reported on a proposed settlement between the College of St. Benedict and Doug Kelley, the receiver in Petters' bankruptcy case who is attempting to recover money for victims of the fraud scheme. TCB reported at the time that court filings sought approval for the payment of roughly $3.5 million in legal and accounting fees to various firms involved in ongoing litigation tied to the Petters’ bankruptcy case and so-called "clawback" claims, such as the one filed against St. Ben's.

A federal bankruptcy judge has now approved those $3.5 million in payments—meaning more than $83 million in fees has now been paid, according to a Star Tribune report.

Kelley and his associates have thus far recovered about $400 million through legal proceedings, resulting in a recovery ratio of $5 recovered for every $1 spent on professional fees, the Minneapolis newspaper reported.

The latest applications for legal fees included some requests pertaining to international law firms. Kelley recently expanded the scope of his clawback claims to include overseas targets, and the legal costs associated with those efforts are expected to continue climbing. International attorneys retained by the bankruptcy trustee are charging rates ranging from $450 to $600 an hour, according to the Star Tribune.