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Highway Authority authorizes $6.5M for outside counsel

Politically-connected law firms do well under Murphy

By David Wildstein, June 29 2018 10:47 am

The New Jersey Highway Authority this week approved legal work of up to $6.5 million for ten politically connected New Jersey law firms, including the designation of DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole & Giblin as the authority counsel.

Sills Cummis & Gross was named co-counsel, although sources say that partner Jerry Zaro, who had expected to be named authority counsel following the independent procurement process, has told Gov. Phil Murphy that he’s not interested in serving in a second chair-like capacity.

Genova Burns, the firm of powerhouse Angelo Genova, is the new employment practices counsel, along with McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter.  Bond counsel work goes to Connell Foley – which is coincidentally the new home of former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno – McManimon, Scotland and Baumann, and Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer.

Shain Schaffer, the law firm headed by Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer, will be the collections counsel.

The litigation counsel is Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi, which has represented the Turnpike Authority on-and-off for decades.  The firm is headed by former U.S. Senator Jeff Chiesa, who was attorney general under Gov. Chris Christie, and Frank Giantomasi, who is well-connected to Essex County Democrats.

Pashman Stein Walder Hayden was award the insurance counsel work.

Earlier this year, the authority gutted their legal department and decided to sent most of the work to outside firms.

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