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NY Assembly contracts for $210K outside counsel

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The state Assembly has entered into two contracts worth $210,000 for an outside counsel to handle sexual harassment policy development and investigations after a high-profile scandal.

The state comptroller's office says Tuesday the approval is for contracts with Rossein Associates. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the outside firm was retained by the Ethics Committee to keep the work in independent. The contracts come as part of reforms announced in May.

Silver faced harsh criticism last year for a $103,000 settlement using public money to silence the first accusations against veteran Assemblyman Vito Lopez.  Lopez resigned and has denied the accusations.

Merrick Rossein is a law professor at the City University of New York Law School at Queens College.

Comptroller's records show $140,000 has been spent on the contracts since September.
 
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