David Chauvin, a partner in the Great Neck public relations firm of Zimmerman-Edelson, is the spokesman for Nassau’s Off-Track Betting Corp., which has promised to find a temporary site for video lottery terminals before the end of this year and generate $20 million in revenue next year for cash-starved Nassau County.
On Monday, Chauvin, along with Zimmerman-Edelson, was hired to be the spokesman for the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the county’s state-appointed financial control board which has expressed strong doubts whether whether OTB can generate the promised $20 million.
Could this be a conflict of interest?
“Of course not,” responded Robert Zimmerman, a national Democratic committeeman and cable television political analyst, who heads the firm that carries his name. “Zimmerman-Edelson doesn’t play any policy-making or decision-making role at either OTB or NIFA,” he said. “In addition, its very clear that OTB’s agenda and NIFA’s agenda are not in any way in conflict because OTB is dedicated to producing revenue for Nassau County through VLTs and clearly NIFA wants to see Nassau County improve its revenue position...Our services are being provided for communication purposes. If there was any remote conflict, we would not engage in that.”
The NIFA board voted Monday to hire Chauvin as a communications consultant for a maximum of $5,000 a month following a request for proposals. Chauvin had served as spokesman for NIFA chairman Jon Kaiman for a time when Kaiman was North Hempstead’s Democratic town supervisor.
Chauvin also worked temporarily for NIFA earlier this year to handle media questions about a federal investigation in which State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) was charged with improperly influencing the award of a $12-million Nassau contract to a firm that employed Skelos’ son. Skelos and his son have denied any wrongdoing.