San Diego City Council today unanimously approved a $4.35 million settlement with Vinson & Elkins, the Houston-based law firm City Attorney Mike Aguirre sued for malpractice in 2006.

Aguirre sued after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission determined that the firm’s investigation into the city’s pension mess lacked independence. The firm was serving both as the city’s defense counsel and its investigators, duties that were found to be in conflict. The firm will pay the city $3.25 million, and forgo $1.1 million in bills.

It is the fourth settlement Aguirre has reached with various professionals related to pension issues. All told, Aguirre has recovered $10.5 million for the city. However, between 20 and 30 percent of the settlement proceeds go to outside lawyers who helped with the cases. The City Attorney’s Office said the city will net more than $2 million from this settlement after legal fees.


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