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Suspended Firefighter's Suit Against Long Beach Dismissed

April 9, 2015 by JOHN ASBURY / john.asbury@newsday.com

A Nassau County Supreme Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a suspended Long Beach firefighter, who alleged city attorneys misused taxpayer funds by doing private legal work on government time.

Jay Gusler, 52, said he filed the suit -- against the city, City Manager Jack Schnirman, former Corporation Counsel Corey Klein and Assistant Counsel Rob Agostisi -- on behalf of Long Beach taxpayers.

He alleged in the suit that officials "illegally conducted their private legal practices on city time while utilizing other city resources . . . which constitutes a theft of taxpayers."

Gusler, who represented himself, did not return a call for comment.

Supreme Court Justice Karen V. Murphy found no wrongdoing by the city, citing a "long-standing policy of the City of Long Beach to permit attorneys . . . to maintain a private practice as long as it does not interfere in any way with their duties and responsibilities as attorneys for the city."

Agostisi, who is now city corporation counsel, is not involved in private work, and Klein cannot do private work because he was elected a city court judge last year.

Gusler has filed four lawsuits against the city in the past three years.

"The city anticipated this dismissal after another baseless set of lawsuits from Mr. Gusler, and we are pleased with the court's decision," said Gordon Tepper, Long Beach's spokesman.

The city, represented by Garden City-based Rosenberg, Calica & Birney, argued that Gusler was "blinded by anger and resentment" and filed suit in September in retaliation for demotion from fire lieutenant to firefighter and an investigation on criminal charges.

Gusler has been under investigation since last year and was indicted in February on charges of grand larceny, identity theft and forgery.

He allegedly submitted a false bid to the city to repair a boiler at the Long Beach Recreation Center. Criminal charges are pending.

Judge Murphy also ruled in favor of the city's decision to hire outside counsel in their defense of Gusler's lawsuits.



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