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Billings spent $21K defending against Rehberg suit

BILLINGS (AP) — The city of Billings says it spent nearly $21,000 defending itself against a lawsuit filed by U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg and his wife that alleged negligence by the city's fire department in 2008 led to more damage after a wildfire at the Rehberg Ranch Estates subdivision.

The Billings Gazette ( ) reports the city released the information Tuesday at the request of the campaign of Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who is being challenged by Rehberg in the 2012 election.

The Rehbergs dropped the lawsuit in November. Attorney Cliff Edwards said the issue had become too politicized.

Deputy City Attorney Craig Hensel said the city's insurance pool hired attorney Michele Braukmann. The city was billed for 151.8 hours of Braukmann's time, for $20,638.50, plus $123.10 in costs.


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