Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Seth Agata uncensored or why Seth should resign

Another boring JJOKE meeting yesterday.  Only 2 commissioners out of 14 bothered to show up in Albany the rest were on the webcams doing crossword puzzles and napping.  If you can't find the time to participate in person once a month don't agree to serve on these commissions.

A lot of low level staff were there though, sitting in two rows of chairs like mini Roy Cohens.  Why do they bother going to the meeting, is it the staffs idea of a coffee break? 

We did learn that JJOKE is soon to hire an assistant for Walt McClueless.  Talk about wasteing resources, what will this person do?  pass Walt a note that says don't comment?

But after the meeting Walt got a chance to earn his salary.  His boss, the soon to resign Seth Agata agreed to do a press scrum before the executive session. So out to the hallway we went. Seth, Walt, all the media and there cameras (was that a clue to you Seth that someone had set you up?) and me.

Channel 13 has graciously provided the raw uncensored feed.  Here it is:

It's a little over 6 minutes long but if you want to see why Seth Agata should resign it's must see TV.

In general you see a Cuomo apparatchik try to dance and weave to avoid responsibility and no comment all questions but . . .

Pay careful attention at minute 4:03 when Agata is asked why JJOKE didn't look into Percoco's financial disclosure report more closely.  Anyone who has played poker or studied tells will see a textbook tell that Agata is about to lie.  He closes his eyes for several seconds and it is obvious that what comes next is going to be untruthful.

Shortly thereafter I ask Seth a question (hell I've done enough interviews I figured why not try it from the other side of the microphone.)  It's at 4:33.

Simple question (and one the media pros should have asked) Did you provide Joe Percoco advice on outside employment while you were in the executive branch?   You see it is the single most important question to ask Agata for the following reason.  We know from the criminal complaint some assistant counsel provided Percoco that advice.  We know Percoco provided information about his actual outside employment on his disclosure form filed with JCOPE.    Agata has already admitted on the record that Percoco was not required by JCOPE to file a report for 2014 the key time period.  No legitimate reason exists for JCOPE's failure to secure this key report.  The governors office refuses to provide the 2014 information Percoco gave them.  If Seth Agata was the assistant Counsel that gave Percoco advice on outside employment one must wonder if that is why JJOKE failed to act on the disclosure of outside income from his co defendants, is that why JJOKE has not required Percoco to file the 2014 report.  Is Agata covering up for Percoco? or for the fact that he knew or should have known?  Of course if Agata did not give Percoco advice on outside employment just say so and remove the cloud from JJOKE.

Instead again his body language betrays him.  He doesn't want to even be asked that question and when the mainstream media finally follows up we get the I can't comment on the criminal complaint.  WHY NOT? Is it because Agata is a witness in the federal case?  If he is did he ever share with the Governor his advice to Percoco? Did he ever share with the Governor's staff what he knew about Percoco's filings?  Has he recused from any JJOKE inquiry into Percocco?  All good reasons why he is unfit to serve as the executive director and should resign.

I get one more question in at the 5:34 mark, after several questions from the media about why JJOKE missed the Percoco admission and how they should review financial disclosure reports I ask Agata if he ever personally reviews the financial disclosure reports.  I ask because even though I'm not in charge of ethics in NY I review them all the time.  Agata'a answer is he NEVER looks at them.  I can't believe it so I ask again and Walt McClueless saves Agata by ending the scrum.

But Agata, clearly shaken from his pitiful performance launches into a diatribe against me. It is at the 5:57 mark.  The short version is that I don't ask these questions in the interest of good government, I am a mercenary with clients before JJOKE and I write this blog to stir up business.  He knows because I've told him so.   Ahhhh Seth you make this tooooo easy.

Lets deal with the accusation that I am a mercenary.  Well duh isn't every lawyer a mercenary?  And sure I make lots and lots of money advising clients about JJOKE.  Thank god JJOKE is so incompetent and dare I say corrupt.  You are paying for my kids education, you are allowing me to live a lifestyle I never thought possible when I was doing your job a decade ago and you are allowing me the luxury of being able to disclose your actions because it is good government to hold you accountable.  And no client pays me to do that.  I do it because I care what people like you and Ellen Biben and Herb Teitelbaum and Barry Ginsberg and Dan Horowitz and Janet DiFiore and Michael Cherkasky and John Feerick have done to ethics in NY.  We are a laughingstock and you folks bear a large portion of blame.

I've said it over and over again we don't need Blair Horner and Susan Lerner and editorial boards to call for ethics reform.  We need what I did yesterday. 

Now as to the fact I told you I write the blog to stir up business that actually is true.  And it works.  But we've had many private conversations and while I don't mind you disclosing what we talked about I think you will.  If our conversations aren't private Seth I feel no obligation to withhold from the public all the information you have provided me.  And I will little by little on this blog.  Some of it I'm sure you never should have disclosed as it is confidential and a misdeameanor I believe you said in your interview to disclose.  Now go ahead and call me a liar but once I start blogging about what you've told me it will be obvious that I only could have learned the intel from you.

In short Seth I've done more for free to advance ethics enforcement than you have for pay in your soon to be vacant position.  Anytime you want to compare ethics swinging dicks I'm ready.  You see when it comes to ethics I'm hung like a swamp mule and you are an ethics eunach.

And by the way I will not stop until you resign just like Ellen Biben and Herb Teitelbaum and Barry Ginsberg and Janet DiFiore and Michael Cherkasky and John Feerick did before you.  You see that's my mission in life, to expose bad ethics regulators, and I don't even get paid for it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

transparency in ethics is like giving viagra to a eunach

It only has value if someone can use the result.

As the criminal complaints and indictment flow out of the most recent case of public corruption in Albany we are sure to hear the predictable calls for more transparency and ethics reform.

The Governor will demand it.

The good government groups will lobby for it.

The editorial boards will latch on to it as the answer to our ethical problems.

And it's all just a giant con game perpetuated on the voters by the eunachs of ethics.

What good is it if you don't use it?

I can't remember which of the recent ethics reforms (I think it was 2011) brought us the required disclosure of business relationships by lobbyists and their clients but I'm sure the eunachs of ethics crowned it as the answer to all our problems.

It's right there on the JJOKE website, a list of all the filings since the transparency was required.

Take a look you will not find any of the most recent scandal parties listed but that's too easy lets explore some other examples.

I read that former Cuomo confidant Howard Glaser (and I'm betting current Cuomo investigation cooperating witness) was an adjunct professor at Columbia University.  A job I'm sure the old Cuomo crowd at Columbia helped him land.  Since Columbia is the client of a registered lobbyist that employment arrangement must have been disclosed on Columbia's business relationship form.  I mean that's exactly why you require transparency . . . right?  Let's look.  It didn't take long there is only 86 forms filed since the transparency law went into effect.  And Columbia is not there.  Lot's of other collages reported there adjunct staff, but they are all low level state employees you've never heard of.  I'm sure former Cuomo staffer and current head of JJOKE Seth Agata is already busily investigating this transparency violation.  Lets try another.

Former JJOKE head Ellen Biben had a teaching gig somewhere as I recall.  She team taught with former Cuomo counsel Linda Lacewell.  What are the odds?  Certainly the head of JJOKE would know who her employer was and would have made sure they filed the transparency forms to provide full disclosure to the public.  Let me do a quick search . . . Fordham.  Since Fordham is a client of a registered lobbyist they must have filed the business relationship form.   NOPE.  Maybe it was NYU where they were adjuncts.  You know NYU the home of the Brennan Center the good government group that always calls for more transparency.  NOPE they didn't file either.

Again does anyone want to bet if Agata is investigating this perversion of our disclosure requirements?

Like a eunach on viagara Agata would have his hands full if he just had the equipment to use the transparency tool at his disposal.

AGATA must resign.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Irony and ethics or let me be the first to call for Seth Agata's resignation

Lotta news being made the last couple of days on the ethics front.  Complaints, indictments, denials expressions of disappointment and of course the calls for TRANSPARENCY and  ETHICS REFORM.  Yet again.

Anyone that has followed the blog knows I'm a big fan of irony with a low tolerance for bullshit and shallow analysis when it comes to ethics.

So with that thought in mind I just wanted to comment on some things I noticed in the recent criminal ethics scandal which certainly feels a lot like all the previous ethics scandals of the last decade or so.  In fact it reminds me of a novel I wrote last summer and published on the blog.  Read it and tell me I'm not the master of the Albany ethics scandal genre.

First - How did people this stupid end up in positions of power and authority in government?  Has no one learned the lesson not to use criminal nicknames (Herb) and the phrase ziti in emails about your bribery schemes?   What ASSHOLES

Second - Speaking of assholes why is it the good government groups and editorial boards keep trotting out the same old tired themes of more disclosure and ethics reforms every time some asshole gets caught?  Here is a simple question for Blair Horner or any editorial board, what laws would you pass that would have prevented this bid rigging and bribery scandal?  No I'm serious, don't just say more transparency and more ethics laws be specific. "Herb" Percoco listed his kickbacks on his financial disclosure report and no one at JJOKE did anything about it, other than make up a bullshit excuse that he didn't have to file a separate report for the period after he returned.  Unbelievable, what good is transparency if no one uses the data?   Could it be because the head of JJOKE, Seth Agata, may have been responsible for this lapse in oversight?  Was Seth Agata involved in providing "Herb" guidance on his little sabbatical to replenish the Percoco coffers?  Remember Agata was the same lawyer that asked Cuomo gopher Ellen Biben for permission for the governor to make it rain with his book. And as to more ethics laws, read the complaints.  We have plenty of laws federal and state that can be used to prosecute when the prosecutors want to.  What we don't have is competent independent regulators to snip this criminal activity in the bud before it grows into the serious violations that result in front page headlines and perp walks.  Do you think Dr. K wears his jeans to court? and where will he park that Ferrari?  If that gets forfeited to the government I guarantee that I will be at the auction to try to buy it.  I can't think of a better advertisement for my consulting practice.  I even have the specialty license plate all picked out "LOOPHOLE".

Which brings me to my third point - if the good government groups and editorial boards really want to try to stem the tide of corruption they will start sermonizing on the fact that we don't need more laws we need more independent regulators.  Starting with calling for the resignation of Seth Agata.  The Sgt. Schultz act that JJOKE is using just isn't working.  "I know nothing, absolutely nothing"