Oil heir ordered to pay disputed fee to former legal team

Oil heir Al Hill III and his wife, Erin, have been ordered to pay a judgment of almost $22 million issued in 2012, plus interest, to his former attorneys, Lisa Blue, Charla Aldous and Steve Malouf, by a federal judge in Dallas.

The ruling by Judge Sam Lindsay addresses a long running fee dispute between the Hills and the legal team that helped him secure an inheritance settlement in a years long battle with his father, Al Hill Jr.

The fee dispute spilled into local politics last year when Hill III accused Blue of using her political influence to persuade Dallas district attorney Craig Watkins to indict him for mortgage fraud. Watkins refused to testify about the circumstances surrounding the decision to bring the case, and was briefly held in contempt. He was later cleared of that charge by another judge. The FBI has investigated Watkins and Blue, but Blue was cleared and no charges have been filed.

The mortgage fraud charges against the Hills have been dropped.

In an order issued Thursday. Lindsay wrote that the Hills “failed to establish that BAM engaged in fraud or other misconduct.” BAM was the term used to refer to Blue, Aldous and Malouf.

Blue could not be reached for comment. The Hill’s attorney, Michael Mowla, did not return a call, but filed a notice that they plan to appeal to the Fifth Circuit.