Wednesday, September 25, 2013

JJOKE on the loose

For those that follow JJOKE meetings, yesterdays was especially revealing.

It appears that Dan Horwitz has lost control.  The JJOKE watchdog has slipped its leash and is now on the loose.

Each commissioner made it a point to announce their presence with authority . . . except for the executive branch appointees who are now acting like cut dogs.

Dan had absolutely no support as the legislative appointees hijacked the meeting, lifted their hind leg and marked their territory.

And that was in the public session, I'm told the executive session made it crystal clear that the legislative appointees will not be bullied any further by Horwitz and the executive branch, who are now in the minority.

Dan has a very busy and lucrative law practice I can't imagine he is going to stick around much longer acting as the defacto executive director of a weakly staffed JOKE.  And on that point we are going on half a year without an executive director what is going on? (just do the vote already Dan or move on to another candidate.  LT can be ED but a public price will be paid, I hear she is a nice lady what you are doing to her is wrong.  Sitting at the table alertly is how you describe your well behaved teenage daughter at thanksgiving not JJOKE's next executive director) 

Now it was not unusual for ethics agencies to go leaderless in the old days when no one cared.  In fact it was seen as a way to limit mischief, and half a year is a mere blink compared to the 3 years that the old Lobby Commission went without leadership before I arrived.  But that Lobby Commission had only 6 employees (2 of whom are still at JJOKE) more importantly the lack of an executive director at JJOKE is causing some grumbling among the legislative appointees . . .WHO IS RUNNING THE STORE?

Without a delegation of authority from a majority of commissioners any action Dan or the staff take is beyond their statutory authority and subject to legal challenge.

Unless the commission has delegated authority to Dan Horwitz to act as the executive director Dan CANNOT operate JJOKE on a day to day basis alone and the legislative appointees know it.   Tread carefully Dan there are some big game hunters left at that table with the time and energy to set a bear trap for you.  And by the time you feel the pain your only option will be to chew off your own leg and resign.

At the end of the day it's not business it's all personal and the executive branch has made some enemies among the legislative appointees, payback can be a bitch.

As an aside how could this esteemed body of lawyers (all of whom are now properly registered with the bar) not have discussed in public how they are going to handle the NARAL exemption from the source of funding disclosure?  You took an hour to discuss a language change that normal folks could have figured out in 2 minutes and never considered the effect it would have on the one party that was subject to it?  I can't wait to watch the show when you straighten that mess out.

And think about it  the source of funding disclosure legislation was passed in the summer of 2011.  JJOKE was formed in December of 2011.  Biben came on board in February 2012,  The source of funding was statutorily required to begin in June of 2012.  JJOKE took until November of 2012 to pass emergency regulations related to the requirement.  The first disclosure were made in January of 2013 and have still not been reviewed for accuracy and here we are in September of 2013 and JJOKE is still passing emergency regulations to try and figure out the implementation of this simple requirement (foolish as it was) and they still have not made it possible to file the information online.

Could you imagine if the JJOKE brain trust was responsible for D-Day?  We would all be speaking German and the wandering dago would be serving hot dogs with sauerkraut.

Monday, September 23, 2013

JJOKE dotting i's and crossing t's

Insider X tells us that congratulations are in order for JJOKE's new executive director Letizia Tagliafierro (I hope I spelled that right I don't want to start off on LT's bad side . . . I know  know I'm already there).

It took a while but enough arms were twisted and inducements offered to get LT the votes.  It didn't hurt that the other candidates either dropped out, were hired by JJOKE or those friendly to JJOKE or didn't have sufficient gravitas to work for JJOKE.

The only question left is will Marvin Jacobs and/or George Weisman have the sack to insist on the vote being done publicly?  Face it guys you lost all you can do now is exert a price.

LT I've got a bunch of issues you should address.  After you're anointed give me a call we can chat about all the problems you are going to face or don't and you can just deal with the problems until you end up where Biben, Ginsberg and Teitelbaum all did.


PS  Gary I can't wait to hear you explain your vote. . . unless of course the vote is done in executive session in which case rest assured the next time we speak you can explain why it had to be done in secret.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Wandering Dago

And no we are not talking about the state police code name for the Governor's helicopter.

Why would the blog care about an ethnically insensitive name on a food truck?

I love food trucks and the wandering dago's menu looks delicious but there is a significant ethics issue related to the wandering dago.

What am I talking about?

No not the use of the helicopter to fly to the Adirondacks to float down a river . . . although that might be worth looking at.

No I'm talking about a Cuomo appointee, Bennett Liebman, use of his official position to  secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for others.  A clear violation of the Public Officers Law.

It was Liebman using his official position that provided NYRA the motivation to ice the wandering dago.

Now Darren Dopp never tried to harm a wandering dago, although Joe Bruno, an Italian-American that traveled quite a bit on state aircraft, might disagree, but Dopp never the less was investigated by the Public Integrity Commission and ended up paying a significant fine for his actions related to his official position.

I know I would sleep a lot better if JJOKE did a thorough investigation of Bennett Liebman's role in this whole wandering dago fiasco.

What do you think Dick Dadey? Susan Lerner? Barbara Bartoletti? Blair Horner?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cuomo's Moreland Commission hearings reminds me of a Fran Lebowitz quip

I think it was 2006 when Fran Lebowitz said that President Bush appointing an Iraq study group was like studying for a 3rd grade math test 3 years after it was given.  And then followed up by wondering where that study group would meet . . . at Windows on the World?

The Moreland Commission having Dan Alonso and Loretta Lynch provide testimony about corruption in New York State government reminds me of that math test.  You see both Alonso and Lynch have already taken the math test and failed.  How can I say that about these two well respected crime fighters?  Because I remember when they both served on Elliot Spitzer's Public Integrity Commission.  3rd grade? more like nursery school.

But lets just keep on making believe that if we do enough study groups on corruption in Albany somehow magically we will discover a magic bullet piece of legislation to cure the problem.

Or at least distract everyone from the fact that there is only one way to solve this problem and that is to change the ethics agency personnel once they have proven unfit for the task.


Even a 3rd grader could pass that test.

And how surprised are you that I even know who Fran Lebowitz is much less figured out a way to use her in my blog.

It isn't Proust Casey but for a jewish kid it's pretty close.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pat Bulgaro - the most powerful JJOKE commissioner

I'm sure Pat will be amazed to see his name among those commissioners approving the $20,000 settlement that JJOKE reached with Mercury Public Affairs.

You see the settlement agreement wasn't signed by JJOKE until 9/11/13 Pat resigned in June or July.

You see the settlement was never announced in public session even if it may have been approved in an executive session and the law requires all actions related to the Lobby Act to be announced in public session so we don't know when this happened but the last meeting I remember Pat being present for was the May or June 2013 meeting.

Pat must be one really powerful commissioner to still be able to get things done  months after he resigned.

As an aside did you notice who signed the agreement for JJOKE?  Latizia Tagliafierro, without a title.

I know I've been writing about the commissioners being left out of the loop but did anyone authorize LT to sign other than Edgar Bergin/Charly McCarthy aka Horwitz/Milgram?

It looks like the band is steering the Titanic.

Just when you thought you were out Pat they pull you back in.

As for the rest of the commissioners buckle up and watch your reputations sink while Milgram claims to be "the king of the world"

Allow me to introduce the new Executive Director of JJOKE

Dan Horwitz/John Milgram

For the second time in under a month the two headed executive director creation at JJOKE has made a public pronouncement without securing the approval of the JJOKE commissioners.

The first time Dan Horwitz/John Milgram announced that the lt. governors private home purchase from an executive of a lobbying client did not require disclosure under JJOKE's reportable business relationship regulations now Dan Horwitz/John Milgram have announced that delinquent attorney registrant Rob Cohen will face no ramifications for his failure to maintain his attorney registration in a timely fashion for over one year.

What do these two events have in common besides the fact that they were poorly thought out and communicated to an already skeptical (as to JJOKE's reputation) general public?

According to the commissioners I've spoken with in neither instance did Dan Horwitz/John Milgram bother to check with the other commissioners before they made a public pronouncement that will affect the commissioner’s professional reputations.

How do I know that?

Because I talk to commissioners.

I know they are livid about Dan Horwitz/John Milgram style of management or lack thereof.

Its Dan Horwitz/John Milgram mushroom farming strategy but they don't even have the courtesy to feed the other commissioners a diet of sh*t they just keep them in the dark.

And the real problem is none of the other commissioners have shown the desire or ability to sack up and say something.

Now Marvin Jacobs and George Weismann may occasionally make a remark that exhibits some independence and/or knowledge of the issues but for the most part they remain mute and allow Dan Horwitz/John Milgram to sully their reputations by association.

You would think this group of well respected (at least before they got on this commission) attorneys would care about their reputations enough to try and get it right.

Ellen Yaroshefsky is a self proclaimed legal ethicist and a professor of law at the Cardozo School of Law. Given her lack of activity at JJOKE where you would think she would publicly discuss these types of pronouncements being made by Dan Horwitz/John Milgram one has to wonder when she will start teaching instead of auditing the ethics being taught at JJOKE.  Ms. Yaroshefsy if you care about your professional reputation the time has come to speak up, after all your attorney registration is up to date. Just tell me how Rob Cohen can issue any fines to the lobby community for late filings going forward.

Hon. Joseph Covello is a highly respected jurist with decades on the bench; he served on the United States Army's Presidential Honor Guard. How much honor do you think JJOKE is exhibiting Judge? Judge Covello if you care about your professional reputation the time has come to speak up, after all your attorney registration is up to date. Just tell me how Rob Cohen can issue any fines to the lobby community for late filings going forward.

Mary Lou Rath is a graduate of a body that has increasingly been associated with a lack of ethics.  This is a perfect opportunity for her to rehabilitate her reputation. Mary Lou Rath if you care about your professional reputation the time has come to speak up. Just tell me how Rob Cohen can issue any fines to the lobby community for late filings going forward.

Mitra Hormozi is the former Chairman of the Public Integrity Commission, she should understand the issues JJOKE has brought upon themselves. I've had many conversations with Mitra, I know she gets it. I haven't always agreed with Mitra but I always thought her decisions were her own and her reputation never suffered as a result. Do you like the way Dan Horwitz/John Milgram are making decisions for you Mitra? Mitra Hormozi if you care about your professional reputation the time has come to speak up after all your attorney registration is up to date. Just tell me how Rob Cohen can issue any fines to the lobby community for late filings going forward.

Gary Lavine is a lawyer with decades of experience in government. I don't know a single person who has a bad word to say about Gary's ethics. Are you comfortable playing catch-up to Dan Horwitz/John Milgram Gary? Gary Lavine if you care about your professional reputation the time has come to speak up after all your attorney registration is up to date. Just tell me how Rob Cohen can issue any fines to the lobby community for late filings going forward.

It's time to fish or cut bait JJOKE. Is it better to remain silent and be thought a fool or speak up and . . . . Write a new ending.

And is it just me or is Dan Horwitz/John Milgram starting to look and sound a lot like Edgar Bergin and Charly McCarthy?  Where does Dan stick his hand?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Out of the closet Rob Cohen

Rob Cohen is a lawyer for JJOKE

Rob Cohen is Special Counsel and Director of Ethics and Lobbying Compliance at the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics

Rob Cohen is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School

Rob Cohen always thinks he is the smartest person in the room, and when he walks into closets looking for the restroom he actually is although the umbrella gave him a run for the money.

According to some commissioners at JJOKE Rob Cohen is an arrogant SOB.

And there are some other people at JJOKE who are not Rob Cohen fans.

How do I know this?

Lots of people who know what goes on at JJOKE talk to me on a regular basis and sometimes they even send me gifts.  Like the copy of Rob Cohen's Attorney registration detail I received today.

According to this document and the Appellate Division 1st Department's web site Rob has been even more arrogant and hypocritical than I thought.


How in the name of ethics does the Special Counsel and Director of Ethics and Lobbying Compliance at New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics allow his attorney registration to become delinquent?

How do the commissioner's of JJOKE, most of whom are lawyers allow an attorney whose registration status is delinquent sit in judgement of others or provide advice to the regulated community about timely and/or accurate filing or draw up regulations for lobbyists and state employees subject to JJOKE's jurisdiction when he can't even keep his own registration status current.

Physician heal thyself.

Now maybe the web sites wrong, maybe the 1st Department of the Appellate Division has out of date lists and maybe someone in JJOKE just wants to make Rob's life miserable.

But maybe it's true.

Either way Dan Horwitz has another headache to deal with.

If it's true Rob Cohen cannot work at JJOKE anymore and if he does JJOKE can not fine anyone for being late with a filing ever again.

Hey Rob if I got it wrong just let me know and I'll post a correction on the blog.

If I got it right JJOKE better explain publicly how far up their own ass they can stick their head.

JJOKE no agency has ever been more aptly named.

And if any reporter cares just call me I'll give you the document.