Thomas Garry, the vice chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Party and a managing partner at the Harris Beach law firm, has been hired to do legal work for the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.
The acceptance of the work goes against a statement made by Garry a year ago when he served as the chair of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s transition team. He said he would not accept a job in government, according to a Newsday report. But in August, the Nassau IDA board voted to bring Garry on board.
IDA Chairman Richard Kessel said that Garry was hired in a competitive process.
“[Harris Beach] were one of three firms that we brought on to help us with transactions,” he told Newsday. “They represent over 30 IDAs, including Suffolk … from my perspective, they are the most experienced IDA firm in the state. I’m glad we got them.”
The Nassau IDA is a state-created agency that offers payments in lieu of taxes and other incentives to attract and keep jobs within the county. Since the agency is a creature of the state, Garry argued, Curran did not break her promise to not hire anyone who held a position within the Democratic Party.
“The IDA is an entirely separate legal entity,” Garry said last week, according to Newsday. “Their leadership does not involve the county whatsoever and our firm has one of the largest, if not the largest IDA practices in New York State … We don’t do any work for the county and will not do any work for the county.”
Members of the IDA board are recommended by the county executive and approved by the County Legislature.
Nassau County Attorney Jared Kasschau left a position with Harris Beach to join local government.
Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.