PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Peekskill City Councilman Darren Rigger joined local residents and officials in front of the Catalina Law Firm Saturday calling on Mayor Frank Catalina to publicly release his firm’s full client list to ensure that the mayor is not representing any other private interests that have business before the City.
On Friday, the Journal News published an investigative report that noted a developer with a $30 million project that needs multiple city approvals was a client of the mayor’s family law firm, Catalina Law Firm. The Journal News also reported that despite this fact, the mayor has been a public supporter of his client’s development project, going so far as to champion it in his State of the City address earlier this year.
“The Journal News investigation troubles me deeply. The question is, in matters in which his clients have business with the city, whose interest is the mayor actually representing: his landlord clients who pay him privately or the taxpayers of Peekskill,” said Councilman Rigger.
“We need to get to the bottom of whether there are any other clients his family law firm represents who have business before the city. The only way to do that is to provide full disclosure so taxpayers can judge for themselves. I am calling on the mayor to disclose the client list of his family law firm publicly,” he continued.
While Mayor Catalina claimed that his law practice and that of his daughter are distinct, the Journal News pointed out that they share the same office, same phone number, same secretary and same business website. Additionally, the Journal News reported that Catalina admitted he has appeared in court on behalf of clients that he claims are solely those of his daughter. He further admitted to the Journal News that he turned over many of his clients directly to his daughter to represent.
Catalina also privately represented the seller, Beach Auto Sales, in a land transaction in which the buyer needed a special permit from the common council. Catalina recused himself from the vote, but participated in the public hearing March 22, 2015, while on the dais in city hall.
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