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City Announces Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin Will Leave as of June 30

Patti Singer

Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin, right, listens to Mayor Lovely Warren, right, at a news conference Sept. 3, 2020, after the public learned of the death of Daniel Prude. File photo

The city’s attorney has announced he is returning to private practice at the end of the current fiscal year.

City Hall released an announcement April 2 that Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin would be leaving government on June 30.

Curtin served as corporation counsel since January 2018.

An independent investigation commissioned by City Council into a timeline of when city officials were told about the death of Daniel Prude and how they communicated that information determined that Curtin was a key figure in keeping the news from the public.

The report issued by Andrew Celli Jr. of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Mazell said Curtin was one of four key city officials who knew in April 2020 that police had restrained Daniel Prude and the restraint caused his death.

Mayor Lovely Warren, former Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and Communications Director Justin Roj were the others who knew, according to the report.

The report said that in August, Curtin “actively discouraged” Warren from publicly disclosing the arrest after she saw the body camera footage for the first time. The report also said some of Curtin’s public statements about his knowledge of the arrest and death, and the reasons behind the lack of disclosure were not true.

Curtin, along with Roj, had been suspended without pay for a month last year. In March, City Council called for Curtin to be fired.

In the news release from City Hall, Curtin said, “I have informed Mayor Warren that I will be returning to my private law practice as of June 30. It has been an honor to serve the city of Rochester and Mayor Warren and a privilege to work with the many dedicated members of her administration.”

Corporation counsel is the head of the city’s Law Department, which provides legal advice to the mayor, and city departments, boards and agencies. It prepares and interprets contracts and assists in labor negotiations and collective bargaining. It drafts local laws and ordinances, reviews proposed state legislation affecting the city and researches state and federal legislation. It handles acquisition, management and disposal of properties and represents the City in civil, criminal and bankruptcy proceedings. It also implements legal remedies to address quality of life and nuisance abatement issues.

“Tim Curtin left a highly successful and lucrative law practice in New York, to return to Rochester and work in City Hall because he wanted to invest some of his time and talent in public service,” Warren said in the news release.

Curtin was appointed corporation counsel in January 2018. He served as deputy corporation Counsel from 2015 to 2018, and as bond counsel from 1994 to 2015. Curtin also previously served as bond counsel to the Rochester Housing Authority and the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency. Curtin received his law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law.

“Tim’s expertise as a long time ‘bond counsel,’ whose private law practice worked extensively within the financial sphere, was invaluable to our city, particularly as we were navigating the difficult waters related to bonding in the wake of the city school district’s recent fiscal crisis.

“Tim Curtin’s leadership, along with other members of the city’s finance and budget team, helped us successfully emerge from that challenge as evidenced by the recent positive affirmations we received from Wall Street’s rating agencies. I thank him for his service to our citizens and wish him much future happiness.”