Crants duo, associates getting $2M+ to cover RICO case costs

Fistful of local attorneys racked up fees defending former CCA execs, team against charges

A federal judge in Nashville has awarded more than $2.1 million in attorney’s fees and costs to defendants, including Corrections Corp. of America co-founder and former CEO Doctor Crants Jr., named in wide-ranging allegations by a former business partner.

Bruce Siddle in 2009 sued Crants Jr., his son, Doctor Crants III — a former president of CCA — and other people and companies for allegedly stealing more than $1 billion worth of business from Homeland Security Co., the venture they had built to secure government contracts in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Siddle claimed that Crants had operated the company in a manner that benefited other businesses owned by Crants.

Siddle’s claims grew to include a number of racketeering, copyright and fraud claims — a number of them termed “hyperbolic and inflammatory” by the court — across two cases. But U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee judge Aleta Trauger tossed those complaints in 2010, saying primarily that the parties in HSC had signed releases that covered the defendants’ actions. By then, though, numerous other entities — including local accounting firm Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain — had been drawn into the case and had racked up legal bills.

Siddle was ordered by Trauger on Tuesday to pay nearly $1.5 million in attorney's fees and expenses to Crants Jr. and Crants III. Overall, Siddle is being ordered to pay more than $2.1 million in attorney's fees to other defendants in the case.

Some of the other parties set to receive damages from Siddle are:

• LBMC and one of CPAs, Roy Oaks, who have had to pay $327,000 to four law firms, including locals Day & Blair and Thrailkill Harris Wood & Boswell, who will get about $134,000 combined for their work.

• A team of attorneys from Riley Warnock & Jacobson, who represented Crants Jr. and his Connectgov entity to the tune of almost $270,000.

• Attorneys at Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin, who will get part of almost $290,000 after defending itself against some of Siddle’s claims. The majority of that sum will go to Memphis firm Glassman Edwards Wyatt Tuttle & Cox, which represented Gullett and George Crawford, outside counsel to HSC.

• Leader Bulso Nolan & Burnstein lawyers who defended Crants III in both of Siddle’s cases and will get almost $15,000.

• Law firm Drescher & Sharp, which will get more than $13,000 for its work on behalf of Linda Cooper, another attorney who had represented HSC.

To read Trauger’s complete memorandum the fees as well as sanctions against some of Siddle’s attorneys, click here.