A FOX 8 investigation helps save New Orleans taxpayers as much as $1 million.
We've been following a questionable legal arrangement between the Orleans Parish sheriff and a local law firm. Beginning Friday, that arrangement will change.
Sheriff Marlin Gusman paid the law firm of Usry, Weeks and Matthews $1.7 million a year. The law firm billed the sheriff a flat fee, $65,000, every two weeks. The invoices they submitted were vague, containing no detailed explanation of any charges.
Usry and Weeks didn't have a contract with the sheriff, just an unwritten agreement. Gusman would never comment publicly on the arrangement.
But Thursday the Sheriff's Office sent us a new legal agreement, effective Friday. The sheriff will now pay the law firm at an hourly rate, $175 an hour. And the new contract says the firm must submit itemized statements and a detailed account of the work being done.