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Thursday, August 21, 2008

NY Comptroller revokes state pension of private lawyer

Comptroller revokes state pension of private lawyer
Newsday by SANDRA PEDDIE AND EDEN LAIKIN - August 21, 2008
eden.laikin@newsday.com; sandra.peddie@newsday.com


State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has revoked the pension of a private attorney from a politically prominent Garden City law firm, along with those of two upstate attorneys, bringing to 28 the number of people who have lost pensions or pension credits since the office launched a statewide investigation in April, DiNapoli's office announced yesterday. Gilbert Henoch, 75, a partner in a law firm that includes state Republican leader Joseph Mondello and former Hempstead Supervisor Gregory Peterson, had earned an annual public pension of $11,561 since retiring in 2003.

State and school district records show that he had accrued 26 years of credit in the pension system after being improperly reported as an employee of the Hempstead and East Meadow school districts. "State pensions are strictly for employees of state and local governments," DiNapoli said in a release. "Independent contractors do not qualify for state pensions." Neither Henoch nor his attorney, Norman Bloch, could be reached for comment yesterday. Since Newsday first reported in February that five school districts simultaneously reported private attorney Lawrence Reich as a full-time employee - enabling him to get a public pension of nearly $62,000 annually - DiNapoli and State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have launched investigations into pension abuses.

Cuomo has reached settlements covering 66 attorneys and five law firms statewide, returning $935,000 to state coffers, according to Cuomo spokesman John Milgrim. DiNapoli's office has revoked 14 pensions, rescinded the pension credits of 12 people and suspended two pensions, according to spokesman Dennis Tompkins. In June, after Newsday first reported Henoch's employment arrangements, Cuomo announced that Henoch had settled with his office, agreeing to pay the state $60,000. At the time of the settlement, Bloch said Henoch agreed to the settlement because he had "received a pension in error." The comptroller's office also announced that it has rescinded pension credits for three other attorneys upstate. They were allowed to retain some credits because the comptroller found they had some legitimate service from other public employers. The attorneys who lost pensions, in addition to Henoch, were Joseph Pondolfino and Thomas DeBoy.

The comptroller's office said Pondolfino had been incorrectly listed as an employee of the Oneonta Central School District in Otsego County and that DeBoy had been reported as an employee of the Cheektowaga Central School District in Erie County. Pondolfino, reached in his Oneonta office, said, "I don't think they were correct in taking my pension under the circumstances I'm dealing with and I'm going to fight it." DeBoy said he also disagrees. "The way the comptroller conducted its investigation (i.e., never contacting me before reaching its initial conclusion, and declining to return my e-mails earlier this year) demonstrates that the decision to kick me out of ERS [Employees Retirement System] was predetermined several months ago," he wrote in an e-mail.

THE STORY SO FAR

--25 Attorneys and one accountant have either had their memberships in the retirement system revoked or had service credits rescinded by the state comptroller.

--2 Attorneys have had their pensions suspended by the comptroller.

--66 Attorneys and five law firms have been covered by settlements reached with the Attorney General. $935,000 Has been collected so far in settlements with the attorney general. 

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

One can sympathize. It's hard to be blocked from the trough, when you have been fattening there for years.

a disgusted taxpayer said...

nail everyone of these pigs who are eating off us now! and while you are at it remove their law licenses, screw them good the way they screw everybody!

Anonymous said...

how about some jail time to send a message. At least comunity service and a fine. They got a good deal.
If they steal and get caught all you do is payback the money.
Can you blame them for stealing.
Thier is no penalty.

Anonymous said...

2008 Headline-Grabbing Ploy of the NYS Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, backfires

Attorney Thomas DeBoy, one of the many attorneys who DiNapoli summarily kicked out of the New York State Employees’ Retirement System in 2008, fought back and won. How? By refusing to let DiNapoli adjudicate his rights via press release and headlines.

Attorney DeBoy stood up to government-run-amok by insisting that Comptroller DiNapoli and ERS honor his right to a due-process hearing. It took nearly seven years of stonewalling and delays tactics by the State, and a judicial finding that the State violated the due process rights of attorneys like DeBoy, but he was finally vindicated in 2015.

By a 2015 letter signed by the Deputy Comptroller, Thomas Nitido, the Retirement System finally conceded that DeBoy had been an employee of the Cheektowaga Central School District after all. DeBoy was therefore fully reinstated as a Tier IV member of the Employee Retirement System.

Nitido wrote to Attorney DeBoy: “Please be advised that upon a further review of the facts related to your service with the Cheektowaga Central School District and in light of the court decisions in the Matter of Mowry v. DiNapoli, 111 AD3d 1117 (3rd Dept. 2013) and the Matter of Brothman v. DiNapoli, 114 AD3d 1072 (3d Dep’t 2014), the Retirement system is withdrawing its [negative] determination. As a result, all service credit associated with your employment with the Cheektowaga Central School District….will remain as reported by your employer.”

This is a cautionary tale for the followers of this blog.

Just because a politician like Thomas DiNapoli can grab headlines doesn't make him or his office credible.

Kudos to Attorney DeBoy for standing up to the bullies in Albany. Now someone should do a story on how much money the Comptroller’s Office wasted in the pursuit of DiNapoli’s ridiculous witch hunt and vendetta since 2008.

Anonymous said...

2008 Headline-Grabbing Ploy of the NYS Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, Backfires

Thomas DeBoy, one of the many attorneys who DiNapoli summarily kicked out of the New York State Employees’ Retirement System in 2008, fought back and won. How? By refusing to let DiNapoli adjudicate his rights via press release and headlines.

Attorney DeBoy stood up to government-run-amok by insisting that Comptroller DiNapoli honor his right to a due-process hearing. It took nearly seven years of stonewalling and delay tactics by the State, and a judicial finding that the State violated the due process rights of attorneys like DeBoy, but he was finally vindicated in 2015.

By a 2015 letter signed by the Deputy Comptroller, Thomas Nitido, the Retirement System finally conceded that DeBoy had been an employee of the Cheektowaga Central School District after all. DeBoy was therefore fully reinstated as a Tier IV member of the Employee Retirement System. Nitido wrote to Attorney DeBoy:

“Please be advised that upon a further review of the facts related to your service with the Cheektowaga Central School District and in light of the court decisions in the Matter of Mowry v. DiNapoli, 111 AD3d 1117 (3rd Dept. 2013) and the Matter of Brothman v. DiNapoli, 114 AD3d 1072 (3d Dep’t 2014), the Retirement system is withdrawing its [negative] determination. As a result, all service credit associated with your employment with the Cheektowaga Central School District….will remain as reported by your employer. This determination constitutes the Retirement System’s final determination with respect to this matter.”

This is a cautionary tale for the followers of this blog.

Just because a politician like Thomas DiNapoli can grab headlines doesn't make him or his office credible.

Kudos to Attorney DeBoy for standing up to the bullies in Albany. Now someone should do a story on how much money the Comptroller’s Office wasted in the pursuit of DiNapoli’s ridiculous witch hunt and vendetta since 2008.

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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:
         
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               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2