A lot of ink has been spilled over the federal corruption charges that have been filed against longtime New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. At the heart of the case is the sharing of asbestos patients/clients by doctors and law firms tied to Silver on an apparent quid pro quo basis.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, Silver’s former (he has taken a leave of absence since the charges were filed) law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, was referred asbestos claimants by a doctor that Silver was able to direct taxpayer research dollars to. When the research dollars dried up, the doctor started referring most of his patients elsewhere.
Weitz & Luxenberg denies knowledge of the apparent arrangement between Silver and the asbestos doctor, but the firm’s involvement is concerning since it also practices in New Jersey. In fact, the firm is a big fan of the New Jersey court system. The firm is not, however, as well-connected in Trenton as it is in Albany. Only a couple of donations have been made from firm employees to New Jersey campaigns, and as far as we know, no legislators are employed by the firm.
We will continue to follow this story closely as it develops.