Middlesex County News

New Attorney Named for City Parking Authority, Previous One Given Ethics Fines

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city’s parking authority appointed a new law firm for its general and special counsel, after the previous lawyer, Leonard Bier, was fined for ethics violations.

David Minchello of the Woodbridge-based law firm Rainone, Coughlin, Minchello, LLC, was voted in as the New Brunswick Parking Authority counsel at ​its January 2018 board meeting.

His predecessor, Leonard Bier, was issued a $200 fine after failing to disclose multiple sources of income, including $106​,000​ ​in ​income from the state.

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Bier pleaded guilty to the ethics charges during the city's ethics board meeting in Sept. 2017. 

Bier is currently the CEO of the New Brunswick-based Bier Associates, according to his LinkedIn profile. He’s also a consultant for the Miami Parking Authority, executive director and general counsel for the Rahway Parking Authority and executive director of the Rahway Redevelopment Agency.

The New Brunswick Parking Authority used Bier as ​its lawyer since 1987; and 2018 is the first year in nearly three decades he’ll be out of that job.

Bier Associates did not respond to the parking authority’s request for proposals in search of counsel for 2018, according to public records.

Instead, Bier Associates will continue to be one of the three parking consultants for the NBPA, a position which has also been held by the New Brunswick firm for several years.

Bier couldn’t be immediately be reached for comment, nor could a spokesperson for the city.

The new firm will earn $4,000 a month as general counsel and $175 an hour as special counsel, according to Mitch Karon, executive director of the parking authority. A public records request seeking a copy of the contract is still pending.

Rainone, Coughlin, Minchello’s practice areas, according to the firm’s website, include municipal law, redevelopment, land-use and affordable housing litigation and labor and employment law.

Public records indicate that the county hired the firm as labor counsel in 2017 for a rate of $165 an hour. The county, at a January Board of Freeholders meeting, voted to renew the contract, but a copy of the document wasn’t immediately made available.

Craig J. Coughlin, one of the three partners, was sworn in earlier this month as Speaker of the General Assembly, after taking over for ​Assemblyman ​Vinny Prieto following a political showdown in 2017.

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