State turns down lawyer who tried to ...

State turns down lawyer who tried to exit pension system

There are 110 comments on the Newsday story from Apr 11, 2008, titled State turns down lawyer who tried to exit pension system. In it, Newsday reports that:

The attorney, William M. Cullen of Lloyd Harbor, was one of 10 attorneys profiled in a Newsday story on March 28 about private attorneys who secured public benefits by being reported as public employees.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Newsday.

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Ernie Expo

Brockton, MA

#108 Apr 12, 2008
The corruption is simply mind-boggling. Is there not one honest lawyer out there who would do this job without the sleezy deals to get state benefits in retirement? The school districts are also to blame as they have utter contempt for the taxpayers and just want to feed at the trough at taxpayers expense. I hope Cullen's reward is a stiff fine and payback of all the money he stole from the taxpayers.
dopey

Center Moriches, NY

#109 Apr 12, 2008
formerly of LI wrote:
<quoted text>
I am not an attorney nor do I have have any part of this mess, but thank you for not being one of the lynch mob. These other jackasses sound like they would also hang every person of color because some are thieves.
Only a Long Island School Lawyer could or would engage in "logic" such as this. It is born of unfettered, unchecked and uncontrolled arrogance over a period of decades. That's why it's so much fun thinking about these people babbling on the hot seat while being questioned by people far more powerful and intelligent than them. But they won't recognize or know this until it's too late.
anonymous

Medford, NY

#110 Apr 13, 2008
Also Fed Up wrote:
These lawyers were not making these sweet deals so they could receive $3,000 in pension benefits. That is just icing on the cake for them. The big "payoff" is having free or low cost medical benefits in retirement. Wouldn't we all love that? Most of us cannot even think of retiring because the cost of continuing health coverage has become so prohibitive, in addition to the outrageous school taxes we will continue to have to pay so that these people can retire "care free".
Soooooooo true
The Ridiculous

Huntington Station, NY

#111 Apr 13, 2008
All of us Long Island should go out and buy Lube for our butts in bulk.. cause we are forever taking up the wazoo!!
Common Sense

United States

#112 Apr 13, 2008
Franklin Sq taxed out wrote:
"Franklin Square Superintendent Thomas Dolan declined to say whether he was concerned that Cullen had been improperly listed on the district's payroll, but added, "We are looking into it."
Declines to say whether he was concerned ?
Looking into it?
Hello ?? And this guy is in charge of our school budget?
Nice to know that this lawyer gets paid some hefty fees, plus benefits (once in a while) and was in the pension system?
Superintendent Thomas Dolan needs to get advice of the School systems lawyer to find out if it is a problem that the lawyer has been stealing from the system. Cullen will probably tell him to say "No Response" or to ignore the people this mess will go away. Remember I have the goods on you.
joeyg

West Babylon, NY

#113 Apr 13, 2008
ok, so let me sum up like 87 percent of the prior posts. i'll use small words so you'll understand:

"all lawyers BAD, must hang!"

lol, you people make me proud to be a long islander.

show of hands--how many of you actually read AND understood the article?

p.s. no, i'm not a lawyer; that seems to be the first thing you jokers write when someone who's actually read and followed this story puts a lucid post here.

p.p.s. lucid means clear, for the guy from delaware.
explain

Wingdale, NY

#114 Apr 13, 2008
joeyg wrote:
ok, so let me sum up like 87 percent of the prior posts. i'll use small words so you'll understand:
"all lawyers BAD, must hang!"
lol, you people make me proud to be a long islander.
show of hands--how many of you actually read AND understood the article?
p.s. no, i'm not a lawyer; that seems to be the first thing you jokers write when someone who's actually read and followed this story puts a lucid post here.
p.p.s. lucid means clear, for the guy from delaware.
OK Joey what is your take on this article please...as one West Islip resident to another...
treciama

Middletown, DE

#115 Apr 13, 2008
joeyg wrote:
ok, so let me sum up like 87 percent of the prior posts. i'll use small words so you'll understand:
"all lawyers BAD, must hang!"
lol, you people make me proud to be a long islander.
show of hands--how many of you actually read AND understood the article?
p.s. no, i'm not a lawyer; that seems to be the first thing you jokers write when someone who's actually read and followed this story puts a lucid post here.
p.p.s. lucid means clear, for the guy from delaware.
Ah-- you cry out for my guidance!!

Here's one last attempt to succinctly explain it to you but I realize it's just a gesture since you clearly are either incapable or unwilling to understand...or perhaps are just making posts in a futile and sadly pathetic attempt to muddy the water for yourself or some complicit miscreant.

As part of their PRIVILEGE to receive a license from the state to practice law, lawyers must accept very strict standards and obligations to serve the client first and only. Any lawyer using his professional relationship to create inside deals to line his pockets and does not act in the sole interests of the client has committed a gross violation of his professional responsibilities. In this case, the conduct (1)was for direct personal gain,(2)violates known basic IRS principles for classification as an "employee" (i.e., it's not a cloudy issue for these poor confused lawyers),(3) has been going on for years and years and represents large amounts of stolen cash and benefits; and (4) was completely grounded in a direct client fiduciary obligation that was perverted for personal gain to the detriment of the client. THAT'S why the only proper and acceptable outcome is to hold these pig lawyers completely and directly responsible for the wrongdoing and DISBAR and JAIL them and get RESTITUTION.

Hope you're no longer CONFUSED!

Ok, now you're gonna be on your own from here on---I have to say goodbye to you....too many others need my valuable help on other issues!!
Anthony Jons

Jamaica, NY

#116 May 8, 2008
Whether receiving or set to receive pension money,
it is corruption. But I dare say that this is probably just one scheme involving pensions and public money. I'll bet there are many more just waiting to be uncovered.
Common Sense

United States

#117 May 9, 2008
If you read the story PSC aide to forfeit $50,000 Commissioner Maureen Harris makes pension case deal; Buffalo firm bows to Cuomo in todays Albany Times Union at

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp...

You will see what Cuaomo as Attorney General has in mind to resolve the matter.

It says:"- State Public Service Commissioner Maureen Harris has agreed to pay a $50,000 settlement as part of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's ongoing investigation into state pension system padding.

Harris had obtained a year's worth of public pension credits when she was a private practice attorney with Albany's Girvin & Ferlazzo law firm. At the time, Harris and other other partners at the firm were listed as employees of the Hamilton Fulton Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

In addition to the payment, Harris agreed to relinquish pension credits she had through BOCES. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is also investigating pension abuses, had already rescinded the credits."
Also paying $50,000 was the Hodgson Russ law firm of Buffalo, whose attorneys were listed in five western New York BOCES organizations. But because Hodgson Russ lawyers didn't sign up for pension benefits, individuals in that firm won't have to pay anything.

This marked the first settlement Cuomo has reached in his growing probe of pension abuses in which lawyers for school districts and various BOCES had been wrongly acquiring valuable public pension credits.

Cuomo, in a meeting with the Times Union editorial board shortly after Thursday's announcement, said he believes the school cases are just the "the tip of the iceberg," when it comes to improper gathering of pension credits.

Noting that New York state is home to some 10,000 government entities ranging from villages and towns to water districts and public authorities, Cuomo predicted there could easily be hundreds of cases in which lawyers or others such as engineers or doctors, have wrongly been listed as employees rather than contractors in order to get taxpayer-funded pension benefits.

"It is one of the most pervasive government frauds I have ever seen in the state of New York ... this is a political perk on the local level."

Ultimately, he told the Times Union, he plans to offer legislation that would prevent such abuses and allow for better policing of these myriad government entities

Michael Koenig, Harris's lawyer, stressed that the settlement agreement contains no admission of wrongdoing and he said his client reached out to the attorney general as soon as she learned that her former firm was under investigation.

"She wasn't trying to hide anything," Koenig said.

Hodgson Russ CEO and President Gary Schober noted the payment is not characterized as a fine or penalty.

Jeff Honeywell, Girvin & Ferlazzo's managing partner, said the firm is continuing to cooperate with the attorney general. He noted, as have BOCES officials, that the arrangement by which firm lawyers were listed as employees dates back many years. The state Education Department as well as the comptroller's office had not objected to such arrangements until this year, he said.

Ellen Nachtigall Biben, Cuomo's special deputy attorney general for public integrity, said BOCES pension enrollment was considered a perk for partners at Girvin & Ferlazzo.

The previous items were taken directly from the story. The question is why are the peple getting off so easy and then having the money not count as a fine or penalty. Is that just another way to say that nothing else will occur? Did they make a deal? Why was this not in Newsweek today? How easy will the LI lawyers get off?

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