Tuesday, March 20, 2018

JJOKE tells Defran to kiss their ass

In an unprecedented move the entire JJOKE board wrote a letter to powerful State Senator and candidate for Governor John DeFrancisco responding to his call for the firing of Seth Agata, you can read it here   or on the JJOKE website.

Now I've been calling for Agata's firing for years.  So I applaud the Senator in joining me although I must ask what took so long.  But I am shocked and dismayed that JJOKE never sent me a letter like the one they sent DeFran.

If I was DeFran and got this letter I would do 3 things immediately.

First I'd go have a chat with the majority leader about pulling JJOKE funding out of the budget.

Second I'd demand that the three republican senate appointees resign,  I might even terminate any of their family members that work for the senate

Third I'd hold hearings into JJOKE and take testimony under oath about what goes on there and

Lastly I'd file a complaint against Rozen for the letter itself.  In it he states that Agata "has demonstrated the highest integrity, and his reputation for professionalism is well-earned".  Aside from the fact that Rozen's opinion about Agata is not supported by the facts the very fact that he used a JJOKE press release to voice that opinion on behalf of "every member" of JJOKE (did they vote on that? and if so did that vote violate the open meetings law?) has resulted in JJOKE being unable to investigate the complaint I filed against Agata and has tainted any investigation into Agata's actions.  A clear violation of the Public Officers Law section 74 (3) f and h. 

Mr. Rozen please consider this a complaint against you.  I look forward to my letter.

One last thought.  This isn't the first time an ethics commission has blindly supported their executive director against allegations of wrong doing.  The Public Integrity Commission did the the same thing for disgraced executive director Herb Teitelbaum.  He resigned shortly thereafter and his commission was erased by Cuomo who created JJOKE.

What is old is new again and the wheel keeps turning.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Rich Azzopardi would be perfect as the next head of JJOKE

I'm serious Rich has all the attributes you need to be the head of JJOKE.

He will do exactly as he is told.
He has no idea what the ethics laws are.
He will do exactly as he is told.
He has no shame in saying whatever is needed to protect the 2nd floor.
He will do exactly as he is told.
He will not let the facts stand in the way of his positions.
He will do exactly as he is told.
His incompetence is his strength.
He will do exactly as he is told.
You can't shame him by pointing out he is lying.
He will do exactly as he is told.
He knows how to say we can't comment it's confidential.
He will do exactly as he is told.

As proof of my position on Rich "Fat Azz" Azzopardi read Chris Bragg's story today

"Fat Azz" is quoted as follows regarding Seth Agata violations of the Public Officers Law:

 Azzopardi said it is "perfectly appropriate for a counsel to give advice to a former employee on complying with a two-year lobbying ban."

Lets review that comment.

Starting with what law or ethics opinion does he base that on?

While it may be appropriate for JCOPE to give advice to former employees about post employment restrictions the Public Officers Law is clear you cannot use your official position and state resources to benefit a former employee.  If Mr. Fat Azz is right then I will ask him to provide me under FOIL all the opinions the governor's counsels have given FORMER employees about post employment restrictions.  I won't hold my breath waiting.  BTW I've given quite a few written opinions to former employees of the 2nd floor on post employment restrictions, you would be surprised Rich to know who the smart ones were that asked for the opinions rather than violate the Public Officers Law and get wrong opinions.

In addition Rich, you're quote that it was advice on a lobbying ban is telling.  It was a post employment restriction not a lobbying ban but maybe the trial has proven that you might know more about what was really going on with Percoco and Agata than you are letting on.

Plus if you actually look at Agata's memo on Executive Chamber stationary you would see it wasn't advice to Percoco , the former employee, it was a memo to the file.   What does that mean?  Who was his client? Percoco or the executive chamber? And how (no pun intended) did a memo he wrote on July 9 2014 end up attached to an email Todd Howe wrote on July16, 2014?  Who gave it to Howe?

Was it "perfectly appropriate" for that official executive chamber memo to be provided to Todd Howe for use as part of his criminal scheme?

I can't wait for your answers Rich.  It will be a good audition for your future role as the head of JJOKE.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ethics reform? How about Agata?

The following groups are inviting comment on their 832nd proposal for ethics reform   This time as part of a constitutional convention.  Can you say teets on a bull?

Brennan Center for Justice, New York University Law School
Campbell Public Affairs Institute, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Carey Center for Government Reform
Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, Columbia La School
Citizens Union
Committee on Government Ethics and State Affairs, New York City Bar Association
Committee to Reform the State Constitution
Common Cause/New York
League of Women Voters of the State of New York
New York Public Interest Research Group

But rather than point out all the hypocrisy contained in their proposal (including the fact that the chief judge would get the majority of the appointments and she was a Cuomo appointee on JJOKE) I would like to ask those groups one simple question.

Based on Seth Agata's sworn testimony in the Percoco trial about his misuse of state resources in providing private citizen Percoco an ethics opinion, do you think Seth Agata is fit to be the head of New York's ethics agency?

Simple question.

One the media should ask before printing press releases from the groups named above.

The inmates are running the asylum.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

DeFran joins the list of ethics wannabes that talk loud but carry no stick or sack for that matter

Candidate for Governor and powerful state senator John DeFrancisco has jumped on the bandwagon and called for a special prosecutor to look at the misuse of state resources in the Percoco case.  It made for a good press release and some news coverage

Now I've never met the Senator but I have some friends that say he is a standup guy which makes me wonder why he is content with being all talk on the ethics issues coming out of the Percoco trial.

You may ask "well what can he do other than send out press releases?"

DeFrancisco is suppose to be a smart lawyer.  Why not try the following instead of throwing a hail mary that Cuomo would actually appoint a legitimate special prosecutor (Didn't we already see what happened to the Moreland panel?)

The Senate republicans have 3 appointees on JCOPE, which actually has jurisdiction in this matter and 2 pending complaints.  Get the Senate, where you are supposed to have juice, to demand that the JJOKE appointees take action on the complaints or resign.  Ask your appointees to discuss the law regarding misuse of state resources.  Lets see if they even understand it.  While you are at it why not hold Senate hearings into JCOPE?  I'll volunteer to help you with that.

Shining a light requires more than talking about flashlights you actually have to flip the switch and turn it on.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ethics reform and Blair Horner again and again and again and again and again

I'm tired of writing the same blog that Blair Horner and the goo goos are to blame for New York's lack of ethics and that its the people not the laws that need changing stupid so I just did a search on my blog for that issue and you can read them all for yourself  allllll the way back to 2010.

damn I really can see into the future

now lets try it for the phrase ethics reform

Wow  looks like we should blame the media for being blind and lazy along with the goo goos

Monday, March 5, 2018

Shame on you Blair Horner

Another ethics scandal and predictably Blair Horner and the rest of the good government crowd are trying to capitalize and get the 834th set of ethics reforms in the last 10 years passed.

But has it dawned on Blair that he keeps talking about policy and the people actually running ethics don't give a shit?

Newsflash Blair Having Seth Agata run JJOKE is like El Chapo running the DEA.


I know Blair is aware of Agata's Public Officer Law violations because I sent him my complaint and asked him to join me as a complainant.  His response?  I shouldn't personalize it.  Getting ethics reform is more important than getting rid of Seth Agata.

Hey Blair have you ever heard of the broken window approach to policing?

Seth Agata is like the burned out building in the neighborhood you want to redevelop.  You can't get rid of the drug dealers, crack whores and assorted vermin until you tear down the burned out building.  It attracts them.

I'll settle for Blair answering one simple question.  Do you think Seth Agata violated the Public Officers Law based on his sworn testimony in the Percoco case?

And if you don't know the answer Blair read the law before you focus on changing it.



Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Finally a JJOKE Commissioner with lobby experience

Am I talking about the commissioners who spoke about the NYCLU catfight NO but if you were scoring the fight at home I'd say Jim Yates scored a technical knockout of Gary Lavine no matter how slow and ponderous Gary's arguments were

Am I talking about the commissioners that called for Seth Agata's resignation in light of my ethics complaint? NO none have even mentioned the elephant in the room

I'm talking about Flannigan's newly appointed commissioner David McNamera, a partner of law firm Phillips Lytel.   Phillips Lytle has retained two lobbyists for the 2017-2018 reporting period and has filed four separate client semi annuals for 2017.  Those reports do have some errors but I'll let JJOKE find them I've already printed the reports to publish after JJOKE whitewashes the mistakes.  The good news is Mr. McNamera most likely has actually read the Lobby Act since he personally signed one of the lobby authorization letters. 

The lobby act does not prohibit a client of a lobbyist from serving on JJOKE, it only prohibits anyone who was a lobbyist during the last three years from serving (and we've had that in the past) but Mr. McNamera will need to be careful in voting on general issues, like regulations that effect clients since his law firm is one.  He should also disclose who his firms clients are so we know when he should recuse.  And the lobbyists his firm has hired need to be especially careful since guys like me will be looking for mistakes and whether JJOKE gives them a get out of jail free card. 

I wonder if hiring a lobbyist who is the son of a legislator makes that fee a gift to the legislator?  HMMM better ask the Percoco defense team.  I guess it depends how much work they actually perform.  Low show lobbying?

And one last thing to think about.  One of the Phillips Lytle lobbying engagements has a third party beneficiary (Pyramid Management Group)  Does that mean Pyramid hired Phillips Lytle as a lobbyist?  Or should Pyramid have been disclosed in the Phillips Lytle source of funding report? ( They weren't).

And if you delve a little further you will see that Phillips Lytle was actually registered as a lobbyist within the last three years.

All in all an inspired choice by the Senate Majority Leader and it should keep me busy for some time checking on Phillips Lytle and Mr. McNamera