New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced settlements totaling $600,000 with two law firms for improperly listing their attorneys as employees at the Board of Cooperative Educational Services and school districts.
Under the settlement, Girvin & Ferlazzo PC, which has served as bond counsel on upstate school district deals in recent years, will pay $500,000, end a 19-year practice of listing its attorneys as employees of the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES, and its attorneys will forfeit any pension credits accrued under that practice.
The firm also agrees to cooperate with an ongoing investigation as well as any potential civil or criminal case against former partner M. Cornelia Cahil, who is now a partner at Hiscock & Barclay LLP. Cahil's voice mail yesterday stated that she was on a closing and unreachable until today.
The practice was considered "perk" by the firm and benefited the BOCES which was able to receive more state funding which was based in part on the number of employees it had, according to a press release from Cuomo's office.
The firm Hogan, Sarzynski, Lynch, Surowka & DeWind LLP will pay $100,000 and end a similar practice with BOCES and school districts.
"Both of these firms engaged in long-term schemes that cost New York's taxpayers and warped the very laws their attorneys were supposedly expert in," Cuomo said in a press release. "We will continue working to put an end to the abuse and an end to lawyers receiving public benefits they are not entitled to."