Disputed Tobacco Funds Are Released to State
Utah has received nearly $7 million in tobacco money that was held up in a dispute between the state and outside attorneys.
The money was in a trust account set up by a federal judge when attorneys who helped the state sue the tobacco companies filed suit against the state. They said they had signed a contingency contract giving them 25 percent of the state's award, which turned out to be $250 million.
In a special session last month, lawmakers agreed to pay the law firm of Giauque, Crockett, Bendinger & Peter- son $9.95 million instead.
The other money is now going into the state coffers, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a statement Monday.
The state received the money Friday, just making the deadline to guarantee that $2 million of the funds will go to anti-smoking programs.
The multistate lawsuit against tobacco companies netted Utah a promise of $1 billion over 30 years. Including this deposit, the state has received nearly $56 million from the tobacco companies so far.