Donald Trump has sued his former lawyer, Patrick McGahn Jr., for allegedly billing his three Atlantic City casinos for legal work McGahn never did.
The suit against McGahn, once one of the area's most prominent and flamboyant attorneys, was filed Sept. 25 in Atlantic City following an audit of legal bills at Trump Castle, Trump Plaza and Taj Mahal between 1989 and 1991.
The audit began in March.
According to the auditors, McGahn billed the Trump properties 12 times for 20-hour-plus work days.
On Dec. 15, 1990, McGahn allegedly billed for a 24.75-hour work day. On Nov. 21, 1990, McGahn allegedly billed for a 23.75-hour day.
The suit does not say how much McGahn should give back to Trump but the audit concludes that there were 498 days in which McGahn billed the Trump properties for work days in excess of eight hours.
Those 498 days translated into 2,036.65 hours or $509,163. McGahn billed at $250 an hour.
The suit was actually filed by Trump's Plaza Associates, Trump's Castle Associates and Trump's Taj Mahal Associates. It alleges that McGahn "misbilled and grossly exaggerated" the amount of legal work he did for the three casino properties.
Efforts to contact Thomas Durkin Jr. of Newark, the lawyer Trump hired to file the suit, were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, McGahn said Wednesday he was puzzled by the lawsuit because he said settlements were reached two years ago in both federal bankruptcy court and state court concerning his billings.
"I took a significant cut to resolve this matter then," McGahn said, referring other questions to his lawyer, James Isman.
Isman said that Trump officials signed "releases" in order to settle the suits which bar the matter from being raised again.
"We just don't understand what Mr. Trump is doing," Isman said.
Isman noted that he will quickly file a motion with the court to dismiss the suit. He noted that McGahn might have "further remedies" against Trump if this suit is a "frivolous action."
Trump hired McGahn as his attorney shortly after he came to Atlantic City more than 10 years ago.
But the relationship soured in 1991 when Trump fired McGahn.
Last November, Trump threatened to sue McGahn for making defamatory comments in a dispute involving property needed for the expansion of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.
That suit was never filed.
But Trump was successful in having a judge disqualify McGahn from representing a restaurant owner who was fighting Trump's expansion plans for the Plaza.
The judge ruled that McGahn's prior representation of Trump created a conflict for him, and barred McGahn from representing the restaurant owner.