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Lawsuit alleges "double dipping" by Madison County Attorney in Oneida Nation dispute

Attorney says "desperate attempt" by Oneida Nation to deny county of representation

By PAT BAILEY

MADISON COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Two Oneida Indian Nation Employees, both residents of Madison County, are part of a civil lawsuit filed against the Madison County Attorney, accusing him of "double dipping."

The lawsuit alleges Madison County Attorney John Campanie collected nearly $1 million over and above his county salary.

George Carpinello, the attorney who represents both the Nation and the two workers who filed the suit, said Tuesday that his firm has been investigating the double dipping for more than a year.

Paperwork, more specifically, bills from a Rochester-based law firm to the State of New York, were obtained under the Freedom of Information Law, Carpinello said.

According to the lawsuit, Campanie retained Nixon Peabody, the Rochester firm, to represent Madison County in the dispute against the Oneida Nation. It is alleged that firm would then bill the State of New York for legal fees, and include money for Campanie.

"He had a financial interest to maintain the litigation involving the Oneida Nation, (and Madison County)" said Carpinello. "He had an interest in making sure that Madison County did not settle any litigation with the Oneida Indian Nation.'

According to Carpinello, Nixon Peabody collected $12 million from the State of New York in legal fees, about $1 million of which went to Campanie.

NEWSChannel 2 asked Campanie if he felt he received the money fairly.

"I wouldn't have submitted it if I didn't think so," he responded. "This is just a desperate attempt by the Oneida Indian Nation to deny the County of Madison legal representation."

The Madison County Board of Supervisors also commented on the matter via a signed release on Tuesday.

"The arrangement providing for Mr. Campanie's payment has long been public and was disclosed from the beginning of 1998 in his annual filings with the Madison County Ethics Board," the Board stated.

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