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House cost to prosecute Sansom: $300 an hour

The House of Representatives released a freshly-inked contract with former statewide prosecutor Melanie Hines, who was hired last week to prosecute Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Destin, on charges of violating House rules that govern members' conduct. Hines, a shareholder in the Berger Singerman law firm, will be paid $300 an hour, according to the three-page document (signed by Hines and House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala).

In language standard in contracts for legal services, the firm lso can charge $125 an hour for paralegal services and may assess additional costs for copying, runner services, court reporters, long distance phone calls, faxes, postage, air freight and similar expenses.

Hines' job, according to Paragraph 1, Scope of Services: "... to serve as Independent Counsel to prosecute the matter of Complaint 09-01, which was filed by Susan T. Smith against Representative Ray Sansom. The powers and duties of the Independent Counsel are limited to those set forth in the House Rules." Hines will report to a five-member select committee chaired by Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.

-- Steve Bousquet

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