Baltimore County has hired the law firm Venable LLP to represent its interest in a bankruptcy case filed by RG Steel.
The steelmaker filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization May 31 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Baltimore County is owed $4.5 million in real and personal property, and sewage fees, according to Susan Dubin, an assistant Baltimore County attorney.
The county's agreement piggybacks off a similar deal the firm has with Baltimore City, which retained the firm in the same case. The county hired the firm on June 11.
"Baltimore City is also owed a lot of money in water taxes," Dubin told the Baltimore County Council Tuesday. "We thought it was the best interests of the county, since our interests are aligned [with the city] to use the same counsel."
The firm has already filed several pleadings on behalf of the county. Dubin said the county entered into the agreement before seeking council approval because of the nature of the case.
"It required very prompt action. There have been a lot of pleadings filed and there have already been three hearings," said Dubin. "We need to act quickly and we needed someone with special expertise."
The county initially estimates that it expects to spend $60,000 in legal fees related to the case. Under the terms of the contract, the county will be billed between $68 to $561 per hour—a 15 percent discount on the firm's legal services. The costs for joint filings on behalf of the city and county will be equally split between the two jurisdictions, Dubin said.
So far, the county has been able to collect more than $99,000 in sewage charges accruing from June 1 to June 20. The company is paying the county $36,000 weekly and expects the company to pay its 2013 taxes beginning July 1, Dubin said.
"We stemmed the tide," Dubin said. "We just need to collect the back [taxes]."
The contract is scheduled to come up for a final vote before the County Council on July 2.