James Holmes investigation costing Univ. of Colo. hundreds of thousands

    2:04 PM, Jun 27, 2013   |    comments
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    AURORA, CO (CNN) -- James Holmes' trial has not yet begun, but the University of Colorado has already spent more than a million taxpayer dollars investigating.

    The money will likely continue to flow for several years, potentially millions of dollars more. All of this resulting from the apparent lack of action by a university doctor and the school's behavioral evaluation and threat assessment, or BETA team prior to the Aurora theater killings.

    Shortly after the shootings, university psychiatrist Dr. Lynn Fenton called members of the BETA team "6 weeks before" the killings to express her concerns about James Holmes. She also called a cu police officer to say Holmes told her about wanting "to kill a lot of people..." but, she declined to put him on a mental health hold and the beta team took no action.

    Now, it is her actions, in part, that are already costing the university and taxpayers. The following information has been gathered by thumbing through stacks of billing statements from five different law firms who are representing faculty and staff members related to the July 20 killings last year.

    And long time university supporter, lawyer Robert Miller of the Perkins - Coie firm, is examining CU's policies and procedures that were in place when James Holmes was on campus and the actions of the university's beta team.

    Miller's investigation alone has already reached more than $844,000 in legal fees and is expected to balloon to a million dollars or more. That comes out of taxpayer's pockets, as none of these fees are covered by insurance.

    the university has also hired a company called "G.B.S.M." to deal with its media strategy during this public relations nightmare. So far, it's cost taxpayers more than $84,000 to help the university craft its message.

    $150,000 has been spent in legal fees for firms representing Dr. Lynn fenton and other psychiatrists who were involved in treatment of James Holmes. While the eventual bill will run much higher, the university's insurer will pay the balance.

    Legal fees of the firm representing the university police officer who Dr. Lynn Fenton called with her concerns about Holmes and the firm representing university BETA team have thus far cost about $38,000. But with an anticipated criminal trial and civil law suits, university officials expect to eventually pay out a total of a million dollars with insurance picking up the rest.

    And this is just the beginning. One civil suit has already been filed and 25 potential victims have filed notices of claims with the university saying they intend to sue for tens-of-millions of dollars. And that does not include possible federal suits. But most of that would likely be covered by CU's insurance.

    So far 5,000 people have received jury summons for this case. Holmes is charged with 166 counts of first degree murder for last year's theater shooting.

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