When Mayor Bill de Blasio faced state and federal inquiries into his campaign fund-raising activities during his first term, he used city funds to pay for the bulk of the legal fees. But he announced that he would personally pay a portion of the fees, about $300,000 that pertained to his “nongovernmental work.” (Mr. de Blasio has yet to settle that debt.)
Last week, the state comptroller office approved a $2.5 million contract for Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, a Manhattan law firm, to represent the administration in a federal investigation, overseen by the Eastern District of New York, into nursing home deaths and questions related to the publication of governor’s book, “American Crisis.”
The firm is also handling state and federal inquiries into the preferential access to coronavirus testing afforded to Mr. Cuomo’s family and other influential people, according to a partner there, Elkan Abramowitz.
“The executive chamber has retained counsel, and that is a state expense,” Mr. Cuomo said on Wednesday. “It has been in every investigation, so that’s where we are now.”
As the inquiries have multiplied, so has state spending on legal representation for Mr. Cuomo and his aides. In the case of Mr. Abramowitz’s firm alone, the state went from a $1.5 million in initial precontract paperwork in March to the approved $2.5 million just over two months later.
And there are several other firms representing Mr. Cuomo, his aides and other state officials.
A separate request for the state to contract with Mitra Hormozi, a lawyer with Walden Macht & Haran LLP, which is representing the executive chamber on an investigation overseen by the state attorney general into the sexual harassment claims, is under review, according to the state comptroller office.
Another contract for Paul J. Fishman, a partner at Arnold & Porter, a firm which is also representing the governor’s office on the sexual harassment accusations, has not been submitted to the comptroller office.