JEFFERSON CITY – The private attorneys who represented former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' office against potential impeachment proceedings won't be paid by the state for more than $180,000 of legal bills, a top official decided Thursday.
Office of Administration Commissioner Sarah Steelman said it appears the primary beneficiary of the lawyers' work was Greitens individually and that the attorneys weren't needed for the governor's office itself.
Steelman provided The Associated Press copies of letters to the attorneys denying $118,067 of invoices from Eddie Greim of the Kansas City-based Graves Garrett law firm and $64,097 of invoices from Ross Garber at the Connecticut-based Shipman & Goodwin law firm.
The attorneys had said they were hired by Greitens to represent the governor's office in its official capacity. Greitens also had attorneys representing him in his personal capacity.
But Steelman wrote that the governor's office "at most received incidental benefits" from the lawyers' services. Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway, Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and the Republican chairman of a special House committee investigating Greitens had raised concerns about the state footing those bills.
Greitens, a Republican, resigned June 1 while facing potential impeachment proceedings over allegations of sexual and political misconduct. He had been subpoenaed to testify June 4 before a special House investigatory committee considering whether to try to impeach him.
Greim and Garber both told the AP that they hope Steelman will reconsider.
Garber, who was hired because of his experience in defending other governors against potential impeachment, called the decision "misguided and wrong" and contrary to practices in some other states.
"It looks like we've been caught in the middle of a political and politically motivated fight in Missouri," Garber said.
Greim said he had never been contacted by the Office of Administration to learn more about the work he performed for the governor's office. He said the first task he did was to accept a subpoena on behalf of the governor's office to compile records related to questions about how the governor's office had posted a document online with an unauthorized signature of the secretary of state.
"It would be ludicrous to claim that somehow the person who happens to hold the office – or happens to be in office at the time – has to actually personally pay for the office's production (of records) to the committee," Greim said in a phone interview from London, where he was vacationing.
Steelman is a former Republican state treasurer and senator who was appointed administration commissioner by Greitens when he took office as governor in 2017. She has continued to serve in the role under Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who ascended from the lieutenant governor's office after Greitens resigned.