TRENTON >> David Minchello apparently can’t separate himself from Trenton.
The city’s former law director has stayed connected to Trenton by employment or through law firms since Mayor Eric Jackson assumed office in July 2014.
On Thursday, city council approved two contracts for Minchello’s newly formed law firm, Rainone Coughlin & Minchello, totaling $105,000. The firm is politically connected as one of the law firm’s partners is Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), who is rumored to be in the running for the next Assembly speaker.
Rainone Coughlin & Minchello received a $75,000 contract for legal services regarding labor matters and $30,000 to perform legal work for employment matters.
Minchello was an early supporter of Jackson’s bid for mayor. In May 2013, Minchello’s former firm, Antonelli Minchello, donated $2,000 to Jackson’s campaign.
After winning the mayoral race, Jackson appointed Minchello as law director. Minchello stayed in the role for a year but he also was named a partner with DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, which had an active contract with the city, four months before he resigned.
Minchello was named a partner of the firm in March 2015 after he received the blessing from Jackson, who reportedly secured approval from the state.
In April 2015, Jackson appeared before council declaring the city would end its $80,000 contract with DeCotiis due to the then-law director’s ties with the Teaneck-based law firm.
But that never occurred.
DeCotiis has remained a contracted firm with the city. The law firm was also given a $50,000 contract for general municipal and other legal matters on Thursday.
Minchello and several other DeCotiis members left the firm to form Rainone Coughlin & Minchello earlier this year.
The city’s former law director also had another connection to another contract that was approved by city council on Thursday.
City council approved a $50,000 legal services contract to the law firm of Antonelli Kantor. Daniel Antonelli was Minchello’s former law firm partner when the company contributed $2,000 to Jackson’s campaign in 2013.
Antonelli also became a partner at DeCotiis the same month as Minchello. Antonelli formed his new firm in March.
With the latest round of legal services contracts, it appears the city is rewarding those who are connected to Minchello.