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NFTA eyes 4 lawyers for counsel post

Four well-known attorneys, some prominent in political circles, have emerged as finalists for general counsel of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

According to several sources familiar with the situation, the finalists include State Supreme Court Justice Frank A. Sedita Jr.; Kenneth A. Schoetz, senior vice president of regional offices for the Empire State Development Corp.; David J. State, an assistant state attorney general and Iraq War veteran; and Vicky-Marie Brunette, the authority's acting general counsel.

The vacancy, expected to be filled after commissioners conduct final interviews Thursday, was created by the retirement late last year of David M. Gregory, a veteran NFTA official.

Sedita, son of the late Mayor Frank A. Sedita Sr. and father of District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, is approaching his 76th birthday and mandatory retirement from the Supreme Court bench. He has been serving for the last six years in a senior capacity.

Schoetz, 55, was a top adviser to former County Executive Dennis T. Gorski while serving as county attorney. He was close to former Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer, first as head of the regional office of the state attorney general when Spitzer held that post and later as chief operating officer of Upstate Empire State Development.

He has worked in the House of Representatives as a legislative assistant and was a Hamburg village trustee from 1992 to 1996.

State, 48, was an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Buffalo before joining the attorney general. He joined the Army National Guard in 1997 and spent 2005 in Iraq with the Army JAG Corps, prosecuting war crimes.

Brunette, 44, has served in the NFTA's legal department for several years.

All are Democrats, according to Erie County Board of Elections records.

e-mail: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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