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Tom Precious


The world's largest tobacco company has turned to a Buffalo law firm to help defend itself against a multibillion-dollar lawsuit brought by New York state.The big downtown firm Phillips, Lytle, Hitchcock, Blaine & Huber has been hired by one of the nation's most embattled companies, Philip Morris, makers of Marlboro and other brands.The firm is representing Philip Morris i…

Big industrial users, not residential customers, will receive the lion's share of rate cuts under a deal announced Friday between Niagara Mohawk and state regulators.The agreement, part of a sweeping plan to reorganize the utility and end its monopoly on the upstate energy market, would reduce residential electricity bills -- as well as those for small- and medium-sized bu…

Hoping to end what has largely been a stealth campaign, a millionaire Rochester businessman will launch a series of statewide television and radio advertisements next week to promote a state constitutional convention.Thomas Golisano, who spent $7 million of his own money on his unsuccessful 1994 gubernatorial run, will be the major sponsor of the media campaign. He would n…

Gov. Pataki Tuesday announced his support of the November ballot issue on a state constitutional convention, but said his only plans to win voter approval would be some speaking engagements."It is clear that a constitutional convention offers us the best opportunity to make fundamental changes to state government," said Pataki, one of the last elected leaders to take a sta…

Three state law firms, chosen to represent the state's multibillion-dollar claims against the tobacco industry, contributed at least $250,000 to the campaigns of Gov. Pataki, Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco and other top Republican causes before their selection.The three firms, -- Sullivan & Liapakis, plus Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz, Damashek and Shoot, both of Manhattan,…

Estate and trust lawyers in Florida like Alan Hilfiker for years enjoyed a steady source of clients who wondered whether they should leave New York.With Florida's sun and a much lower cost of living fueled by lower taxes, he and his colleagues had good arguments for Florida residency.Now, officials in Albany hope a new change in the state tax law will help slow the number …

Already an outcast among Republican Party leaders, Lt. Gov. Ross today announced she will switch her allegiance to the Democratic Party."The Republican Party has hung out a sign: 'Women need not apply,' " Lt. Gov. Ross said in a statement. Her move was anticipated for months, ever since Gov. Pataki said earlier this year he was dumping her from his re-election ticket next …

A tentative agreement was reached by state government and Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. negotiators Thursday to restructure the utility in a way that eventually will introduce competition into the upstate electricity market.How historic the deal is, however, remains uncertain, since the sides -- staffers at the state Public Service Commission, Niagara Mohawk and an undisclose…

Saying state and local governments need to be restructured, the state's most influential business lobbying group came out Wednesday in favor of holding a constitutional convention.The support from the Business Council of New York State comes at a crucial time for the fledgling and hodgepodge assortment of interests pressing for the gathering.On Nov. 4, voters will decide w…

In an early preview of next year's campaign, Gov. Pataki offered a stumplike speech Wednesday to a group of New Yorkers considered vital to his re-election efforts: women.Aided by his wife, Libby, and at least one potential candidate to be his running mate, Pataki received a warm reception from a crowd that included some Democrats, but was also filled with administration o…

The money wish lists have begun, and Buffalo will find itself standing in a long line of communities eager for cash from a new state funding pool.With a pot of money totaling $425 million sitting ready to be tapped, officials from across the state have begun putting their pleas in to Gov. Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, and Assembly Speaker She…

The State Senate zipped in and out of the Capitol on Monday, passing bills to make unions happy, cut into ticket scalpers' profits and lower costs for a new high school construction project in Niagara Falls.The special one-day session, which cost taxpayers at least $15,500 for lawmakers to gather for the approximately 30 minutes they spent in public view, became a politica…

Nearly 1,000 additional teachers will be needed across New York State under a proposal the state education commissioner unveiled this week to raise high school graduation requirements.Commissioner Richard P. Mills said the plan, which was debated publicly for the first time Thursday by a state Board of Regents panel, would cost nearly $100 million over the next five years …

In a further illustration of the power of the public employee unions at the Capitol, the State Senate announced Tuesday it will be returning to Albany for a special one-day session next week to consider a measure being heavily pushed by the labor groups.At issue is whether public employees can be forced to pay union dues if they don't want to become members of the labor or…

Railing against big money and special-interest influence at the Capitol, some of the wealthiest special-interest groups on Monday announced a coalition to try to block a special convention to consider changes to the State Constitution.The coalition -- 68 groups with varying interests and levels of power in Albany -- includes several of the top money-givers to statewide and…