Judge Stack awards fees to suspended attorney

Steve Korris Mar. 26, 2009, 6:51am


Thomas Hildebrand lacks a law license but he just collected a legal fee of $112,500.

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack awarded the fee to Hildebrand on March 12, for work he performed years ago on claims over refinery pollution in Hartford.

Hildebrand petitioned last year for a share of fees from settlements that other lawyers have reached with BP Products, Premcor Refining and Equilon Enterprises.

Hildebrand and the other lawyers resolved the dispute and submitted an agreement to Stack, who found it reasonable.

"This order disposes of all claims that Thomas E. Hildebrand has, or may in the future have, with respect to the payment of attorney's fees in connection with this litigation," Stack wrote.

In 2006 the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission suspended Hildebrand's law license until further order.

The commission found that he engaged in a conflict of interest and deceptive actions while on probation for similar misconduct.

He applied for reinstatement but the commission has not acted on the application.

In his fee petition last year he wrote that he initiated the contacts that culminated in the filing of a class action on behalf of Hartford residents and property owners in 2003.

He wrote that he "was instrumental in the early stages of this cause."

He wrote that he eventually withdrew "to avoid any claims of undue influence or any political favoritism."

Hildebrand once served as an associate judge in Madison County.

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