Franchise fee lawyers will get $7 M

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A judge has awarded $7 million to attorneys who successfully sued the city of Des Moines for charging improper franchise fees.

The Thursday ruling by Judge Joel Novak was less than half of the $15 million sought by attorneys Brian Stoltze, Brad Schroeder and Steve Brick.

The men represented a Des Moines woman who sued the city in 2004. The courts have said a portion of the franchise fee the city charged to customers of MidAmerican Energy Co. between 2004 and 2009 were an illegal tax.

The court has ruled that the city must return about $40 million. The attorney fees will come out of that amount.

City attorney Jeff Lester says the ruling is too much, but it’s much closer to a fair and equitable fee.

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