Lawyers who briefed against Olympic bid claim £1m from public funds


Lawyers and other professionals advising the owners of the key tracts of land needed to stage the 2012 Olympic games have been branded fat cats after claiming £1.2m in fees from public funds. Officials from the London Development Agency (LDA), the body responsible for buying the land needed to stage the Olympics, have accused some of the representatives of landowners on the site of the proposed Olympic village of submitting unjustifiable invoices. The Guardian understands the LDA has valued the work required at no more than £500,000. The LDA claims one firm has charged more than five times the value of the work it considered necessary, invoicing for £430,000 when £80,000 would have sufficed. The LDA is in turn being threatened with legal action to hand over the full amount. Two companies are involved in the dispute: the solicitors Finer Stephens Innocent (FIS) which has claimed £757,000 in legal fees and the Balcombe Group, a company involved in "claims management" which is charging the £430,000. A third firm, Jones Lang LaSalle which specialises in property, has claimed £130,000 which is accepted by the LDA.