BY JOHN P. MARTIN AND JEFF WHELAN
When U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie announced a $311 million settlement to end a probe into kickbacks by leading manufacturers of knee and hip replacements, he touted the agreement as a groundbreaking development for consumers and the industry.
The deal also proved to be lucrative for Christie's old boss.
Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was one of five private attorneys whom Christie hand-picked to monitor the implant makers. Now Ashcroft's D.C.-based firm is poised to collect more than $52 million in 18 months, among the biggest payouts reported for a federal monitor.
Disclosed in SEC filings, the arrangement calls for Zimmer Holdings of Indiana to pay Ashcroft Group Consulting Services an average monthly fee between $1.5 million and $2.9 million. The figure includes a flat payment of $750,000 to the firm's "senior leadership group," individual legal and consulting services billed at up to $895 an hour, and as much as $250,000 a month for expenses including private airfare, lodging and meals.