Statement from LRANY Executive Director in Response to Speaker Silver’s Jump in Earnings From Weitz & Luxenberg

The revelation that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver received as much as $750,000 from the personal injury firm of Weitz & Luxenberg in 2013 is a timely reminder that New Yorkers still have no idea what work – if any -Mr. Silver is performing for the firm; much less what would justify a $200,000 raise. According to court filings, Mr. Silver hasn’t represented a client in well over a decade – something he has in common with the “other” Sheldon Silver.

And then there’s the question of the interest income Mr. Silver received from Counsel Financial, a lawsuit financing company founded by Perry Weitz and managed by Arthur Luxenberg. Mr. Silver and his wife each reported earning as much as $75,000 in interest from a five year loan, meaning an interest rate as high as 30%. For what possible reason would a financing company which has provided over $500 million in credit lines need a loan from the Speaker of the Assembly?

In his duties as Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Silver has aggressively opposed common sense legislation – such as Scaffold Law reform – which would diminish both Weitz & Luxenberg’s and Counsel Financial’s profits. With over a million dollars in lawsuit-related outside income in 2013, the question all New Yorkers should be asking themselves is this: whose interests is Sheldon Silver really representing in Albany?

Tom Stebbins
Executive Director
Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York

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