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Suit Alleges Madison County Attorney ‘Double-Dipped’, Violated Public Officers Law

Verona, NY (WIBX) – Two Oneida Indian Nation employees are suing Madison County Attorney John Campanie over an alleged ‘double-dipping’ scheme.

Attorney George Carpinello, a partner in the firm Boies, Schiller and Flexner, is representing the plantiffs, Steven Mahler and Daniel Garrow, both employees of Oneida Nation Enterprises.

“He received payments from the lawfirm Nixon Peadbody, a lawfirm that he chose, was required to supervise and evaluate. By receiving the money from Nixon Peabody, his objectivity was clearly compromised and he placed himself in a clear conflict situation,” Carpinello said.

Campanie had selected the firm to handle litigation involving the Oneida Indian Nation, and while be paid as Madison County’s attorney, also received pay for his work with Nixon Peadboy, Carpinello said.

“State law, called County Law section 201, expressly prohibits a county attorney from receiving funds in addition to his salary for work he or she does for a county. They are limited to their stated salary and no other funds,” he said.

Campanie received additional pay, to the tune of more than $800,000, while working for the lawfirm on litigation involving the county and the Oneida Nation, Carpinello said.

The suit is seeking an injuction that stops Madison County and the State of New York from paying Campanie, and seeks restituion to the state, and possibly the county, Carpinello said.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is named in the lawsuit for his alleged inaction on the issue. The comptroller’s office was notified of the legal violation in October of 2010, Carpinello said.

Madison County Response

Madison County officials are responding to the allegations, saying the arrangement providing for Mr. Campanie’s payment has been public and disclosed from the beginning, in 1998, in his annual filings with the Madison County Ethics Board.

A statement from the county calls the suit a desperate attempt to deny effective counsel to Madison County, Oneida County and New York State.

“The inclusion of the Madison and Oneida County Attorneys’ private law firms in this extensive effort under State Law Section 10 began in the Pataki administration and has continued through subsequent adminstrations…”

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