When Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano proposed a contract for a Republican lawyer who helped get him elected, Mangano’s county attorney said the $175,000 contract “replaces an outside vendor ...” used by the prior administration.
That implied that the law work would be done in-house, but how could the Mineola law firm of Peter Bee — Bee, Ready, Fishbein, Hatter and Donovan — not be “vendor?’
The reply from County Attorney John Ciampoli showed the sort of dizzying legal footwork that made him a top Republican election lawyer before he took his current job.
Here’s Ciampoli’s statement:
“While one can characterize (and apparently the prior administration did characterize) a law firm as a vendor these contracts are not the same as other contracts for services — — they are retainers of special counsel by the county attorney. All of the attorney client privileges and obligations attach to the retainer of special counsel. Retaining an attorney is by definition a different kind of contract.”
Maybe Ciampoli honed his verbal skills in the three weeks he and Bee spent working on the count of paper ballots that left Mangano the victor over two-term Democrat Thomas Suozzi by 386 votes.