LI state senators' outside jobs lucrative

Eight of Long Island's nine state senators earned at least $75,000 in outside income last year, with three making at least $100,000, according to their financial disclosures.

The recently released records show that local senators were far more successful in their side ventures -- primarily law firm work -- than Long Island Assembly members. Only two of the 16 Long Island Assembly members who were in office during 2012 reported earning at least $75,000 in outside income, and just one member said he made a minimum of $100,000. The lawmakers report their income in ranges. The figures do not include pension earnings.

State legislators earn $79,500 a year in their part-time positions.

Top earners were:

Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who reported between $150,000 and $250,000 in income from Uniondale law firm Ruskin, Moscou & Faltischek.

Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who reported making $115,000 to $210,000 last year, mostly through Manhattan real estate law firm Borah, Goldstein, Altschuler, Nahins & Goidel.

Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket), who reported $125,000 to $220,000 in earnings, primarily from the sale of vacant land in Canada.

Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), who made between $100,000 and $150,000 at the Uniondale firm Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, which practices land use law.

Skelos and Englebright are Albany veterans -- which tends to correlate with greater earning power, said Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy group.

"The general trend is legislators who have been around for a longer time have figured out how to take advantage of side jobs, compared to the younger members," Mahoney said.

Mahoney said Long Island's Assembly members "tend to be more freshman lawmakers and come from local offices, and haven't really yet developed the work patterns to maximize their financial interests."

The new disclosure filings are the result of a 2011 law that required more detailed accounts of secondary jobs and income to reveal potential conflicts of interest.

Spokesman Scott Reif said Tuesday that Skelos previously had disclosed his outside income voluntarily, and supported the new requirements.He couldn't immediately provide details of Skelos' work with Ruskin Moscou.Zeldin said the work he has done for the law firm focused on residential real estate, and was largely conducted between legislative sessions."Everyone who has interacted with me around the third Senatorial District knows that I am a 25-hours-a-day, eight-days-a-week senator," he said.Englebright couldn't be reached, and a representative for Flanagan didn't return a call for comment late Tuesday.

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