Monday, August 9, 2010


You know the blog is working when the Public Integrity Commission’s crack “special counsel” sends you a letter like Ralph Miccio sent me last week. By the way what makes a “special counsel” special? Those of us who have known and worked with Ralph know he is special without the title. But I digress, back to the letter.

After writing on this blog regarding my concerns that the commission did not know how to count to 15, I got a nice letter (not from special counsel Ralph) informing me that the commission now takes the position that “late fees are to be calculated beginning on the first day after a filing is due”. While it’s nice to know that the blog was right and I'm pleased that they now will be counting to 15 properly how many folks who got late fees because of this error have been notified of the correction and had their late fee revoked? Better be all of them or someone should be held accountable.

Now to the special counsels letter, in response to my inquiries on behalf of a client who got a late fee for an amended registration, Ralph refused to provide me any documents related to the calculation of late fees and/or due dates. Typical of this bunch they don't want anyone to know what they are doing or why. If you made as many mistakes as they did you wouldn't want anyone to see your emails either. He also failed to point out the specific section of the Lobby Act that authorized late fees for registration amendments. No surprise there as I've said on the blog it doesn't exist. But then special counsel Ralph concluded by threatening me with a potential violation of the lifetime bar if I continued to represent clients who challenged the statutory authority of the commission to impose late fees on registration amendments. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

How does the special counsel come up with a lifetime bar violation for an attorney representing a client who received a late fee over 2 ½ years after I left office? According to the special counsel it’s because I was Executive Director of the Lobby Commission when the law was amended to authorize late fees on registrations (not registration amendments by the way). I guess the special counsel forgot that the legislature and the governor pass legislation not the Executive Director. The special counsel might want to consider the ramifications of his extremely expansive view of the lifetime bar. And in case he can't bring himself to do that I've asked the Public Integrity Commission’s Chairman Michael Cherkasky to help by providing a formal opinion on the issue so that all of us former state workers can see what the rules really are. Under the special counsel’s interpretation I'm not sure former Governor Spitzer could comment on CNN about the application of any law or program that was created while he was governor. Hmmm maybe Ralph is onto something.

The special counsel’s approach would be funny, remember I've known him to be special for a long time, were it not for the fact that I believe he is using his official position to retaliate for things I have said on this blog and other media about how truly special this commission and it’s staff are.

If the special counsel is retaliating now what’s he going to do when I blog about the fact that no one needs to cooperate with commission audits (the next blog I promise) and I start looking into if NYRA provides any special benefits to thoroughbred horse owners who are state employees. Potential gift ban violations always make for special blog entries.

I almost forgot the commission has a meeting in Albany Thursday morning, wouldn't it be special if I got to ask some of these questions regarding the special counsel and his antics at that meeting. Come on down to 540 Broadway and see for yourself how special this bunch truly is.

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