Operation Tempura lawyers’ price tag: $1.8M

The government has spent $1,788,149.54 on outside attorneys since Jan. 1 2008, in connection with the ill-fated Operation Tempura corruption probe, a Caymanian Compass open records request has revealed.  

That amount does not include the payout of settlements to individuals embroiled in litigation with the government during the course of the Tempura probe. Those settlement amounts include nearly $1.3 million to a sitting Grand Court judge who was wrongfully arrested in the course of the investigation. 

It also does not include unknown amounts paid to settle lawsuits filed against the government by former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and former Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon. It is believed that both men received at least six-figure settlements in their respective cases.  

The Caymanian Compass has filed a separate open records request for the settlement amounts in those cases.  

The amount spent for outside counsel in relation to the lawsuit Mr. Kernohan filed in May 2009 was $728,700.17, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Law by the attorney general’s office. The suit was settled for an undisclosed sum last month. 

Another $299,618.37 was paid for outside attorneys in relation to a case the attorney general’s office described as “Bridger matters.” This is presumably a reference to a case filed against former Operation Tempura senior investigator Martin Bridger by attorneys general in Cayman and the United Kingdom seeking to recover documents Mr. Bridger has from the investigation between 2007 and 2009.  

Mr. Bridger won a brief respite in the U.K. courts on the issue but lost the Cayman Islands case. At press time, the Compass was unaware whether any of the investigative records in Mr. Bridger’s possession had been returned.  

Mr. Bridger told the newspaper last week that he had been hit with a £200,000 bill from the Cayman Islands government over the case it initially filed against him.  

A government payment in the amount of $343,214, went for “Polaine/Bridger complaints.” This is a reference to money spent on an evaluation of a complaint former Operation Tempura legal adviser Martin Polaine filed with the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the aftermath of the failed investigation. Mr. Polaine later dropped the matter, but Mr. Bridger carried it forward, alleging misconduct on the part of some members of the Cayman judiciary, as well as certain members of the attorney general’s chambers.  

The territory’s former government said the Polaine/Bridger allegations were “without merit.”  

A 185-page evaluation of the Polaine/Bridger complaint was completed by a London-based QC at a cost of $335,000, which is believed to have been included in the attorneys costs for the matter. However, that evaluation has not been released by either the U.K. or Cayman Islands government, or by Mr. Bridger. 

An open records request for Mr. Bridger’s complaint and the subsequent 185-page evaluation wound up in the Cayman Islands Grand Court when former Governor Duncan Taylor challenged an information commissioner’s decision to release the documents. Those hearings cost a further $375,000 in lawyers’ fees and are not ended. 

Finally, $41,617 was spent on outside attorney’s fees in what is termed the “A. Henderson matter.” This was in relation to the lawsuit filed by Grand Court Judge Alexander Henderson over his 2008 arrest. 

Justice Henderson’s settlement payment of $1.275 million added to the lawyers fees accumulated over the past five years makes the Cayman Islands’ total bill over fallout from the Operation Tempura investigation more than $3 million, not including the unknown settlements paid to Messrs. Kernohan and Dixon.  

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you, Mr. Fuller, for such a well-researched and brilliantly written article. This is real journalism that goes well beyond the cut and paste reporting you find in the states. It has to be very frustrating to see money on this level just needlessly wasted.

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