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Friday, February 29, 2008

SILVER PICKS CRONY FOR 'JUDGE' PANEL (MORE, PICK HERE)

SILVER PICKS CRONY FOR 'JUDGE' PANEL
By KENNETH LOVETT - New York Post Correspondent

February 29, 2008 -- ALBANY - Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has quietly picked the head of his personal-injury law firm to serve on a state judicial-screening panel, The Post has learned.
The move is drawing criticism from good-government groups and outside lawyers.

Silver and Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith last month tapped Arthur Luxenberg as their appointment to the 13-mem- ber committee that recommends to the governor candidates for the Appellate Division, Court of Claims and State Supreme Court in the city's district.

Luxenberg is a co-founder of Weitz & Luxenberg, one of the state's largest trial-law firms. Silver has been "of counsel" at the firm since 2002. He and the firm have repeatedly refused to reveal who his clients are or how much he is paid, although sources have said it could be in the seven figures.

Luxenberg told The Post he was a joint appointment of Silver and Smith and denied the fact that Silver's ties to the firm had anything do with his placement in the nonpaying post on the commission. "I don't see anything wrong with it," Luxenberg said. "I've been a lawyer for over 20 years and I have made a career out of appearing in court before judges on both the state level and the appellate level."

He added he sees his appointment as "very appropriate, and I think I'm very well qualified to do this work." But critics say the appointment sends a bad message, with some claiming it lends an appearance that Silver could benefit indirectly from the appointment.

"The speaker is entitled to pick someone who shares his judicial philosophy, but he should look outside a firm with which he is affiliated," said Russ Haven, of the New York Public Interest Research Group. One lawyer with knowledge of the appointment noted that Luxenberg, whose firm's Web site boasts of "more million-dollar verdicts than most firms in the country," will now have a say in selecting appellate-court judges who will decide whether to uphold or lower such awards.

"It just doesn't look good," said the lawyer, who asked for anonymity. Luxenberg denied any conflict, saying, "It's a well-balanced committee." Silver spokesman Dan Weiller defended the selection of Luxenberg, saying, "He's a respected member of the bar with an impressive list of legal accomplishments and long record of community service."

Silver's ties to Weitz & Luxenberg have raised eyebrows over the years.

In 2006, The Post reported that Weitz & Luxenberg was shopping for clients who were injured at state-run parks, even though Silver, as Assembly speaker, has a role in overseeing the management of the parks as well as setting budgets for them. The firm removed the solicitation from its Web site soon after.     kenneth.lovett@nypost.com

6 comments:

a brother said...

oh, brother, more back room dealing.....what a joke!

concerned said...

Shelly you're a real shmuck

TRUTH TELLER said...

No politician or lawyer takes any unpaid position, unless they benefit from it greatly! So SHELDON SILVER keeps the corruption clock ticking....you are not BS'ING this taxpayer....SHELLY!

taxpayer said...

I second it Shelly - YOU ARE A REALLY BIG SHMUCK - I DO NOT CARE HOW MUCH POWER YOU THINK YOU HAVE!!!

Anonymous said...

Silver was always a shnorer

Anonymous said...

Shelly, Shelly, Shelly.....

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2