By FREDRIC U. DICKER - August 7, 2008
ALBANY - A political rival yesterday blasted closed-mouthed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for lending $50,000 to a small company that funds personal-injury lawsuits and could be hurt by efforts to limit lucrative awards to trial lawyers - including those at Silver's law firm. "You have Sheldon Silver putting the interests of [law firm] Weitz & Luxenberg and the Tria Lawyers Association above that of New Yorkers," charged Paul Newell, who is challenging him in the Democratic primary. "Silver is employed by Weitz & Luxenberg for an undisclosed salary for undisclosed work on behalf of undisclosed clients, and if that wasn't bad enough, he now is personally investing in companies that have business before the state." Silver has lent at least $50,000 to Counsel Financial Services, an Upstate company that finances small law firms specializing in personal-injury cases, The New York Times said yesterday. Silver, who has blocked efforts to cap payouts in such cases, refused to comment.