Labor & Employment
Two N.Y. Lawyers Get Pension Tabs: $84K and $600K
Posted Aug 27, 2008 8:43 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Updated: The New York lawyer whose multiple employment sparked a statewide pension probe has been ordered to repay nearly $84,000 in benefits. Meanwhile, another New York lawyer has been told he owes a much bigger tab of more than $600,000.
However, a judge's ruling has cast doubt on whether they will have any immediate obligation to repay.
The first lawyer, Lawrence Reich, had been reported as a full-time employee for five Long Island school districts, giving him a state pension of $62,000 a year. At the same time his law firm had earned $2.5 million in fees from the districts.
The comptroller’s office told Reich yesterday that the overpayments amounted to $83,624, Newsday reports. The state comptroller had determined that Reich was in reality an independent contractor who was misclassified as an employee. But the comptroller’s office said Reich was still entitled to receive $4,575 a year because he was employed by the state education department from 1966 to 1978.
The amount pales in comparison to the amount charged to Nassau lawyer Albert D'Agostino, who had gotten 21 years of retroactive pension credit, Newsday reports in a separate story. The comptroller’s office says he wasn’t eligible for any pension and told him to pay back $605,874.
D'Agostino says the state ignored documentation supporting the pension and that he will appeal.
Reich’s lawyer, Peter Tomao, told the newspaper his client maintains he acted legally and is deciding whether to contest the decision.
Last updated at 4:53 p.m. to include information from subsequent ABAJournal.com post.