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Sybert's Legal Fees Raise Ethics Question

November 27, 1994

In The Times' article "Charges and Countercharges as Vote Nears" (Nov. 4), Tony Beilenson (D-Woodland Hills) says that Richard Sybert made $140,600 in legal fees during the first 11 months of 1993 although he was working full time for California at an annual salary of $98,825 paid by us taxpayers.

Now the arithmetic. Sybert says he charges his clients $200 per hour. If we divide $140,600 by $200 we find that Sybert worked 703 hours for private clients in the 11 months or, using an eight-hour day, he worked 88 days. Now if we assume a five-day work week with just two holidays, that comes to 18 weeks. Said another way, according to Sybert's own figures, he worked for private clients well over four months out of the first 11 months when he was being paid $98,825 annually by us taxpayers. Further, according to Sybert, that is not unethical.

If he is correct, the ethical standards for California's employees are seriously in need of revision.

M. STEPHEN SHELDON

Studio City

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