27 Aug 2004

American Samoa lawyer paid US$6m for hurricane case

8:40 am on 27 August 2004

A lawyer has told a Senate investigative committee in American Samoa that he was paid US$6 million for his services in acting against insurance companies in the aftermath of Hurricane Val.

Fepuleai Arthur Ripley told the committee he'd not paid anyone else in government from his share.

American Samoa won US$116.1 million dollars in a lawsuit against FM Affiliated Insurance Company for damage claims resulting from from Hurricane Val in 1991.

US$52 million of the settlement went on attorney fees.

Senator Teo Fuavai asked Mr Ripley how he could represent an off-island lawyer handling the case when he was employed by the American Samoa Government.

Ripley said that Fono lawyers were allowed to handle private cases while they held their fono jobs.