Any one that wants to truly understand why it is critical to eliminate the Public Integrity Commission or at a bare minimum its top staff and commissioners needed to be at the commission offices today to witness the latest edition of the insane clown posse in action. An unpublicized public hearing of an ethics case involving a former employee of the New York State Theater Institute was held at 9:30 am. Prosecuting the case was none other than Bridget Hoolihan in all her riotous fury and anger. At the table with her was last week’s name that dope Bobby Shea and seated directly behind them the wooden Indian and the commission’s executive director (hopefully for not much longer). That’s a lot of firepower, must be a big case, in this age of elected officials and lobbyist being indicted left and right by the feds you would think a case that could bring out the commission’s popguns must be pretty serious.
In her opening statement Bridget laid out a course of conduct by this employee that was shocking in its breath and scope. This employee, if Bridget is to be believed, backdated cash receipts totaling under $500 to assist his boss in failing to cooperate with an IG investigation and also failed to provide a vendor a 1099 form for snow plowing. I don’t know about you but I’ll sleep better tonight knowing the guardians of public ethics spent over a year preparing to prove these extremely serious alleged violations (more importantly the lobbyists and public officials not yet indicted or being investigated can rest easy)
Well after listening to Bridget’s case, which consisted of two witnesses and maybe 15 minutes of testimony I must tell you that any doubts I had about her talent after the Yankee ticket fiasco are answered. Can exchair Mike get his buddy to come back and help out again?
The first witness certainly proved that the IG was investigating the theater institute and the second witness at best testified that the accused at some point told her she did not have to send the snowplower a 1099 form. But that’s it. The rest of Ms. Hoolihan’s case seemed to consist of a document with the defendant's handwriting that neither witness could testify they saw him write or when he wrote it and a letter that the defendant’s lawyer sent the PIC. Note to all attorneys be careful what you say during settlement negotiations as Bridget seems more than willing to make opposing counsel a witness (rest assured when I get my chance to have a hearing there will be a parade of commission employees and commissioners up on the stand swearing to tell the truth LOL). The defense lawyer properly moved for a dismissal of the case for failure to prove the elements required in the NORC. And I’m sure Ms. Kopec (the hearing officer) will deny his motion and state that viewed in the light most favorable to the PIC there is enough evidence to establish a prima facie case (after all if she doesn’t Bridget and Barry may go after her for improper use of the state computers to play solitaire while at work). But if the new chair wants to see what is wrong with her commission just read the transcript of this hearing. A complete waste of state resources that failed to prove a trivial violation of the public officers’ law that the PIC staff was unable to competently present to a wholly owned hearing officer.
One has to wonder if they could devote resources to this case why not go after Teitelbaum, Ginsberg and Feerick for what they did in leaking information in the troopergate investigation and in failing to cooperate with the IG? In fact Mitra, if you want to take a page from Mike Cherkasky’s playbook ask me to come in and investigate and prosecute Herb, Barry and John for what they did in troopergate. It’s a serious matter and I would be happy to perform those services pro bono. Heck you could even get a real hearing officer I won’t need a rigged deck to win that card game.
And the blame doesn’t stop with the PIC staff and its commissioner’s. Governor Cuomo you own these clowns now. If you don’t change it it’s just as bad as if you created it.