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Oyster Bay Dem leader criticizes legal deals as 'cronyism'

Oyster Bay Town Hall on March 26, 2012.

Oyster Bay Town Hall on March 26, 2012. Credit: Nicole Bartoline

Oyster Bay has extended the contracted services of two local lawyers with longtime ties to the town leadership and who regularly donate to town Republican campaign coffers.

A local Democratic Party leader criticized the renewals, saying GOP town officials were "taking care of their own."

Anthony J. LaMarca, of Syosset, will continue to represent Oyster Bay in tax-assessment cases at a cost of as much as $45,000. Arlene Van Loan, of North Massapequa, was awarded a second one-year contract extension to handle criminal and disciplinary matters and be paid as much as $15,000.

Town officials said the attorneys, both registered Republicans, are uniquely qualified and help in some instances with cases that span years. Their extensions were approved in separate town board votes earlier this year.

The Republican appointments were "just another example of their nepotism and their cronyism," said John Capobianco, spokesman for the Town of Oyster Bay Democrats group.

LaMarca and his law firm gave the Town of Oyster Bay Republican Committee $3,350 between April 2006 and December 2012, state records show. His firm, Anthony J. LaMarca, P.C., has for several years served as special counsel to the town, a position previously held by the now-dissolved Marino, Bernstein & LaMarca, where he was a partner.

The town has given LaMarca a waiver acknowledging perceived conflicts of interest. Though not legally required, the waiver "is under the heading of full disclosure and lets everyone know that while Tony may come before the board on behalf of an applicant, he also, in certain instances, does work for the Town of Oyster Bay in our interests," town attorney and Deputy Supervisor Leonard Genova said.

LaMarca's son, Richard, was hired last June to a $75,000 town post as director of labor management relations. Officials said Richard LaMarca has human resources experience and the position had been vacant for years.

Van Loan, formerly a deputy town attorney and Nassau County assistant district attorney, gave $900 to the town GOP between November 2008 and September 2012, records show.

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