PHOENIX, AZ — The Arizona House paid a law firm more than $47,000 for the first month of its investigation of former Rep. David Stringer, records show.
Stringer resigned last month when confronted with a Baltimore police report showing he was accused of paying boys for sex in the 1980s. He's denied the allegations.
The law firm Ballard Spahr billed $47,218 for its early work on the probe, according to an invoice dated March 12 and released to The Associated Press under Arizona's public records law.
The record shows 12 lawyers worked on the investigation for about 122 hours and billed between $215 and $512 per hour during the first month. Stringer and his attorney, Carmen Chenal, did not respond to requests for comment.
The House Ethics Committee hired the team led by Ballard Spahr attorney Joseph Kanefield to investigate after the panel received two ethics complaints against Stringer. Both cited a Phoenix New Times report that Stringer was charged with unspecified sex crimes in 1983. The charges were later expunged, and authorities in Maryland refused to release records.
One complaint also cited Stringer's offensive remarks on race and immigration. Stringer fought hard to keep records related to his arrest and a later investigation by the District of Columbia bar from becoming public. House Speaker Rusty Bowers said Stringer resigned when he was told the House had received the long-buried police report.
Investigative materials, including the police report, were released publicly two days later. The firm has not submitted its final invoice. The records released do not show how much the firm paid a private investigator to locate the 1983 police report. The report showed that a teenage boy told detectives he and another teen met Stringer in a park, went to his apartment and were paid $10 apiece for sex.
The boy said he'd met "Mr. David" for sexual activity at least 10 other times over several months. Stringer turned himself into police on Sept. 15, 1983, on eight sex charges. After the allegations were made public,
Stringer wrote on Facebook that he was the subject of "salacious allegations of sexual improprieties that had no basis in fact." He has said he reached a deal with prosecutors to accept probation before prosecution, which did not require him to plead guilty or go to trial.