Kugler calls on Hoffman to quit Lakin firm, disclose earnings

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 18, 2006, 3:16am

Kugler holds a press conference outside the Madison County Courthouse on Tuesday.

State House candidate Carol Kugler called on her opponent, Jay Hoffman, to resign from the Lakin Law Firm as well as disclose his earnings from the Wood River plaintiff's firm.

Kugler, a Republican, said Hoffman (D-Collinsville) has a "dangerous conflict of interest" and questioned why he would go to such lengths to conceal his association with the Lakin firm.

Hoffman has served 15 years as state representative of the 112th District.

"Jay Hoffman is well aware of the crisis in the courts and its damaging results for our community," Kugler said. "Yet, he signed on with the Lakin Law Firm, the most aggressive and litigious firm in the area, a firm that has almost single-handedly earned our courts the unwanted and damaging reputation it has throughout the country."

"Why does the Lakin Law Firm pay Jay several hundred thousand dollars to be of counsel," Kugler asked. "What do they expect in return?"

Kugler also said Hoffman is supposed to be representing everyone in the 112th District, but took a job with a firm that prides itself on the money it has made suing people, hospitals, doctors and businesses.

Kugler also claimed Hoffman fought hard against the medical malpractice reform bill that was passed last year by a reluctant Democratically-controlled state legislature.

She called Hoffman's connection to the Lakin firm a clear conflict of interest.

"A man simply cannot serve two masters," Kugler said. "Who is he serving if he is making big bucks from the Lakins?"

She also pointed out that in the past few months, two judicial candidates and one legislative candidate returned Lakin contributions. Kugler said the candidates recognized it was "tainted money."

Lakin Law Firm President Brad Lakin is accused of trying to cover up sexual assault committed against minors by the firm's founder, Tom Lakin, according to a civil suit filed earlier this year. No criminal charges have been filed yet in the case, however the civil suit against the Lakins is still pending in St. Clair County.

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