WSC chairman and former DNA leader at odds in legal fees row

WSC chairman and former DNA leader at odds in legal fees row

Gibson threatens to submit formal complaint to bar association as McCartney says “Adrian should have kept his mouth shut”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Chairman Adrian Gibson said yesterday the corporation will instruct its attorneys to file a complaint with the Bahamas Bar Association against the law firm of former Democratic National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney, claiming that the firm continued to act on the corporation’s behalf although its services were terminated.

McCartney, when contacted by Eyewitness News, claimed there were a few cases that, had his firm not attended, would have been thrown out against the corporation, with cost against them.

Gibson, in a statement last night, categorically denied that the Halsbury Chambers law firm had ever collected $10 million “or anything remotely close to that figure” in receivables for the corporation.

Adrian Gibson. (FILE PHOTO)

“WSC will further instruct our attorneys to file a complaint with the Bahamas Bar Association given that Halsbury Chambers continues to act on our behalf without instruction and although their services were terminated,” said Gibson.

“Alas, we made an egregious mistake when we accepted the solicitation of Mr McCartney and retained the services of him and his firm.”

Gibson was responding to a writ filed on February 16 by McCartney’s Halsbury Chambers law firm over some $40,000 in outstanding legal fees.

According to the documents seen by Eyewitness News, McCartney’s law firm had been engaged by WSC to collect receivables on behalf of the corporation — which it claims it had reduced by some $10 million.

The court documents state that in July 2019, Halsbury Chambers was asked to institute defamatory proceedings against Apex Underground and Utilities Co Ltd President Gregory Miller for statements he made regarding Gibson. The firm contended that since the defamation action was personal in nature, the legal fees ought to be paid by Gibson and not from the public purse, adding that thereafter Gibson stopped all communication with the firm.

But Gibson, who last night claimed that to date the WSC has not been served with any copies of the writ, suggested this development is political mischief-making.

“WSC categorically denies that Branville McCartney and Halsbury Chambers ever collected $10 million for WSC or anything remotely close to that figure,” said Gibson.

He added: “Our concise internal audits show that, notwithstanding in excess of 100 delinquent accounts being assigned to him/his firm, Mr McCartney and his firm collected roughly $60,000 whilst he/his firm in turn received a lot more compensation to the tone (sic) of nearly $200,000.”

Gibson said WSC determined it was losing money in retaining McCartney’s firm and decided to turn to the corporation’s in-house teams.

He also noted the $10 million mentioned had very little — if anything — to do with McCartney’s law firm.

Gibson contended that in relation to the defamation claims against Miller, the WSC was rightfully the entity to further such legal actions.

“Any writ to be filed by Mr McCartney and his firm would’ve been in my public capacity,” said Gibson.

“The very writ that they filed on Friday speaks to my public capacity. At no time did Mr McCartney tell me that to file a writ would be personal. It could not be as all matters happened or related to my public role/capacity.”

According to Gibson, the corporation’s general manager reported that at no time did he acknowledge any additional fees owed to Halsbury Chambers or make any commitment relative to the same, outside of $20,000 that was issued as final settlement, although the law firm had proffered a $60,000 bill.

“The cheque was accompanied by a letter stating the same and urging Halsbury Chambers to return our files,” said Gibson.

Branville McCartney. (FILE PHOTO)

When contacted yesterday, McCartney told Eyewitness News, “Adrian is trying to cover his tracks.

“He has not denied that he asked us to represent him in the defamation suit. If Halsbury representation was so bad, why ask us to represent him personally?

“Adrian, in The Nassau Guardian, admitted the good results from collections by Halsbury Chambers. When we were asked not to continue representation, court dates were already set for quite a few matters which we attended and advised the court of our status.

“There were few matters that had we not attended, the cases would have been thrown out against W&S with cost against them.

“This response by Adrian is quite detrimental to him. He should have kept his mouth shut.”