Kay calls on Hoffman to cut ties with Lakin firm

Chris Rizo Sep. 16, 2008, 2:17am



Dwight Kay, who is running against state Rep. Jay Hoffman, is calling on the legislator to cut his ties with The Lakin Law Firm.

Hoffman, a Democrat, is an attorney "of counsel" with the prominent Wood River law firm, which was thrust into the media spotlight after its founding attorney, Tom Lakin, pleaded guilty last week to drug charges.

Lakin's plea in federal court came nearly a year after associate Gary Peel was sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of bankruptcy fraud, obstruction of justice and possession of child pornography.

Kay said Hoffman's close association with the law firm while serving on the House Judiciary Committee is a conflict of interest.

"It's more than just the fact that Tom Lakin and Gary Peel now have the word 'guilty' permanently attached to their legacies, but the fact that Mr. Hoffman continues a financial relationship with a special interest firm - a personal injury and class action law firm - while serving on the House Judiciary Committee is an unconscionable conflict of interest," Kay said.

Hoffman's campaign did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

Kay also took aim at Hoffman for neither disclosing his salary nor his duties at the Lakin Law Firm, which he joined in 2003.

He said Hoffman "continually makes votes as a member of the House Judiciary Committee on issues effecting the outcome of litigation for the clients of the Lakin firm and the citizens and businesses they sue."

He added, "Mr. Hoffman continues to represent the Lakin Law Firm and Governor Blagojevich, when his full-time job should be representing the constituents of the 112th District."

Another point of criticism was that Hoffman voted against a veto override of the bipartisan-backed comprehensive ethics reform bill that, among other things, would have limited the ability of former officials to obtain employment with firms that do business with the state.

"Voters should fire Mr. Hoffman for his refusal to support this ethics legislation," Kay said.

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