iBooks anti-trust monitor once again under fire for antics, billings

Michael Bromwich, appointed by U.S. Judge Denise Cote in the wake of the anti-trust charges leveled against Apple for iBooks deals, is once again under fire in the op ed pages of a prominent publication. This time it's the Wall Street Journal, but the accusation remains the same — that Bromwich abused his role by investigating aspects of the company that have nothing to do with the case, and in the process has billed Apple over $2.65 million for his "services".

Mr. Bromwich gains a "much better understanding of Apple's business organization and operations" in an October 2014 update as he is given access to all senior executives with the exception of the design and marketing divisions. He even probes units such as Siri voice recognition, the maps group and hardware engineering. None of this is relevant to antitrust.

Not only was Bromwich inspecting units with no relevance to his stated purpose, but claimed he violated his role as a neutral party:

Mr. Bromwich's invoices to Apple, which were initially redacted, show that for at least four months he was closely collaborating with DoJ lawyers and state Attorneys General. He puts in three hours on Oct. 21, 2013, for example, with an entry to "prepare for call w state AGs; Conf call w CT, NY and TX AGs." He notches 5.75 hours on Nov. 15, 2013 on matters such as "conf call w DOJ and States re CA trip," and 2.75 hours on Dec. 29, 2013 on "review DOJ draft brief in opposition to motion to stay."That last one refers to Apple's first attempt to remove Mr. Bromwich; in other words, he wasn't acting as a neutral court officer but as an agent of the prosecution—and then charging Apple for his trouble. Mr. Bromwich bills at $1,100 an hour. Apple can be forgiven for seeing him as an adversary and interloper, because he is.

Bromwich previously came under fire due to his relationship with judge Cote and his lack of experience and expertise in dealing with these case.

Apple is set to once again appeal his appointment in the Second Circuit Appeals Court next month.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster