Today the Daily News' Glenn Blain reports the following about Panepinto:
ALBANY — A state senator from Buffalo pressed state Workers Compensation Board officials to take action favored by his multi-million-dollar law firm, the Daily News has learned.
Sen. Marc Panepinto, a Democrat, lobbied Workers Compensation officials to abandon plans to alter — and in some instances reduce — the reimbursement rates paid to doctors and other medical service providers shortly after taking office in January.
Panepinto's opposition mirrored that of his law firm, Dolce Panepinto, which, according to its website, specializes in Workers Compensation cases and recovered more than $8.5 million for injured workers in just the first few months of 2015. The senator personally earned more than $1 million from his work as a partner in the firm in 2014, according to records.
The firm trumpeted Panepinto's efforts to roll back the proposed rate changes in its most recent quarterly report, boasting that the senator was part of a coalition that "banded together to successfully defeat this regulatory barrier to quality health care for injured workers."
Workers Compensation Board spokeswoman Rachel McEneny confirmed that Panepinto "discussed a variety of issues" with board executives during a Feb. 11 telephone call but declined to provide further details. She stressed that the board was still considering the rate changes.
A spokeswoman for the senator defended Panepinto's efforts.
"Senator Panepinto received no compensation for his efforts fighting the ill-conceived Workers Compensation Board proposal and his law firm had no financial stake in stopping this reckless policy change," the spokeswoman said.
She said the proposed regulatory fee change was “a bad plan that would have harmed millions of hardworking New Yorkers and it would have created additional costs to taxpayers.”
The spokeswoman did not respond to requests for further information about Panepinto's activities or say whether he sought approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission.
And then there's this at the end of the article:
Insiders familiar with the Workers Compensation System suggested the changes, if implemented, would not drastically alter the financial recoveries earned by Panepinto's firm, but the firm's efforts likely endeared it to unions and doctors that refer cases.
"There's always something to be gained by doing something indirectly for the hand that feeds you," said one insider.
Panepinto, who pleaded guilty in 2001 to misdemeanor election fraud charges for collecting false signatures on nominating petitions, was elected to the Senate in November with heavy backing from labor unions, including the state's powerful teachers union.
Cuomo used the Daily News to dish dirt anonymously on de Blasio last month before de Blasio returned fire on Cuomo publicly.
It's not a stretch to think that Cuomo's using the Daily News again to strike out at enemies - including Panepinto, but not limited to him.
There's also a Ken Lovett Daily News expose on Eric Schneiderman today that reports the attorney general has "raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations over the past six months — through a loophole he has said should be closed."
Schneiderman, seen as a potential candidate for governor in 2018, is another enemy of Cuomo, having criticized the governor and the legislature for not closing the LLC loophole.
Lovet does report that $1.4 million of the $5.2 million raised in the last six months by Andrew Cuomo has come through the LLC loophole too.
But overall, the Lovett piece is aimed at Schneiderman, not at Cuomo.
And frankly, the story's kinda bullshit.
Scheiderman raised a combined $267,850 from more than 40 different limited-liability companies.
Seems like a lot until you put that into context.
Hell, last week alone Cuomo got eight checks amounting to $250,000 from four different LLC's with connections to the land development guy in the village of Kiryas Joel after Cuomo vetoed legislation that might have out the kibosh on Kiryas Joel's ability to annex 500+ acres of land next to the village.
Cuomo taking a quarter of a million from four LLC's with connections to the land development guy in Kiryas Joel just days after he helps Kiryas Joel with a veto - kinda puts the Scheiderman LLC donations into a bit of perspective, doesn't it?
How come Kiryas Joel/Cuomo story didn't make it into the Lovett column today?
Unless I missed it, I haven't seen the DN cover the Kiryas Joel/Cuomo $250K story at all.
The NY Post had it.
Two Daily News pieces attacking two Cuomo enemies today - Panepinto and Schneiderman - I dunno, seems odd, especially since Cuomo's used the Daily News in the recent past as a weapon of choice to lash out anonymously at enemies.
I'm no "insider" in the ways of Albany or anything and maybe I'm just being naive here, but my bullshit meter goes up when I see this sort of thing.
Feels like Cuomo's working the phones again, using the press to plant stories and lash out at his enemies.