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Constitutional Law

N.Y. Judge Restores Lawyer’s $106K Pension, Nixes $605K Repayment Order

Posted Aug 27, 2009 4:44 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Ordered to repay more than $600,000 in pension benefits which he allegedly was improperly paid over the past seven years, a New York lawyer has won at least a temporary reprieve from a state-court judge.

Because the state comptroller's office didn't give attorney Albert D'Agostino proper notice and an opportunity for a hearing, it did not have a right to revoke the Long Island lawyer's $106,000-a-year pension, Acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly has ruled. It appears that his decision at least temporarily nixes the repayment demand by the comptroller's office, too.

The comptroller's office has vowed to soldier on with its case against D'Agostino, after revising its procedure, reports the New York Law Journal, in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

D'Agostino tells the legal publication he feels vindicated, and describes the state action against him as a politically motivated case brought by "first string rookies who worked for a rookie comptroller who is looking to stay in office."

He and other New York lawyers allegedly were improperly listed for years as employees of government agencies in order to obtain state pension credits, when in fact they were representing these agencies as independent contractors while in private law practice. A total of 62 lawyers have had their pensions or service credits revoked, and the ruling in D'Agostino's case is expected to add fuel to the due process claims that other attorneys also are pursuing, according to the article.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Two N.Y. Lawyers Get Pension Tabs: $84K and $600K"

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