Thursday, January 24, 2013

An Open Letter to Marvin Jacob


Has it started to dawn on you Marvin that the commissioners at JJOKE, especially the legislative appointees, are always playing catch-up to the staff?

Was Ravi right? Do certain commissioners get less information than others?

As you are preparing for next Tuesdays meeting Marvin ask yourself if you have all the data you need or have asked for?

Is your briefing book as complete as you were used to when you were in government? As thorough as you would have expected one of your associates to have prepared for you?

Have you even gotten your briefing book yet?

Why not? Marvin why do they always wait to the last minute?

Do you have an agenda yet?

Has any staff member volunteered to meet with you and discuss issues?

They don’t even have to travel Marvin you can meet in the NYC office on Beaver Street and go over all those complex issues the commission deals with.

Trust me Marvin certain commissioners have already had those meetings and choreographed how the meeting Tuesday will go.

And ordinarily I’d let you flounder in that sea of ethics, my initial feel about you was that you were a typical pompous arrogant “smart” New York City lawyer (and no that is not code for Jewish Marvin as I am a member of the tribe myself) it means a lawyer who is so certain that they are the smartest guy in the room that many times they don’t even realize they are in the wrong room.  I mean lawyers like Herb Teitelbaum, Barry Ginsberg, Ellen Biben, Michael Cherkasky, Dan Horowitz (maybe it is code for Jewish lawyers. . . I’ve got to think about that some more) and Andy Celli (whew I’m not an anti Semite after all).  But you’ve shown a willingness to question Biben’s absolute control over JJOKE, following in Ravi’s footsteps so I have hope for you and will try to help if you let me, at a minimum when you read this it may provoke you to act.

So here is my advice Marvin ask Ellen and you fellow commissioners if all the commissioners have received the sworn complaints filed with JJOKE.  And I’m not just talking about the one you saw me serve on the Chairwomen. . Have you seen it? I left 14 copies addressed to the commissioners.  I’m talking about the other sworn complaints that have been filed for example the one related to the recent senate race and the activity of those in favor of “campaign finance reform”.  Have you seen the opinion requests related to source of funding?

On the subject of source of funding do you know why the commission required it to be filed on paper forms when you have a state of the art online system?  Read my previous blogs if you want the answer.

If the answer is no ask Biben why?  You have an obligation under the statute to act on these issues not staff but the commissioners as a body.  And to act you need information.

The best advice I give new commissioners, and I have been asked for that advice by many, even some of your fellow commissioners sitting at the table with you, is that staff only has the power you give them.  And as a former head of an ethics agency if you let them they can control the debate by what and when they provide you with information.

Right now Marvin, Biben and her puppeteers are in complete control of JJOKE and you and your fellow legislative appointed commissioners look foolish.  Ask yourself Marvin are Dan Horowitz and Uncle Vinnie really that much smarter than you?

Feel free to call me Marvin you will not be the first commissioner to discuss things with me and you won’t be the last.  Just ask around the table.

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