Steve Levy joins Bohemia law firm that fought MTA tax

In this March 8, 2010 photo, Suffolk County In this March 8, 2010 photo, Suffolk County executive Steve Levy poses in Albany. Photo Credit: AP

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Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy has joined the Bohemia-based law firm of Campolo, Middleton and McCormick, which helped bring the suit that led to the recent legal victory against the MTA payroll tax.

Levy said he began work this week with the firm and is taking an of counsel title so he can be free to do consulting work through his new firm, Common Sense Strategies, and his policy think tank, the Center for Cost Effective Government.

"I wanted to spend the first six months of the year building up the center and the consulting business, and now [that] they are rolling along, it's time to sign on of counsel," Levy said. "I feel it's a good fit."

Campolo, Middleton and McCormick has 15 lawyers and 28 employees. Joseph Campolo, managing partner, said Levy "will certainly add depth to our municipal and government relations practice," which is headed by Scott Middleton, former Lake Grove mayor, justice and trustee and current village attorney.

The Campolo firm represented Classic Limousine owner William Schoolman in his lawsuit against the state's controversial MTA tax. Levy said the county never hired the firm while he was county executive. However, he said officials did use the firm's legal research for Schoolman's original suit, which Suffolk and Nassau counties joined.

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A state Supreme Court justice last week declared the tax unconstitutional. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which counts on the $1.2 billion annually that the tax generates, said it will appeal the ruling. The tax charges employers in the MTA region 34 cents for every $100 of payroll.

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Levy's move surprised longtime friend and political consultant Michael Dawidziak. "I didn't know anything about it or that they were even talking," he said. "But it's not unusual. The Garden City law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein hired former County Executive Robert Gaffney after he retired, and state senators often end up with big law firms when they retire."

News of Levy's new legal role was first reported on the Long Island Business News website Monday.

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