Such a Deal: Murtagh Hired as Senior Counsel for Law Firm that Earned $50,000 Contract from Yonkers Board of Contract and Supply in Last Days of December 2011 By HEZI ARIS

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YONKERS, NY – February 1, 2012 – Politics On the Hudson advised in a posting yesterday, January 31, 2012, that they were in receipt of a press release from former Yonkers City Council Minority leader John Murtagh announcing his joining the White Plains Law firm of Gaines, Gruner, Ponzini & Novick as a senior counsel. Our writing the following day reveals the rest of the story.

The article does not give notice to the Yonkers Board of Contract and Supply (BOCS) Meeting that took place in the last days of then Mayor Phil Amicone’s administration, specifically on December 28, 2011, at 10:30 am, held at the Mayor’s Reception Room, situated on the second floor.  It was on that day that Gaines, Ponzini & Novick, LLP received funding in which the firm allegedly stipulates to provide legal representation as directed by Yonkers Corporation Counsel. The award was for $50,000.00; the contract number: 020-020-5642-0478. The decision was approved 4-0. Chuck Lesnick, president of the Yonkers City Council abstained.

The members that attended the December 28, 2012 meeting of the BOCS were Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, City Council President Chuck Lesnick, Commissioner of Finance and Management Services Carl Maniscalco, Acting City Engineer Paul Summerfield, City Council Majority Leader Patricia McDow.

Others in attendance were Purchasing DirectorTom Collich, Deputy mayor Bill Regan, and 1st Deputy Corporation Counsel Ed Dunphy.

The voting members were then Mayor Phil Amicone, Chuck Lesnick, Patricia McDow, Carl Maniscalco, and Paul Summerfield.

Four members voted in favor of the contract, none opposed, and Chuck Lesnick abstained. Yet the BOCS record stipulates the vote was 4-0. A more appropriate and formal standard would be recorded as

4-0-1. Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick abstained because Corporation Counsel would not or could not give a rationale for awarding the contract. Reference: http://www.yonkersny.gov/Index.aspx?page=1313

Murtagh waged an unsuccessful bid for Mayor of Yonkers against candidates Carlo Calvi and Mike Spano. Mike Spano’s campaign effort was victorious.

Murtagh is given attribution for writing the following in his press release, “I look forward now to helping clients not only based upon my legal background but by having spent nearly a decade on the other side of the table. My years in office have given me another perspective which, I believe, will help me advise clients living, working and doing business here in Westchester.” 

 Such a deal!

LEGAL NOTICE: It is illegal to spend city assets for any purpose where no services are being rendered in return. The attorney for the city must articulate the reason for the contract, otherwise it is a gift. Inspector General Dan Schorr, where are you? 

 

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eHeziSuch a Deal: Murtagh Hired as Senior Counsel for Law Firm that Earned $50,000 Contract from Yonkers Board of Contract and Supply in Last Days of December 2011 By HEZI ARIS

Comments 20

  1. Soooo, is this some kind of a retainer fee? Do they have a specialty that would be needed by a city? When it is stated that no reason was given for the contract for services, was there any letter or email inviting them to come for this meeting, and would that be in such correspondence? How did the meeting even come about?

  2. “how much is that ballpark in the window?
    the one for a dollar that failed,
    how much is that ballpark in the window?
    I do hope that ballparks for sale?

  3. duh…are you kidding me….Murtagh votes to indemnify the mayor and then this “coincidence”…give me a break…I have a ballpark in the downtown to sell you…

  4. duh…are you kidding me….Murtagh votes to indemnify the mayor and then this “coincidence”…give me a break…I have a ballpark in the downtown to sell you…

  5. duh…are you kidding me….Murtagh votes to indemnify the mayor and then this “coincidence”…give me a break…I have a ballpark in the downtown to sell you…

  6. Whether you like Mr. Murtaugh or not there is no proof given in the article that he was involved in the firm getting the contract.
    Most people get jobs by networking through people they know. It doesn’t surprise me that Mr. Murtaugh would have contacts at a firm that does business with the City. That doesn’t prove that he had anything to do wtih them getting the contract. He didn’t even vote on it.
    “The voting members were then Mayor Phil Amicone, Chuck Lesnick, Patricia McDow, Carl Maniscalco, and Paul Summerfield.”
    What is more concerning to me is that based on the article 2/5 of the board of contract supply is made up of unelected/appointed executive branch staff. That essentially gives the Mayor a 3/5 majority on the board.
    I would say it is more likely for a mayor to abuse this situation than a councilman no?

  7. Really. Amicone out sourced so much of the legal work, it should be investigated by Snore.
    Millions were spent on bogus lawsuits and appeals during the Amicone regime.
    Keep dreaming…
    Fire them all, I say, if they can’t do the lawsuits.

  8. no one has any problem with outside counsel..but
    here is the rub…you hire outside counsel when the
    need arises either because the corporation counsel
    is unable to do the work eg a certain legal specialty
    is involved or the corporation counsel is overloaded
    and has to layoff some of its workload..either one
    is a legitimate reason..but a need must be articulated
    before a contract is let for outside work…and the
    corporation counsel in this case did not articulate
    a need according to this story….so the question becomes why hire the outside firm in anticipation of
    a need on december 31st when you can’t give a reason
    for the contract..one would assume at any future time
    when there is a need the same contract could be let…

  9. With all due respect, Fact Check, don’t you think it is a bit of a coincidence that the latest outsourcing of legal work goes to a firm that Murtagh will be pretty much lobby for, in the eleventh hour of Amicone’s term?

  10. With all due respect, Fact Check, don’t you think it is a bit of a coincidence that the latest outsourcing of legal work goes to a firm that Murtagh will be pretty much lobby for, in the eleventh hour of Amicone’s term?

  11. With all due respect, Fact Check, don’t you think it is a bit of a coincidence that the latest outsourcing of legal work goes to a firm that Murtagh will be pretty much lobby for, in the eleventh hour of Amicone’s term?

  12. Well, well, well, if the corp. counsel needs to hire an outside firm then why do we need them? SpaNO should get rid of the Corp Counsel dept. if they are not up to the task.

  13. All this does is authorize the Corp Counsel to use this firm (among many already approved) to provide services as directed by the COrp Counsel In other words, if the Corp COunsel needs outside counsel (which they do often) then this firm can get some of the work. It doesn’t mean they got a check! Do your research before you attack!

  14. its illegal to spend city assets for any purpose
    where no services are being rendered in return.the
    attorney for the city must articulate the reason for
    the contract otherwise its a gift..mr schor should
    be asked to look into this issue

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