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Nassau again approves rejected lobbyist's contract

Former County Attorney John Ciampoli is shown in

Former County Attorney John Ciampoli is shown in this undated photo. George Marlin, a member of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, wrote state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, contending that Ciampoli's action to pay lobbyist Robert Bishop "should be reviewed as potentially illegal." (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Maybe the third time’s the charm for a Nassau lobbyist’s contract.

For the third time in a row, the Nassau Legislature’s Rules Committee approved, on a party-line vote, a $60,000 contract for Albany lobbyist Robert Bishop to represent Nassau in Albany. Bishop has lobbied on Nassau's behalf since 2007.

However, Nassau’s financial control board has thrown out the contract twice before. Members of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority rejected the 2012 contract for Bishop because the work had been completed before the control board could approve it. Then-County Attorney John Ciampoli angered the board by approving a $60,000 payment to Bishop for his services despite NIFA’s rejection.

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NIFA then turned down Bishop’s proposed 2013 contract, as an unnecessary expense for a county in fiscal distress.

On Monday, when Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbuy) inquired whether NIFA would approve the proposed new Bishop contract, given its past rejections, Chief Deputy County Attorney Lisa LoCurto said, “That was the past. There’s been a new dialogue. A new county attorney.”

Former Parks Commissioner and Family Court Judge Carnell Foskey replaced Ciampoli after the election. “The new county attorney has no reason to believe” that it won’t be approved, LoCurto said.

But NIFA Member Chris Wright said later, ““I can’t imagine why the board would approve something it has twice rejected unanimously. Bad ideas don’t become good ideas just because someone else is asking or someone else is being asked, and this contract is still a bad idea.

“It is an unnecessary expenditure being proposed by a county that has a $100 million deficit to correct.”

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