monkeeys

monkeeys

Monday, December 10, 2018

COMING SOON

COMING SOON

It's now December 10, three weeks until registrations and when you go to the JJOKE site for the new lobby application and try to use the new application that is what it says "COMING SOON".

But what does that mean?

Does it mean the registration portal will be available today?

Tomorrow?

This week?

Next week?

Next Year?

It's a fair question for those in the regulated community that want to follow the law (not the illegal regulations but the law)

And since the old application will not be available for 2019 registrations (or will it if the injunction is granted declaring the illegal regulations null and void) it is a critical piece of information that should be made public.

Coming soon - if you are a whore involved in a financial transaction with ex gov spitzer it means you get paid soon.

If it said "available soon" we could surmise from JJOKE's prior use of that term on the website for business relationships that it might take 3 or more years (that's how long it has been posted on the lobby query portion of the website).

But it says "Coming Soon"

Which is really strange because if JJOKE actually knew when it would be available wouldn't they tell us a specific date.  And if the application was fully tested and operational why post coming soon and wait? why not just release it and let people start using it?

Is it possible the idiots at JJOKE are promising something they can't deliver?

Coming soon? - Agata's resignation?

Coming soon? - Kind of like the check is in the mail.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Christmas Story

Many of you, at least the sophisticated, well read ones, have seen the Christmas classic "A Christmas Story"   the heartwarming Christmas saga of Ralphie and his trials and tribulations during his pursuit of the unobtainable red rider bb gun with the compass in the stock.  For my money the best line in the movie is everybody telling Ralphie that he will shoot his eye out.  As JJOKE gets ready to unveil it's new lobby application, that is unless Judge Mackey grants my petition to declare the illegal lobby regulations null and void, I am constantly reminded of the line "Ralphie you'll shoot your eye out".  You see, I've been thru a roll out of a new lobby application before, from the inside.  I was the executive director of the old lobby commission the last time this happened.  Back then Jeanine Clemente was in charge of insuring a smooth roll out.  My understanding is that even though Jeanine has retired she was hired back at the state max of $30k per year while collecting her retirement specifically to work on the new lobby application.  It took over 2 years (way to max that benefit Jeanine) but Jeanine knows what it takes to do it right.  Last time, once the application was ready (we stole it from Connecticut so all we needed to do was modify for New York) we gave it to a couple of large lobbying firms to try it and provide us feedback (Tonio Burgos was one of the firms - Thank you Tonio)  We took the feedback from people that would actually be using the system, made some corrections and then implemented the system during a slow filing time with plenty of notice for people to get used to it.  This time?  No user input, in fact I'm told the actual staff members who will be interacting with the regulated community have not even seen it.  And lets go live with it for January 1, 2019 the single busiest filing period possible.  How could Jeanine have regressed so far from her excellent work on the original system?  

One big difference from the last time.  Back then I didn't let the lawyers touch it.  We only had one, Ralphie (hence my reminder of a Christmas Story) now there are more Raphies (lawyers) at JJOKE than Bumphus had dogs stealing turkey (watch the movie if that went over your head).  No decision at JJOKE gets made without at least three Ralphies trying to shoot their eyes out.

As a result it's December 7 (pearl harbor day) just three weeks till registrations are due and we haven't seen the new lobby application.  JJOKE says it will be unveiled in early December.  JJOKE staff was originally told December 10.  Now they are being told December 17.  Not only is JJOKE going to shoot their eye out they are going to lick the flagpole on this one (another movie reference).

Why the delay?

Because the application will not work.  Too many Ralphies trying to show how smart they are and not a single one has ever actually filed a registration statement.

A simple example.  The new regulations require that any lobbyist that has a contract must file that contract with the registration, you cannot use "an authorization" unless you use the JJOKE authorization form.  OK where is that form?  According to JJOKE staffers they haven't seen it and the Ralphies at JJOKE say it's coming.  A ricchochet off the fence right into Ralphie's glasses.  How will the Ralphies handle overlapping agreements?  How about in house authorizations for employed lobbyists?  How about for Coalitions?  Remember Ralphie, Coalitions do not really exist no matter what your regulations say so how can they enter into a contract or an authorization no matter what the form.

That's the easy stuff,  I'll save the rest of my snowballs till I actually see the application and can try to use it. 

I guess we will just have to wait and see how this movie ends.  I'm hoping Judge Mackey brings the judicial cleaver down on Agata's neck.  Falalalala la lala lah.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

JJOKE Press Conference

For those of you that missed the JJOKE press conference that followed the commission meeting today I've reproduced the transcript of it for your reading enjoyment.

McClueless - Please be seated the press conference is about to begin.  Let me introduce Chair Rozan and Commissioners McAuliffe, Knox, Dering and McNamara.  The other commissioners are participating by teleconference.  Also with us today is soon to be former Executive Director Seth Agata who has been instructed to refuse to answer any questions after his last performance at a press conference.  Before we begin let me state that you should not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.   Now who would like to ask the first question?

Casey Sailer Times Union - Mr. Rozen are you aware that your statement prior to the executive session contained a tense that was grammatically inconsistent?

Chair Rozen -Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Chris Bragg Times Union - Is it true that you are required by statute to vote on commencing an investigation within 45 days of a complaint being filed?

Chair Rozen -Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Chris Bragg - A followup question please.  Isn't it also true based on the decision of Judge Zwack in the Trump v JCOPE matter that after voting you are required to notify the target and the complainant if no investigation will be undertaken?

Chair Rozen -Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Ken Lovett NY Daily News - Mr. Agata based on the Trump decision have you been notified by JCOPE that Mr. Grandeau's complaint against you has been dismissed?

McClueless - I can answer Seth.   Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Fred Dicker NY Post - Has the Republican State Committee been notified that their complaint against Governor Cuomo and Joe Percoco been voted on?

Chair Rozen -Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Fred Lebrun Times Union - What response do you have to Senator Defrancisco's call for Agata to be fired?

The entire commission in unison - He can go fuck himself.

McClueless - any further questions? no? great I think this was a very successful exchange of ideas and a truly open and transparent press conference.

Monday, March 26, 2018

How do JJOKE commissioners and staff show up at commission meetings and act like everything is ok?

Tomorrow will be yet another JJOKE meeting post Percoco.  And about half the Commissioners will be in Albany.  None will say even one word to the press, that's if any press bother to show up and ask questions.

But my thoughts about tomorrow are far more fundamental.

How do they sit at that table with Agata and act as if everything is ok and they are doing a great job?

I can't figure out what kind of drugs one takes to be that delusional in public.

I mean some of these commissioners actually have reputations to consider, yet they sit at the table ignoring the elephant in the room.  (That would be Weissman, Jacobs and Yates)

Others are under the Governors thumb and have to do as they are told no matter how foolish they look or sound (Rozen, Lavine, Dering and Sample)

Still others are just clueless and blissfully ignorant and politically tone deaf.  (That's Cohen, Knox and Smalls)

And still others have family members whose jobs depend on their compliant behavior (McAuliffe)

And there is even one whose law firm may be at risk for it's lobbying efforts (McNamara)

Of course some fall into multiple categories like Lavine, Smalls, McAuliffe and Rozen.

But just once I'd love to see these commissioners make themselves available for public questioning, it would be like the ugly duckling whose friends keep saying how attractive he/she is until he/she actually looks in a mirror.

Just imagine the JJOKE commissioners looking in that ethics mirror and seeing Agata's testimony at the Percoco trial staring back at them.

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  http://www.jcope.ny.gov/public/JCOPE-letter-to-Senator-DeFrancisco.pdf   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 https://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/280777/trial-raises-questions-about-many-cuomo-practices/

"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

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/deputy-senate-leader-calls-probe-percoco-office-article-1.3861540?cid=bitly

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.

http://davidgrandeau.blogspot.com/search?q=horner&updated-max=2014-10-02T12:00:00-07:00&max-results=20&start=0&by-date=true


damn I really can see into the future

now lets try it for the phrase ethics reform

http://davidgrandeau.blogspot.com/search?q=ethics+reform&max-results=20&by-date=true

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.

ITS THE PEOPLE STUPID

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.

SHAME ON YOU BLAIR HORNER 

ITS THE PEOPLE STUPID

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

Have you no decency Mr. Agata?

The JJOKE has a commission meeting Tuesday.

The agenda is posted and other than the usual BS and yet another request from NYCLU to be exempted from source of funding disclosure which will be denied by a close vote there is no reason to expect that Agata's violations of the Public Officers Law will be discussed.

And knowing the Albany media and the good government groups the way I do there is no reason to expect that anyone will ask Agata or any JJOKE commissioner to defend and/or explain Agata's violations of the Public Officer Law.

No Agata will sit at the head of the table doing his best Al Franken impersonation with a stupid aw shucks I'm a nice guy grin and business will go on as usual.  And the elephant in the room (Agata's violations of the Public Officers Law) will just keep shitting on everyone's reputation that serves as a commissioner or a staff member at JJOKE.

They all know by now that JJOKE is being led by a Public Officers Law violator and those with any integrity are ashamed to be associated with him but are there any with integrity?

Let me see if I can time travel and relate what the commission meeting should sound like if any integrity still existed on JJOKE:

Rozen - The meeting of JJOKE is called to order.
Rob Cohen - Excuse me it's JCOPE Mr. Chair.
Rozen- No Rob it's JJOKE because that's what we have become.  Seth would you care to explain your recent sworn testimony in the Percoco criminal trial?
Agata- I think it would be best Chair if we all followed the Governors lead and refrained from any comment during the trial.  Lets let justice be served.
Gary Lavine - Seeeeeth I must respectfully and slowly disagree with your position.  It seeeeeeeeeeems to me that since your testimony was under oath and has been made available to all of us in the form of a complaint from that fat bastard Grandeau that you could discussssssssssssssss it without any danger of effecting or affecting the outcome of that trial.
Dawn Smalls- Yea bitch I want to know why you used taxpayer funded time to help that bully Percoco when he wasn't even a state employee.
McCauliffe - I agree unless you thought you were assisting an unincorporated 501c3 organization.
Rob Cohen - There is no such thing commissioner.
McCauliffe - I never said there was
Rob Cohen - you just did
McAuliffe - did not
Rob Cohen - did to
McCauliffe - did not
Jim Yates - will you two idiots shut up.  Seth you've been around long enough to know better than to use government letterhead to do personal business What the fuck?  The last thing anyone on this joke of an ethics commission needs is anybody asking question about our integrity.  Christ I was up to my eyeballs in the Silver case.  Marvin was Shelly's collage or law school roommate or something. Weissman was Skelos's wine drinking buddy.  Rob used to work for JJOKE under Biben and is only here because a former executive director vouched for him and assured all of us that he would never be late with his attorney certification again.  So Seth how do you explain using government letterhead to give a private citizen a legal opinion while you were on state time?
Agata - Percoco scares me.  And I never thought anyone would find out.  After all we are the ones that say what is and is not ethical  can't we just ignore Grandeau's complaint?
Rozen - Of course we can but after Percoco is convicted don't you realize the focus will turn to Cuomo and he will need to throw someone under the bus and that someone is you and JJOKE.
Martin Levine - Really?  we've gotten away with worse before.
Stamm - Martin you ignorant smurf we got away with it before because the governor was on our side if it comes down to us or him it's us. I gotta be honest here Seth You need to resign now.  I can do your job better than you anyway.
Keith St John - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Andrew Bechard - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Carol Quinn - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Walt Mclure - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Pei Pei - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Emily Logue - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Michael Sande - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Erin Lynch - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Patrick E. Coultry, Chief Investigator- I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Peter J. Smith, Investigator- I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Richard Coraggio, Investigator  - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Lori Donadio, Principal Investigative Analyst - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Katherine Santandrea, Secretary to the Commission - I'm with Monica you need to resign Seth you are a disgrace
Martin Levine - Not me Seth  those of us with small stature and smaller integrity need to stay together  Nothing you do can reflect on me or on JJOKE any worse than we have already done ourselves I say hang in there.  If you didn't think you would get caught then you weren't putting us at risk.  If you thought you would get caught then you were 1000 percent wrong but if you didn't think you would get caught then you weren't risking any of our jobs.
Rozen - Did you just quote Eric Roberts from the Pope of Greenwhich Village?  Great movie but not a good analogy.  Seth do you want to apologize?
Agata - Percoco scared me
 
And that ladies and gentleman is all you will get from Agata and JJOKE
 
But admit it don't you want someone at JJOKE to explain why Seth Agata is the right person to lead New York's Ethics agency?  It's like having El Chapo run the DEA.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Why Agata should never get another job as a NY government employee . . . especially a court of claims appointment

If you need another example of Agata's lack of integrity just look at the exhibit from his sworn testimony:





A couple of things to note here.  First Percoco sent Agata's opinion (prepared on state time) to Howe, which means somehow Percoco got it, either from Agata or the mythical file that Agata claims he prepared it for.  But most importantly look at the top of the memo.  That is state letterhead Agata used.

Now look at the ethics reminder JCOPE published in January of 2016.

http://www.jcope.ny.gov/advice/JCOPE%20Ethics%20Reminder_Letterhead.pdf.pdf

Do you think Agata ever read the ethics reminder?  He did exactly what JCOPE tells every state employee NOT to do.  And Howe and Percoco used that memo on official Executive Chamber letterhead to assist their corrupt scheme.  Way to go Agata.

Can you imagine how it will look when he leaves JJOKE if they get him another state gig that requires integrity?  You know like a judgeship.

Maybe at the commission meeting Tuesday some JJOKE commissioner will sack up and discuss Agata's ethics violations with the press.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Agata Complaint aka and you wonder why Albany ethics is a joke?

Does anyone think JJOKE will investigate it's own hand picked Cuomo apparatchik?


Before The New York State JOINT Commission

on Public ETHICS

 

 

 

 

 

 


david grandeau,

 

Complainant,

 

v.

 

Joint Commission on public ethics executive director seth agata

 

 

Respondent.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

IN THE MATTER OF AN INVESTIGATION INTO MISCONDUCT BY Joint Commission on public ethics executive director seth agata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

         David Grandeau (“Complainant”) files this Complaint and based on the information detailed herein, respectfully petitions the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (the “Commission”) to investigate the misconduct of Joint Commission on Public Ethics Executive Director Seth Agata  (the “Respondent”)§ 74 et seq.

         Seth Agata, an employee of the JCOPE has violated Public Officers Law § 74(3)(d), (f) and (h) by engaging in acts that have violated the trust of the public and are being pursued to advance Mr. Agata’s non-governmental interests.

         Mr. Agata’s statements and conduct evidence a motive that is inconsistent with his former role as Acting Counsel for Governor Cuomo and his current role as Executive Director of the Commission.

         While employed as Acting Counsel to Governor Cuomo in July 2014, Mr. Agata, engaged in a pattern of misconduct to the detriment of both complainant and the State of New York.    Respondent has used state resources, to support his efforts to secure privileges for Joseph Percoco, a private citizen, when there is no legitimate state purpose for doing so.  Respondent has also continued to use his state position as Executive Director to benefit Mr. Percoco when there is no legitimate state purpose for doing so.  Such actions, clearly raise suspicion that they were being undertaken in violation of the respondents’ public trust and were not made to further either New York State’s nor the Commission’s legitimate interests but rather to benefit Respondent and Joseph Percoco and give reasonable basis for the impression that Respondent has been improperly influenced in the performance of his official duties. 

 

Background

        In July of 2014, Respondent, while employed by the State of New York, provided legal advice and counsel to Joseph Percoco, a non-state employee, with no right to receive legal counsel from the respondent, while Respondent was acting in his official capacity as Acting Counsel to Governor Cuomo.

      Mr. Agata in recent testimony in a Federal criminal trial of Mr. Percoco testified under oath as follows, establishing that Joseph Percoco was not a state employee in July of 2014:

Q. Turning back to Joseph Percoco, you said he was the executive deputy secretary?

A. Yes.

Q. When did he hold that title?

A. He held that title from - - as far as I know, he came in with that title January1, 2011.  He left the chamber sometime in spring of 2014, came back later in the year and resumed that title. (Percoco transcript page 1105)

He then testifies as follows regarding the provision of legal advice to Mr. Percoco:

Q. Before you get to that, where did the second occasion occur?

A. It occurred in Joe’s office in July of 2014.  Joe’s office in Albany, the office he had in Albany.

Q. Let me pause you there.  You said it occurred in July of 2014.  That was after Joe Percoco had left to go work on the governor’s campaign: correct?

A. That’s correct. . . .” (Percoco transcript page 1127)

Then Mr. Agata continued as follows:

Q. So, generally. What did Joe Percoco ask you about in this second conversation in July of 2014?

A.Joe was sitting at his desk, and he asked me to come over.  And he had mentioned to me that he was looking to get - - do some work for a law firm and earn some money doing work for a law firm, and, you know what kind of restrictions - - what kind of problems would he have with, you know - - if any would he have with working there.  I asked him, does this law firm have any business in front of the state? Would he be doing any work in front of the State?  And he said No. He said it would be municipal work, labor work.  And I said, well, that’s - - anything, any projects at all in front of the state?  He said, No, nothing at all  I said that’s great. . . (Percoco transcript page 1128)

     Mr. Agata further testified that he documented his guidance to Mr. Percoco in a memo which was admitted into evidence (Percoco transcript page 1129 - 1130)

     In addition Respondent testified under oath that he had provided Mr. Percoco with legal guidance regarding the use of private aircraft for the governor’s campaign (Percoco transcript page 1147) and the use of private aircraft for the New York State Democratic Party (Percoco transcript page 1148).

 

JURISDICTION OF THE COMMISSION

The Commission is authorized by Executive Law §94(13)(a) to commence inquiries into credible violations of Public Officers Law § 74. Pursuant to Executive Law §94(17)(c), the Commission is authorized to conduct any investigation necessary to carry out the provisions of Executive Law §94. Pursuant to this power and duty, the Commission may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel the attendance of targets or witnesses, and require the production of any books or records that it may deem relevant or material.

       When the Commission determines there has been a violation of § 74(4), it is authorized to assess a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars and the value of any gift, compensation or benefit received as a result of such violation. 

       In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law any such officer, member or employee who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of § 74 may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.

New York Public Officers Law


         The conduct of Respondent Agata has violated multiple provisions of New York law, summarized below, and justify further investigation by the “Commission”.

A.      Section 74(3)(f) and (h)

      Under Section 74(3)(f), a state official “should not by his conduct give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties.”   Public Officers Law Section 74(3)(h) requires that a state official “should endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that he is likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of his trust.”  

         Respondent has violated these sections of the Public Officers Law by offering legal services to Joseph Percoco that were not part of his official duties as Acting Counsel to Governor Cuomo. Respondent further violated these sections by failing to recuse himself before engaging or refusing to engage in regulatory actions affecting Joseph Percoco in respondent’s present position as Executive Director of the “Commission”.   

         Respondent’s actions in providing legal advice to Joseph Percoco regarding employment by Mr. Percoco after he had left State service clearly raises suspicion that such actions were not made to further New York State’s legitimate interests but rather to benefit Respondent and or Mr. Percoco personally, and further raises suspicion that such actions were in violation of the respondents’ public trust and give reasonable basis for the impression that he has been improperly influenced in the performance of his official duties.

        Respondent’s actions in providing legal advice to Joseph Percoco regarding the use of a private airplane for travel by Governor Cuomo’s campaign clearly raises suspicion that such actions were not made to further New York State’s legitimate interests but rather to benefit Respondent and or Mr. Percoco personally, and further raises suspicion that such actions were in violation of the respondents’ public trust and give reasonable basis for the impression that he has been improperly influenced in the performance of his official duties.

     Respondent’s actions in providing legal advice to Joseph Percoco regarding use of private aircraft by the State Democratic Party clearly raises suspicion that such actions were not made to further New York State’s legitimate interests but rather to benefit Respondent and or Mr. Percoco personally, and further raises suspicion that such actions were in violation of the respondents’ public trust and give reasonable basis for the impression that he has been improperly influenced in the performance of his official duties.         

     Respondent’s actions in providing Mr. Percoco a waiver from filing a financial disclosure report by May 15, 2015 clearly raises suspicion that such actions were not made to further New York State’s legitimate interests but rather to benefit Respondent and or Mr. Percoco personally, and further raises suspicion that such actions were in violation of the respondents’ public trust and give reasonable basis for the impression that he has been improperly influenced in the performance of his official duties.

     Respondent’s actions in failing to report Mr. Percoco’s use of state offices and resources after he had left state service and was working for Governor Cuomo’s campaign clearly raises suspicion that such actions were not made to further New York State’s legitimate interests but rather to benefit Respondent and or Mr. Percoco personally, and further raises suspicion that such actions were in violation of the respondents’ public trust and give reasonable basis for the impression that he has been improperly influenced in the performance of his official duties.

B.  Section 74(3)(d)


Under Section 74(3(d), no official “should use or attempt to use his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges . . . for himself, herself or others including, but not limited to, the misappropriation to himself, herself or to others of the property, services or other resources of the state for private business or other compensated non-governmental purposes.”  Here, Respondent has used his official position to engage in a series of actions that have no legitimate State purpose. In doing so, Respondent has used state resources, such as employee time and state equipment, to support his efforts to benefit Mr. Percoco.  In addition, Mr. Agata has secured privileges for himself by continuing his actions when there is no legitimate state purpose for doing so.

          When Respondent provided Joseph Percoco a legal opinion related to employment after he had left state service and at a time when Mr. Percoco was a private citizen and not a state employee. Respondent used or attempted to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges for Mr. Percoco.  Such action, rather than vindicating any public right or obtaining any public relief clearly raises suspicion that it is being undertaken in violation of the respondents’ public trust and were not made to further New York State’s legitimate interests but rather to benefit Mr. Percoco and give reasonable basis for the impression that Respondent has been improperly influenced in the performance of his official duties.

 

E.  Section 74(4)


Section 74(4) of the Public Officers Law provides: “In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law any such officer, member or employee who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this section may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment in the manner provided by law.”  It provides further that for intentional violations of certain subsections, such as Section 74(3)(d), violators “shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars and the value of any gift, compensation or benefit received as a result of such violation.” 

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the complainant believes that the evidence leads to the inexorable conclusion that Respondent’s actions have violated several New York State laws governing the ethics of public officials.  We respectfully submit that this matter warrants your immediate consideration and a thorough investigation.



All I can do is keep tilting at windmills and hope some JCOPE commissioner is willing to do their job and not simply follow orders
 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Percoco trials first casualty AGATA

Seth Agata testified under oath yesterday at Joe Percoco's corruption trial.

Did he provide expert witness testimony about New York's ethics laws?  Not so much.

He testified about legal advice he rendered to Joe Percoco about outside employment.

At the time he provided that advice he was an acting counsel of some sort for the Governor.  So what did his testimony show?

While I will wait for the transcript upon which to base the series of complaints I will lodge against Agata, it appears he told Percoco to "not touch with a ten foot pole" any business Percoco may have with entities with business before the state.  Sound if somewhat basic advice to give a former staffer.  And therein lies the proof of Agata's problem.

PERCOCO WAS A FORMER STATE EMPLOYEE

Agata was a government lawyer paid by the taxpayers to represent New York State not private citizen Joe Percoco.

His advice to Percoco is a clear violation of Public Officers Law section 74 (3) (d).  Misuse of state resources.

In addition he provided that advice to Percoco while witnessing Percoco misuse state resources in the form of his former office.  Agata was the ethics officer don't you think he should have reported Percoco's use of his government office when he wasn't a government employee?  "Gambling in this establishment I'm shocked" to quote Casa Blanca.

Then there is the question of who Agata's client was when he provided that advice.  Was it private citizen Joe Percoco? Was it Cuomo's election campaign whom Percoco was working for? Was it Cuomo himself whom I'm sure thought Agata would be protecting his interests? Was it the Governor's office? Was it the State of New York?   It's an important question because lawyers including government lawyers like Agata have very strict disciplinary rules to follow.  I'm sure the attorney disciplinary committee is paying close attention to the various lawyers involved in the Percoco corruption trial.

And it gets worse for Agata.  After providing Percoco a legal opinion Agata found himself running JJOKE (I wonder why?) and was in a position to check Joe Percoco's financial disclosure report to see if he followed the advice Agata provided while violating the public officers law.  But surprise surprise he didn't do that "I see nothing I see nothing"  He did his Sgt Schultz impersonation because Percoco failed to file that disclosure report.  When called on the failure Agata doubled down and stated that Percoco did not have to because of some mythical unwritten policy that Agata decided to follow granting Percoco a waiver. 

How many violations of the Public Officers Law did you just count up?

But no worries I am sure the commissioners at JJOKE who have a meeting today are diligently following the Percoco trial and starting investigations into all the Public Officers Law violations that have been testified to under oath.

The simple solution here is for Agata to be fired or resign   Today!

But he won't

At least we now know what makes Agata tick.  He is a coward.  Just following orders.  Even from people that no longer have the authority to issue him those orders.

Hey Seth have you been issued a set of kneepads for every government job you've held?