City Attorney Mike Aguirre said today he has the authority to sue the consultants from Kroll Inc. and their lawyers, but that he wants to sell his case to the City Council before filing a lawsuit.

Kroll and its law firm racked up $20.3 million in legal bills throughout their 18-month probe of the city, which culminated in a report the group made public last August. The report found certain city officials likely violated securities laws, and that past and sitting elected officials were negligent in their duties.

Aguirre compared the expense for Kroll to yesterday’s hearing over firefighter pay, where a proposal to raise salaries by 2 percent was shot down. The raise would have cost the city $2 million annually, the city said.

“We could have paid for 10 years worth of those salary increases,” he said.

Aguirre claims Kroll and their attorneys at Willkie Farr & Gallagher breached their contract with the city by not including in their report analysis auditors requested, expanding the scope of their assignment to bill the city for more work, and providing inadequate detail that violated the city’s internal controls.

“Two large corporations took advantage of the city in our time of need and great stress,” he said.

His arguments are detailed in a 127-page report.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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