Tuesday, October 25, 2016

REAL ethics reform?

Our governor has announced that he will be calling for REAL ethics reform in 2017.

Which begs the question what have all the other ethics reforms we've had over the last decade been if not real?

Is the governor admitting that all the other ethics reforms were fakes, fugazys, Agata's?

I normally don't comment on any policy positions the governor takes on anything other than ethics reforms but he did call his thoughts on outside pay and raises for the legislature "real ethics reforms" so here goes, with apologies ahead of time for criticizing the governor since I'm still hoping we can become buddies hang out and talk cars.   Speaking of which, governor, anytime you want to drive a 6 speed 560 hp caddy station wagon give me a call,  it's my daily driver and unless Agata will try to call that an imputed gift you are welcome to take it for a spin anytime. 

Here's my thought on pay raises.  You don't give the legislators a raise and ban outside income you let them earn as much as they can in outside income (most of them would starve if they had to earn an honest living) require full disclosure of who they are earning that money from and cut their pay.  There is no shortage of people willing to run for office, the problem is the ones that are already in office stay because they can't do anything else.  It's kind of like staffers, the really good ones leave and go where they can make more money the bad ones and corrupt ones hang around forever.  You know who I'm talking about.

Now if the governor and the legislature are intent on passing "real" ethics reform instead of just firing Agata you could pass legislation restructuring JJOKE or better yet abolishing JJOKE and outsourcing the enforcement functions to any entity not controlled by those it regulates,

But in all honesty the simple answer is FIRE AGATA

Monday, October 24, 2016

Now where did JJOKE leave that investigation file?

Over a month ago I got a phone call from a reporter in NYC asking if I knew where she could find the Lobby Commission Trump investigation material.

As soon as Trump entered the presidential primaries I took a trip to my basement and dug out the boxes I had packed with my office bric a brac when they abolished the old Lobby Commission.  I was pretty sure I had a copy of the cd rom we handed out to the media and the public when we closed the Trump case.  And sure enough there it was right next to the Phillip Morris cd rom and the Correctional Services cd rom and the report from the New Jersey State Casino Control Commission listing the gambling habits of many of New York's elected officials (part of the Trump case).  So I took it upstairs and put it next to my computer and waited for a call.  As Trump became more and more likely to be the republican candidate for president I became more and more confused that no one was calling.

But then the call set forth above came in.  My answer was sure I know where you can find that information.  Did you try JCOPE?  They took control of all the files from PIC who took control of all the files from the Lobby Commission.  Her answer was she asked JCOPE for the files but they could not find them.

So I sent her a copy of the cd rom and she traveled to Albany to interview me.  Here's the story she wrote:

Forget for a moment the comparison between what the Lobby Commission used to investigate and what Agata's JJOKE is investigating now.  Imputed gifts? really?? The fact remains JJOKE lost the Trump investigation files.  I wonder how many other files they've lost?  They must have lost Percocco's disclosure report, all those business relationship reports Bragg has been writing about and god only knows how many complaints about the 2nd floor staffers activity.  Not to mention the routine filings that go missing all the time.

I know, I know Walt McClueless will tell us Agata is always improving the process at JJOKE.

But the best process improvement they could make would be to FIRE AGATA before he loses the governor the governorship.   Don't laugh it could happen.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Agata's eyes are wide shut

You would think after all the bad press Agata got for ignoring the Percocco financial disclosure report and his pathetic excuse filled press scrum about it, that Agata would learn to review some disclosure reports.  It is his job after all.

You would think after the Times Union spot lighted Agata's failure to enforce the reportable business relationship filings that entities employing high level 2nd floor staffers should have filed but did not that Agata would keep a closer eye on those very important ethics reform disclosure reports (I even heard a rumor that he drafted a good bit of those ethics reforms in his previous job as counsel to the governor, along with providing state services to the governors private business dealings and advice to Joe Percoco about outside employment)  I even gave Agata a heads up yesterday that one of his staffers own report was problematic.

Now if you heeded that warning Agata what comes next should not surprise you and you should be ready for media followup questions.  And not being available for comment, like you did when asked if you volunteered time to the Cuomo campaign, is essentially an admission.

The JJOKE director of investigations and enforcement, the person paid well over $120k to enforce these transparency and disclosure violations, reported in 2014 that she was an adjunct professor for NYU.  And I'm sure you've already guessed NYU is the client of a lobbyist and has not filed a business relationship report listing JJOKE's director of investigations and enforcement, Pei Pei Cheng, as a business relationship.  No different than the Lacewell and Glaser employers that failed to file there business relationship reports.  Now Lacewell is gone, Glasier is gone but Pei Pei Cheng and Seth Agata are still employed by JJOKE.   That is in a word shocking.

There are some other omissions on Pei Pei's reports but I'll save that for another day.

Fire Agata and fire Pei Pei.

Maybe if Pei Pei spent more time on her own reports she wouldn't have enough free time to go chasing the imputed gift cases she is bringing against lobbyists that hire firms that hire the adult children of public officials.  Like Apple and Evan Stavisky's clients.  And Wilson Elser for hiring Ken Bruno and Revlon for hiring Pataki's wife.  Those last two happened under my watch at the lobby commission and we didn't consider for a moment investigating either case.  My bad ooops.  Of course we did a lot of other gift cases involving public officials.

Everyday it's another Agata fuckup or coverup.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Agata and Alphonso David

Cudos to Casey Sailor for at least giving me credit for the Lacewell inquiries

And a big attaboy to Casey for being smart enough to ask the follow up questions regarding Agata volunteering his time to the campaign as well.  FIRE AGATA

But as can be expected from Cuomo's D team they only serve to put a spotlight on his staffs activity with Alphonso David's response that Lacewell was a volunteer for the Cuomo campaign.

My instincts tell me he's lying.

And if I was running JJOKE and saw these stories about Lacewell's campaign activities I'd start asking these people some questions under oath to clear it up.

Lots of questions to ask under oath like:

Please provide copies of the emails.  That should tell us when and where they were written.

Also who they went to and what accounts those senior staffers used.

Did Lacewell inform anyone (like the campaign or the governor) that she was providing volunteer professional services?

But most importantly

If Lacewell was a volunteer when she provided these legal services why is Alphonso David providing the cover story?  Who was he representing when he responded to the Times Union questions?  Was he a volunteer as well?  He only has a role to play here as counsel to the governor if Lacewell performed these services as a state employee otherwise Alphonso's answer should have been "I can't comment as it does not involve the governors office"  At a minimum he should have called Agata for ethics advice.  It certainly wouldn't be the first time Agata and David have discussed ethics.  And by the way Mr. David, Seth doesn't think you have any clue what you are doing in that field.  He told me so over a cup of coffee at Saatchi.  He also told me that you were the one that cut the deal with the Senate Republicans for C3 source of funding in return for confidentiality in investigations by JJOKE.

And one last thing who was the "spokesperson that said the emails were sent from Lacewell's gmail account?  Rich Azzopardi? During his state jobs work hours?  Another volunteer?

Agata this is your job and you can't do it.

You don't have the skills and you are conflicted.  You may even be a participant in the same volunteer coverup you should be investigating.

You guys want me to stop being an ethics gadfly looking solely at the 2nd floor?  That's easy get rid of Agata.

Tomorrow I'll be blogging about the JJOKE staffer whose financial disclosure report proves she is unfit to work at JCOPE.  You have a day Agata to read all the financial disclosure reports filed by your staff  DO YOUR JOB OR RESIGN

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Agata misses another one

There was an informative piece by  Erica Orden over the weekend in the WSJ.  It described facts that could lead one to believe that the Governor may have known Todd Howe and his activities a little better than he is willing to admit.

But that wasn't what caught my attention.

Nor was the fact that the WSJ is like an early warning system for what Preet and the US Attorneys office are going after next (the NYT for what is coming in the short term the WSJ for the long term)

No it was the description of Linda Lacewell's role in the vetting of donations to the CUOMO CAMPAIGN.

Put aside for the moment that Lacewell is portrayed as someone in a white hat even though all she did was counsel how to obscure the connection between donor and state work by delaying the donations.  And put aside that she departed for parts unknown just before the ax started falling on Cuomo staffers and lobbyists (you think she got a helpful hint to leave?) and focus on what she actually did.

Here it is - and read this carefully Seth Agata:

"A pair of vetting documents sent by a senior aide, Linda Lacewell, to a group of the governor’s top lieutenants a month before the event show she was concerned about the optics of taking money from companies awarded state contracts long before the heads of several of those companies were arrested on corruption charges.
The emails vetted two contributions: one from Mr. Aiello and one from Mr. Ciminelli. In each, Ms. Lacewell itemized state contracts recently awarded to both men’s companies."

The question Agata should ask and investigate unless yet again he already has personal knowledge thru his own work for the governor is . . . WHO WAS LACEWELL WORKING FOR WHEN SHE VETTED THESE CONTRIBUTIONS?

If it wasn't the campaign then she most likely violated the Public Officers Law by using her state position to benefit another (just like Agata representing the governor in his private book deal with a subsidiary of a client of a lobbyist).

I did a quick search and Lacewell does not show up in a word search of those paid by the Cuomo campaign during the relevant time period.

But it's a simple case Agata just ask her.  If she was working for the campaign and didn't use state resources no problem if she did use state resources send the notice of hearing.  Of course we will never know since it is all confidential now.  But you already have a track record on these 2nd floor cases and I have pretty good sources so I'm betting it's yet another Agata screwup or coverup.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The 3 things that you can count on

1. Death
2. Taxes
3. JJOKE and Seth Agata will fail to catch ethical violations by anyone associated with the governor's staff.

Chris Bragg had yet another story highlighting Agata's failure to act on a potential Public Officers Law violation (has Agata figured out what the potential violation is yet?) even though it was sitting right in front of his face in a financial disclosure report.  Wait he doesn't review those and Walt McClueless assures us JJOKE is working to improve their processes.  Which is bureaucrat for we have our heads so far up our own asses we can only improve.

Just a thought for all the geniuses at JJOKE earning over $100K a year while they cover for the 2nd floor  TRY DOING A WORD SEARCH OF THE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REPORTS.

Spend some of that budget on software instead of lawyers, Agata, retired JJOKER's who are double dipping, Biben's friends and ex nannys and Horwitz's ex-associates wife.

Or let Agata keep chasing mythical gift cases based on imputed gifts to public officials (dead or politically dead ones that is) grown children while ignoring the children of powerful public officials that got jobs from lobbyists and their clients.

Or just FIRE AGATA get some commissioners to resign and lets start all over again. 

Just call it ethics reform. . . again!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Times Union and JJOKE two birds of a feather

I was willing to give Chris Bragg a pass when he wrote about JJOKE not catching the failure of numerous universities employing Cuomo staffers to report their business relationships.  After all everyone that matters knew I had flagged it long before Bragg
and Chris is doing really good work shining a spotlight on JJOKE and it's head clown Seth Agata.  The more attention that is placed on Agata the more tips will come rolling into Chris Bragg and the more tips that come in mean more stories and the more stories about JJOKE's failures, either thru incompetence or actual corruption the more likely Agata is to be forced to resign.  And then I can mount another ethics head on my wall of shame.

But I'm not willing to give the Times Union editorial board the same pass.  Your editorial on JJOKE is on point although tepid and late as usual.  But to give Bragg credit for discovering and disclosing JJOKE's failures is a step too far.

Give credit where credit is due I had that story weeks before Bragg.  Hell I gave it to Bragg.

And as regular readers know if you want to learn about JJOKE screw-ups and coverups before Bragg writes about them just read the blog.

Here's a freebie lets see how long it takes Bragg to write about it.

Agata should be investigated for his role in both the Percocco outside employment case and for his role in the Cuomo book deal.

Feel free to give me a call Chris I'll be happy to explain or just read the blog when I get a moment I'll detail the violations.