SAN FRANCISCO - A California state court last month ordered Patelco Credit Union to pay for an internal probe conducted by the institution's supervisory committee.

San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Stuart Pollak ruled on Aug. 10 that Patelco must pay $181,594.97 in legal fees that were incurred by the committee, which is independent of the board and investigating claims of management misconduct.

The expenses represent billings from February through May for the investigations as well as efforts to get cooperation from a resistant Patelco management.

Patelco's management wanted the right to review the bills before paying them, claiming that the committee was going beyond its original purpose of investigating alleged misconduct during the abortive merger with First Technology Federal Credit Union.

But Judge Pollak ruled that the fees charged by the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, which he reviewed, were in keeping with the probe.

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