Rusty Hardin

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Rusty Hardin
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Rusty Hardin & Associates
Partner/Attorney
Education
Bachelor'sWesleyan University
J.D.Southern Methodist University
Personal
BirthdayOctober 6, 1941
Place of birthDurham, North Carolina
Websites
Office website
Rusty Hardin is an attorney based in Houston, Texas.[1]

Biography

Hardin was born on October 6, 1941 in Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1965 and earned a law degree from Southern Methodist University in 1975. Hardin spent five years in the U.S. Army, where he spent 15 months in Vietnam and left with the rank of Captain. Hardin spent time as an assistant district attorney in Houston before opening his private practice in 1991. In 1996 he established his current practice, Rusty Hardin & Associates.[1]

Hardin has represented a number of high-profile individuals throughout the years of his practice, including athletes and celebrities. Some of this include:

  • NFL running back Adrian Peterson[2]
  • Former Major League Baseball Player Roger Clemens[3]
  • Former NFL quarterback Warren Moon[4]
  • Anna Nicole Smith[5]

Wallace Hall impeachment

See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial

In 2013, Hardin was hired by the state of Texas to serve as legal counsel for the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations. That committee is investigating the possibility of impeaching University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall.[6][7][5]

Cross-examination

Hall's lawyers asked for the right to cross-examine statements to the committee. However, members of the committee and Hardin rejected the request.[8] Hall's attorney said "Today, we heard the committee spend 10 minutes of platitude on transparency and spend two hours in secrecy. It’s important that the full story come out, not just the limited amount Mr. Hardin may decide is relevant."[9] When Governor of Texas James Ferguson was impeached in 1917, cross-examination was allowed. In 1975, Judge O.P. Carrillo was impeached, and his case had cross-examination on a limited scope.[10][11]

Subpoena of Hall

With University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas, Austin President Bill Powers already subpoenaed to appear at the December 18-19 meetings, Hall's lawyer Allan Van Fleet requested that the committee respond regarding whether it would also subpoena Hall. He said that Hall's lawyers have told him not to appear before the committee without a subpoena. On December 5, 2013, Van Fleet sent a letter to the committee requesting that the co-chairs announce whether Hall would indeed be subpoenaed. Van Fleet's request asked for an answer by the end of the day. In response, committee attorney Hardin said "We're not going to adhere to his deadline. He doesn't get to pick the time and place." Van Fleet pointed out that providing two weeks' notice for testimony is the standard to allow individuals to prepare testimony. He added that the letter has "caused confusion about the committee's intentions."[12]

Costs

In January 2014, it was reported that Hardin had already billed the state of Texas more than $200,000 for work on the case. The bills to that point had not included work in November and December. Some of the included expenses, as reported by the Dallas Morning News included:[13]

  • $500 for a meeting at an upscale restaurant in Austin, Texas with a "witness" and "chief of staff."[14]
  • $800 per person for two nights at the Austin, Texas Downtown Hampton hotel. Five people total for a cost of $4,000[13]

According to a report from Watchdog, Hardin's firm reportedly was late in filing invoices to the state. The firm's contract with the state for the case required monthly invoices. However, according to a February 27, 2014 news report, no invoice had been filed since December 6, 2013. Terms of the contract stipulate: "Each month, the Attorneys shall submit to the Speaker for review and approval an itemized statement of all work performed under this contract during the preceding month..."[15]

Despite the requirement to submit monthly invoices to the state, Hardin's team was delinquent for six months as of June 2014. The Houston Chronicle contacted Hardin about the lack of transparency in billing. Hardin said he had been "wrapped up in an important case" which was what kept him from personally reviewing the bills before they were submitted. He said it would be "done in a reasonably soon time." State legislators on the committee would not comment to the Chronicle about the invoices. State Representative David Simpson (R), who has opposed the impeachment proceedings, said the invoices problem represents an inability of the committee to hold Hardin accountable.[16]

June 2014 invoice

In June 2014, Hardin submitted a bill covering expenses in November 2013. That bill was for $93,728.66. That bill brought the total price for the first three months of work to more than $300,000.[17] Hardin's official contract ended on March 31, 2014.[18][19][20]

Final costs: $500,000

The final tax bill for Hardin's investigation was pegged at $500,000, according to July 2014 news reports. Although the bills ultimately came to more than $588,000, Hardin's team told State Speaker of the House Joe Straus that a cap of $500,000 would be placed on the expenses. The monthly totals:[21][22]

  • August 2013: $9,159.83
  • September 2013: $42,779.61
  • October 2013: $163,302.91
  • November 2013: $93,728.66
  • December 2013: $98,019.48
  • January 2014: $33,296.47
  • February 2014: $25,206.81
  • March 2014: $122,842.32

Favoritism and impeachment reports

A report commissioned by the University of Texas concerning allegations of admissions favoritism was expected to be released in early April 2014. According to Watchdog.org, the report will show that "applicants who had a lawmaker intervene on their behalf with top university officials were far more likely to gain admission than an applicant without those connections."[23]

The legislative committee pursuing the impeachment of Wallace Hall was also expected to release its report, which was prepared by Hardin, in early April. Citing unnamed "sources familiar with the matter," Watchdog.org reported that the committee's leaders intend to use their report to counter the potential impact of the admissions favoritism report.[23]

Impeachment hearings committee report

On April 7, 2014, the San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle viewed an advance copy of Hardin's 176-page report. The newspapers reported that the document was previously made available to committee members on April 4, 2014. The report alleges that Hall broke state and federal law. As of April 8, 2014, the report was not yet made public. Hall's lawyers said he would not comment on the report until he had seen it. According to the newspaper summary, the report alleges that Hall attempted to coerce UT administrators prior to their testimony.[24][25] The report refers to Hall's "burdensome" requests for records as one of the critiques laid out against the regent.[26]

The Texas Tribune, which also received a copy of the report, wrote that "ironically a substantial number of the actions that the Hardin report highlights as potentially triggering impeachment occurred in part or entirely because of the committee’s investigation." The report listed four items as a sufficient basis for articles of impeachment. The report does not make any explicit recommendation to the committee.[27]

The draft report recommended to the committee that impeachment could be pursued for at least four bases.[28] Hardin said the report is only the "beginning" of the process. He added that the report does not accuse Hall of breaking any laws.[29]

Reaction

Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), said the investigation of Hall was "simply off the rails." Throughout much of the investigation, legislators have maintained that Hall was on a "witch hunt" for President Bill Powers. Neal's statement took the opposite approach, accusing the legislature of engaging in an "expensive witch hunts designed to discourage public servants from asking tough questions in pursuit of the public interest." According to its website, the ACTA is "an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities."[30] The Texas Coalition for Higher Education Excellence supported the report's conclusions. Spokeswoman Jenifer Sarver called the findings, "deeply troubling."[31]

After the release of the report, Hall's lawyers sent a letter on April 8, 2014 to the committee on transparency. In the letter, Hall's lawyers requested that a copy of the report be sent to their offices, as they had not been delivered a version prior to the leak of the report to the media.[32]

In light of the report, editors at the Houston Chronicle called for Hall to resign.[33]

Hall's lawyers' response to the report

On May 6, 2014, Hall's attorney Allan Van Fleet sent a letter to the Transparency Committee in response to the report issued by Rusty Hardin. Van Fleet accused the committee of withholding information that would "exonerate Regent Hall from all of the committee's charges." The letter alleged that the committee "manipulated the process to prevent public exposure to the truth."[34]

Van Fleet's May 6 letter made reference to a previously sent letter on April 25, 2014, that requested the release of an audio recording from an August 22, 2013 University of Texas System Board of Regents board meeting. According to the letter, a recording made by Regent Alex Cranberg at the meeting pinpoints the exact position of the Regent members regarding President Bill Powers' employment situation. The letter maintained it is a key piece of evidence that has not been released to the public. Hall's lawyers requested that the recording be released and sent to the Travis County District Attorney. The Texas Tribune also requested the recording. University of Texas System officials then asked the Attorney General for permission to withhold the recording.[35][36]

The letter from Van Fleet lists seven facts that he alleges refutes the committee's assertions. Those facts listed were as follows:[37]

  1. "Regent Hall fully disclosed information on his nomination application"[37]
  2. "Regent Hall did not violate FERPA protections"[37]
  3. "Regent Hall did not “leak” or otherwise disclose student information"[37]
  4. "Regent Hall properly represented the UT System in discussions about charitable donations"[37]
  5. "Regent Hall’s information requests were reasonable and necessary"[37]
  6. "Regent Hall did not tamper with or coerce testimony"[37]
  7. "The committee has manipulated the process to prevent public exposure to the truth about every issue under investigation"[37]

Personal

Hardin is married to Tissy. They have two sons.[1]

See also

Recent news


Hardin talks with Rick Goldberg of the Litigation News Network on September 9, 2010.
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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rusty Hardin and Associates, "About Rusty Hardin," accessed November 21, 2013
  2. ESPN "Adrian Peterson hires Rusty Hardin," July 9, 2012
  3. Wall Street Journal, "Clemens Lawyer Finds Right Pitch in Latest Acquittal," June 19, 2012
  4. New York Times, "In New Task, Tapping Into a Lifetime in Court," August 24, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 Alcalde, "Rusty Hardin Hired for Regent Impeachment Proceedings," August 23, 2013
  6. My San Antonio, "Pitts denounces UT regent’s document requests," October 22, 2013
  7. Houston Chronicle, "Impeachment committee hires Rusty Hardin," August 23, 2013
  8. Austin American Statesman, "Wallace Hall impeachment investigation heats up," September 25, 2013
  9. Daily Texan Online, "Cross-examination not allowed in UT System Regent Wallace Hall investigation," September 17, 2013
  10. Alcalde, "Transparency Committee Sets Agenda for Regent Investigation," September 16, 2013
  11. Texas Tribune, "How Will UT Regent Impeachment Probe Play Out?," September 25, 2013
  12. Texas Tribune, "Ahead of Hearings, UT Regent Hall Requests Subpoena," December 5, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dallas Morning News, "Bills for UT regent investigation topping $200,000," January 10, 2014
  14. The Republic, "Report: Legal costs for investigation of embattled UT regent Wallace Hall topping $200K," January 12, 2014
  15. Watchdog, "Attorney in UT case hides six-figure charges despite terms of contract," February 27, 2014
  16. Houston Chronicle, "Taxpayers in the dark about total cost of Wallace Hall probe," June 3, 2014
  17. Houston Chronicle, "Price tag for Hall impeachment investigation tops $300K," June 10, 2014
  18. Watchdog, "At $1,350 for an email, Hardin’s legal bill is headed for high six figures," June 11, 2014
  19. Rusty Hardin & Associates, "Bill for services in November 2013," Published June 11, 2014
  20. Dallas Morning News, "Bill for UT regent investigations topping $300,000," June 11, 2014
  21. Houston Chronicle, "UPDATED: Wallace Hall impeachment probe cost $500K," July 22, 2014
  22. KWTX, "Cost Of UT Regent Probe Reaches Almost $600,000," July 22, 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 Watchdog.org, "Reports on UT favoritism, impeachment expected soon," April 4, 2014
  24. Houston Chronicle, "Report: UT regent abused office, may have violated law," April 7, 2014
  25. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent Wallace Hall possibly committed impeachable offenses, investigation report show," April 7, 2014
  26. Austin American Statesman, "Report for House panel finds grounds to impeach UT Regent Wallace L. Hall Jr.," April 7, 2014
  27. Texas Tribune, "Report Cites Possible Grounds for Hall's Impeachment," April 8, 2014
  28. Rusty Hardin & Associates, LLP, "Investigative Report to the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations regarding Conduct by University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall and Impeachment Under the June 25, 2013 Proclamation," March 2014
  29. Houston Chronicle, "Rusty Hardin defends report on UT regent Hall," April 10, 2014
  30. American Council of Trustees and Alumni, "Statement from ACTA President Anne Neal on UT Trustee Wallace Hall," April 9, 2014
  31. Texas Tribune, "Higher Ed Group: Regent Investigation "Off the Rails"," April 9, 2014
  32. Texas Tribune, "Letter from Stephen Ryan to Carol Alvarado and Dan Flynn," April 8, 2014
  33. Houston Chronicle, "Step down, please," April 11, 2014
  34. Austin American-Statesman, "UT regent’s lawyer accuses panel of withholding information," May 6, 2014
  35. Texas Tribune, "Hall's Lawyer Accuses Committee of Withholding Information," May 6, 2014
  36. Watchdog, "Attorney: Secret tape covered up by lawmakers proves regent’s innocence," May 7, 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 37.6 37.7 Texas Tribune, "Letter from Van Fleet to the Committee on May 6, 2014