Case Against Madison County Attorney Moves Forward
Late yesterday afternoon, the New York State Supreme Court denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought forward by two Madison County residents and Oneida Nation employees to stop improper billing practices by the Madison County Attorney and bring restitution to state and local taxpayers.
For more than a decade, Madison County Attorney John Campanie collected a taxpayer-funded county salary as well as compensation from an outside law firm that he helped select to represent Madison County for county legal work. This is a clear violation of state law. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was made aware of the illegal payments but did not act on the information.
“Yesterday’s ruling affirms what we have said all along. Madison County Attorney John Campanie and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli provided no legal basis for why this suit should be dismissed,” said Dan Smith, Oneida Indian Nation Public Affairs Manager. “By rejecting the efforts of the Madison County Attorney and the New York State Comptroller to avoid answering the charges in these lawsuits, the court has made it clear that this case should proceed on its merits.”
Public documents obtained by the plaintiffs' attorneys in April 2011 showed that Mr. Campanie received substantial extra compensation adding up to more than $800,000 over the past 13 years from the Nixon Peabody law firm for work he claims he did for Madison County. Mr. Campanie helped select Nixon Peabody to represent Madison County in disputes with the Oneida Nation. This is in clear violation of County Law 201 and Public Officers Law 67-which prohibits Mr. Campanie, as county attorney, from receiving additional compensation for representing Madison County, thereby separating his legal advice from any financial interests.
A copy of yesterday’s ruling is available here: http://media.oneidaindiannation.com/documents/1-24-2012+Decision+and+Order.pdf .