Busy day for the insane clown posse, better known as the Public Integrity Commission.
First was the announcement of a big fine against outgoing Governor Paterson. I’ve got mixed feelings on this one, on the one hand as usual the PIC’s actions have me scratching my head as they overruled their own in-house wholly owned judge and went out of their way to say the governor accepted a gift from a disqualified source (the Yankees) but then failed to address why the Yankees were not investigated or fined. The wholly owned in-house Judge said the Yankees were in the clear because they got a letter saying the tickets where for the Gov in his official capacity the commission seemed to accept that if the Gov lied in the letter the Yankees have a defense but that presents two problems. First that defense doesn’t exist in the lobby act and Second how do you explain the other 4 tickets that the Gov got for free? I’ve got no beef with the Yanks and I’ve got clients that give me pretty good seats for Yankee games that my kids enjoy so at the end of the day I say good for the Yankees (if you read my earlier posts you know why I think its impossible for the governor to have gotten a gift if the Yankees did not give one). One last technical point this fine was based on the vote of 7 of the 10 commissioners, the bare minimum required as 3 commissioners must have recused themselves although we don’t know why (didn’t cherkasky in his long goodbye say that recusal AND DISCLOSURE is the best practice when you have a conflict? Oh well do as I say not as I do huh Mike.) If ex chair Mike should have recused himself because of his connection to the YES network their aren’t enough votes for the fine. Something for Ted Wells to deal with it’s not my fight. Under that same heading is the fact that the commission will not issue a gift opinion until their regulations are approved under SAPA (see my earlier post) but that isn’t stopping them from issuing fines for gifts. It just doesn’t seem fair does it Mr. Paterson? I guess karma truly is a bitch if you didn’t veto Speaker Silver’s bill this agency would be gone already . . . I wonder how much PIC pressure you were under when you issued that veto?
Shortly after this fine was announced they announced that they would not be prosecuting Jared Abbrussezze, the last case the Lobby Commission left them over three years ago no one can claim that they rushed to judgment on this one huh LOL. In their decision they note that they could not compel Mr. Abbrusseze to return to New York from Florida to testify or be served a subpoena. Hey Ralph he was just down the street from you testifying in the Bruno case, a case that had its genesis in our old lobby investigation. Why not send one of those underworked overpaid bouncers you call investigators down to hand him a subpoena on the sidewalk? Anyway this one falls in the category as not my problem since the entire Lobby Commission unanimously referred the case for a hearing before I left. There are only two people left at PIC that were involved - Ralph Miccio and Andrew Celli someone should ask one or both these lawyers what changed. They were for it before they were against it.
As an aside both of the foregoing issues were decided December 9 why wait 10 days to announce them? And the Abbrussezze case was a Lobby Law issue so if you reached a decision in executive session at the last meeting you were legally required to announce it in public session. Oh well it’s just the Open Meetings Law what was that you said on TV tonight Barry? its important to set the tone at the top? Right you guys are doing a great job of that.
The last item wasn’t a press release it was a subpoena that the “vindictive do as I tell you not as I let my wife do” executive director (and that clock is ticking trust me) sent to my client’s client on that trifling contract extension case I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. Save yourself the trouble guys the client is going to say under oath that they verbally extended the contract just as we stated in our filing. NORC this case already so the wholly owned in-house judge can be appointed and I can issue my subpoenas Will you accept service of process for your wife and the commission employees I am going to call as witnesses Barry? (do you hear that it’s that ticking clock again)