Nassau Legis. David Denenberg, who remains on the ballot as a candidate for State Senate, is close to settling a lawsuit filed by his former law firm accusing him of billing more than $2 million in "fictitious services," his lawyers said.
Criminal defense attorney Jason Russo and lawyer Jeff Gold, who is representing the Merrick Democrat in the lawsuit filed last month, said Tuesday that both sides had reached a tentative settlement.
"The 'i's' have to be dotted and the 't's' to be crossed," Gold said. "We hope to be resolving the litigation to everyone's mutual satisfaction."
Russo, who replaced Bruce Barket as Denenberg's criminal attorney, said, "The civil litigation with Mr. Denenberg's prior law firm has been amicably settled."
A representative of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, Denenberg's former law firm, did not return a call for comment.
The Garden City law firm last month filed suit in U.S. District Court accusing Denenberg of "truly heinous criminal misconduct" and billing more than $2 million to client Systemax over eight years for work he did not do. The suit also alleged that Denenberg fabricated and signed two court orders.
Denenberg, who left the firm abruptly in June with no explanation, called the allegations "outrageous," but never specifically denied them.
The law firm referred its accusations to the U.S. attorney's office, which again Tuesday declined to comment, confirm or deny that it was investigating the complaint. However, Russo said Tuesday, "I'm representing him in that ongoing investigation. There's nothing happening right now."
When the suit was filed, Denenberg said he was withdrawing from the race against Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) for the 8th Senate District seat vacated by Republican Charles Fuschillo. But his name remains on the ballot and he has continued to appear at community events and at legislative meetings.
Asked if Denenberg would resume campaigning if the suit was settled, Gold said, "He is still actively representing his constituents." Denenberg said Tuesday, "I am a legislator getting out there and representing my constituents."
"While Mr. Denenberg would like to fool voters into believing that this matter has been settled, an active criminal investigation remains ongoing," said Jim Moriarty, a Venditto campaign spokesman.
The Venditto campaign on Monday began running a new commercial against Denenberg that repeats the lawsuit allegations as fact, not allegations.