Judge Pauley yesterday denied a request for the government to reimburse over $17,000 in travel expenses incurred at a deposition in London in the ongoing SEC case against Caledonian Bank (previous coverage of the case here). Defendant Verdmont Capital had contended that two of its principals were not subject to deposition by the SEC, and the SEC agreed to compromise by “picking up the tab for travel” to depose the two principals at a neutral site in London. The SEC advised Verdmont that it would only reimburse for expenses in line with the federal government’s travel reimbursement policy. Verdmont, however, took the SEC promise to pay to heart, submitting receipts for first class airfare, $700 per night hotels, a $1,000 hotel bar tab, tours of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a multi-day trip to Madrid after the depositions were done.
Judge Pauley noted:
The request that the Government reimburse Verdmont’s principals for their saturnalian revelries is beyond the pale. While no one could be faulted for enjoying the finer things Europe has to offer, it is generally ill-advised to seek reimbursement from the public fisc.
The order is the latest reminder from Judge Pauley of practices to avoid, including drafting needlessly long complaints, citing to “authority” attorneys themselves drafted, wasting settlement money intended for public purposes, and seeking court approval of settlements without details as to why the settlement is fair.