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Grisanti, Sampson confirmed for Court of Claims

Mark J. Grisanti and J. David Sampson, two Buffalo-area lawyers with years of experience in state government and close ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, were confirmed Tuesday by the State Senate for appointments to the Court of Claims.

The seats on the bench are for nine years with an annual salary of $174,000.

Grisanti, 50, is a former Republican state senator, and Sampson, 60, is a former executive deputy commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles. They are expected to immediately begin sitting on the bench that hears cases brought against the state.

Both were nominated by Cuomo for the posts.

Grisanti, who won an upset victory for the Senate in 2010, proved a close Cuomo supporter during his time in the Senate.

He provided one of four Republican votes needed to approve Cuomo’s effort to legalize same-sex marriage in 2011.

Grisanti was unsuccessful in his bid for a third term last November when he ran on the Independence Party line and lost to Democrat Marc C. Panepinto in a four-way race for the 60th District seat.

After the election, there had been speculation in Albany that Grisanti might join the Cuomo administration because the governor was the only statewide Democrat not to endorse Panepinto over Grisanti.

In addition to Grisanti, the list of 14 statewide nominees included Sampson, who worked for Cuomo in the Buffalo office of the state attorney general when Cuomo held that position. Sampson was deputy attorney general for the Division of Regional Affairs.

As governor, Cuomo appointed Sampson in January 2011 to the DMV post.