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Cuomo will keep going with pension fund investigation

By John O'Brien | Apr 13, 2009


ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo may keep suing law firms he says took advantage of a state pension fund, a state judge recently ruled.

State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly on Friday dismissed the class-action complaint filed in May against Cuomo and several state officials, The Business Review reported.

The complaint said Cuomo's investigation is nothing more than "a politically motivated gambit." Albany firms Roemer, Wallens & Mineaux and DeGraff, Foy & Kunz filed the action and organized a website.

Cuomo claims some attorneys were put on the payrolls of some school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and received public pension benefits as a result. He has subpoenaed every state BOCES, as well as 70 upstate attorneys and 20 from the Long Island area, and has secured more than $1.5 million in settlements, the report added.

"These actions are contrary to the law, threaten to, and in some cases already have, improperly deprived or divested individuals of contract and property rights recognized and protected by the New York State Constitution and statute, and trammels the rights granted individuals by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution," the complaint said.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the ruling rightly allows his office to revoke pension fund memberships from the attorneys.

The court's ruling is a victory for the New York State Common Retirement Fund and for the one million members, beneficiaries and retirees of the New York State and Local Retirement System.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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