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How an Influential Private Lawyer Got a $107K State Pension

Posted Apr 3, 2008 1:53 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An influential New York lawyer who worked as a private contract employee for six governmental entities was given 21 years’ retroactive credit in the state pension system, enabling him to collect an annual pension of almost $107,000, Newsday reports.

Lawyer Albert D'Agostino received retroactive credit in 2000 for 28 years of work for two government bodies, Newsday reports. To get the credit, he was classified as an employee even though he was a private contractor earning legal fees.

The publication describes D’Agostino as an influential Republican lawyer.

He received retroactive credit for the 21 years he worked under a private contract as counsel to the Nassau County Planning Commission, earning $1.12 million in fees. He also received part-time retroactive credit for six years of work as counsel for the Hempstead Public Employment Relations Board.

D’Agostino’s pension was calculated based on the retroactive credits as well as credits he had already earned for contract work for four other governmental entities, the story said. His state pension was reported last week in a story that revealed nearly two dozen Long Island school districts improperly reported private attorneys as employees, helping them earn pensions totaling more than $342,000 a year.

D'Agostino benefited from a state law allowing public employees who meet certain criteria to get additional pension credits. A lawyer who litigates pension cases, William Friedman, told the publication the law was intended to help veterans who had to leave public jobs temporarily for military service.

D’Agostino’s request was buttressed with a letter from planning commission chairman Howard Blankman. He wrote that the county had originally intended to hire the lawyer as an employee, but forgot about the idea when his paperwork was delayed. Blankman told Newsday he did not realize his letter would be used to support D’Agostino’s bid for pension credits.

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