ALBANY — Taxpayers paid another $32,000 for defense lawyers hired in the Assembly’s sexual harassment cases, $11,000 to represent the chamber in the corruption case against the former speaker, and $9,000 in the Senate’s clash with the state’s anti-corruption commission, according to state comptroller’s office records released Thursday.
That brings spending to the Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux law firm to $41,843 as outside counsel in the Assembly’s independent investigation of sexual harassment cases against members. The two-year contract with the Assembly is valued at $155,000.
The Assembly’s Democratic majority has also so far paid $55,863 to the Zuckerman Spaeder law firm on two contracts as outside counsel for “assistance with investigations.” Those investigations include the federal corruption case against longtime Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). Silver was convicted in December, although Silver had hired and paid for his own defense attorney.
The Senate’s Republican majority has so far approved $873,640 in spending to the Kirkland & Ellis law firm as special counsel in the former Senate majority leader’s fight against the Moreland anti-corruption commission. The commission created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo subpoenaed records involving senators and their outside income to investigate any conflicts of interest.
The Senate Republicans argued that the law allows senators to have outside jobs and the Cuomo commission was an overreach that violated the constitution’s separation of powers. The leader who fought the Moreland Commission’s subpoenas was former Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who was also convicted in December in a separate federal trial.
There was no immediate comment Thursday from the Senate and Assembly majorities.
The contracts and payments made in January are reviewed by the state comptroller’s office for fraud and waste.