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Senate Retains Law Firm For “Personnel Matter”

Among the payments approved by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office in recent weeks was a $9,000 fee for a law firm representing the state Senate in a personnel matter.

A Senate spokesman declined to comment on the hiring of Kraus & Zuchlewski LLP, citing the unnamed personnel matter.

The firm has been hired in the past by the Senate in order to handle a harassment complaint in the office of Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, in 2012. Avella himself was not the target of the complaint.

Democratic Sen. Marc Panepinto of Buffalo abruptly announced this year he would not seek another term in the chamber, at the time citing a “personnel matter” as well as allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Assembly, too, continues to spend on legal fees related to sexual harassment investigations.

DiNapoli’s office reported a combined $85,000 was approved to two firms that have represented the chamber in the ongoing review of harassment policy. The law firms were retained following a spate of sexual harassment scandals involving state lawmakers.

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