Fees for Madoff trustee's law firm top $50 million

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A law firm employing the trustee winding down Bernard Madoff's investment firm has won court approval to be paid $20.3 million of additional fees, pushing its total to $50.9 million for 13-1/2 months of work.

In an order made public on Thursday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland in Manhattan authorized the additional payment to Baker & Hostetler LLP, plus reimbursement of $390,200 of expenses, covering the Oct. 1, 2009 to Jan. 31, 2010 period.

Baker & Hostetler has been awarded $59.8 million of fees overall, but is deferring 15 percent, or $9 million, until the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC is complete, court records show.

Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee and a Baker & Hostetler partner, has been trying to recover assets for victims of Madoff and his estimated $65 billion Ponzi scheme. He has separately been awarded $1.93 million in fees.

Lifland's order came over the objections of some Madoff victims. They believe Picard either undervalues some claims, allows claims to be paid too slowly, or has a conflict of interest because he also represents the interests of the Securities Investor Protection Corp against the victims.

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