Nassau’s new Democratic county executive Laura Curran has taken a tip from a Republican friend, Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, and hired an ethics lawyer — the same one King Sweeney employs.
Curran, who was scheduled to be sworn in Monday, is paying out of her own pocket for Albany-based attorney David Grandeau, said Curran spokesman Michael Martino. “She is doing this to ensure that any decision she makes will be ethical and above board. It is what she promised and she is going to deliver.”
King Sweeney acknowledged that she had urged Curran to hire an ethics expert. “She is a good friend of mine,” King Sweeney said. “In addition to making wardrobe recommendations, I also made that recommendation . . . I highly suggested that she get herself a David. She needs someone looking out just for her.”
King Sweeney, an aviation attorney, said she hired Grandeau about eight years ago, before she was on the town board, to ensure that she never crossed the line into lobbying for her clients in light of her father’s position. King Sweeney’s father is U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford).
She continued to take advice from Grandeau in her fights against former Republican Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino over ethics reform. Grandau testified before the Hempstead Town Board about issues concerning Santino’s plan — which capped elected officials’ outside income at $125,000 — a move that King Sweeney said was intended to force her off the board. Santino never made it clear how he arrived at that number.
“He’s a pit bull,” King Sweeney said. “His sole mission is to protect his clients . . . and make sure none of us fall into any traps.”
— Celeste Hadrick