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Laura Curran hits tax challenge lawyers, then appears with one

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, shown in Massapequa

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, shown in Massapequa on March 1, appeared at news conference this week with Jeff Gold, a Bellmore lawyer and former candidate for Nassau County Legislature who served on the now defunct Board of Assessors during the 2003 countywide reassessment. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

Democratic Nassau County Executive Laura Curran criticized tax grievance firms that made money off Nassau’s frozen assessment roll, posting her comments on her official Facebook page after a news conference this week where she stood with a Democratic lawyer, who also has made money off the county’s frozen assessments.

But in defending her reassessment of some 400,000 properties, Curran didn’t disclose that Jeff Gold, a Bellmore lawyer and former candidate for Nassau County Legislature who served on the now defunct Board of Assessors during the 2003 countywide reassessment, has charged $250 to $300 to fill out and file homeowners’ tax grievances.

She introduced him as “Jeff Gold, who is a former member of Assessment Review Commission and now has a very widely read Facebook page about assessment.”

Gold’s Facebook page, called, “Nassau Grieve Your Tax Assessment-Free” says homeowners can challenge their assessments on their own, but also says he will do it for the nonrefundable fee.

Curran’s press office had sent out emails a week ago, pointing out that a Freeport woman who spoke about her assessment at news conference held by Hempstead Town Tax Receiver Don Clavin was employed by Clavin — which Clavin disclosed at the start of the event and which was reported by Newsday in the subsequent story.

But Curran did not disclose that a Massapequa Park woman who talked about her assessment at the Curran news conference works for Gold.

Asked about the lack of disclosure, Curran spokeswoman Karen Contino said Gold’s Facebook page, referred to by Curran, is linked to a second page about his business.

“Neither Jeff nor [the Massapequa Park woman] are public employees,” Contino said.

“The County Executive’s reassessment and Tax Payer Protection Plan is supported by property owners who will face 2020/2021 tax increases and those with tax decreases,” Contino said in a statement. “Jeff Gold’s support for these efforts is solid even though it may impact his own property tax filing business.”

Curran authorized the reassessment after her predecessor, Republican County Executive Edward Mangano, froze assessment increases for eight years while granting thousands of reductions to homeowners represented by tax grievance firms.

Gold has been an outspoken advocate of Curran’s reassessment.

After Newsday inquired about Curran’s lack of disclosure, he posted on his Facebook page: “Very Excited. Newsday is breaking the story tomorrow that I do tax grievances, and Appeared at a News Conference with Laura Curran. Stop the Presses. I smell a Pulitzer. This is News? Could it be that they don’t like me poking fun of their in depth reporting. Could be a busy day on the page, and in the practice — I don’t exactly brag about that small part of my practice that consists of tax grievances, but it is set out pretty clearly in the files of this group. :) Maybe I should raise my rates :)”

He added Friday, in an interview and by email, that his flat-rate grievance work “constitutes a small fraction of my practice. After thousands of hours, advising residents how to file tax grievances for free on line, and in person, I began accepting work from homeowners who would otherwise have used a contingent firm . . . Unlike those firms, I look forward to the day when there is no need for my services or theirs.”

Gold said the employee of his law practice who spoke at the Curran news conference does no work on tax grievances.

Gold’s public defense of Curran’s reassessment has prompted speculation that he plans another legislative race. But he said Friday. “I never want to run for the legislature again.”

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