Alex Constantine - May 12, 2010
By Debra Cassens Weiss | ABA Journal | May 12, 2010
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is defending the state’s payment of more than $120,000 for expert witness testimony by an anti-gay psychologist now caught up in the so-called Rentboy scandal.
The state had originally planned to pay George Rekers $60,900, but when he exceeded his contracted hours, the total fee paid came to $120,693, according to the Miami Herald and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Rekers, co-founder of the Family Research Council, had testified in support of the state’s ban on gay adoption. He charged $300 an hour.
Rekers’ charges included a $27,000 bill to “evaluate and critique'' new research and $5,400 to prepare for a deposition, the Miami Herald says.
The stories quote a 2007 memo written by McCollum that backed the hiring of Rekers. "Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case,” he wrote.
Now Rekers is disputing a claim that he vacationed with a male escort in Europe who advertised his services on Rentboy.com. Rekers says the man was hired to carry his luggage, he had no idea about the Rentboy ad, and he was not involved in illegal or sexual activity with the assistant.
McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, said Tuesday he would not have recommended Rekers in light of what he knows today. "Would I ever recommend him again? No," McCollum said. "But he was the best available at the time."