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Lawsuit seeks to stop cash windfall

on August 08, 2014 10:19 AM

WILKES-BARRE (AP) — Court documents say one of the central figures in a Pennsylvania juvenile justice scandal could share up to $200 million his law firm is owed in an unrelated environmental contamination lawsuit.

Robert Powell’s law firm represented plaintiffs from the town of Avoca, where Kerr-McGee Corp. once operated a creosote plant. Kerr-McGee’s successor company reached a $5.15 billion settlement in April for the cleanup of thousands of contaminated sites nationwide.

Powell is the former co-owner of two for-profit youth detention centers. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in a kickback scheme involving Luzerne County judges.

The Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre reported that Powell’s former business partner has asked a judge to prevent Powell and another lawyer from getting paid for their work on the environmental suit.

Gregory Zappala said they used company money to bankroll the environmental litigation.

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