Labor & Employment

23 Long Island School Districts Count Private Lawyers as Employees

Nearly two dozen school districts on Long Island improperly reported private attorneys as employees, helping them earn public pensions totaling more than $342,082 a year, Newsday reported today.

The paper brought to light the issue of independent contractors being treated as employees who could obtain public benefits when it questioned such an arrangement for Centerport lawyer Lawrence Reich. Five districts reported him as a full-time employee, which allowed Reich to collect a pension of nearly $62,000 and health benefits for life.

Reich, who denied any wrongdoing and said the practice was widespread, has since been asked to repay the pension.

Newsday’s investigation found that, in some cases, a town, village, library, special district or county also reported the attorneys as employees, often as full-time.

Among those named by the paper is Albert D’Agostino, 64, who has served on boards in Nassau County and Hempstead, and reportedly collects a public pension of $106,702 because of his past school district work.

The paper also notes that Gil Henoch, 75, earned a public pension of $11,561 after the Hempstead and East Meadow school districts reported him as an employee. “State records show Henoch was paid $30,344 for a single day’s work at the Hempstead school district in 1995,” Newsday reports.

Henoch, who started working for districts in 1971, told the paper that he received health benefits from the district. But, he is quoted saying, “I never asked to be in the retirement system. When I was hired, they put me on. … Many districts did the same things with their lawyers.”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.