Saturday, December 25, 2010


Staying in the holiday spirit I will wait till next week to blog about the $5000 we know it when we see it gift fine, the first lucid thought from PIC (its in a dissent) and just how arrogant PIC can be “the guardians of Public Ethics” till then enjoy the holidays I personally wished Barry a merry Christmas at the PIC offices today he didn’t look happy writing your resume is tough this time of year. I did give him a gift tho I told him about the old lobby commission tradition of letting staffers go home at 2pm on Christmas eve while the top people in the agency manned the phones I hope he got in touch with his inner SANTA

12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the second day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the third day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the fourth day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the fifth day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Five lifetime bans (not)
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the sixth day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Six 2nd floor staffers sleeping
Five lifetime bans (not)
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the seventh day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Seven dwarfs named Barry
Six 2nd floor staffers sleeping
Five lifetime bans (not)
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the eighth day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Eight questions Ralph hasn’t answered
Seven dwarfs named Barry
Six 2nd floor staffers sleeping
Five lifetime bans (not)
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the ninth day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Nine foil denials
Eight questions Ralph hasn’t answered
Seven dwarfs named Barry
Six 2nd floor staffers sleeping
Five lifetime bans (not)
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the tenth day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Ten change in due dates
Nine foil denials
Eight questions Ralph hasn’t answered
Seven dwarfs named Barry
Six 2nd floor staffers sleeping
Five lifetime bans (not)
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the eleventh day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
Eleven commissioners as bad as Feerick
Ten change in due dates
Nine foil denials
Eight questions Ralph hasn’t answered
Seven dwarfs named Barry
Six 2nd floor staffers sleeping
Five lifetime bans (not)
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

On the twelfth day of Christmas
the PIC sent to me:
12 felony charges against Teitelbaum
Eleven commissioners as bad as Feerick
Ten change in due dates
Nine foil denials
Eight questions Ralph hasn’t answered
Seven dwarfs named Barry
Six 2nd floor staffers sleeping
Five lifetime bans (not)
Four doggers bitching
Three late fees
Two Tardy Points
and The resignation of Michael Cherkasky

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Twas the night before Christmas, in the old commission house
no one was working, except Kopec who was playing solitaire with her computer mouse

The doggers were nestled all snug in their cubes
spying and backbiting like a couple of boobs

The opinions were written the press releases all sent,
Walter was looking like an old english gent.

Barry was nervous he was losing his hair
His wife was a lobbyist and he just lost his protective Chair

Old Mike had run off like a thief in the night,
he knew like Feerick before, what he did just wasn't right.

When out on the web there was a growing emotion
that CPI should be dismantled it was more than a notion.

Shelly had tried only to be thwarted
by a Governor whose affairs were documented and quite sordid

CPI started to look at Yankee tickets, the seats they were primo
So the Gov got scared and gave them a veto

But fear has sprung again with a new Gov named Andrew
If he keeps his campaign promises they all soon would be thru

What would they do the minions of Barry,
He called them by name all except Ace and Gary

Come here Ralphie, Jeannine, Deb, Howard and Teri
Come here Bob, Scott, Bridget and the wooden indian named Larry.

Come to my office we have to plan our attack
We need to get Grandeau off of our back.

With their heads filled with nothing cause they're dopes one and all
Jeannine and Deb said not us we are taking a long lunch at the mall

With his blog and public questions he has shown all our flaws
every mistep every coverup from Herb to the lobby laws

He says that getting our letters are to him just like gifts
we should stop sending them but we can’t because we’re nitwits

I hear he hangs them all on his Christmas tree
as proof of what idiots we are for the whole world to see

As he drives past our building in a new car or sleigh
that’s been paid for from business that we’ve sent his way

We’ve made it easy for him to keep getting new clients
as we sit up here like a bunch of spoiled tyrants

I heard him exclaim as he beeped and drove off on his way to go dine
Merry Christmas to my crew to the rest of you its time to resign

Monday, December 20, 2010


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)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I just got back from the latest commission laugh fest also known as a commission meeting. Three hours of my life that I can never get back. Why do I keep going? I believe it was Mark Twain that said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. I must be insane because it was the same meeting.

10:30 start

10:31 into executive closed door eat lunch private session

12:45 allow the public in while commission toadies clean up the remnants of the catered lunch that the members have been gorging themselves on for the last 2 hours. No desert to be seen but the whole office will gather later for a forced coffee break to eat cake with the ex-chair.

12:50 the proverbial lets make a legislative recommendation that will never be passed but gives insight into how the commissioner’s minds work when it comes to gifts. Commissioner Carpinello again states he doesn’t like the removal of the safe harbor of intent to influence. Barry says why don’t we add it in separately that it’s not a gift unless it’s unreasonable to infer there was an intent to influence by the gift giver. Congrats all around and if passed every gift will be subject to the commissions subjective analysis of intent I feel better about gifts don’t you? By the way still no gift opinions till SAPA review on the gift regulations conclude but they will prosecute you for it (note to outgoing governor Pattersons lawyers give me a call I can show you how to beat that Yankee ticket rap)

12:55 exceeeeeeeeeedingly boring presentation by Shari Calnero (a Bruno contract) regarding regulations for policy makers

1:00 Cherkasky’s final statement (I thought he retired a month ago whats he doing still acting as ring master) I have reproduced it below with my translation and comments in bold

It is with a sense of thanks, pride, regret and concern, that I resign, effective January 1, 2011, as Chairman of the New York State Commission on Public Integrity. THIS IS THE SECOND TIME I’VE ANNOUNCED IT BUT MY NARCISSISM KNOWS NO BOUNDS I am thankful to Governor Paterson for giving me the privilege to serve our great State of New York as Chairman of this important commission. AND I AM POSITIVE THAT HE REGRETS IT BUT I ACTED LIKE A TYPICAL PATTERSON DECISION I am thankful to the staff, and particularly Barry Ginsberg the executive director, for the tireless support they have given me and this commission. They have worked long hours, frequently under fire, and have maintained their professionalism and integrity when others have not GOT ANYONE IN PARTICULAR IN MIND WHY NOT SHOW SOME GUTS AND NAME NAMES, and under conditions in which a lesser group would have given in to bitterness and despair. I applaud you. IS THAT CRICKETS I HEAR I thank my fellow commissioners, both current and past, for consistently bringing a non-partisan, disinterested, but keen intellect to the enormous challenges we have faced together. You have been disparaged on more than one occasion by critics, many of whom have acted out of self-interest and self-promotion. GOT ANYONE IN PARTICULAR IN MIND WHY NOT SHOW SOME GUTS AND NAME NAMES IF YOU MEAN ME YOU ARE RIGHT YOUR ANTICS HAVE BROUGHT ME A LOT OF BUSINESS You have responded by raising the level of the dialogue, going about your business in a professional manner and doing the job that you volunteered to do. HAVE YOU ACTUALLY LISTENED TO THE DIALOGUE ON GIFTS? A THIRD GRADER COULD RAISE THE LEVEL OF THAT DIALOGUEI am proud of the work we have done in the last year and a half. We are the only New York State agency that has taken on improper conduct in the last two gubernatorial administrations, charged those involved, and penalized them. YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK ON JOE FISCH’S IG OFFICE ABOUT THAT. BUT YOU ARE THE ONLY AGENCY THAT HAS BEEN ACCUSED BY BOTH THE IG AND ALBANY COUNTY DA OF IMPROPER CONDUCT IN THE WAY YOU RAN THE TROOPERGATE INVESTIGATION WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO FEERICK AND TEITELBAUM LOL We have brought charges against the current Governor and referred him for prosecution after concluding that he probably lied under oath during a Commission investigation, and have charged, and, after a hearing by a neutral officer, penalized Governor Spitzer’s chief of communications, among others. YOU DIDN’T ACTUALLY DO THE PATTERSON CASE THOUGH DID YOU YOU HAD TO BRING IN A BUDDY FROM OUTSIDE THE AGENCY TO DO IT AND WHERE DID HIS AUTHORITY COME FROM? REMIND ME AGAIN WHY THE YANKEES AND SPITZER GOT A PASS IN BOTH OF THOSE CASES. AND DON’T YOU HAVE A CONNECTION TO THE YANKEES THRU THE VENTURE CAPITAL FIRM THAT OWNS YOUR BUSINESS? MUST BE ONE OF THOSE CONFLICTS YOU WOULD RECUSE YOURSELF FOR. At the same time we have continued our less visible, but crucial work. We have received and reviewed tens of thousands of financial disclosure statements and lobbying filings, INCLUDING LATE FILINGS BY COMMISSION STAFF AND THEIR SPOUSES trained thousands of individuals in ethics and lobbying laws, and enforced the ethics and lobbying laws.
I am also proud of the way this commission responded to an unwarranted demand to resign by the current Governor. I found the commission’s actions to have been appropriate, and the Commissioners’ refusal to resign was both courageous and proof of independence from the political process, a characteristic that is a must for a watchdog on integrity. IF YOU HAD SHOWN INDEPENDENCE FROM THE SPITZER ADMINISTRATION PATTERSON WOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO ASK WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE DONE IS REMOVE EVERYONE BUT EMERY FOR FAILING TO INVESTIGATE TEITELBAUM AND GINSBERGS ACTIONS AS JUDGE FISCH POINTED OUT I regret that it is necessary to resign. I believe that disclosure of conflicts and recusal, when appropriate, will, in most cases, allow commission members, particularly unpaid commission members, to continue to serve. Unfortunately these are highly charged times, in which we are dealing with an appropriately disappointed public who may not care for some of the nuance of disclosure and recusal. Secondly, I concluded that because of a recent acquisition by my business and the scale of the enterprise I now run, with tens of thousands of clients, I might not become aware of a conflict before I became involved in a Commission matter. I cannot risk the Commissions reputation, nor mine. This fact requires me to step down. I do regret leaving at this critical point in the commission’s history, and I will miss working with my Commission colleagues to make New York better. SEE ABOVE COMMENT RE YANKEES BUT AS AN ASIDE IF YOU HAD AN ISSUE IN OCTOBER WHY DID YOU HANG AROUND UNTIL NOW AND WHY WON’T YOU RELEASE THE NAMES OF THOSE CASES WHERE YOU HAVE RECUSED YOURSELF “DISCLOSURE OF CONFLICTS” THOSE ARE YOUR WORDS NOT MINE. I’VE FOILED THE LIST AYERS SAYS HE WON’T RELEASE IT MAKES YOU A HYPOCRITE BUT YOU KNOW THAT ALREADY

Finally, a few notes of concern.

1. First, as I said in my public statement as Commission Chairman in May of 2009, with 13 members, the Commission is too large. It was a number arrived at as part of a political compromise. Five or seven is a more appropriate number. WHY NOT AN EVEN NUMBER? ITS ALL ABOUT GUBERNATORIAL CONTROL FOR THE OLD SPITZER CROWD LOBBY COMMISSION HAD 6 WORKED PRETTY WELL
2. Second the selection process looks too partisan. And appearances matter, even when the reality is different. Commissioners should be nominated by a bi-partisan panel and then selected by elected officials, much like the judiciary. THE REALITY IS THAT YOUR ACTIONS HAVE DEFINED THE REALITY IT’S THE PEOPLE STUPID NOT THE PROCESS
3. Third, the Commission has far too few resources to accomplish what it is asked to do. This is a crucial point. We set ourselves up for failure trying to police every ethical, conflict, disclosure or lobbying issue, when we do not have sufficient resources to discover and penalize those who break the law. Failure breeds the cynical view of government that we see from the public today. If the resources are not available, and in this economic crisis I do not believe they are, then we must be willing to triage and focus the limited resources to do the greatest good. We can accomplish this by raising the threshold for lobbying act and disclosure filings, and by limiting post-employment restrictions to managers. Some good government groups may claim these steps are a retreat from sound ethical oversight. Only by taking these types of steps, however, will we be able to have the resources to enforce the more important integrity laws. YOU HAVE P[LENTY OF RESOURCES TO DO THE JOB THE OLD ETHICS COMMISSION AND LOBBY COMMISSION DID JUST FINE WITH THE SAME RESOURCES AND STAFF THE PROBLEM IS ON THE SECOND FLOOR THE PEOPLE RUNNING THE AGENCY DON’T HAVE THE TALENT TO DO THE JOB YOU CAN’T LEARN THIS STUFF IN A SELF HELP BOOK
4. Fourth, the issuance of investigative reports by prosecutorial and quasi-prosecutorial agencies, without the right of the subject to contest the report before a neutral officer and a required standard of proof, is destructive to our society. How does any citizen get back their reputation besmirched by an unfair and biased government report? They can’t. Such reports gain headlines, create a sense of crisis, and destroy the fabric of a fair society. So we must build in safeguards to insure that such government reports are subject to a fair process before they are issued. IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT JUDGE FISCH AND THE IG REPORT ABOUT TEITELBAUM FEERICK AND GINSBERGS ACTIONS IN TROOPERGATE YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS IT WAS UNFAIR HAVE YOU EVEN READ THE REPORT? STOP MAKING EXCUSES TEITELBAUM LEAKED INFORMATION TO THE TARGET OF AN INVESTIGATION FEERICK WAS ALERTED TO IT BY THE DA AND WITH THE EXCEPTION OF COMMISSIONER EMERY THE REST OF THE COMMISSIONERS STUCK THEIR COLLECTIVE HEADS UP THEIR ARSES AND HOPED IT WOULD GO AWAY REPUTATIONS WERE CERTAINLY RUINED AND DESERVINGLY SO YOU SHOULD BE MORE WORRIED THAT GINSBURG STILL INVITES TEITELBAUM INTO HIS OFFICE FOR ADVICE TALK ABOUT GIVING AN ARSONIST A MATCH
5. Finally, integrity cannot be limited to the executive branch of government. And the enforcement of integrity for the legislative branch must not just be Federal Prosecution. While, as I have clearly said above, in comparison to the virtually non-existent oversight of the Legislative branch, ethics oversight of the Executive branch must be graded as remarkably effective. But that is a comparison New York should not accept. Starting with meaningful disclosure and conflict of interest rules, and closing with independent oversight, New York State needs a complete reform of Legislative ethics oversight. YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THAT OVERHAUL STARTING WITH THE PUBLIC INTEGRITY COMMISSION. MR. CUOMO FULFILL YOUR CAMPAIGN PLEDGE AND START CLEANING UP ALBANY BY GETTING RID OF THE COCKROACHS AT PIC

Michael Cherkasky

1:05 Cherkasky has learned from Custer’s mistake and announces that their will be no questions from the public gets back on his horse tucks his tail between his legs and high tails it back to the second floor for his cake all staff is directed to attend and pledge loyalty to Barry

Monday, December 6, 2010


Let’s take the small present first. It was a Special Counsel Ralph letter in response to my “you’ll shoot your eye out advice” in the previous blog. Well it looks like the special counsel blinked, saving his eye, and preventing me from having a little holiday cheer. According to Ralph there will be no subpoena and no more threats. There can be no doubt anymore that you do not have to show the auditors your payroll records. Who says you can’t teach an old dog a new trick LOL.

The second present looked huge from its wrapping. It came as certified mail, which means whoever sent it wanted to make sure I couldn’t say I never got it. By the way save your certified mail fees it’s time to do more with less according to your ex-chair, and I post your letters on my blog usually the same day I receive them, they are that funny. With my fingers twitching I unwrapped the present hoping it wouldn’t be that bunny suit from “A Christmas Story” and it wasn’t. This one was good, no it was great. A Barry letter purporting to be a 15 day letter to one of my clients regarding a registration amendment (see “Press print and get new clients”). Well Barry it’s now on like Donkey Kong. You will not be getting a response to the 15 day letter but we will be demanding a public hearing (and I’m not like Dopp or the Gov I will be there with bells on and drawing as much media attention as possible so pack your lunch and get ready for a good old fashioned ass whupping) right after I complete all the discovery that my client is entitled to. And trust me Barry I’ve been waiting for you to step in it for the last 6 months I just never thought you would be dumb enough to do it with a new governor taking office and everyone watching to see what he will be doing to clean up Albany.

I will do my part to show him how truly useless the PIC is. The sooner Mr. Cuomo rids Albany of the cockroaches at PIC the better.

I hope for your sake Barry you cleared this 15 day letter with more than just the ex-chair because it is going to have a meaningful effect on the entire commission.

Thank you again for making this the best Christmas and Hanukkah ever.

Check your calendar so that we can schedule that hearing. I’m good . . . anytime.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Got a Special Counsel Ralphie letter today. All I can think about this time of year when I saw the letter is the movie classic “A Christmas Story”. I feel like Ralphie’s mom warning him that “you’ll shoot your eye out”. Now granted the special counsel sending me a letter is not the same as a red rider BB gun with a compass in the stock (Ralphie is less likely to hurt himself with the BB gun than the special counsel is with a keyboard) but you get the point. And I strongly suggest that the special counsel and the executive director watch the movie and see what happens to Scut Farkas and his toady sidekick Grover Dill (for those of you at the PIC tell me that if you put a coon skin cap on someone we all know s/he wouldn’t be a dead ringer for Farkus). Anyway I digress back to the special counsel’s letter.

For the background on this dustup read the blog from last week “spoke too soon” The special counsel must be feeling strong around the holidays he actually threatened my clients with a subpoena if we don’t turn over payroll records.

He claims we need to provide a detailed statement with backup records verifying the information on our reports. ONE BIG PROBLEM THOUGH - we gave the auditor that information already in a format that she has accepted from many other lobbyists in the past. Why treat me differently than you treat others Mr. Special Counsel? Are you picking on me Farkus? LOLOLOL

I pointed out to the special counsel that I would like to see all the audits where he accepted statements similar to that which my clients have provided and also those that he subpoenaed to obtain the backup material, as he has threatened to do in this case. Don’t want to provide it under FOIL issue the subpoena I’ll get it in discovery along with a lot of other info.

REMEMBER RALPH “You’ll shoot your eye out”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I’ve got to admit I had the headline written but then I had to change the story. One of my clients was being audited by the person I normally would nominate for the biggest dope at the commission and I was all set to share my experience with the readers of this blog (and I still may as the auditors’ dopiness is legendary). But then lo and behold I received a letter from Barry and I had to rewrite the entire piece and add the second headline because Barry claims the crown, its not even close. Not because Barry is less intelligent than the auditor, I don’t think that’s possible, but because Barry’s dopey actions have far more severe consequences.

As readers of this blog know I requested an advisory opinion of the commission back in June regarding the widely attended event exception to the gift ban. I thought it important that the commission articulate a legal position on the issue because its comments at commission meetings and notices to the lobbying community along with its prosecutions of those it believed had violated the gift ban seemed haphazard, arbitrary and capricious.

After waiting several months I reminded the commission that it had not issued the opinion. Barry responded that the commission could not issue the opinion because they were so busy and they needed a majority of commissioners to approve it at a commission meeting. I reminded him they had a legal obligation to issue the opinion, lord knows it’s the least they could do given how they have failed to accomplish anything of a meaningful nature in the last couple of years. Barry responded that I could have staff’s informal opinion if I was in a rush. Yea after waiting 5 months I’m rushing you clowns. I told Barry I could not find in statute where he got the authority to issue “informal opinions” and why would I want one if they were not binding since his word is worth s*it. Barry responded that he had the authority to issue an “informal opinion” that he would not provide a copy of where that authority came from and he imposed an arbitrary deadline of November 12 for me to request the “informal opinion”. I told him to go piss up a rope and imposed my own deadline of November 12 for him to do so.

Well today he mailed me the rope and I’m going to use it to hoist him on his own petard. I’ll attach my entire response below so you can see what a dope he is but the key point of his letter is contained in a footnote explaining why he is sending an “informal opinion” when one was never requested (by the way what kind of law review poseur puts footnotes in letters?). It is as follows:

“You requested a so-called “formal” opinion from the Commission. As you may know, however, the Commission’s proposed regulations concerning gifts are being reviewed pursuant to the process set forth in the State Administrative Procedure Act (“SAPA”). It is unlikely that the regulations will be adopted in accordance with SAPA before your clients planned event. Under these circumstances, the Commission will not issue a formal opinion before your client’s planned event”

Yup you read it right the King Dope just said no opinions on gifts until the SAPA process concludes. IF YOU WILL NOT ISSUE OPINIONS ON GIFTS YOU CANNOT ISSUE NORCS OR CIVIL PENALTIES ON THEM EITHER. LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Don’t you realize Barry you just voluntarily imposed a moratorium on gift ban prosecutions until SAPA is concluded? If you want an example of an arbitrary and capricious act of a state agency this is as clear as it gets. We will not advise you on the gift ban although we have a legal obligation to do so but we will prosecute you under it. That makes Barry and whoever advised him at the commission to come up with this excuse for not issuing the advisory opinion my candidate for biggest DOPE at PIC quite an accomplishment given the competition.

The sooner the incoming Governor requests the resignation of this entire commission, its executive director and all but about 8 of its staff (that’s for another blog as well) the better.

If you are being investigated or prosecuted for a gift ban violation as a lobbyist, client or public official get in touch I’d be more than happy to provide you with a copy of Barry’s letter.

Here’s my letter to Barry in its entirety:

November 23, 2010

Mr. Barry Ginsberg
NYS Commission on Public Integrity
540 Broadway
Albany, NY 12207

Dear Mr. Ginsberg:

I am in receipt of your letter dated November 22, 2010 which purports to be an “informal opinion”.

As I have never requested such a document I am at a loss to understand why you have sent it. I think my previous correspondence clearly established my position regarding the validity of “informal opinions” and whether my client had requested one.

In my November 4, 2010 letter to you I stated that I would be “(p)utting aside for the moment my belief that commission staff and the executive director lack the ability or knowledge to provide such an opinion. And further putting aside the clear animus the commission staff, the executive director and the chairman have shown towards me and my clients” after reviewing the “informal opinion” and the footnote that sets forth your reasons for issuing an informal opinion that was never requested I can no longer put those beliefs aside.

You state in the footnote for the first time, although we have exchanged correspondence on this issue for over 5 months, that the commission will not issue a formal opinion on the widely attended gift exception until such time as the proposed gift regulations are approved under SAPA. Does this mean that the commission will not issue notices of reasonable cause, hold hearings or issue civil penalties on gifts while the proposed regulations are under SAPA review as well? Clearly if the commission continues to utilize the powers it possesses to impose civil penalties regarding gifts it has a concomitant responsibility to fulfill its obligation under the statute to issue advisory opinions regarding those same gifts. Your refusal to do so and your hastily concocted explanation “after concurring with the Chair and with his concurrence” regarding a mythical reliance on waiting for the SAPA process to conclude, evidences your clear bias towards me and my clients (by the way is the chair still the chair under POL section 31?) and is arbitrary and capricious in its application.

Confirming my belief that “commission staff and the executive director lack the ability or knowledge to provide such an opinion” you state in your “informal opinion” that my request for an opinion does not “indicate how many individuals your client expects will attend the event” and although the request for the opinion stated that the event would be open to the general public and “will not take place without at least 25 non members of the organization and/or public official present” you still state that “it is not clear from the information . . . provided whether it will be open to a “large number of persons from a given industry or profession.” After listening to commission staff and commissioners speak about the arbitrary number of 25 persons and how it was arrived at I did not believe that the commission could become more obtuse in its reasoning, you have exceeded my expectations regarding your lack of abilities. It’s the general public and the event will not take place without meeting your arbitrary benchmark of 25 people how much clearer could you want it to be?

Lastly you state that my client must insure that the public officials that attend are invited because my client believes that an invitation was sent to a public official whose duties and responsibilities relate to the event. As I stated in the request for an opinion any invitation to a public official would contain the following language “we are extending our invitation to you as a public official and believe your attendance is directly related to your official duties”. The fact that you believed you need to warn my client that a potential violation of section 1-m will depend, in part, on whether your client believes that an invitation was sent to a public official whose duties and responsibilities relate to the event” either evidences your complete lack of understanding regarding this issue or more likely evidences the continuing pattern of animus and harassment that this commission has imposed upon me and my clients.

After reading your letter I now fully understand why you have to keep your “informal opinions” secret. It is obvious that you and the commission do not want the public to know that there is no rationale nor legal authority for how you are interpreting and enforcing the statute regarding “widely attended events”. It is for that reason that I will continue to await the advisory opinion of the commission on the issues as set forth in my June 6, 2010 request.

Very truly yours,

David Grandeau, Esq.

Cc: Commissioner Members

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This one wasn’t from Barry but it had special counsel Ralph’s fingerprints all over it. And while I must admit pointing out the special counsel’s errors is more fun than commenting on Barry’s if for no other reason than I know Ralph far better than I ever would want to know Barry. There is value to the lobbying community in my informing them of yet another instance where the PIC has overstepped its jurisdiction.

This time it’s non-lobbying expenses and do you need to maintain and show the PIC your non-lobbying employee’s salary and payroll records.

PIC auditor’s routinely request that lobbyists verify their non-lobbying support staffs compensation. Putting aside for the moment that you are under no legal compulsion to cooperate with an audit (discussed previously at length in this blog) if you voluntarily decide to cooperate with an audit you do NOT have to show the auditor your payroll records.

The lobby Act section 1(h) requires bimonthly reports to include “(5)(i) the compensation paid or owed to the lobbyist, and any expenses expended, received or incurred by the lobbyist for the purpose of lobbying.”

Salaries or expenses for employees or consultants that are not part of the lobbying effort are not reportable as they are not for the purpose of lobbying. Put simply your secretary or administrative assistant or driver or chef (when business is good) or lawyer or accountant is not an expense for the purpose of lobbying.

To make matters worse the PIC bimonthly forms require you to list in the aggregate the salaries of non-lobbying employees. This comes from section 1(h) as well where it states “(iv) expenses paid or incurred for salaries other than that of the lobbyist shall be listed in the aggregate.” BUT THIS IS ONLY IF THOSE SALARIES WHERE INCURRED FOR THE PURPOSE OF LOBBYING BY EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT LISTED AS LOBBYISTS.

And I can hear the special counsel already “if you are a lobbying firm all your employees are for the purpose of lobbying” Really Ralph? How many times do you need to be told your job is to be special counsel not to tell lobbyists how to run their business? If a lobbyist wants to employ someone who has nothing to do with the lobbying that may take place they have a right to do so and no obligation to report it under section 1(h).

Don’t believe me Ralph go read some old opinions you will find this language “we conclude that the inclusion of general office overhead of non-lobbying employees is superfluous, and provides no meaningful information to the public or to our Commission concerning lobbying activities. Such figures are practically impossible to state with complete accuracy. To require such reporting creates a burdensome and complex problem. The alternative, which the Commission permitted, of providing a "reasonable estimate" where such figures could not be ascertained with certainty, supplies information that clearly serves no public purpose and is of no value to the Commission in evaluating lobbying activities.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

If they don’t have to report it you have no right to ask for the records substantiating it in an audit. Don’t believe me try to get a judge to uphold a subpoena for those records.

Hope you found that helpful at the end of the day it will not matter because PIC’s days are numbered. What will I do without PIC to kick around anymore? Its Albany I’m sure something else will tickle my outrage.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If a question never gets asked can anyone answer it

I haven’t gotten any more letters from Barry so I have to move on to other issues (do you think someone finally told him to stop sending me presents?).

I have tried very hard not to comment on the Joe Bruno investigation, trial etc for a lot of reasons. Including some very personal connections to both Joe and the case. Joe gave me my start in government and helped the Spitzer minions put an end to that same government career.In addition the lobby commission investigation of Jared Abbrussezze, while I was the executive director, formed the basis for some of the charges brought against Joe. (a case those clowns at PIC can’t figure out how to conclude – I know I’m obsessed with how incompetent they are but that doesn’t change the fact that they are). But just this once I think I can bring up an issue that relates to the case and integrity in Albany without my personal feelings or connections having any effect on the comment.

I was watching the drama unfold over the last couple of days in the Times Union stories by Brendan Lyons regarding Joe Bruno’s federal conviction, his appeal, the offer made or not made by the feds to help the DA or the AG prosecute under state law, the AG’s response and Fred Dicker’s coverage in the New York Post of the feds letter to Bruno’s lawyer regarding reversal of the felony convictions and Bruno’s lawyers response to that letter and one question kept popping up in my head.

If the feds think there are sufficient facts to bring a different case against Bruno and/or the feds are planning to recharge Bruno using something other than the honest services statute WHY DIDN”T THEY DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

It’s a question that should have been asked by someone in the media a long time ago.

And while the answer is of professional interest to me I can’t help but think this being Albany that when a question is never asked it’s because the people with the answers don’t want it to be asked.

This latest episode in what has been a pretty sordid affair is starting to feel a lot like a John Grisham novel, but without a hero.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


That’s right I got another letter from Barry today. I can’t wait to read it . . . . too easy Barry c’mon you have to make me work harder. I unwrapped the present and I must tell you I’m disappointed. I know it’s rude to tell someone their present is less than perfect but for such a brightly wrapped box I thought you would give me more than a fruitcake.

To let the readers in on what Barry’s letter says it basically is as follows:

1. I’ve got a resolution from the commission that says I’m authorized to issue “informal opinions”
2. I’m not going to show you this resolution because I don’t have to.
3. “informal opinions” are not advisory opinions that can be published, and
4. You have until November 12 to turn your request for an advisory opinion into a request for an “informal opinion”

Let’s take the easy one first. What happens on November 13 you dope? That’s right Barry your arbitrary deadline is meaningless. If I could ask for your mythical “informal opinion on the 12th I could ask for it on the 13th the 15th (when Mike the ex-chair’s resignation is effective under the public officers law) or any other day I choose. Unless of course, you plan on treating me differently than you treat others. Of course I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Mike the ex-chair gave you a resolution that did exactly that. Remember Barry when in doubt think wwidfmw (what would I do for my wife). If your wife could ask for an “informal opinion” anytime so can I.

Because you will not provide the written delegation you force me to believe you when you say it exists. I DON’T. As I have written before your word is worth s**t as far as I am concerned.

But even if you have a written delegation the commission can only delegate to you powers that it possesses. And when it comes to lobby opinions the only power it has is the power to issue an opinion that it must publish.

Barry you might want to ask yourself who invented the “informal opinion” and why. The answer will help you understand why you are so far behind in this game.

Make the next letter the regulatory equivalent of a 50” plasma TV cause the current letters are like fruitcakes from a fruitcake, I appreciate the thought but they just end up in the garbage.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Over 150 days ago I requested an advisory opinion from the Public Integrity Commission on a widely attended event. I thought I was playing nice, I gave them almost one half a year to issue the opinion and the facts are pretty simple and straight forward. Quite frankly I had little doubt my clients event met the requirements most recently published by the commission but an advisory opinion would be a twofer. First my client could hold their event with no concerns regarding commission retaliation and second the lobbying community would finally have an opinion in writing that the commission would have trouble twisting in the future to fit its retaliatory modus operandi.

Well the clown show that is PIC never ceases to disappoint me. At the last commission meeting they were discussing changes to the widely attended event exception again, and again the discussion had no basis in reality. One is left to wonder what color the clouds are in the commissions executive sessions.

With that backdrop I received a letter from the PIC today. By the way getting letters from PIC is like Christmas for me all I can think is what have these clowns done now?

Well this time it was the head clown Barry telling me that they don’t know when the commission will get its act together and issue this simple opinion. (what do these commissioners do other than stuff their faces at 2 hour commission meeting executive sessions and turn New York’s once proud tradition of integrity into a model that only Elliot Spitzer and his minions could follow. (Mr. Cuomo please put this sick dog agency out of our misery quickly). Barry’s suggestion – that I let him issue an informal opinion since it will be quicker.

Are you kidding me? Barry I’m not sure you have ever read the lobby act or have the legal chops to write an opinion on this subject even if you have but beyond that WHAT IS AN INFORMAL OPINION?

I have reproduced my letter back to Barry below

Dear Mr. Ginsberg:

I am in receipt of your letter dated November 1, 2010 requesting permission to treat my request of June 6, 2010 for a formal opinion (that’s 151 days ago) as a request for an “informal opinion”.

Putting aside for the moment my belief that commission staff and the executive director lack the ability or knowledge to provide such an opinion. And further putting aside the clear animus the commission staff, the executive director and the chairman have shown towards me and my clients, before I can authorize you to treat my request as one for an “informal opinion” I will require answers to some simple questions as follows:

1. I find no authority in the Lobby Act or Executive Law section 94 for the issuance of an “informal opinion”. If no such authority exists how can you state that if the “informal opinion” advises that the event fits within the exception “your client would not be subject to a potential enforcement proceeding”? Are you suggesting that your promise may be relied upon? As we both know history and the apology letter you have previously provided me would necessitate my skepticism regarding your trustworthiness.

2. You state that “The Commission has authorized the Executive Director to issue informal opinions”. Executive Law section 94(9) requires any such delegation to be in writing and to enumerate such specific powers that have been delegated. Can you provide a copy of the written delegation providing you the power to issue an “informal opinion”?

3. If indeed you have been delegated such power, am I correct that the effect would be to turn the “informal opinion” into an advisory opinion that would be required to be published pursuant to Lobby Law section 1-d(f) ? If the answer is yes please consider this correspondence to be a FOIL request for all “informal opinions” issued pursuant to written delegation under Executive Law section 94(9).

After I have received your response to the previous questions I will confer with my client and provide you an answer to your question regarding providing an “informal opinion”

The moral of this story is if you have an “informal opinion” from Barry it may not be worth the paper it’s printed on and second when these clowns are gone the next commission should make new rules going forward and never look at the train wreck in their rear view mirror.

Triage has been defined by the Public Integrity Commission as “the inability to answer simple questions while looking pompous and self important”

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Everyone is reading the IGs report about Aqueduct today, and I’m sure it is Joe Fisch’s typical thorough and thoughtful work. I won’t be blogging about that report but I will be about another far less noticed but equally if not more important report the IG recently released.

You can find it here,%202008-2010.pdf.

It is the IG’s two year report to the governor detailing the office’s work over the last two years.

If Mike the ex chair can get off his conflicted high horse long enough to triage his time and read this report he would see how an integrity agency is suppose to operate.

In fact let me suggest had we given Joe Fisch the jurisdiction over the same folks that Mike the ex chair has with the PIC the State might not have needed to worry about all the scandals that have occurred and not been investigated or investigated improperly by Mike the ex chair and his minions.

While Mike the ex chair whines about his lack of resources and makes excuses for a laughing stock integrity agency, Joe Fisch has gone about his business without complaint and has gotten the job done. Read the report and you will see what I mean.

My only question is why hasn’t Barry, Ralph and the rest of the clown posse followed up on the IG’s work? Too busy inventing lifetime ban’s I guess.

You will note that PIC is featured prominently in the report and not in a good way. With any luck I will be able to read about some of my complaints about Mike the ex chair, Barry and Ralph in the next two year report Joe Fisch releases.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The commission just posted its draft minutes of its last meeting. The meeting wherein ex chair Michael Cherkasky announced his resignation as I blogged about last week.

Remember I noted that Mike the ex-chair was overstaying his welcome by announcing his resignation 75 days in advance of when he plans on stepping down, and that the lawyers ought to check on it? (I like a fair fight so I needed to give Barry and the clown posse a head start)

Well Barry must have found someone smarter than him to do the research because lo and behold when you read the draft minutes Mike the ex-chair hasn’t resigned he’s just letting everyone know when he will be stepping down.

Here’s what the minutes say:

Chairman Michael Cherkasky announced that it has been an incredible pleasure
working with this group of people and being Chairman of this Commission.
Unfortunately, things have changed in his professional life. The company of
which he is CEO acquired a company called Kroll in August. Since Kroll handles
so many different matters, it’s not in the interest of this Commission or the State
for him to continue to be Chairman. To protect himself, his company and the Commission, effective in January, he will be stepping down with his regrets. He
will participate in the December meeting.”

Now I have a pretty good memory and that’s not what I remembered Mike the ex-chair saying plus I don’t trust Barry so I went to the video of the meeting. It has to be posted within 2 business days of the meeting i.e. by Monday, today’s Wednesday so it should be on the website.

Now I know it must be another one of those computer malfunctions the commission has become famous for but you cannot access the video of the meeting at this time.

Hmmmm, well I am a patient man I’ve waited over 2 months for Mike the ex-chair to answer my simple question of has the commission changed the way it calculates due dates, I’ve waited over 4 months for an opinion on a widely attended event I can wait for the video to be posted as long as it happens in the next 24 days.

What’s magic about 24 days? Well that’s 30 days from when Mike the ex-chair announced his resignation and under the Public Officer’s Law that’s when the resignation becomes effective if the date Mike the ex-chair picked is more than 30 days from his announcement.

Theirs a good reason for this law Mike, it’s to deal with folks like you who have conflicts and think by announcing that they will quit in the future that magically cures the conflict, it doesn’t. I hate to admit it but you where right when you said “it’s not in the interest of this Commission or the State for me to continue to be Chairman”

Now just in case that video malfunction never gets fixed I’ve requested a copy of a transcript of the meeting, you are required by law to provide it.

This isn’t like two people in a he said she said argument about who’s lying, (Barry wins those all the time) in this case eventually we will know for sure.

And just to show you what’s beneath me Mike . . . you could always withdraw your resignation. if you have bothered to send it at all, but those conflicts are not going away and folks are starting to notice and question your integrity in staying on when even you know “it’s not in the interest of this Commission or the State for me to continue to be Chairman”

Do the State and the Commission a huge favor and at least follow the Public Officers Law on your way out because you sure missed the boat on the way in. (a vote of confidence for Hurb Teitelbaum? Really? I mean really?)

Friday, October 15, 2010


Public Integrity Chairman Michael Cherkasky announced his resignation yesterday. In so doing he joins an ever growing list of PIC bigwigs who came in with sterling reputations (at least according to the spitzer minions) and left with their tails between their legs.

As an aside for an excellent review of just how bad disgraced former executive director and former chairman Teitelbaum and Feerick were you should read Lloyd Constantine’s book and it’s description of how they got appointed and why.

But back to Mike the ex chair, he said he has resigned effective January 1, 2011 due to the many conflicts that have arisen from his company’s acquisition of Kroll. And I might add Mike the ex chair did a wonderful advertisement for Kroll on camera pointing out that every law firm in the top 100 list uses them. Do you really think that was an appropriate use of state resources Mike? State resources that the commission had to pay overtime for because you’re catered executive session lasted 3 hours. Doing more with less doesn’t mean more eating with less financial restraint Mike.

But back to those conflicts. If you have them now they are not going away in the next 3 months. (I foiled the list of recusals Mike the ex chair has had, anyone want to bet if they provide them?) If the conflicts are sufficient to require your resignation the resignation should be effective immediately or worst case within the next 30 days.

Why don’t you have your crack lawyers research it for you? If Ralph and Barry can’t find the statute tell them to give me a call I’ll show them the law.

Since you will not be at the next meeting other than in the audience (and we both know that’s beneath you) let me say goodbye now. You have continued the tradition of scandal plagued PIC bigwigs lets hope the next one is better, the bar has been set pretty low, so low its almost beneath me huh Mike.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I just got back from the latest marathon PIC meeting and although they spent 3 of the 4 hours in executive session (weird how during executive session food is brought in and the trolls on the 2nd floor all get to go in and eat – must be an example of the type of meals that would violate the gift ban) some interesting things did happen in public.

First a lively discussion regarding staffs suggested legislative recommendations gave those of us in the audience insight into how staff would like the gift ban to be and more importantly we got to see that at least a couple of the commissioners think the staff opinion on gifts is wrong as many of us listening thought.

Barry starts off by suggesting that the intent portion of the gift ban be removed because if you are a lobbyist or the client of a lobbyist your intent is to influence public officials per se. DOPE And kudos to new commissioner Carpinello for his lucid and valid concerns about such an approach.

Then Barry moved on to his personal belief that their should be a complete ban on gifts no exceptions. He pointed out that when he was a prosecutor in Morgenthau’s Manhattan DA’s office that was their rule and it was easy to follow. DOPE You forget Barry that your hero Mr. Morgenthau was caught accepting a gift from the NY Yankees of baseball tickets. A gift that cost the Yankees considerable money in the form of a fine from the old NYS Lobby Commission.

Commissioners continued to object to the various proposals and tried to come up with new ones on the fly, by the way who thought of the new idea that if you invite 100 people to an event it’s widely attended no matter how many attend? You guys keep pulling numbers out of your ass like you got a message from god. First it was 25 including public officials and spouses (that was yours Mike the chair) then it was 25 not counting spouses (that was Ralphs) now its 100 invited. DOPES

Finally Commissioner Apuzzo noted that the discussion was a monumental waste of time since it had been discussed numerous times before and no decision would be made today (At least there are two commissioners that appear to have level heads). Mike the chair tried to shut down the discussion but Barry just couldn’t read the tea leaves and kept going until finally Mike the chair mercifully put an end to it.

My conclusion is that left to his own devices Barry would draw and quarter any lobbyist he could catch, other than his wife one would assume. Let’s hope the rational commissioners see this.

Following the aforementioned 3 hour catered executive session Mike the chair announced that he would soon be Mike the ex chair as he is resigning effective January 1st due to his extensive conflicts. As an aside if your conflicts are forcing you to resign shouldn’t you do it immediately? Either you have them or you don’t.

Mike the ex chair then asked if anyone had any questions for the commission. Are you kidding I waited three hours while you gorged yourself in executive session you know I’m asking a question. And it was another simple one, here it is as best I recall

I asked you two months ago if the commission had changed the way it calculates due dates. You said it was a simple question. I sent you letters on August 12, 13 and 19 and on September 10 asking when I could expect an answer. To date you still haven’t answered the simple question and it’s evident to all present that you don’t plan to. With that thought in mind and recognizing I’m the only person who has asked a question in over a year why do you continue to allow the public to ask questions you don’t ever plan on answering?

Believe it or not Mike the ex chair answered my question. No not the one from 2 months ago but this one and here’s his answer.

We are busy
We are understaffed
We will get to it when we get to it

Then he added and we know you think because the “great” David Grandeau asked the question it should get precedence.

WOW the ex chair is a little thin skinned

And come to think about it he never really answered my question of why they continue to have a question session but that’s par for the course with this crowd

I then asked my follow up question after noting that I thought Mike the ex chairs sarcasm in his “great” comment was beneath him.

The follow-up was the following

Can you update me on the status of the complaint I made about Ralph contacting my client regarding collection of a late fee after both Mike the ex chair and Barry confirmed that the commission would not take further collection action.

Talk about throwing gas on a fire Mike the ex chairs response was to note that while I thought his sarcasm was beneath him he now believed nothing was beneath me.

Mike I’ve been around prima donnas and thin skinned folks a long time remember I did a dozen years running the lobby commission. A dozen years without the public humiliation and scandal that your commission has brought upon itself in its short existence. But I must congratulate you I’ve never seen a public official so honest in his animus against a party appearing before him. You might want to check section 74 (h) of the Public Officers Law or in the alternative recuse yourself from anything involving me or my clients post haste.

And don’t worry Mike I don’t take it as personally as you do I only care about the opinion of people I respect or believe have more knowledge or integrity than I do. I’ll let my public record speak for itself yours already has.

After Mike the ex chairs glimpse into his true feelings he went on to explain that Ralph contacting my client was an administrative error for which they were sorry and that I would receive a letter to that effect. After his answer to my first question I won’t hold my breath but it was nice to see he is capable of admitting his mistakes.

All in all an interesting visit to a train wreck.

Let me leave Mike the ex chair, Barry, Ralph and those on the commission that share their opinion of me with the words of noted philosopher Ice-T:

“this goes out to all you haters out there
Actin' like a brother done did somethin' wrong
cause he got his game tight
Don't hate the player, hate the game”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


OK so this one might be a little inside baseball (hell the whole blog is written for the 20 people that care about integrity compliance in NY so doing an entry for the 5 people at the commission who care is only 25% self-indulgent).

On the 3rd floor of the PIC offices there are two doors you can use to enter the commission (you need a special super secret card to get in and they monitor who goes where and when trust me it took forever to hack into their security system) RELAX all you 2nd floor trolls I really don’t have one . . .yet.

Anyway one door is the “main door” but the second door is a shortcut staffers can use to get to the IT department or the lunch room. With the added benefit of not having to go by the prairie dogger compound (these are the employees who monitor everyone’s location at all times sort of a gps for busybodies).

Lo and behold a sign recently appeared on the outside of the door (the side the public or staff would use). The sign said only use this door for emergencies. HUH what kind of emergency could it be where you need to get into the commission? That is one of the all-time great questions related to the commission so good I may have to ask it at the commission meeting tomorrow. I’ve got others though like:

1. It’s been 2 months and the chair has not answered what he termed the simple question of did the commission change the way it calculates due dates will he ever answer?
2. Is the chairman embarrassed by not having answered this question?
3. Do any of the commissioners know the answer to the simple question?
4. Why do they have a question and answer session when they don’t answer questions?
5. Have they failed to answer the question because a yes answer (which it is) means they would owe a lot of money in refunds?
6. Did Ralph change commission policy related to this question without approval of the commission?
7. If so when?
8. Did Barry know what Ralph was doing related to this change in policy?
9. Did commission staff in programs tell Ralph he was wrong about changing due dates?
10. How many times was Ralph told?
11. How many times was Ralph told in writing?
12. Has the commission reviewed my complaint about Mr. Miccio and Mr. Ginsburg’s actions?
13. Did they investigate my complaint more fully than the complaint the DA made about disgraced ex executive director Teitelbaum?
14. Which commissioner was put in charge of writing my lifetime bar opinion?
15. Did the chair assign staff to write it even though I have a complaint pending against Miccio and Ginsburg?
16. How many commissioners have violated the lifetime bar as Ralph has interpreted it?
17. Did disgraced ex governor Spitzer violate the lifetime bar as Ralph has interpreted it?
18. Did any former executive director of the ethics commission violate the lifetime bar as Ralph has interpreted it?
19. Does the commission know that former Chairman Feerick discussed with me what I could and could not do after leaving the lobby commission?
20. Does the commission know that former Chairman Feerick recommended me as a consultant to some of the companies where he sat on the board of directors?
21. Would that be relevant to the issue of a lifetime bar as Ralph has interpreted it?
22. Do the commission members know that Ralph allowed me to represent a client on late fees 8 months ago and actually waived some of those fees without notifying me of a potential lifetime bar issue as Ralph has now interpreted it?
23. Would that be relevant to the issue of a lifetime bar as Ralph is now interpreting it?
24. Do the individual commissioners have liability for the actions of the staff if they knew or should have known (that language I stole from you Ralph) that said actions were beyond the statutory authority of the staff members?
25. And lastly why would they allow one staff member who doesn’t like people walking behind her put the emergency entrance sign up?

When you let a staffers personal desires or vengeful behavior exist and don’t nip it in the bud it infects the entire office. If it was me I would use the emergency entrance even when I didn’t need to. I might even put my own sign up “WELCOME please use this door anytime”

That way everyone could benefit kind of like what I’m doing with the blog and the commission’s approach to late fees.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Call it good timing or the power of the blog or God has a sense of humor whatever the reason I picked up a new client that had received a letter from the PIC for failure to amend their registration after they extended their contract with their client.

Yup a case directly on point to yesterdays blog.

So I called the commission to speak with the program person who signed the letter. After explaining that I was an attorney representing my client, that’s right Ralph I did it with full knowledge that you probably think this issue is covered by the lifetime bar as well since the lobby act was amended while I was Executive Director of the Lobby Commission, in other words Ralph no need for another opinion you want to stop taking punches with your arms tied behind your back bring a case on these facts for a lifetime bar violation lets see who wins that one. Anyway I asked the program person where they found the statutory authority to require a registration amendment for a contract extension with no new written agreement (precisely the point I made in yesterdays blog). The answer – “I don’t care I’m just doing what I’m told”. Wow what has happened to the old lobby commission employees? Back in the day that kind of attitude was not tolerated and certainly not encouraged. I know this person and it is out of character for them to act this way, has morale fallen that far? Time to take them all apple picking again Barry cause the free coffee at Mug Shots isn’t getting the job done.

Anyway I didn’t have the heart to torture a broken employee so I will just send a letter documenting my client’s position and ask that they forward it to counsel so that Ralph can either ignore it or threaten me again with a bogus interpretation of the lifetime bar. Either way my client will not be paying a late fee without a court issuing a decision that the commission has the authority to impose one. By the way where would the commission find the authority to impose a civil penalty if a filer did not amend their registration to extend the term? Look long and hard at that one Ralph cause that‘s another one worth fighting about.

And lastly keep up the good work on these letters the more you write the more clients I get. The more clients I get the more likely I am to hire the few good motivated employees the commission has left. It’s a win win all the way around.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I got a couple of emails from some clients who received the PIC’s newsletter (2nd installment). The comments were the same. Are you serious? This is what our tax dollars pay for? Telling us to hit the print button to print our reports?

Yup that’s about all you can expect from the gang that just doesn’t seem to have a clue how they are perceived by the lobbying public.

So in the spirit of giving something back to the industry that has given me so much I’m going to publish my tip on late fees and the commission.

As I’ve blogged before the commission does not have a legal basis to impose late fees on registration amendments. Don’t believe me ask special counsel Ralph if they have ever imposed a late fee on a termination that was not submitted within the 30 days as required by the statute. The answer if Ralph decides to tell the truth will be no, nope, never the commission has never done it. WHY? Because the statute does not provide for it. What’s the difference between late fees for registration amendments and terminations? None as far as I can tell. Neither is authorized in statute.

But it gets better. In preparation for the fight I am looking forward to having with the commission over lifetime bar threats and the late fees I am representing clients on I took a close look at Ralph’s late fee letters and the statute. Here’s what I found:

Ralphs late fee letters for registration amendments state “Any amendment to the information filed by a lobbyist in the original statement of registration must be submitted to the Commission within ten days after such amended information is known or should have been known by the filer (Section 1-e(d)).(emphasis added)

Where does Ralph find that language in the statute? He doesn’t he made it up its what he wants it to say not what it actually says. Far be it for me to say Ralph is a sloppy lawyer. I’ll let anyone who has dealt with him draw their own conclusions but if I got a late fee for a registration amendment I would not pay it and ask the AG to show you where the authorization comes from and while you’re at it ask them if they know where Ralph found the language in his letter.

And one more thing since most of the late fees on registration amendments are the result of contract extensions that are filed more than 10 days after the start of the extension think about this you didn’t need to amend your registration at all for a contract extension. You are already registered for the biannual term and the statute only requires an amendment to the information in the registration. There are seven pieces of information required to be in the registration by statute and the term of the contract IS NOT ONE OF THEM. If you extend the term you have not amended the information in the registration therefore the statute does not require an amendment.
To recap:
1. You are not required by statute to amend your registration for a contract extension.
2. Amendments are not required with 10 days of when you should have known of them as the oracle of Broadway (Ralph) states but rather within 10 days of the actual amendment.
3. You cannot be issued a late fee for registration amendments or terminations because the statute does not authorize it.
4. The statute does not authorize it because your registration remains in effect for the biannual period unless YOU terminate it. It is not terminated by the terms of your contract and the commission will never terminate it for you they don’t have that power. And before the special counsel says you can’t lobby without a contract. I would ask where in the statute does it say that you need a contract to lobby? All it says is that you need to attach a written contract if you have one to your registration if you don’t then you have to attach an authorization to you registration. There is no prohibition against lobbying without a contract just a penalty for failure to timely register.

Sorry Ralph I know it’s not what you think it should be but it is what the statute says.

As an aside Ralph as I told you when I was your boss at the lobby commission (and hiring you has turned into the old adage no good turn goes unpunished) stop trying to tell the lobbying industry how to run their business and focus on the lobby law. If you had been any good at the business end you would still be in private practice not hanging out at 677 Prime and The Old Dailey in on your state lunch half hour. Go easy on the libations people notice.

Hope those of you in the business found these tips more helpful than the press print advice the commission gave you. See you all at the commission meeting next week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Anybody watch Spitzer’s new show last night? Didn’t think so since the only thing less appealing than watching Elliot try to rehab his image is doing so with the visual of him and a hooker playing in your mind at the same time.

Anyway I did watch the snippet posted on the DN blog of Elliot and Henry Blodgett and I hope the crack team of investigators at PIC did as well because right there on national television is an example of special counsel Ralph’s new interpretation of the lifetime bar.

Elliot has a segment called “unfinished business” where he interviews people he persecuted oops prostituted oops prosecuted in his past. He revisits cases from his time as AG (and I would imagine governor as the show progresses). I actually might watch the steamroller interview some of his former opponents. It was hilarious to see him brag about how he got the bad guy for misleading investors then turn around and praise him for now having a web site that advises investors. Hypocrisy thy name is Elliot. Spitzer would be perfect on the PIC.

Now under special counsel Ralph’s expanded and totally inaccurate version of the lifetime bar Elliot would be subject to a $40,000 fine for receiving compensation for communicating about a case in which he personally participated while in public service.

Ridiculous right?

That was never what the lifetime bar was intended to prohibit. If special counsel Ralph is right in his expanded view of the lifetime bar Elliot and I are not the only ones in danger of violating it. Commissioner’s Celli and Peters both worked for Elliot at the AG’s office, better check your cases make sure you have not represented a client on any matter involving a law or program instituted while you worked for the AG (stop and frisk perhaps). I could go on and on with well known former public officials that would have violated special counsel Ralph’s new lifetime bar but I’m now actually looking forward to the opinion Barry has told me is forthcoming from the commission. It’s going to apply to all of us and I’m thinking the perfect person to represent all of the former state workers damaged by this forthcoming opinion would be former Ethics Executive Director Karl Sleight the only problem? Karl would be barred from ever representing anyone related to the lifetime bar since he was Executive Director when many of the old opinions on the subject where issued. Now since I know Karl has represented folks before the PIC that must mean that special counsel Ralph’s lifetime bar only applies to me. I’m honored.

Oh by the way I want to correct something I wrote in a previous blog. I said that there was only one case left from my time at the Lobby Commission. That case was Abbrussezze but I remembered their might be another we had an open investigation into the SUNY Research Foundation and I honestly don’t remember if it was closed. Anyway I don’t represent anyone associated with that entity so it shouldn’t be an issue for Ralph, yet.

Speaking of unfinished business Mr. Cherkasky it’s going to be two months next Thursday and still no answer to what you called the simple question of did the commission change the way it calculates due dates. Please don’t use that tired old excuse of being understaffed when I ask the question again. It’s never too late to take a step in the right direction, anytime you want to meet and talk about all this I’m ready willing and able I’ll even buy lunch it won’t be the first time a chairman of PIC ate lunch on my AmEx card.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What can PIC learn from Paladino? Or How I learned to love the bomb

Well that didn’t take long. The most recent Paladino explosion could serve as a useful learning tool to the Public Integrity Commission if only they could get their collective heads out of their collective rear ends. Or in special counsel ralph’s case if he was in town instead of on vacation again (track season, Florida, ralph is a man of leisure, how does he find the time to screw up so many different issues?).

But I digress, what could the PIC learn from Paladino you ask? As Abraham Lincoln said “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak out and remove all doubt”.
Much as Paladino is being defined by his actions as an out of control madman (am I the only one that can see him as the Slim Pickens character in the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove – picture the campaign ad Paladino in a cowboy hat riding a nuclear bomb to its target with the tag line “How mad are you Carl?”) the PIC is being defined by its actions as a poorly managed vindictive incompetent leftover from the bad old spitzer days.

Paladino makes wild accusations about Cuomo’s infidelity and then when asked if he has proof goes ballistic (I think Fred could handle Paladino and Caputo I’m not sure about the bodyguard though that dude was huge) and follows that up with the standard schoolyard response of I have the proof and will show it at the appropriate time. By the way I’ve never met anyone who says that and actually has the proof.

Miccio makes a wild accusation that I may be violating the lifetime bar by representing a client who received a late fee imposed illegally by Miccio and then when I try to play by the PIC’s rules and ask for an opinion upon Ginsberg’s guarantee that they will not try to collect the late fee from my client Miccio goes ballistic and contacts my client directly to collect the late fee (and yes I’m pretty sure I can handle Miccio, Ginsberg and any other goons they have on the payroll in a legal fight of course although I guarantee it will look like a street fight LOL).

But here’s the lesson Paladino can teach Mike the chair and the PIC – Paladino once he calmed down and had a chance to think about what he did and why he did it admitted he had no proof of Cuomo’s extracurricular activity. That’s a step in the right direction.

If Mike the chair tells me that Ralph had no basis for his unsubstantiated allegation of a lifetime bar (one by the way that would apply to every former state employee high and low including 4 members of the commission and former executive directors Rivkin, Sleight and Teitelbaum) he would be taking a step in the right direction.

And here’s the lesson PIC can teach Paladino. You pay for the actions of those you employ to run your operation. Surround yourself with incompetent, bungling and in some cases corrupt employees and it reflects upon the guy at the top. Any doubt? Go ask John Feerick the former chairman of PIC until Teitelbaum ruined his reputation.

And Mike I still have not received an answer to the simple question of has the commission changed the way it calculates due dates. It almost two months another commission meeting is coming up in a couple of weeks don’t let Miccio and Ginsberg buckle the seatbelt on that nuclear bomb you are riding If you have seen the movie it’s a fun ride till the bomb goes off.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I’m starting to notice a similarity in the way the media is treating the Public Integrity Commission and the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee. HUH? How do I make that connection you ask?

The media has seen the commission make error after error, make laughable denial after denial and take indefensible action after action. Just a partial list:

The leaking of information in Troopergate
Ignoring the DA’s warnings about the leaks
Failing to investigate Herb’s actions
Ignoring the IG’s report about Barry and Herb
Ignoring the governor’s call for mass resignations
Giving Herb a vote of confidence a week before he resigned in disgrace
Letting Herb use vacation time he may or may not have had prior to his departure
Ignoring Herb hitting a deer with his state issued car on a Sunday
Apple Picking
Miscalculation of lobby totals two years running
Yankee ticket immaculate deception
Barry’s wife getting that helpful phone call
Due dates and the changing there of
Conflicts of interest for commissioners

And the list goes on and on.

The media used to report on the commission missteps, even editorialized once in a while but now the bar has been lowered so far and the expectations dumbed down to such a level that the commission gets away with being an embarrassment because everyone knows it already. It’s an old story.

Will the same thing happen in the governor’s race? Will the fact that Paladino has made so many outrageous statements allow him to avoid media responsibility for the next ones that we are all sure are coming?

I can tell you from first hand experience when the media accepts the pest as an inevitable guest at the party you end up infested with pests. Disclosure is the best exterminator.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I ran into a fella that knows more than most about the ethics law and lifetime bars. I asked him if I was missing anything in Ralph’s bogus allegation that my legal representation of a client before the commission on a matter the commission commenced of their own volition 3 years after I left state service could violate the lifetime bar. After laughing for a bit he said no but that doesn’t stop this crowd from coming to whatever conclusion they want.

As he said he doubts many of the commission lawyers have actually read the law. That resonated because when I was at the lobby commission we would say that all the time, you would think the lawyers involved in a case would actually read the law before acting but they rarely did.

With that thought in my head I visited the commission to drop off some client filings and got chatting with a couple of my former coworkers and an ethics commission employee when who walks in with a dopey grin on his face? Not Barry but someone who looks like he could be related to Barry with a little Danny Devito thrown in. He just stands their staring at us without saying a word, walks out, comes back in, stares again until one of the former coworkers says “your office is up those stairs to the right push the button for the elevator and get off on the 2nd floor”.

At that moment I realized there is nothing I can do to make Ralph and Barry be rational about what they are doing because you can’t fix dumb.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I want to thank the public integrity commission’s executive director Barry Ginsberg for helping me clear my writers block.

It’s been 3 days since I blogged about the greatest show in pinstripes and I just couldn’t muster the outrage to keep writing the same piece over and over again.

So I decided to take a trip downtown to grab a dog at Eggy’s (perhaps the finest lunch truck in existence) visit with some friends from the commission (you would be surprised how many I still have and I am always surprised how many I lost because they were afraid of retaliation from the suits) to see if that provided inspiration.

But I came up dry, nothing, nada until I got the mail and lo and behold there it was a letter from Barry.

Now I’ve been expecting something from Cherkasky as I have written him every week reminding him of what responses he owes me. And sure enough Barry answered three of them and it shows you just what type of man Barry is and what type of agency he is running.

First response – yes you asked for an opinion on a widely attended event but it’s 6 months away and you will get it when we give it to you until then piss off (that’s my rough translation). Barry I asked for it 3 months ago, you’ve given responses in as little as a day when it came to clearing ex-commissioner Alonso on his gift question and since you clearly never learned anything in the private sector (I guess The Mintz group never put on events) these things take time and money to plan, its not like going apple picking. You clowns want the lobbying community to ask your permission on events but then you won’t give an answer. You are like cockroaches it’s not what you steal it’s what you touch and ruin for everybody else.

Second response – when it comes to your opinion on the lifetime bar don’t rush us we are letting your old friend Ralph get a little payback and write it so he doesn’t have to keep taking shots from you with his hands tied behind his back (again my rough translation). Barry I’ve told your chairman before I don’t need a staff opinion and I only need a formal commission opinion if the chair believes that Ralph’s bogus allegation of a lifetime bar has any validity. A formal opinion that applies to all former state employees like ex-governor Spitzer and Pataki, your commissioners Celli, Spinelli, Apuzzo and Peters and former commissioners Shechtman and Bulgaro along with former ethics executive directors Rivkin and Sleight etc etc etc. and not one crafted by the goon squad to apply only to the person saying the commission is acting like a king with no clothes.

Last response – Barry says he’s finally going to answer the question of “did the commission change the way it determines due dates since July 16, 2010 and here’s his answer word for word:

“Finally, with respect to your public inquiry after the Commission’s August 12 meeting. The Lobby Act authorizes the Commission to impose late fees on lobbyists and clients and the Commission has administered its late fee program consistent with the applicable law. The commission’s late fee program provides an adequate mechanism for contesting late fees that are imposed. A lobbyist or client may seek a waiver or reduction of a late fee by providing a written justification. Further, a lobbyist or client whose request for a waiver or reduction is denied may challenge the Commission’s final determination by initiating a proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Procedure Law and Rules”

That’s your final answer Barry? The state pays you over $150k a year for that?

It was a yes or no question and if you think that nonsense is going to fool anyone you’re more delusional than I give you credit for.

Maybe you will answer the question during discovery at a deposition when you are under oath. I’ll show you the email and ask you if you have ever seen it before You’re not blind are you Barry I wouldn’t want you to slip out of a perjury charge because you didn’t see the exhibit.

As an aside you make a great case for why there is no lifetime bar on this It’s the Lobby Act that authorizes you to impose late fees. Your commission administers it consistent with applicable law. My state service 3 years ago has nothing to do with it. As far as I know the only open proceeding left from the lobby commission is Abbruzzese and I swear I have done no work for him nor will I.

Over a month and still no answer. I wonder how many lobbyists and clients have paid late fees that the commission its staff and chairman know where improperly imposed? I’m guessing it’s a lot of money Seems like it ought to be a crime.

By the way anyone notice the last batch of late fee letters now start counting the day after a report is due? You are all welcome when I get them to admit they changed the way they determine due dates you can all ask for refunds of your late fees.

Whew as you can tell Barry has cleared my blockage Thanks Barry I needed that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


And commission executive director Barry Ginsberg’s word ain’t worth s**t.

I know those are strong words but let me tell you what these clowns just did. It used to be that I would advise anyone who spoke with commission staff to get the answer in writing because certain staff members would change their positions after the fact to cover their incompetency. Now getting it in writing doesn’t help.

Ginsberg sent me a letter telling me the commission would take no action to collect the late fee they had illegally imposed upon one of my clients until they decided if the lifetime bar applied to my legal representation of this client (a complete joke as I have blogged about before and thank you to all the former state employees high and low that have told me so). Barry’s letter was a reasonable position even if Miccio’s allegation was a transparent threat and attempt to silence this blog.

So imagine my surprise when the client called to tell me they got a collection letter from the special counsel Ralph imposing additional fees and threatening to refer the matter to the Attorney General (here’s a hint Ralph that’s right where we want to be talking to the AG about you and your agency. It never hurts to give the next governor a sneak peak at how truly screwed up you guys are).

Now aside from the fact that Ralph is violating attorney disciplinary rules by directly contacting a party that he knows is represented by counsel (and I will deal with that don’t worry) Ginsberg is the one who bears the blame this time.

If he knew Ralph was sending the collection letter than his word is worth s**t, he’s a liar and a person who cannot be trusted. Getting it in writing doesn’t matter because he has no honor.

If he had no clue what Ralph was doing he’s just an incompetent bungling fool that doesn’t have the ability to run a lemonade stand much less the Public Integrity Commission.

One way or the other the commission should get rid of one or both of these lawyers before they really hurt themselves and the commission.

Oops too late maybe Ginsberg et al should stop reading “management for dummies” and take the advice of a famous Canadian who said that "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence" (Dr Laurence Peter, 1919-90, Canadian academic, from the 1969 book, The Peter Principle, written by Dr Peter and Raymond Hull - Peter was the academic; Hull the writer).

Without a doubt Ralph and Barry have risen to new heights.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I was reading the news accounts of Speaker Silver’s stock holdings and the good government groups call for additional disclosure of the value of the stock holdings public officials should be required to provide and it got me thinking about how the good government groups and the media always miss the point when it comes to disclosure.

Now aside from the fact that the article about the Speaker was a cheap shot against a man that I think deserves a lot more credit for his attempt to achieve ethics reform this last session (and the fact that he wanted to get rid of the public integrity commission makes him an integrity hero in my book) the article completely missed the point. The disclosure of equity holdings of public officials is available for anyone that wants to see it and draw their own conclusion about it’s meaning (memo to self foil Minority Leader Skelos’s financial disclosure report since he is the opposite of an integrity hero – you can’t vote for the ethics bill and then refuse to override the veto of that bill and be taken seriously by anyone in favor of reform).

Yet even though the financial disclosure reports show us a public officials equity holdings the goo-goos want more. According to them we desperately need to know how much the holdings are worth. WHY? It’s just disclosure voyeurism, the ethics equivalent of a peeping tom. You may get a thrill from seeing it but it doesn’t accomplish much.

It’s not how much that matters but when the equity was acquired. It’s really no different than insider trading. I want to know when a public official buys or sells equities. That is meaningful disclosure. This matter of knowing when a stock is traded is important because it is at least conceivable that an elected official could obtain inside knowledge of something that would affect the stock price and then act on it. That's a problem. A big problem. With that piece of the puzzle we can tell far more about the motive than knowing how much they own.

Think of it this way, one of the tawdriest scandals in recent memory involved ex-governor Spitzer having sex with a whore. The media gave us that disclosure, they even told us how much the whore got paid along with sundry other facts a peeping tom would enjoy but it was the disclosure of the timing that I found enlightening. With the dates of when Spitzer set up his investment in this carnal stock you could determine if he violated the Public Officers Law by using the state plane for a non state purpose.

The commission’s opinion on plane usage is clear if the stated purpose of the travel was just a pretense than the use of the plane is a violation. Spitzer said he needed to go to Washington DC to testify before congress. But that testimony was scheduled after he booked the hooker, that’s a pretense and an open and shut case for the crack team of investigators at the commission.

Keep your socks on though I got a hunch that bunch would rather be peeping toms.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I was at the commission last week right at 9am to drop off some filings (I never mail anything to this bunch I always get a copy stamped to prove it was actually delivered. Since I don’t sleep with the boss I know I’m not getting that helpful phone call reminder. Come to think of it after this blog it wouldn’t surprise me if they treat me differently than anyone else and I don’t mean in a good way. Can’t say I blame them I might not sleep with the boss but I am ******** him.) Anyway who comes strolling in a little after 9am? He’s hard to miss, looks like a character from a Damon Runyon novel. That’s right Walter. Now I know Walter is a diligent hard working employee (he sends me emails denying foil requests all the time) so I asked how come he gets to come in late. The answer – TARDY POINTS.

Now I’ve never heard about TARDY POINTS and I worked for the Lobby Commission a long time in fact I ran it so I should have known what TARDY POINTS are. But I didn’t and don’t till now. It appears TARDY POINTS are something you earn from being at the commission and then you can use them to be late for work. Isn’t the commission a great place to work Lets add up all the TARDY POINTS that are used by commission employees then reduce the payroll by a corresponding amount more cost savings during these tough economic times.

Then I got to thinking is this just another state worker scam or is it a function of the culture at the commission? I decided it’s the culture. They are TARDY with lots of things besides getting to work on time. Here’s a list of the ones I know about. Lord knows how many others are out there, but if you know of some let me know and I’ll add them to the blog.

A hearing on the Abbruzesse case – going on three years

An opinion on due dates requested by a lobbyist I know – over a year

The resignation of all commissioners as requested by the governor – over a year

Michael Cherkasky’s client list – I asked for it at the first meeting Mike chaired over a year ago.

Written guidance to a lobbyist who terminated a client and then wanted to withdraw the termination after starting lobbying for the client again some months later – waiting since March for written documentation of the verbal advice (I’ll blog on this shortly since the lobbyist has not been able to file any reports since the termination has not been withdrawn)

An opinion I requested on behalf of a client regarding the widely attended event exception – since June

Then there are all the foils Walter has denied including Mrs. Ginsberg’s filing work flow notes, commission emails, policies, internal controls etc regarding due dates, audit reports the list goes on and on.

The status of the investigation I requested into Barry Ginsburg’s actions in responding to my question regarding former commission member Dan Alonso – 5 months

The status of my complaint regarding special counsel Ralph Miccio’s actions as regards his retaliatory threat of a lifetime bar violation resulting from my legal representation of a client challenging the statutory authority of the commission to impose late fees on registration amendments – over a month but I doubt they ever get the cojones to admit how wrong Ralph was

Oh and of course an answer to the simple question of DID THE COMMISSION CHANGE THE WAY IT DETERMINES DUE DATES – now 23 days and counting

I guess the commission is just going to use its TARDY POINTS it’s just a shame they haven’t done enough work to actually bank any TARDY POINTS

Which brings me to the question of - if a lobbyist has filed all required reports on time do they build up tardy points that would allow them to be late with a report once in a while? After all what’s good for the goose should be good for the Gander.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Ok Judge Kaye’s report is in and we’ve all had time to digest it. To me it’s a little like Christmas.

Christmas. is that because the report is like a present under the tree all neat and tidy wrapped with a bow? No although I must admit it is a present that just keeps on giving

It’s like Christmas because the last time this happened a star rose in the east three wise men showed up and we had a virgin birth as the result of Immaculate Conception.

Now I’ll defer to those with far more knowledge of bible passages and virgin births like the commissions press flak Walter but I’m pretty sure this type of event is rare.

But sure enough it happened again in the commission’s handling of the governor’s Yankee tickets.

The star rising in the east was Blair Horner of NYPIRG filing a complaint about the governor receiving world series tickets and the three wise men who arrived bearing gifts where Fred Dicker who brought a question asking if the governor paid for the tickets, Barry Ginsberg who brought a 15 day letter asking the governor to explain why the tickets were not a gift and the governors communications director Peter Kaufman who brought the gift of communications malpractice by telling the governor to pay for the tickets after the fact.

And where you ask was the Immaculate Conception? For the first time ever a public official was deemed to have received a gift but no one gave it to him. The governor got but no one gave.

Now let me be clear I do not think the Yankees gave the governor an illegal gift. If attendance at a world series game by a governor who is legally blind doesn’t meet the widely attended officially related exception to the gift ban than what does. I just don’t understand how anyone can say a gift was received when one was never given.

Be that as it may the commission gave the governor a good screwing on this one and 9 months later that activity has given birth to a bastard of a scandal. And once the governor lied about a check he didn’t see we had the integrity equivalent of an immaculate deception.

I’ll let you figure out for yourself the rest of the characters in the manger that is the Public Integrity Commission.