Wednesday, December 17, 2014

JJOKE is out to lunch

1:45 pm on Wednesday December 17, 2014 I made a trip to the JJOKE offices in Albany to hand file a stack of 2015 registration authorizations.  I got the prime parking spot right in front of the office dropped a quarter in the meter (more than former JJOKE Chairwomen DiFiore ever did) and went to the front door and rang the bell.  No one answered and the lights were all off.  WEIRD.  Well maybe they were in the bathroom I waited but no lights ever came on so I called the main number and got the recording that says if you are calling during work hours and you get the message it's because they are helping other people.   BULLSHIT I can see that no one is at the reception desk.  So I call LT's private line, no answer just another recording, then I call LT's cell no answer.  Now I'm worried  maybe it's a hostage situation, it's possible a disgruntled former employee (fill in the blank . . . Biben Ginsberg Teitelbaum etc etc) has returned.   I better check.

So with the guards permission I go up to the Agency office on the second floor and ring the bell and just like downstairs no one is there.

It's obvious the office is closed.  But how is that possible?  Has a very localized storm hit JJOKE with enough snow to cause the governor to close just JJOKE?  Boy that state weather forecasting is getting pretty precise.  Has a natural disaster hit so as to cause the governor to close JJOKE lord knows their performance has been enough of a disaster to qualify.

It isn't until 4pm that I learn that JJOKE closed for a holiday lunch out of the office.

Are you kidding me?  Who closes a state office without notice and without leaving a staffer to keep the office open to go to a holiday lunch?  And where did the authority come from to close JJOKE?

For the JJOKE staffer that thought they could close the office on their own see if you can figure out where this comes from

"While agency management and/or appropriate emergency personnel may direct an "emergency evacuation" of a state facility due to building safety conditions, individual appointing authorities do not have the authority to close an office or facility or send employees home without charge to leave accruals. Offices or facilities may only be closed by order of the Governor.
In an instance when a facility is to be closed, agencies must obtain authorization to close from the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (“GOER”), after GOER has consulted with the New York State Office of General Services and/or the Director of State Operations"

You can't make this stuff up. 

No question JJOKE continues to reach new lows and somebody owes me a quarter.

UPDATE: It appears I'm the only one that noticed the difference between JJOKE open and JJOKE closed.   And that is all you need to know about ethics reform.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Who is the most inept commissioner at JJOKE?

This question came up today as I was speaking with some folks knowledgable on the subject, and much like in sports the opinions were varied and passionate.

So I decided, for anyone who is interested to do my own top ten list (and unlike JJOKE I don't plan on putting asteriks to highlight how many mistakes Milgram made in compiling my list - seriously has anyone looked at the JJOKE release of midyear lobby statistics?  the explanation for how many things they got wrong is astounding,  of course none of it is their fault it's those bad lobbyists that keep over reporting), so without further adieu here is my top ten (twelve commissioners so top 12) list of JJOKE Commissioners:

12. George Weissmann - The best commissioner JJOKE has now that Bulgaro is gone.  George's only fault is he doesn't hold other commissioners and staff accountable personally, he is the consumate polite professional. Grade A-

11. Judge Cavullo - A happy fellow, but don't let that Uncle Joe persona fool you he is really smart he just doesn't care enough to show you how smart he is.  If I was a JJOKE staffer or commissioner I would make it a point not to piss him off.  Grade B

10. David Renzi - made every meeting but only 4 in person. I make an allowance because he lives in Watertown and sometimes you just can't leave Watertown. While Renzi gets cudos for being a vocal critic of the JJOKE actions on source of funding exemptions he gets some demerits for his alleged vote flip flopping on the Lopez case after a little nudge from the second floor. His wife's job with a legislator also makes him somewhat suspect but he gets points for her being a former beauty queen.  My Watertown sources tell me the Renzi clan are good people so all in all for an assembly republican pick he could have been much worse. Grade B-

9. David Arroyo - I have no clue what he has done at JJOKE, by my count he has attended  50% of the meetings in 2014 and only 3  in Albany.  He hasn't spoken a meaningful word in public so as near as I can tell he is simply a reliable yes vote for the Cuomo faction.  The phrase useless as teets on a bull comes to mind. Grade C

8. Seymor Knox - He is the same as Arroyo but actually makes the meetings in Albany, coming all the way from Buffalo.  Doesn't say anything but I place him ahead of Arroyo because he collects travel money for showing up at the meeting without contributing anything.  From what I hear he is a fun guy that enjoys playing a round of golf when he shows up for those warm weather meetings. Grade C

7. Mary Lou Rath - Only made it to Albany 3 times this year.  She is just what you would expect a former State Senator to be, no clue about the issues but more vocal with the press than any of the others.  I'm told she is the source for a lot of JJOKE leaks and if the media ever smartens up and starts calling her off the record she could provide some meaningful facts. Grade C-

6. Michael Romeo - Made every meeting but like Knox you have to wonder why.  Has said nothing but has recused himself from several issues discussed in the numerous executive sessions, makes me wonder what an insurance agent from Long Island is doing on this commission. Grade C-

5. Gary Lavine - Gary makes the meetings and he is smart which makes it all the more frustrating when he just can't seem to muster the courage to take this commission in a positive direction.  His bailing Horowitz out on several issues that were clearly being done at the 2nd floors behest makes me question his integrity on the other hand I know Gary, he is a good guy but he was picked by Larry Schwartz.   He hasn't called me in a while either he's mad or he doesn't want to hear what I think.  I'll give Gary the same advice he gave me when I left government "get out and embrace serendipity"  It's time to leave Gary. Grade D+

4. Chairman Dan Horwitz - Not nearly as effective as a Chairman as he was as the enforcer for the 2nd floor when Difiore ran the joint.  His lack of knowledge of the use of executive sessions was glaring and startling, but it is his interaction with the Silver troika that moves him to this position on the list.  Why does a smart NYC lawyer put up with those hacks?  If the Chairman can't put that bunch of monkeys back in the barrel he shouldn't be the chairman.  His service has been rewarded though, his wife got a nice big money gig with the Battery Park Authority (and follows me on twitter which is a little weird).  Compared to past Chairmen he is not as good as Mitra but far better than DiFiore, Cherkasky and Feerick.  Of course I've got a ficus that would make a better Chairman than those three. Grade D

3. Marvin Jacobs - He must have been Shelly's roommate to get this gig.  A very nice man and bright enough in his area of expertise but zero skills in the world of ethics and politics.  He gets told what to do and just can't execute, in other words he is the Mark Sanchez of JJOKE just waiting for a butt fumble.  I must admit I wish he would pull another "lets have a vote in public" moment like he did to protect Shelly in the Lopez case of course that wasn't his idea but it was entertaining. Grade F+

2. Renee Roth - Her "no" is priceless.  A hack from the Queens machine and not ashamed to show it.  She reminds me of my jewish grandmother at thanksgiving complaining about everything and everyone without a care in the world for how it looks.  That she is in the same office with Horwitz is a bonus.  Her transparent political posturing on the source of funding exemtions was a travesty of partisan politics.  Would be number one on the list except she is not from NEW JERSEY. Grade F

1. Paul Casteleiro - I can only imagine what connection he had to get Shelly to appoint a New Jersey slip and fall lawyer to JJOKE.  Everytime he opens his mouth he proves the adage better to be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt.  His performance on source of funding was every bit as bad as Roth's.  No equity here  if you are a liberal dem or a convicted felon Pauls got your back.  Would love to see Paul and Renzi in an intellectual debate about anything.  His comment last meeting that he needs staff to get him the material with more time to review should have received a public bitch slapping from LT or Horwitz.  If you need more time or don't understand the material don't wait to the meeting to say so.  A semi competent attorney could have reviewed that draft regulation in under an hour.  And yes the staff screwed up again in there drafting but next time take a page from the Weismann/Cavullo book and discuss it in public session make your point and defend it,  it's easy to show Rob Cohen is wrong only a coward says you need to get it to me sooner.  Next time Paul forward your briefing book to Shelly's office and get your marching orders. Grade F-

Oh and by the way any of you commissioners that think you "need to teach me a lesson" just open up the meeting for public comment.  I'll talk about anything having to do with JJOKE.  And those 10 things I've forgotten about disclosure that you haven't thought about are just the tip of the iceberg.  I'm done politely pointing out problems to LT so she can fix them.  From now on when you step on your vestigulous appendage I'll just take a picture and talk about it publicly.  Nothing I hate more than a bunch of inept ethics bullies picking on me, it's time to go back to the good old days and force some more resignations.

And to those that wonder why I have to make things personal (Gary Lavine)  It's because thats how you get things to change.  Ask yourself next time I come up in an executive meeting if your grade of D+ is effecting your thought process.

Now based on the suggestion of a former ethics commissioner I'm going to start working on an ethics Hall of shame.

Friday, December 12, 2014

How to put together a top 10 list

JJOKE statistician John Milgram is at it again.

Just read the amended top ten lists found on the JJOKE press release

After screwing the pooch the first time JJOKE released the list they have now updated it with asterisks (*) to account for the Robert Unger million dollar typo they missed the first time that I pointed out to them plus some kind of overreporting by the Recording Industry Association of America.  Since I didn't tell them about the recording industry they either checked the list themselves after the fact or someone else brought it to there attention.

I happen to know that they did as thorough a review as their abilities and talent allowed after the fact.  I know this because they asked me to come in and explain why their lists where wrong (trust me they were embarressed).  They also wanted to know why the largest spender Families for Excellent Schools wasn't on their list.  Now that was funny, them asking me why they screwed up the formulation of their own top ten lists.  I answered because you are JJOKE and you should fire Milgram.  At a mininum you should talk to Chris Bragg the reporter for Crains that was asking the same question.  Instead they ignored Chris did the review internally found the Recording industry and reissued the list with astericks but without corrections, so we still don't know who the top ten lobbyists and/or clients really where.  I guess every lobbyist other than Unger can now claim to be number 10.

They also put the following line in the corrected release
"The chart above reflects only expenditures reported in client semi-annual filings. Therefore, any entity that reported expenditures in a separate lobbyist bi-monthly report, but not in their client semi-annual report, may not be included."

Now I know what they are referring to since I've had several conversations with LT and Martin about how in house clients can report expenses.  For over 20 years every lobby agency has allowed clients to pick between reporting expenses on the bimonthlys or waiting to report on the semiannual.  Those that want to disclose sooner report on the Bimonthly just as Families did for over $6 million dollars in expenses.

But this creates a problem for JJOKE because when they do top ten lists they just run a report that provides them the top ten clients based on expenses reported on client semi annuals and the top ten lobbyists based on compensation and reimbursed expenses.  If you are a client/lobbyist you don't fall into either category.  Now for a minute forget that we are only talking about 10 names and forget that just 2 weeks prior a story ran in Crain's noting how much money Families spent on lobbying, a story that Milgram no commented (and this is why Milgram should be fired any competent employee would have seen the mistakes on the lists) what will be the JJOKE response to being incapable of correctly compiling a top ten list?

Will they assign competent people to compile the lists?  NO
Will they change the rules and make clients only report expenses on the Client Semi Annual? NO
Will they stop press releasing inaccurate lists? NO
Will they in their paranoia accuse me of purposely filing my clients in such a way as to not show up on their internal top ten compilation? YES

With that in mind my guess is they will start requiring client/lobbyist to report expenses on both the bimonthlies and the client semi annuals, thereby resulting in more work for the lobby community but in their minds idiot proofing or should I say Milgramproofing the compilation of top ten lists.

Typical JJOKE response it's a JJOKE mistake but that will make someone else fix it.

When I had this conversation with LT and Martin (and I will give them credit for at least asking my opinion, afterall I only did it right for over a decade . . . I know I'm arrogant) They claimed over half the client/lobbyists do it this way already.  Which got me thinking.  The incorrect number 1 on the client top ten list is United Teachers with $2,639,657.  So I checked and their in house lobbyist Stephen Allinger does itemize and report expenses on his bimonthlies, $2,310,722 to be exact.  Now Mr. Allinger registers in his own name not as United Teachers so that is the correct way to report but how come he doesn't show up in the top ten lists of lobbyists his combined compensation and expenses total $2,639,657 good enough for number 7 on the never corrected top ten list, but he is not there.  Do I smell another revision and asterik on the way?  How did JJOKE compile the top ten lobbyist list?  They say it includes compensation and expenses.  But Families reported over $6 million in expenses which would have made them number 1 on the never corrected lobbyist top ten list but they are not there. Do I smell another revision and asterisk on the way? I can hear JJOKE now "well it's not really expenses it's only reimbursed expenses for lobbyists"  OK I buy that but Mr. Allinger reported $2,310,722  in expenses.  If they were not reimbursed expenses Mr. Allinger must be doing very well to spend over $2 million dollars of his own money on behalf of his employer.  And by the way a simple review of the filings, something I'm sure JJOKE has not done, would show that Mr. Allinger did not report any reimbursed expenses nor would I expect him to have been reimbursed the $2,310,722  reported as expenses since he didn't spend it, the client did.  Looks like Mr. Allinger over reported, comeon JJOKE make him amend.

Is your head spinning yet JJOKE?  I told you I've forgotten more of this stuff than you and your commissioners know.  How funny would it be for Renee Roth or Casteleiro or Marvin Jacobs to discuss this issue in public with me?  They are better off staying in executive session even though anything having to do with the Lobby Act, like changing the guidelines, is required to be done in public under the statute which states as follows:
"Notwithstanding the provisions of article seven of the public officers law, no meeting or proceeding, including any such proceeding contemplated under paragraph (h) or (i) of subdivision nine of this section, of the commission shall be open to the public, except if expressly provided otherwise by the commission or as is required by article one‐A of the legislative law. "

I guess my conclusion is that it's easier to fire Milgram and start reviewing the lists with people that know what they are doing rather than change a policy that has worked for 20 years.

Or just start buying those asterisks by the ton.

Or here is a legitimate piece of advice take your time and think about ALL of the ramifications before you make a change, talk about it in public session with the commissioners and invite the regulated community to be involved in the conversation.  I promise I'll be respectful . .  at least until your commissioners show how little they know or understand then I may have to point out that JJOKE is truly a failure because of the people selected to be commissioners.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Twas the night JJOKE style

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the JOKE
Not a lawyer was available, they are all very busy folk;
The top ten lists were written by Milgram with great care,
He hoped that no one noticed how many mistakes were in there;

The prarie doggers were nestled all snug in their cubes,
With visions of retirement they all acted like they were on ludes;
And Biben in her 'kerchief, and DeFiore with her parking meter trap,
Had just resigned after taking a long ethics nap,

When on the 2nd floor there arose such a clatter,
Larry Schwartz peeked his head out of Andy’s ass to see what was the matter.
Away to the phone he flew like a flash,
and dialed Horwitz number, Andy's ethics once again the media had put in the trash.

The New York Times had written Moreland was not as pure as the driven snow
In fact it looked like Preet thought Andy must go,
Right then Larry knew how it would appear,
He’d take the fall that was certainly something to fear,

With hardly a moment to spare he needed to be quick,
Time to get those governors appointees on JJOKE to use the ethics stick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, HORWITZ! now, LEVINE! and ROMEO!
Call Skelos we need his appointees to go balls to the wall!
Now vote as I say vote as I say vote as I say all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Andy said get JJOKE to focus attention on someone other than I,
So a commission meeting JJOKE did hold,
Held in secret because its not the time to be bold.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard Milgram leak
JJOKE is investigating some legislator who is terribly weak.
As they ended the meeting and got ready to split,
Grandeau wrote a new blog pointing out their bullshit.

Once again JJOKE showed itself under the governors foot,
The agency reputation was tarnished with ashes and soot;
Can you imagine if the Dark Prince ever came back,
Think of all the folks he would happily sack.

John Milgram would go first that would make Dave so merry!
That hack made so many mistakes he reminded us of a cut rate Ginsberg named Barry!
Rob Cohen would be next drawn up like a bow,
Between the closet, the mute button, and his failure to file his attorney registration he absolutely needs to go;

So many old staffers have left I can’t recycle old lines,
With no one left it explains why no one gets fined;
Monica is still left from the Biben regime,
But now she talks, so unlike Marcel Marceau she’s no longer a mime .

It makes you long for the days of special counsel Ralph,
I know I know I should be ashamed of myself;
So with a wink of my eye and a twist of my head,
I’m letting LT know she has nothing to dread;

I’ll speak not another negative word, but go straight to my work,
And deposit my fees; and stop being a jerk,
And laying my middle finger aside of my nose,
And giving a nod, I’ll spell check my prose;

So to my computer I did access word pro,
Fix all my grammar it was time for me to go.
But a scorpion must sting it is in my very nature so,

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Twas the night 2014

Well it's that time of year again

Everyone waiting for this years version of Twas the night.

I'll be posting the full version next week for Casey Seilor's grammer and spell checking but for now enjoy a sneak peak

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the JOKE
Not a lawyer was available, they are all very busy folk;
The top ten lists were written by Milgram with great care,
He hoped that no one noticed how many mistakes were in there;

The prarie doggers were nestled all snug in their cubes,
With visions of retirement they all acted like they were on ludes;
And Biben in her 'kerchief, and DeFiore in her county owned cap,
Had just resigned after taking a long ethics nap,

When on the 2nd floor there arose such a clatter,
Larry Schwartz peeked his head out of Andy’s ass to see what was the matter.
Away to the phone he flew like a flash,
and dialed Horwitz number, Andy's ethics once again the media had put in the trash.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nice guys have different rules

The recent media uproar over this public official in Lake George who looked like he was being targeted by the Cuomo hit men got me thinking.

The fellows name is David Wick and according to media accounts he is the Mother Theresa of the North Country.

I've never met Mr. Wick, know absolutely nothing about him and have no connection to Lake George other than I get up there several times a year to visit my college roommate who lives in the village.  And I purposely did not call my old roommate to see what he knew about Wick because I wanted to remain blissfully ignorant.

From what I can tell from reading news accounts, the Times Union's editorial and my good friend Fred LeBruns recent column the Cuomo camp is upset at Mr. Wick for not giving the Governor proper credit and deference when it comes to taking credit for washing boats before they are allowed in the lake.  Upset enough for a Cuomo minion to travel north to deliver orders to Mr. Wick's employers to fire him.  And here is where it gets interesting.  The orders were delivered and reported but the media could not nail down the why for several days.  First no one knew the answer then it was for a small spill of gas in the lake and then after huge public outcry it is announced that the IG had investigated and discovered a gift violation.  AHA thats something I know about and understand.

Mr. Wick solicited a gift from an organization under his jurisdiction.  Thats a violation of the Public Officers Law, doesn't matter why he did it and it doesn't matter that he might be Mother Theresa IT"S A VIOLATION.

Now the media should be careful stating that it is trivial because of all the good Mr. Wick has done.  Who gets to decide if Mr. Wick is a good guy or a bad guy?  And on that point if Mr. Wick was such a stand up guy why didn't he tell the media that he was under investigation for soliciting this gift?  He knew about it and could have put a lot of the confusion and unrest to bed by being honest and upfront about it. 

Same goes for the commissioners themselves that he reports to.  Some of them were involved in the solicitation and use of the gift yet they stood by mute when it came to explaining what was going on.

Ditto for the Cuomo hit man.  Why not announce why you want Wick fired?

Instead this is what ethics in New York has come to.

A clear gift ban violation is excused by the media because the wrongdoer is a "good guy".

The Cuomo machine is seen as so corrupt that even when they use a clear violation of the gift ban as a rationale no one believes them and everyone starts looking for the shooter on the grassy knoll.

And we are left with JJOKE to sort it out.

Please JJOKE do not take forever to investigate Mr. Wick AND the commissioners that assisted him.

If the IG facts are accurate the punishment should be the same if Mr. Wick is a good or a bad guy, don't pull another Lopez and throw the book at him because he is a loathsome individual any more than let him off the hook because he is the governor.  The statute says the penalty is equal to up to 5 times the value of the gift.  Make it 5 times each,  for all involved, Wick, the commissioners and the Steamboat Company and then take the opportunity to investigate why the Cuomo hitman traveled north to deliver the message to fire Wick prior to the IG reports public release.  What did he know, who told him and why.  And if the facts show the Cuomo camp used Wick's transgression as a stalking horse for an ulterior motive take a look at the IG investigation and everything associated with it.

AND DO IT ALL IN PUBLIC and while you are at it explain why a boat ride on Lake George is different than the private jet trip David Boies gave NYAAG David Ellenhorn.  (Did you let Ellenhorn skate because he is a "good guy" or because Boies cut a deal?)

That would go a long way to changing the perspective that JCOPE is the wholly owned JJOKE of the Governor.

Here is a list of other Public Officer Law violations you could stop ignoring:

Cuomo's use of state offices to promote his book
The State Democratic Party's failure to register as a lobbyist
Complaints against Schneiderman and DiNapoli
Artists against Fracking failure to register
Susan Lerner's source of funding disclosure's accuracy
Duffy's revolving door and house purchase
DeRosa's advance knowledge of your decisions
I could go on and on

Now I've been hearing from those inside JJOKE that no matter what they do I will criticize them.  Maybe yes maybe no but you certainly have made it easier to criticize than compliment.  Do something meaningful in the open so it can be evaluated and watch my reaction.

I've also been hearing the tired old argument that "Grandeau thinks he can do a better job than us"  Well DUH of course I do.  In fact I did for 12 years.  My guess is I could do LT's job in about 2 hours a day the rest of the time I'd be leaking stuff to the media to improve my reputation, I'd be destabilizing my commissioners so I had no opposition, I'd be scaring the bejeezus out of those in power and I'd be keeping my head on a swivel to feed my paranoia.  Any working hours left over I'd go curling . . . if the media thinks you are a good guy you can get away with that kind of thing.

CORRECTION to my previous blog stating " LT followed the advice that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt."  It appears many including LT interpreted this to be my saying LT is stupid.  Not the case in fact for the record I think LT is the smartest executive director since . . .  yup me.  LT's issue isn't intelligence it's confidence.  I know she's smart because I have had conversations and arguments in private with her.  I think she needs to show that intelligence in public, start getting involved in the public debates about ethics,  we deserve that much from you.  Don't defer to your Chairman you know more about this issue than he does, I guarantee it.  One easy way to do it other than regular interaction with the press would be the simple remedy of allowing a Q and A at the commission meetings, I guarantee if you do 'llI ask a question that provides you an opportunity to show everyone how smart you are.  Don't be afraid just buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rob Cohens revolving door

Just a quick synopsis from today's JJOKE meeting,  the same meeting cancelled several weeks ago that resulted in Milgram releasing an inaccurate top ten list not once but twice.

And on the subject of Milgrams failure to count I dropped off a 1st grade coloring book for math at Milgram's seat at the meeting, he came in and looked at it then tried to hide it under his papers (when they replay the meeting watch the start lower right hand corner).  Don't worry Milgram I don't think the second floor will fire you for using a non common core text book but better safe than sorry just ask that guy on the Lake George Commission.

But I digress, Milgram's termination is coming I'm reliably informed.

Back to the meeting.

As usual nothing of substance in the public portion until they start a discussion on a proposed opinion regarding the 2 year revolving door ban.  Now I congratulate JJOKE for doing this in public, I'm not terribly interested in the 2 year revolving door since I've been out for way over 2 years but then lo and behold a couple of commissioners were actually very well informed and knowledgeable about the issue and started asking Rob Cohen, who wrote the opinion, some cogent questions that made it abundantly apparent that Rob was not knowledgeable nor particularly astute on the issue.  Soon Monica had to try to jump in to save Rob but only managed to establish that her ability to analyze statutory construction needs improvement as well.  Mercifully the Chair stopped the fight and adjourned any decisions to a later day.  LT followed the advice that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt.

Both republican commissioners George Weisman and Judge Cavulla quickly exposed the flaw in Rob's analysis and in the end I thought I was watching a first year law student trying to support a failing argument.

It's clear Rob and the rest of the JJOKE staff lawyers think they know best who a client should hire but have never actually thought about why the revolving door ban exists to begin with.

It's also clear now what LT's biggest fault is.  She allows staff to embarrass her without penalty.  Milgram and Cohen are everyday reminders of this flaw.  And remember Cohen is the same staffer that failed to take his continuing legal education and timely file his attorney certification for over a year, until I blogged about it, is he really the best staffer to be writing ethics opinions about lawyers and revolving doors.  Should he even be working at an ethics agency?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10    Just trying to help you get better at math Milgram.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

JJOKE top ten list aka why Milgrim should be fired

JJOKE today cancelled their commission meeting but sent out a press release listing the top ten lobbyists for the first half of 2014.

I guess you have to give them credit for doing something more than the old lobby commission did.  We used to release the figures at the end of the year in an annual report and hold a press conference to answer any questions.

Releasing the information at the half way point is probably a smart way to get a days worth of news coverage BUT

When you deal with numbers and top ten lists those numbers better be accurate AND THEY ARE NOT

Number 10 on the list is Robert Unger.  Now I'm sure Mr. Ungar has a nice little lobbying business but top ten? I DON'T THINK SO.

And sure enough Mr. Unger had a $1.6 million typo on his bimonthly report for his client Intermedix.

End result Mr. Ungar makes the top ten when he didn't belong there which means someone who really was number ten is not on the list.  OOOOPS

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

Or in JJOKE's case incompetance , lack of attention to detail and Milgrim

On my top one list of JJOKE employees to get the ax . . .  John Milgrim with a bullet.

But it gives me an idea  anyone that wants to make the top ten list for 2014 give me a call I'll show you how to have a typo in your Nov/Dec report putting you in the top ten and then in April next year we can fix it after the list comes out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Schneiderman's Snow Solution

Fred Dicker did a column in which noted drug expert Randy Credico alleged that he was an eye witness to now Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's use of a controlled substance (cocaine).

WOW that is amazing!!!!

Not that Schneiderman used coke after all he is a spoiled rich Jewish kid from Manhattan I'm sure coke is just the tip of his moral dalliances.  No what's amazing is that Dicker actually named a source for the earth shattering accusation.  And not just a source but noted drug expert Randy Credico (and amateur comedian or do I have that reversed?) did anyone else catch a wiff of the stoner oops Stone as in Roger Stone stench on this one?

And if that was you Roger, much respect, you hit the right issue with such a short time to the election.  If you can't find a live boy, dead girl or a whore to put in bed with a public official drugs are a pretty good substitute.  Of course some Marion Barry video would have helped but marching out some more experts like Randy (not creditable) Credico to claim first hand knowledge will help.  It's not like Schneiderman will bring a liable suit, what between discovery and truth being a perfect defense (and by the way even I am hearing the rumors that there are more Randy Credico's out there). 

On the other hand Schneiderman really has nothing to worry about this is the New York State republican party  when it comes to losing winnable elections these guys are the coke whores at the debutant ball.  Fun to watch but uncomfortable for those that came to dance.

But it did give me a couple of ideas.

First why doesn't Cahill take a drug test and release the results and call on Schneiderman and every other New York Public official to do the same, with the exception of Steve Katz (spark up dude).

I know a reputable test will take longer than the 2 weeks we have left before the election but this is about more than proving Schneiderman's alleged drug usage its about integrity and ethics reform.

Think about it.  We can call it ethics reform, we can put JJOKE in charge of it and then we can move on to the next scandal.

And what is it we will do?  Why require drug usage disclosure.  A form with a lot of definitions and loopholes that elected officials fill out once a year, that JJOKE collects and puts on line at some point and never audits and the media for the most part will ignore, just like the financial disclosure forms we have now.

Problem solved, except for you Mr. Katz.

Or we could legislate random drug tests for our elected officials.  Crazy you say?  they do it for professional athletes, why is Schneiderman less regulated when it comes to drugs than the backup tight end on the Jets?

Think about it . . . we can find out which politician is smoking weed (Katz) doing bumps of coke (Schneiderman if you believe Credico), dropping acid (the majority in the senate if you can figure out what that means) or popping amyl nitrite (which will open up a whole new type of allegation for JJOKE to investigate).

Speaking of JJOKE investigations or lack thereof the hits continue.  I always liked this time of year because the media (who should also be drug tested to explain how lax they have become on ethics scandals) will write meaningless stories on public officials that have kernals of ethics gold in them that JJOKE will completely miss.

For example the DMV commissioner getting a speeding ticket.  Who cares I speed all the time.  I just got a new 2014 Caddy CTS-V wagon, my own drug of choice (in majestic plum no less) 556 horsepower and a six speed manual box, 0 to 60 in 4 seconds a top speed of 176 and I am doing my best to see how much of an asshole I can be driving it, in fact I did Albany to Rochester this weekend in under 3 hours with a full load of stuff to bring my son at college, but I digress.  It's not the speeding ticket that offended me (take the ticket pay the fine) it was the fact that the DMV commissioner used her state paid employee to act as a spokesperson with the media.  WTF you got the ticket in your private car on your private time tell the media to fuck off yourself don't use state resources to do it.  JJOKE? any interest?

If not how about the state employee that is running a private business out of his state office during working hours?  I guarantee if a DMV employee was selling used cars out of his/her state office JJOKE would be all over it but when the governor does an interview to promote his book and uses his state office with the seal of New York on the wall not a peep from JJOKE.  Book promotion for a state employee is a tricky thing don't believe me ask Regina Calcaterra.  I have a funny feeling though that JJOKE will come up with an exception for this governor.

So until further notice I'll anxiously await those drug tests and hope state employees don't piss on their taxpayer owned desks.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Looks like I was right again

Back in November I ran a blog, reproduced below, asserting that Cuomo press person Melissa Derosa violated the public officers law when she was quoted as saying JCOPE had confirmed that political parties were exempt from the lobby act.

Now I thought Melissa possibly had gotten confidential information from JJOKE or she was being untruthful.  Turns out Melissa had a time machine because 6 months after being quoted that "the lobbying law does not apply to political parties . . . this was confirmed by JCOPE and its predecessor agencies" that exactly what JJOKE did.

Now here's what LT said to Horner in her letter of May 2014 "This commission and its predecessors have never interpreted the Lobbying Act to require that political parties register as lobbyists"

WOW did Melissa tell LT what to do in November or did LT tell Melissa what they were going to do in May.  Either way its pretty clear that JJOKE and the 2nd floor talk as much as the independent elections enforcement counsel does and the Moreland Commission and the 2nd floor did.

And by the way both Melissa and LT are wrong.  And I'd be happy to debate either one or both publicly about the Lobby Act and its application to political parties.

Anyway here was what I said in November   It is even more appropriate now.

When will the media wake up  there is gambling in this establishment don't be shocked  

And as to that predecessor nonsense the following is 8 years old

I think I've been pretty consistent political parties are NOT exempt from the statute the question is are they lobbying

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Did Melissa DeRosa violate the Public Officers Law? Or you just got Dopped Melissa

Melissa DeRosa is employed by the State of New York as the press secretary to Governor Andrew Cuomo. This is an important point because as an employee of the executive branch she is subject to Public Officers Law section 74 (3) (c) and (d). Which means she should not disclose confidential information and/or use her position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for another.

I'm pretty sure she has done one or the other or maybe both.

How can I make that statement?

Read below Melissa's statement to the AP's Mike Gormley about the NYPIRG allegation that political parties should be required to register if they lobby.

"It has been well settled that the lobbying law does not apply to political parties," said Cuomo spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa. "This was confirmed by JCOPE and its predecessor agencies, and every credible expert on the topic knows it," she added, referring to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics."

Now lets analyze it.

"It has been well settled that the lobbying law does not apply to political parties" Nothing wrong with this statement. It's not accurate or truthful but that is what pr flacks like Melissa do for a living.

"This was confirmed by JCOPE" UH OH Now Melissa has a big problem. When and how did JCOPE confirm it? I study this stuff and read everything JCOPE releases publicly, and plenty of stuff they keep secret, and I know for a fact that JCOPE has never confirmed that "the lobbying law does not apply to political parties" publicly.

Which leads to only two possible conclusions.

One that JCOPE secretly confirmed that "the lobbying law does not apply to political parties". In which case Melissa just disclosed confidential information a violation of section 74 (3)(c). Why JCOPE would have confirmed this statement confidentially is another violation for another day.


Two that JCOPE never confirmed that "the lobbying law does not apply to political parties". In which case Melissa just used her official position to lie and try to secure an unwarranted privilege or exclusion for another, a violation of section 74 (3)(d).

Either way Melissa has a big problem except for the fact that it is JJOKE that would be prosecuting this case and "It has been well settled that JJOKE doesn't apply the Public Officers Law to the top staff on the 2nd floor ," and "This was confirmed by JCOPE and its predecessor agencies, and every credible expert on the topic knows it,".

And I apologize for plagiarizing Ms. DeRosa but I could not have said it better myself.

And speaking of plagiarism maybe Blair Horner should turn this blog entry into a complaint he can file at JJOKE . . . again.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I told you so I told you so

Okay so this blog ran almost 3 years ago

In light of the recent indictment of Assemblyman Scarborough do you think JJOKE will wake up and start to act like a watch dog and not just Cuomo's lap dog?
Whatever happened to the NYPIRG complaint about Cuomo's State Democratic Party unregistered lobbyist ads?
Maybe the Independent elections enforcement Counsel Risa Sugerman ought to investigate or at least ask the Cuomo press shop what to do.
Enjoy I love saying I told you so.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Odds on Integrity

This is going to be another one of those posts that upsets some people.

Legislators will think I’m being unfair. The administration will think I’m taking a shot at the Governor. And other observers will say my critique is too harsh.

To each I say: Too bad. Take a step back. I’m trying to be helpful here.

At issue is William Boyland, Jr. I just read the new indictment of the young Assemblyman. It’s truly fascinating. It turns out that the feds ran a sting operation against him. They posed as businessmen and offered sizeable campaign contributions in return for assistance with a development project. And guess what? Boyland and his staff were only too eager to help.

Is anyone surprised by this scenario?

Now comes the part that will offend the lawmakers: If the same sting operation had been run against all 211 New York state lawmakers (and who is to say that it’s not), what do you think the results would be? How many lawmakers would take the bait? Be honest now.

Do you think a quarter of the lawmakers would do it. Half? More, perhaps?
I actually believe the majority of lawmakers could easily fallen prey to this sting. No, I’m not saying that they are all evil people. What I am saying is that there is a culture in Albany that perpetuates this sort of thing. And I’m also saying that the failure of state leaders to set up an aggressive independent ethics panel only worsens the problem.

Why? Because when Andrew Cuomo was elected, ethical transgressions did not suddenly cease. In fact, violations of varying severity are occurring every single day and no one, except the Feds, seems to care.

Once again, I make the point that not having a functioning ethics panel is an outrage. And it’s the state legislature itself that should be most upset about this situation. The feds are only filling the ethical vacuum. By failing to constitute a proper investigatory panel in New York, lawmakers have invited this level of federal scrutiny.

In fact, I’ll bet the Feds are salivating. They read the papers. Boyland is just one type of problem; there are many more categories of abuse.

For example, lawmakers are also abusing the “per diem” system. Does anybody doubt that? (BTW, where is DiNapoli or Schneiderman on per diem abuse. Either one could investigate.)

Another abuse involves “bundling.” John Liu is the current poster child for this problem, but it also has been linked to City Council member (and former top Cuomo operative) Bill DiBlasio.

Do the mental exercise again. What if all 211 lawmakers were scrutinized for their per diem claims and bundling practices? How many of the lawmakers would have issues?

It’s not often you can bet on a sure thing

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I know um I said um I was done blogging um but todays um um JJOKE meeting just um put me um in the blogging um mood.

The um meeting  um um start to finish was under um 5 minutes um

But um LT announced um that there is now um mandatory lobbyist um training um

As an aside mandatory? what happens if you don't take it?  any penalty?   NOPE so its hardly mandatory

LT did um fess up that um there are some um technical um problems

Of course there um are um

One last thing before the um executive session put an um end to um the um meeting JJOKE now has a newsletter um

Does anyone remember the um PIC newsletter? um   This one um is just as good um   in other words subscibe to the five guys facebook page it has more um value

Um unless anyone has something um new um we um are um going into um executive session um

And in all seriousness why does a fancy New York City lawyer like JJOKE Chairman Dan "um" Horwitz speak like a mumble mouthed member of Howard Stern's wack pack? um?

Actually the "um" was the most interesting part of the mmeting


Friday, September 19, 2014

Do the right thing

Do the right thing

I wrote an entire blog this morning about ethics, the NFL, JJOKE, LT, Cuomo, Preet and the Moreland fiasco this bureaucrat investigating the Tappanzee financing and the phrase "Do the right thing".

It was biting, insightful, provocative and designed to rile up a whole bunch of folks.

I proofed it and thought about what effect it might have on those written about (actually that's bs I thought about the effect it might have on me) and then I hit delete.

Why?  because I decided to take my own advice from the deleted blog and trust my gut make a decision and do the right thing when it comes to ethics.

And right now the right thing is to let others figure it out for themselves.

My clients pay me a lot of $$$$ for ethics advice why should I give it away for free?

I guess what I am saying as far as the blog is concerned is goodbye.

To those that have enjoyed reading it I'm glad it amused you.

To those that may have learned something from it I'm glad to have been of assistance.

To those in the media that got useful information from the blog you still have my number just call and ask what I've heard.

To those who may piss me off in the future . . .

I can always tweet that the blog is back

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's the big secret?

A couple of things happened yesterday that got me to thinking about what is wrong with JJOKE and ethics in general in NY

The two things were a phone call I made to JJOKE to speak to LT and an article in Crain's about Jennifer Cunningham and being a registered lobbyist.

First full disclosure.  I call JJOKE to speak with LT all the time sometimes its business, sometimes its just to chat and sometimes it is to offer advice solicited or unsolicited.  I've also spoken to Jennifer, she is not a client (but she should be after this article) but she has sent me clients and I've tried to be helpful to her when I can and I've respected and liked her for quite some time.

Let's start with Jennifer and the article and specifically the implied allegation that she should be registered as a lobbyist.  This is not a difficult question.  The definition is clear (at least to me) and when you apply the definition to a specific set of facts you can render an opinion about whether the party involved should register.  I do it all the time and it has provided me with a very good living, both when I was the head of the Lobby Commission and since 2007 as a consultant in private practice (granted the consulting gig pays much much better).  In this case based on the facts in the article Ms. Cunningham was not lobbying and was not required to register.   A simple answer to a simple question.  As I said I do it all the time.  If the media calls with those types of questions I answer, for free.  If a client calls I answer for pay.  If a prospective client calls I answer for free and hope to get paid down the road (and you ex-Cuomo types know who you are) BUT I ANSWER THE QUESTION.  

Yet when John Milgram the Public Information Officer at JJOKE who makes over $100k a year was asked he said  "A spokesman for the state's ethics watchdog agency, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, declined to comment on any specific situations."  Why?   Why won't JJOKE and Milgram answer a simple question?    Thats what we pay you for.   Is it possible that no one at JJOKE has the technical knowledge to answer these questions?  As much as I criticize them even I believe someone must be able to answer  I know LT is knowledgable enough to answer so why don't they?

Which brings me to the phone call I made to JJOKE yesterday.  It was a routine call to LT to see how her weekend had been and continue a discussion of a personal nature we had begun the previous week (she asked for my advice on a private matter).  When the receptionist transfered me to LT the called ended up in the investigation unit  Here is a transcript as I recall it

"Investigation" (in a very serious voice)

Me "LT please"

Them "LT? do you mean the executive director?" (in a very aggressive tone)

Me "no I mean LT"

Them "Who is this? and how did you get our number?" (agressive and demanding)

Me "You are the investigator you figure it out" (in a sarcastic voice)

Them "Who is this?" (angry voice like a pissed off cop)

Me "who is this?" (mocking voice)

Them "you called me who are you?" (really agressive)

Me "no I called LT and Lori transferred me to you but if you tell me your name I'll tell you mine" (more sarcasm)

Them "Investigator Jack something or other Irish name"

Me "It's Dave Grandeau why don't you relax and stop being so agressive you sound like a hardon Irish cop"

Them "(silence)"

I kept torturing Jack for a while before I told him he owed me an apology for his tone and attitude, but it dawned on me this morning Milgram refusing to answer Crain's and Jack giving me the cop third degree are caused by the same thing.

JJOKE and most ethics agencies are afraid to commit to anything until they have more knowledge than you do.  It's a control thing and it is fatal in an ethics regulatory role.  Control works in politics it doesn't work in ethics.  Example 1 Cuomo and the Moreland Commission   don't worry about control if you tell the truth and behave appropriately you don't have to worry about control.  Letting the chips fall where they may will protect you in the long run.

Now why does Milgram make over $100k?  simple question I'm sure there is a simple answer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

the folks at JJOKE and MOREJOKE are like the johns in a whorehouse

Or maybe a better analogy would be they are like a bunch of District Attorneys visiting an illegal casino.

Once they throw the dice we can't trust them to prosecute the owners of the joint.

And that is what happens all too often with the appointed members of ethics agencies or Moreland commissions or blue ribbon panels set up to investigate this or that.

They come to the jobs with sterling reputations and at least some connection to the politicians that appoint them (how else could they be appointed).

And then very very few have the sack to tell the other heavyweight genius appointees that what is going on is wrong and before you know it they have taken the free drinks and comped buffet at the casino (a metaphor for all the Casey Seiler types out there) and its too late to stand up and say that what is going on in there own commission is wrong.  No whistleblowers at this level.  And we end up with JJOKE and MOREJOKE.

Here is a fundamental question.  If you believe the NY Times reporting about Cuomo interference with Moreland (and its the Times so you have to believe) what was David Soares and Kathleen Rice and the other dozen or so District Attorneys doing?  Shooting ethics craps and gorging on the free buffet of complimentary press releases.  What was AG Eric "shakedown"  Schneiderman doing? my guess sitting in the rafters taping everyone else shooting ethics craps and gorging on the free buffet of complimentary press releases and wondering how to get his name in the press releases.


And thats why ethics in Albany will remain broken.  Ethics enforcement is based on trust that those appointed to oversee it will "do the right thing"  And in Albany that means go along and get along

Trust these clowns?  Hell the dice are probably loaded in their craps game.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

That was quick

As I wrote yesterday JJOKE's settlement with David Ellenhorn and the new Ellenhorn/Boies rules for jet travel gifts seemed awfully fishy to me.   So I FOILed "any and all documents,records, depositions and relevant and requested information as set forth in the substantial basis investigation report".  Lo and behold today I got a response.  In under 24 hours I got a response . . . that is amazing.  I have Foils that are years old that they ignore.   A response in under 24 hours?  Something is going on and the response speaks volumes about how crooked this inquiry, investigation and settlement were.  The response?   "There are no publicly available records at this time conforming to your request" 

Of course there aren't.     Either they don't exist because no real inquiry was made.  As I have heard and feared Boies and Ellenhorn thru Harlan Levy got to the Cuomo Commissioners and did their best Larry Schwartz impersonation or the records exist but JJOKE will not release them because they prove the allegation above.  Either way a damning indictment of JJOKE's lack of transparency, independence and honesty.

And please don't tell me that you can not release these records because you have before.  Remember Vito Lopez?  When JJOKE wants or Cuomo tells them to the entire investigation file is made available or at least the portions they want you to see  (see

JCOPE -controlled, secretive and dishonest    and that is the best NY state has for ethics enforcement.

You don't need bleach, you don't need new laws, you don't need politicians or goo goos mouthing the words reform 


I contacted LT for her thoughts on the FOIL request   I will post it here when she calls me back

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Transparency and Independance

Anytime you see or hear a politician using the phrases transparency and/or independence in the context of ethics you can be sure that they are full of shit.

Governor Cuomo and his lap dogs on the Moreland Commission are no exception.

The more Cuomo said the Moreland Commission was independent the more positive I became that he completely controlled it.

Cuomo claimed that shutting Moreland down was worth it because we got an independent enforcement counsel at the Board of Elections.  Of course that independent enforcement counsel was hand picked by Cuomo from Cuomo's staff but by god she is independent.

I have an easy test to see how independent she is . . . why doesn't she explain why the gov can use his campaign cash to buy hockey playoff tickets for his daughter and girlfriend in a private box.  In a stretch I can understand using your campaign account to but tickets for the gov and some donors to attend the game but how does having his girlfriend and daughter in attendance relate to the campaign?

And this would be a good example of the independent enforcement counsel practicing transparency by telling us all her thought process for this use of campaign funds.

Yup transparency the other term that guarantees whatever comes next is pure bullshit.

Here's another idea for the gov   if you want to prove Moreland and its staff and commissioners were independent why don't you be transparent and summon them all to Albany or New York City for a press conference where you can insist they answer questions related to what happened on the Moreland Commission.  They can all bring their lawyers who in unison can claim that while Moreland was the most independent and transparent body in New York's history they can not answer any questions while a federal investigation is pending.

Right . . . independent and transparent

And now with the gov's dad jumping in to defend junior we can add honest to the lexicon of ethics horseshit.

Enough already!!!!   politicians are a lot of things some of them even admirable but independent, transparent and honest when it comes to ethics are not even in the area code.

Every single commissioner and staff member of the Moreland Commission should be forced to testify under oath about what they knew, when they knew it and what they did about the independent, transparent and honest advice they received fron the governor's office.

And while I'm on the subject of independent, transparent and honest work by ethics agencies I have to go back to JJOKE, JDOPE JCOPE's work on the Boies/Ellenhorn rewriting of the gift ban that resulted in the Ellenhorn settlement agreement announced last week.

I've FOILed the investigation file to see what actual investigation took place.  I'm hearing disturbing rumors that very little to none actually took place.  No sworn testimony, no independent verification of facts relied upon in the settlement agreement and no independent, transparent and honest decisions related to the case.

In fact I hear that LT and the staff at JJOKE felt this was a serious case deserving of a serious fine but commissioners controlled by the governor would not allow it and the best LT could get was the settlement agreement that was announced last week and even that agreement was ghost written by David Boies and David Ellenhorn to cover up their alleged violations of the Public Officers Law.

A careful independent, transparent and honest reading of the agreement is very telling.

For example it lists Ellenhorn's long history of work as an attorney but makes no mention of what happened to the previous private firm that bore his name.   Could the troubling SEC allegations and that firms subsequent demise be the reason?  No mention of Ellenhorns failure to timely file his disclosure reports, no mention of any outside employment by Ellenhorn unreported on those tardy disclosure reports.  Trust me this wasn't Ellenhorn's first ethical rodeo but we are supposed to believe the mere admission of a violation of travel rules was sufficient punishment.

No mention in the report that Ellenhorn attended a deposition of Warren Buffet without disclosing his financial interest in Buffet's company Berkshire Hathaway and no mention that said interest was only included in amended reports after a complaint about Ellenhorn was made.

The report does mention that the travel was first raised by different counsel than Mr. Boies four years later.   Let me be independent, transparent and honest I was that counsel and the commission raised the incident with me after it was widely reported in the media.  Why make it seem in the report like it was an afterthought 4 years later?  Ellenhorn wasn't going to report it and neither was Boies because they knew what they did was wrong, very wrong.

Why did the commission limit it's inquiry into the incident as a violation of travel regulations when it was a clear violation of the Public Officers Law?

Why does it matter that Ellenhorn claims he did not know the rules for accepting free travel?

Is JJOKE going to allow the I didn't know the law defense for others in the future?

And I won't bore the readers again with how bogus the Elenhorn didn't fiancially benefit and it didn't cost Boies additional money excuse that the report now incorporates as a JJOKE rule for gifts.  By the way almost identical language Boies used when first questioned by the media.

Speaking of which why no mention that Boies lied to the media when he said he offered the free jet ride because Ellenhorn missed his flight?   Now it is because Ellenhorm would have had a long delay.   Another lie since there were flights available from Omaha to New York all afternoon, a fact JJOKE knew because I gave them the flight schedules.

And what about the ticket Ellenhorn didn't use.  Never returned to the state even though it was refundable.  The report says Ellenhorn didn't know because someone else made his travel arrangements.  Who made those arrangements and did you take that persons testimony to verify.

Speaking of verify who was Ellenhorn's supervisor at the time?  And what did he know and when did he know it?

These are important questions because now governor Andrew Cuomo was AG when Ellenhorn and Boies pulled this little travel stunt.  And you know the governors history of independent, transparent and honest management.

And absolutely no mention of the free limo ride Ellenhorn got from Westchester to NYC after the flight.

Independent, transparent and honest   don't make me laugh

Two things I can guarantee.

One - I won't stop until I find out what really happened inside JJOKE that caused certain commissioners to overrule LT and the staff and,

Two - David Boies needs to be held accountable for what happened and I intend to do just that (by the way what do you think the odds are that Harlan Levy leaves the AG and goes back to work as David Boies partner in the future?)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

David Boies and David Ellenhorn rewrite the gift rules

There is a story in the NY Daily News by Ken Lovett that says JJOKE has determined that David Ellenhorn violated New York State travel rules when he took a private jet ride from superlawyer David Boies.  BUT JJOKE is not going to punish Ellenhorn because "Ellenhorn . . . did not profit financially. It also says having Ellenhorn aboard did not cost Boies more money.
And Boies doesnt get punished at all for providing this trip to opposing counsel. 

Back in May I blogged about this trip and analyzed the law surrounding Boies and his largesse, you can read it here

Obviously I was wrong on the application of the law.  After this case I think its fair to say JJOKE is applying a new rule when it comes to offering bribes oops illegal gifts. 

Now as long as the recepient "did not profit financially" and having the recepient in attendance did not cost the giver  "more money"  its not a violation.

WOW that is a very liberal oops progressive interpretation.

Using that rule lets see how the following bribes oops gifts oops transactions would be handled.

The governor is invited to spend the weekend at a lobbyists summer home in the Hamptons and catches a ride from the city on the lobbyists helicopter with the lobbyist.  A lobbyist with say a casino proposal before the state.  Under JJOKE's new Boies rule there is no problem with this bribe oops gift oops transaction.  The governor did not profit financially and the helicopter was flying with or without him and the summer home was going to be in the Hamptons with or without the gov and its not like there is a per night cost for guests to use it.


The speaker is invited to watch a rangers game from the corporate box of a major corporation with business before the state.  Under JJOKE's new Boies rule there is no problem with this bribe oops gift oops transaction. The speaker did not profit financially and the rangers were playing with or without him watching and the private box was going to be used with or without the speaker being there and its not like there is a per person per game cost for guests to use it.


The majority leader is invited to play a round of golf on a private course owned by a corporate titan with business before the state.  And the leader catches a ride to the course with the titan in his limo.  Under JJOKE's new Boies rule there is no problem with this bribe oops gift oops transaction. The leader did not profit financially and the limo was going to the course with or without him and the golf course was going to be playable with or without the leader and its not like there is a per round cost for guests to use it since no one but the titan has access to it.

Now those are hypotheticals lets apply this new rule to actual cases from the past.

Governor gets tickets from the Yankees to see a Yankee playoff game.  The gov did not profit financially and the seats did not cost the Yankees more money they already owned them.  If I was Governor clueless I'd demand a do over on that one.   OOPS

How about the speaker getting that cool suite in Vegas from Caesars?  The speaker did not profit financially, in fact if he gambled and lost he would be in the opposite situation.  And it did not cost Caesar's any more money to let him use the suite it was already there.  My apologies to Shelly had I known of this rule I never would have put you thru the trouble.   OOPS

How about Roger Green taking that free limo to Albany from correctional services?  Roger did not profit financially and the limo did not cost Correctional Services more money they were already traveling to Albany.  My apologies to Roger had I known of this rule I never would have put you thru the trouble and caused your resignation.   OOPS

I think the point is clear JJOKE once again has proven that they are inept or corrupt or both.

In this case I think two factors were at work.

One  - Democrats protecting Democrats.  Boies is a major democratic party supporter.  Schneiderman's office is full of democratic apparatchiks.  Including Boies former partner Harlan Levy.  JJOKE's chairman Dan Horwitz allegedly has ties to those same people.  OOPS

Two - Smart NYC lawyers protecting smart NYC lawyers.  The tribe takes care of it's own.  This logic of "it didn't cost Boies extra and Ellenhorn didn't profit financially" sounds exactly like a smart NYC lawyer justifying doing something that is clearly unethical.

One last point on Boies Ellenhorn  how does JJOKE explain the fact that Ellenhorn got a free limo ride to the city and he was the only one in the limo?

Shame on you JCOPE commissioners and staff you are no better than Nixon's plumbers that claimed they were just following orders.

There is no ethical concience left in Albany.  And no shame in Boies or Ellenhorn at all.

And if you think I'm overracting read the excellent story in the New York Times about Cuomo and his Moreland Commission.   The only way to stop this is to prosecute the commissioners and staff at Moreland and JCOPE and Legislative ethics that pervert the offices they hold.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The JDOPEs are at it again

For those that don't remember last January the JDOPEs from JJOKE denied applications for exemptions from groups that did not want to disclose the source of their funding.  At that time I blogged how stupid the JJOKE commissioners were and that I could not wait to see the dissents and commission opinion explaining why the exemptions were denied.  I also predicted NYCLU would kick JJOKE's ass if they brought an Article 78 claiming JJOKE was arbitrary and capricious.

Turns out it was even easier than that.  A hearing officer hearing the appeal by the groups that were denied ruled that JJOKE . . . JDOPE  . . . JCOPE was clearly in error in denying the applications and that was based only on the record because JJOKE didn't bother to submit any additional information, no opinion other than the "we do what we want pronouncement" no written dissents nothing.   Your tax dollars at work.

The hearing officers decision was the equivalent of a bitch slap to Horwitz and the rest of the legal geniuses that engineered this fiasco.  Smart NY lawyers, the smartest guys in the room  DOPES one and all.

And you have to love Milgram's comment once they found him and the 2nd floor told him to comment.  He said this is the first time that JCOPE has been overturned.   WOW hey Milgram you asshole it's also the first time anyone appealed one of your decisions.   But I've got a hunch it won't be the last.

Do you think that anyone at tomorrows meeting will discuss this public beatdown?   My guess is all the smart NYC lawyers just act like it never happened.

I'd love to see and hear Horwitz Weismann Levine Hormozi etc justify this stunning proof of their lack of legal acumen.

Hope springs eternal when it comes to JJOKE