The Albany Times Union is investigating Counsel Financial, an investment vehicle connected to Buffalo based venture capitalist Jordan Levy, Weitz & Luxembourg, and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The firm is mentioned in US Attorney Preet Bharara’s indictment of Silver.
Counsel Financial is based in Williamsville. Counsel Financial offers attorneys loan advances on large settlements and judgments from litigation. The US Attorney’s complaint alleges that Silver has a $100,000 interest in the investment vehicle. Silver’s 2013 financial disclosure states that he and his wife received $50,000 and $75,000 from Counsel Financial, respectively.
The indictment also notes a $368,000 interest in an account held by JoRon Management. The Times Union reports:
JoRon Management’s 1999 filing with the Department of State lists Mark Zogaria as a contact for the LLC, and gives 1 News Plaza, Suite 10 in Buffalo as its address. That’s the offices of Z80 Incubator Labs, where Zogaria was a team member. He did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
Zogaria is a longtime accountant and business manager who works for Levy. After receiving a state grant for his z80 Labs, Levy moved his office from the former HSBC tower to the Buffalo News building space that was leased with the grant money.
Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxembourg both serve on the Board of Counsel Financial. The firm Weitz & Luxembourg is at the center of corruption allegations brought against Silver by the US Attorney:
Counsel Financial’s board includes Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg of Weitz & Luxenberg, the personal injury law firm from which Silver recently went on leave. Silver’s collection of referral fees for roping in mesothelioma patients — allegedly in exchange for official favors — forms half of the federal indictment against him, though the indictment notes that the law firm wasn’t aware of Silver’s alleged transgressions.
Levy contributes heavily to Democrats and is known to be close to Silver. It is unclear if Levy has become a focus of the investigation.