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U.S. PAID LAW FIRM $1.8 MILLION TO PURSUE SILVERADO

A federal agency says the government paid an outside law firm $1.8 million to help pursue a suit against Neil Bush and other former directors of a failed Colorado savings and loan.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. brought a $200 million lawsuit last September against the president's son and other former directors and officers of Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association of Denver.The suit, which was settled last week, accused the officials of "gross negligence" in the $1 billion collapse of Silverado, most of which will be paid for by taxpayers.

The FDIC paid Hopkins and Sutter, a law firm based in Chicago, around $1.5 million in legal fees and an additional $342,000 to cover expenses for its work on the Silverado case, the agency told The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

"It's certainly not an exorbitant amount," FDIC spokesman Alan Whitney said Monday.

Mike Ralston, director of marketing for Hopkins and Sutter, said such suits involving company directors and officers are "extremely complex."