Senator Todd Kaminsky has filed legislation that prohibits State and local government authorities from paying elected officials for legal or consulting work with an Industrial Development Agency (“IDA”) or economic assistance corporation. The bill seeks to end elected officials using their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers. This legislation follows the arrest of Hempstead Town Board member Edward Ambrosino for allegedly failing to pay income taxes on money earned from Nassau County jobs.
“Corruption has infected every level of government, and we need to ensure a level playing field so that taxpayers know that officials are looking out for the public, not themselves,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky. “My legislation will prevent elected officials from profiting off of IDAs at the expense of their constituents. Political connections should not determine who gets a job; when people are hired who have conflicts of interest or are not the best-qualified candidate, a grave injustice to taxpayers occurs that must be rectified.”
While a Town of Hempstead Council Member, Ambrosino was paid $1.5 million for serving as general counsel to the Nassau County IDA -- income he allegedly never reported on financial disclosure reports.
Kaminsky’s legislation, S5695, seeks to change the current system that seems to allow for a preference in appointments of consultants or attorneys who are politically connected, as opposed to suitably qualified to advise the IDAs on issues that impact taxpayers in the jurisdiction. It prohibits public officeholders and party committee leaders from collecting consulting fees from state and local authorities either directly or through companies in which they have at least 10% ownership.