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D.C. law firm tapped to pursue Harrisburg incinerator claims

The Wolf administration has hired a Washington, D.C.-based law firm to pursue civil claims against former officials and advisers who worked on financial deals that pushed Harrisburg to the brink of financial ruin.

Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, a boutique firm known for its telecommunications and technology law practices, as well as criminal and civil litigation work, was hired under a one-year contract with two one-year renewals, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

It is unclear how much the firm will be paid, though the administration said it “represents a significant departure” from the firm’s typical rates.

Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis was one of four firms that submitted proposals after a request went out in July, following the indictment of former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed.

Harris Wiltshire was the second choice among the four firms. But the top choice, Philadelphia-based Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP, had a conflict during negotiations over compensation.

DCED said work in this matter will begin immediately. No specific targets have been mentioned.

The civil pursuit is part of the state’s ongoing oversight of the capital city’s debt-recovery plan under Act 47. The city’s incinerator, which was sold at the end of 2013 as part of the plan, was a major debt driver.

Millions could be at stake. Any proceeds would be split between the city, Dauphin County and Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp., the bond insurer on much of the incinerator debt, according to the recovery plan.

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