Monday, November 30, 2015

Reflection or what took so long?

Thanksgiving always brings a flood of memories.  In this respect I guess I am no different for many many others.  I've got the family memories, both as a kid (my mother could not make a gravy to save her life) and as an adult with my own children to torture at the dinner table.  But since 2006 Thanksgiving day has always been a day when I take 10 minutes by myself, in my favorite chair and reflect on what the future holds.

It started in 2006 when I realized that Bruno, Silver and Spitzer were determined to end my career in government.  I was positive they had installed Paul Shechtman as Chairman of the old Lobby Commission to fire me.  And I knew he was smart enough to pull it off.  As I sat in my chair that Thanksgiving, kids and family having a wonderful meal with lots of noise and laughter, I could not have been more depressed.  I was absolutely certain I would never be able to earn the kind of living that would let us have a happy thanksgiving again (some dark shit huh?).

As it turned out I was able to outmaneuver Shechtman (he ended up being smart but a little wimpy in the PR department) and he resigned but Spitzer, Silver and Bruno still managed to get me out of government by abolishing the Lobby Commission and creating a brand new ethics agency that after years of turmoil, incompetence and disgrace turned into JJOKE and we know how well that has worked.  Karma caught up with Spitzer, Bruno and Silver in the form of indictments, trials and in Spitzer's case complete public humiliation  (that's the narcissist in me talking).  And by the time Thanksgiving 2007 rolled around I was back in that chair with an income that had doubled in the 2 months since I packed my bags at the Lobby Commission and a positive attitude that life was oh so much better in the private sector.  I still take 10 minutes every Thanksgiving to sit in that chair and reflect.  The chair is a little worse for wear but I'm going to always keep it as a reminder and I am secure in the knowledge that no matter what the powers to be in government throw at me in the future I can deal with it and thrive (that's what gives me that attitude that people that don't know me call arrogance).  This year was a little different though.

Instead of reliving the past and enjoying my good fortune and the misery of those that tried to harm me (and my family by extension) I thought about why government continues to think they solve the past problem by changing existing laws, rules or procedures in reaction to a recent event instead of proactively thinking about what will happen next and stopping it.  I noticed Cuomo is beefing up security at planned parenthood clinics as a RESULT of recent violence.  Why did it take recent violence to react?  The good government groups are calling for new ethics legislation as a RESULT of recent federal corruption cases. Why did it take recent corruption to react?  Every school shooting brings more calls for gun control. Wouldn't it be great if these politicians and groups could think about and tell us what is likely to happen before the event?  That would be useful.

It was with that thought that I met with JJOKE (at their request) to provide my insight into their most recent draft opinion on consultants.  An opinion prompted by the rise in power that was a RESULT of certain consultants being publicly identified as having perceived influence with unreported clients and politicians (most likely Berlin Rosen and Bill DiBlasio).  But rather than wait for the opinion to be published (which quite frankly will be a huge boon to my business) I offered my insight to help the opinion's author understand his own motivation in drafting it and the concomitant effect it will have on the regulated community and his own career.

I won't go into the legal realities of the opinion and it's enforceability (I'll leave that for paying clients) but I did discuss the motivation of JJOKE in issuing the draft.  If it's goal was to scare certain consultants into registering and disclosing their activity it will work but why use such a heavy hand?  You can acquire the same information and data by enforcement proceedings against lobbyists and clients that don't disclose their vendors on existing reports.  Every consultant involved in a lobbying effort, even the ones that sit mutely in meetings, is a lobbying expense that requires disclosure already.  I was told that certain consultants that "throw their weight around" are able to collect contingent fees and if they were registered they couldn't do that anymore.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  The prohibition against contingent fees has been the greatest single benefit to the lobbying community since politicians dim witted children.  If contingent fees were allowed every client would insist and every lobbyist would go bankrupt.  Lobbyists are successful about 10-15% of the time. (we ran the numbers at the old lobby commission do you think JJOKE has?)  Go ask personal injury lawyers that work on contingency if they could survive being successful on 10-15% of the cases they took.  Go ask the restaurants in town if they could stay open if only 10-15% of their customers were happy.  Ask the governor if his book publisher was happy with 10-15% of the governors books that were printed actually being sold.  And by the way if the folks at JJOKE understood the industry they would realize it's not contingent fees consultants make the money on, it's placing the ads, but this is what happens when government regulators without experience react instead of thinking ahead.

One last thought on contingent fees, much like source of funding, any client that wants to legally structure a contingent fee agreement need only give me a call. 

Every day is thanksgiving for me now that I've figured this game out.  But if the folks at JJOKE aren't careful they might need their own chair next thanksgiving to reflect on what happens when you react instead of thinking about future results.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Taking Notes

I got a chance to watch the commission meeting last night.  It was a tossup between watching the Titan/Jags football game or watch the JJOKE meeting.  I know I lead a boring life.  Fortunately I was able to finish the JJOKE meeting in time to see the Jags color rush uniforms.  You have to think the NFL must be asking the JJOKE brain trust for marketing advice.

Anyway just as striking to me as the baby shit brown uniforms was the number of JJOKE staffers with no real role to play at the meeting taking copious notes.  Over a million dollars a year in salaries in that room and only Monica and Martin were needed, yet all the rest were diligently taking notes.  What could they possibly have been writing?

Deb Novack is the secretary, it's her job to take notes to write the minutes.

The rest of them?  They don't need to be there so why bother taking notes?

If they want to create a record for review down the road I have a news flash for them  THE MEETING IS RECORDED YOU CAN WATCH AND REVIEW EVERY WORD ANYTIME YOU WANT.

Lucky for me I have great video editing equipment on my computer and the new camera angle provides a clear shot of the end of the table where the note takers sit (I couldn't see the notes of the overpaid under talented staff that sit against the wall but you could see they were scribbling away) so here is what my software allowed me to see.

Kevin Gagan's note pad stated "Don't say a word, you are making $160 large to be the executive director in waiting why speak, remain a man of mystery.  Where are Harford and Hamilton?  I said I was responsible for bringing them here but if that prick Grandeau finds out they are a couple I'm going to blame LT.  Hamilton is her law school buddy not mine.  Tell Martin that bow tie makes him look like Dr. Seuss.  Commissioners not happy with resumes for ED job.  No shit I threw out all the good ones.  I need that job otherwise I have to go back to the State Police and those cops hate me.  I should ask LT if I can join her and Ginsberg at Tax."

Lori Donadio's note pad stated "Why am I here?  I barely have enough knowledge not to stare into the camera with a vapid look on my face.  What does the word regulated mean?  Gotta look that one up.  Does Monica need more coffee?  Why is Horwitz rocking like a fat kid on a hobby horse?  I hope no one realizes I make $66780 and can't spell KAT oops CAT.  I don't think Marvin has pants on.  I'm going to keep staring into the camera until I see pants or his pecker.  OK those are pants.  I wonder where Harford and Hamilton are?  I bet they are together.  Why is Martin wearing a bow tie he looks like Pee Wee Herman."

Walt McClure's notepad stated "No comment, No Comment, I can't comment, The commission has no comment, No Comment.  Do you think anyone watching will notice my new watch?  This bitch is iced out.  I could never have worn something like this back at South Colonie High but now? wheeeee.  Martin's bow tie looks cute.   Just once I'd like to tell Grandeau to go fuck himself.  Horwitz is davening like he is at an orthodox bar mitzvah. No comment No comment $79k and all I have to do is say no comment?  this is awesome I wonder if I can afford an Alex and Ani bracelet?

Stephen Boland's notepad stated "I hate Jeanine Clemente.  2 + 2 =4.  Why is Gagan even here?  Guy's a paranoid control freak.   Why is Martin wearing a bow tie that clashes with his shirt? UGH  He looks like Winston Churchill.  Walt can't afford that watch I better audit our petty cash fund"

That's all I could get I'll try to snap some high res photo's myself at the next meeting.

After seeing the note taking I listened to staff and commissioners explain their thought processes on regulations and opinions.  Good lord these people are stupid and foolish.  Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.  Marvin once again made an excellent point that they shouldn't be issuing opinions that go beyond the statute but Horowitz stopped his manic rocking just long enough to state the most important fact of the meeting.  These opinion are guidance and no one can litigate them until an enforcement proceeding.  He thinks he is safe from the result of scaring the lobbyists, consultants and electeds until JJOKE decides which ones to prosecute or should I say until Cuomo does.  He may be right but I have an idea how to pin the tail on these jackasses.

I'm going to ask for a formal opinion on all the issues JJOKE has been wrong on lately but no one is willing to litigate with them about.  It will not be a hypothetical it will be based on real facts tailored to force JJOKE to state a position.  Best part is I control the facts because I am going to engage in activity that JJOKE claims will make me a lobbyist.  And I am not going to register.  Lets see if they bring an enforcement proceeding.  I bet they pussy out and never respond to my opinion request or start an enforcement proceeding against me.  I may go one step further and ask for the opinion on behalf of myself and all others similarly situated.

Let's see how smart these smart New York lawyers really are.

I'm betting they have more hair on there heads than they do on there asses.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nailed it

I told you on Monday what JJOKE would do on Tuesday when it came to that fundraising opinion.

My ability to predict JJOKE's actions is the reason I have too many clients.  I picked up a couple more in NYC on Tuesday which is why I missed the JJOKE shit show they call a commission meeting.  By the way did anyone notice they moved the camera angle so that "my" seat is no longer on camera?  Too funny, I may have to just start sitting at the table soon (when is my interview to be executive director?).

The Times Union's Chris Bragg had a piece today (terrible picture of Monica shows you what the TU thinks about JJOKE staff) that does a decent job of hinting at the behind the scenes actions related to this opinion (do you think he read the Monday blog?) but fails to hammer down on the most important issue, one deserving of a full blown investigation.  WHY WAS MONICA STAMM ASKING THE GOVERNOR, THE AG AND THE CONTROLLER FOR VERBAL COMMENTS?  The original request for comments was for written comments but only DiNapoli provided his comments in writing.  The AG and the Governor gave verbal comments to Monica, but what were they? what did they say? and why didn't Monica insist on getting them in writing?

The answer is simple.  The AG and the Governor prefer to have plausible deniability when JJOKE narrows the opinion.  But poor Monica was too honest when she told the commission in open session that she received verbal comments from the AG and the Governor.  My inside sources tell me the governors office is apoplectic that Monica was so honest and even more pissed that DiNapoli shoved it up there ass by providing written comments.

So now the opinion will stay bottled up until someone at JJOKE figures out how to modify it without looking like they are doing the governor's bidding.  That's a tough one.  I know how but they are not asking me.  Maybe during my interview I'll tell them.

Or they could dance with the one that brought them and ask Kevin Gagan what to do.  I'd love to hear him speak at a commission meeting and show us all why he is worth $160000.  It's even money now whether Gagan becomes the executive director or goes back to that State Police job they are holding for him.

One last thought on asking the effected parties for input on the opinion DO YOU THINK ELLIOT NESS ASKED AL CAPONE HOW TO WRITE THE TAX STATUTES?

Only in New York folks, only in New York. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Kevin Gagan for ethics hero of the decade

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog praising JJOKE for writing a broad sweeping draft opinion limiting the way our statewide elected officials will be able to raise money.  You can read it here

In the blog I ask several questions that I now believe as a result of my numerous and varied resources within and without JJOKE I have answers to, such as:

The answer to this is a resounding no and trust me when I say both the legislature and the governors office were shocked and then major league pissed off once they figured out what it meant (no thanks necessary a large part of my audience is in the legislature and governors office)  Now of course neither the AG nor the Controller have appointments on JJOKE so who gives a rats ass what they thought even though they are impacted by it.  Especially the AG (think Trump complaint).  This is causing a lot of heartache at JJOKE over the last several weeks.  The legislature has no real voice on JJOKE at this time because the legislatively appointed commissioners are for the most part Skelos and Silver holdovers who have evidenced an independent streak and I am told on this draft opinion refuse to be persuaded to tone it down.  Now the gubernatorial appointees are a different matter they will do as they are told but they are still in the doghouse for not giving a warning to the Governor and his staff which answers the next question:

Not a chance they didn't even know it was being discussed.  This draft opinion was the brainchild of the JJOKE staff, specifically the soon to be executive director Kevin Gagan and his hand picked assistant John Harford who did the vast majority of the actual writing.  Now you might rightly ask how did a Cuomo lackey like Gagan do something this far reaching effecting the governor and not tell anyone on the second floor?  Only 2 ways that happens, either he was so politically inept he didn't consider the ramifications (in which case the Cuomo crowd will make sure if he becomes executive director he will not be allowed to wash his hands without clearing it by Linda Lacewell) or he truly is not a Cuomo lackey and was independent enough to basically tell the governor to f off by this opinion (if that is the case I'll withdraw my application and throw my support behind Gagan all he needs to do is have a cup of coffee and tell me that he knew what he was doing on this opinion and didn't care how it impacted Cuomo).

And lastly:

"Now of course the JJOKE group that wrote the opinion have no clue of what the real world is like so all the problems inherent in a sweeping opinion such as this will come flooding in and the opinion will never be issued but I need to know"

And here is where my sources tell me it gets really interesting.  With the draft opinion on the agenda to be discussed in open session at tomorrows JJOKE meeting the Gagan forces are doing all they can to modify the opinion and make it look like the commissioners are narrowing the reach as a result of comments from everyone but the parties that really care (the governor and the legislature)  As usual poor Monica Stamm has been tasked with cleaning up Gagan's mess and has been working overtime trying to get the commissioners to issue a much narrower opinion as a result of comments from the affected parties.  But all she really cares about is exempting the Governor from responsibility for what the agencies in the executive branch do.

Keep an eye on the next draft, if the legislative appointees stay rebellious the draft doesn't change and Monica will be forced to write guidelines to be imposed by the next executive director limiting the reach of the opinion, as to the governor.

If Monica gets the job done the draft will change and become far narrower and everyone will be told it was done to "provide clarity to the regulated community".  Someone remind me why the 2nd floor wants Gagan and not Monica to be the next executive director.

Rest assured when I am the executive director this opinion will be broadly interpreted, maybe even broadly enough to plug that LLC loophole everyone is talking about.


Monday, November 9, 2015

This makes it official

Holly Levy does actually work at JJOKE and I have applied to be the next executive director

To: ""

Subject: NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics - Executive Director

Date: Nov 9, 2015 4:38 PM

The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics has received the materials you submitted in connection with the position of Executive Director.  Your materials have been forwarded to the Search Committee for consideration. 
Holly Levy
NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics
By materials I am assuming she ment my brochure and email application directing them to look at the opinions of the Lobby Commission and my blog for my writing sample.
If you want to see the email again you can find it here
Anyone want to guess how they avoid giving me an interview?  Blair Horner thinks they will use my statement that I will open my interview to the press as a basis for not interviewing me.  I'll keep you posted.
As to Holly Levy it took you 3 weeks 12 phone messages the threat of a formal complaint and a blog post to get you to acknowledge receipt of my application.  Check with Biben Holly see if that babysitting gig is still available because the second thing I do after I become the executive director is fire you.  The first thing is open an investigation into the JJOKE commissioners.  Now about that interview . . .

The Times Union - an editorial on ethics is as usual too little too late and too meek and mellow

The Times Union has written yet another editorial on ethics and specifically the failed ethics reform known as JJOKE

You can read it here

But it's basically just a luke warm rewrite of previous editorials like

or here where the Times Union stated in 2012 "it’s obvious that the governor and lawmakers must scrap the sham that is JCOPE and replace it with a truly independent board"

Compare that to todays editorial almost 3 years later  "The governor and lawmakers should make it a priority to improve on their imperfect work"

In reading the Times Union's opinion you could believe JJOKE has improved in the last 3 years  It hasn't.  The Times Union like most good government groups and JJOKE commissioners just can't remember the past so like Charly Brown they just keep landing on their ass when Lucy/Andrew pulls the football away.

This time they actually take Patty Salkin's poor excuse for a review panels work as legitimate   completely ignoring the nature of it's conflicts and lack of interest in properly performing it's function and build off of a deeply flawed and poorly researched report to say JJOKE needs improvement.  You were closer to the truth 3 years ago scrap JJOKE. 


In this case it will come down to the next executive director.

I've applied but can't even get JJOKE to acknowledge receipt of the application much less get an interview.

In case the Times Union crack editorial staff can't figure it out the next executive director will be Cuomo lackey Kevin Gagan.

Here's an idea compare Gagan to Grandeau and then ask JJOKE to do the same let's see what happens.


keep writing the same editorial for the next 3 years and I'll keep making bank and writing the same blogs I've been writing for the last 5 years.

On the positive side it does appear that while the idea hasn't changed the writing of the editorials is original which given Casey Seiler's reporting habits is a vast improvement

Casey "cut and paste" Seiler    Good nickname huh?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Who is Holly Levy and why does she make $89758

I am starting a new series of blogs about individual employees at JJOKE that are overpaid, under qualified, incompetent or just a general pain in the ass.

Holly Levy satisfies all 4 criteria.

Holly Levy works . . . strike that Holly Levy gets paid by JJOKE $89758 to be a secretary in the New York City office.

That's a lot of money for a secretary at a state agency, even in New York City.

I've been calling Holly Levy for weeks now and she has NEVER picked up the phone.

I've been calling because she is the JJOKEr responsible for collecting applications for the vacant executive directors job.  I've applied by leaving her a voice mail and sending an email.  For the last 2 weeks I've been calling Ms. Levy to confirm receipt of my application.  Gagan has confirmed that he knows about it but no one else at JJOKE has.  I know Marvin Jacobs who is on the search committee knows I applied because he has already pledged me his support and Marvin is a man of his word.  But Holly Levy is the JJOKE employee in charge of the applications and she is not reachable.  And I want to make sure I get at least an interview for the job that has already been promised to Kevin Gagan.

Now maybe she hasn't been at work for the last 2 weeks (Biben work rules) or maybe she doesn't know how to get her voice mails but at almost $90000 you would think she has to be really really good at her job.

Or does she?

I checked around and the consensus is she is horrible at her job, a real zero when it comes to talent as a secretary.

If that's true how did she end up in a position at JJOKE earning $90000?

And this is where it gets good.

Story is she was Ellen Biben's childrens nanny.

I'm going to really start digging to see if it's true but it sure makes sense why a no talent secretary in a New York City office that has no visitors and no phone calls, at least none they answer, makes $90000.

I'll foil her financial disclosure report, maybe the Chief of Staff Kevin Gagan can review her resume for us, maybe even show it to Commissioner Weissman.

If Levy was Biben's nanny that is a very good reason not to let executive directors hire who they want and pay them whatever.  (Was Kevin Gagan anyones nanny? is he related to a Cuomo? or was he just a reliable Cuomo lackey?)

If she is just overpaid, under qualified, incompetent or just a general pain in the ass she has lots of company at JJOKE.

And yes Commissioner Levine I know I am making it personal and that makes you uncomfortable.  Too bad get used to it.  That is how things get changed in Albany.  Your polite deliberate non confrontational way doesn't work.  You've been there 3 years doing it your way and the place is a mess. 

What you need are less babysitters and more talented staff, less lawyers and more common sense and less Cuomo lackeys and more Kevin Gagans.

And maybe I need more truth and less sarcasm.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A happy ending for the JERKOFF review commission

The long awaited review of JJOKE's operations has finally come out


Once again proving in the world of ethical masturbation the pleasure given equals the pleasure received.


Casey Sailer has the story here but not having seen the press release I do not know if it is original reporting by Casey or another case of press release plagerism.


I don't recommend you read the report as it's the same old same old retreaded pablum the shallow thinkers in the ethics world have been harping on for 3 years (and yes I mean the good government groups.)

Too big

Too secretive

Needs more money


Well at least Patty Salkin's husband no longer has to fear losing state contracts if Cuomo gets pissed.  There is nothing in the report to upset anyone.  That is because there is nothing in the report at all.  JERKOFF was supposed to review and evaluate the activities and performance of JJOKE instead it wrote a 2nd graders book report without reading the book and dressed it up as a first year law students attempt at a law review article.  Lot's of foot notes and no substance.

While you shouldn't read it I have to since it is in my area of expertise (ethics not good government masturbation)

The report starts with a cite to Richard Rivkin (enough said, nice man but should be considered the father of ethical boredom and was neck deep in the Spitzer troopergate scandal as I recall) that "PIRA’s formal title has likely led to some of the criticisms surrounding the purpose and  performance of JCOPE."  Right, it is the name that lead to the criticism about the purpose and performance of JJOKE"  I criticize JJOKE more than anyone and I've never thought the Public Integrity Reform Act's title was the cause of JJOKE being ineffective.  IT'S THE PEOPLE STUPID


But if JERKOFF says it's the name the least they can do is point to empirical data to back up their claim but NOOOOO we just get a conclusion without analysis.  I think JERKOFF's formal title as "The New York Ethics Review Commission . . .  commonly referred to as the JCOPE Review Commission" has likely lead to some of the criticisms surrounding the purpose and performance of JERKOFF.  WOW this is easy even a lawyer could write that.


After a boring recap of how JJOKE was formed and it's legislatively mandated structure JERKOFF talks about their process and the limited number of people they reached out to.  They didn't include their reach around to me and my request for the type of data they should have asked for but never did.  The least JERKOFF could have done if they were going to stroke us was provide some ethics porn to help the process along.  The report provides no metrics, no data and none of the material a competent expert would need to review and evaluate the activities and performance of JJOKE with one notable exception they included material Blair Horner sent to JJOKE about his complaint regarding the Andrew Cuomo book deal.  Pay attention here Mr. Gagan the material provides a sound basis for investigating the book deal and for investigating JJOKE's actions in failing to investigate Mr. Cuomo.  It's found in the appendix at page 80 in the form of a letter from Ellen Biben to Seth Agata wherein JJOKE sets forth what Mr. Cuomo could and could not do as part of the book deal.  Point 2 states that no State property personnel or other State resources are utilized in producing or promoting the book like wise point 7 states the state official (Cuomo) does not advertise, promote or otherwise endorse the book while performing state duties.  I've blogged about Cuomo's promotion of the book while in his State office with the State seal over his shoulder and while on State time before do you think JERKOFF asked JJOKE or Biben or Agata about this complaint and violation?  They were on the JERKOFF reach around list but no mention of this potential ethical violation and JJOKE's failure to investigate it can be found in the JERKOFF report.  It would have made for a valuable case study but I guess that is asking too much of JERKOFF and it's volunteer lawyers with no budget.  Get a free haircut and it is going to look like a free haircut

Now we get to the body of the JERKOFF report.  They utilized a unique form for their review.  They tell us what they "heard" and then what they recommend.  I heard that JERKOFF was never intended to do an actual review and I recommend that the report they issue be used to wipe Volker's shriveled old ass.  Not very helpful I know so back to JERKOFF.

JERKOFF heard JJOKE is too big and recommends that the number of commissioners be reduced. but will not recommend a number.

EARTH SHATTERING and indicative of the depth of thought that went into this book report.  14 is too many?  How about just 1 and we can skip all this nonsense about anyone other that Cuomo having a say in what JJOKE does.  It's not the number IT"S THE PEOPLE STUPID

JERKOFF heard that people thought JJOKE should publish vote tallies on investigations and end the minority veto but will not recommend the disclosure of the identity of those commissioners that veto.

I just went limp.  What a bunch of pussies.  Let's keep protecting the problem guys  we can give lip service to transparency but when it comes to actually seeing whose doing the fucking . . . keep it behind closed doors.

I could do this for every point in the report but I'm putting my hand to sleep so just one or two more.

JERKOFF heard that JJOKE should be encouraged to adhere to the Freedom of Information Law and Open Meetings Law.  But JERKOFF only recommends that JCOPE review their policies regarding transparency.

That is particularly weak.  How about JERKOFF and all their bright lawyers determine if the existing statute provides a mechanism for JJOKE to disclose anything they want?  I've been making that argument for years.  And JJOKE lawyers say I'm wrong but never say why.  JERKOFF could have weighed in on that.  A law review article on my approach vs the JJOKE status quo would have been worthwhile but NOOOO just more bullshit from a bunch of ass clown lawyers who don't want to rock the boat.

One last example of how bad this JERKOFF report is.

JERKOFF heard that the threshold for lobby disclosure should be increased and recommended that it be increased from $5000 to $10000.

Why did you pick $10000? why not $15000 or $18000 or $20000?  My guess some good government group picked the number without the data to back up it's effect.  But not to worry I already did that for you a decade ago.  The lobby commission in 2005 I believe recommended raising the threshold from $5000 to $20000 after a statistical analysis established that at that level you would reduce the number of groups required to file  by over 25% while only losing under 10% of the total dollars reported.  I might not remember that actual statistics but it is an easy calculation to do as compared to picking $10000 out of Dick Dadey's ass.


I could go on and on with how useless this report was, is and will be and I'm sure I will revisit it because just like a JERKOFF I am sure of 2 things I like it and I am going to do it again.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kevin Gagan's conflict of interest

I am by my nature a curious person.

It always served me well when I ran the Lobby Commission.  I couldn't help myself I had to know what the lobbyists and public officials were up to.

It resulted in the Philip Morris gift case.
The Donald Trump unregistered lobby case.
The David Paterson airplane gift case.
The Shelly Silver Caesars gift case.
The NY Yankees gift case.
The Madison Square Garden gift case.
The Correctional Services gift case.
The AT&T lobby violation case.
The GTECH lobby violation case

The list goes on and on but they all involved my curiosity about how the worlds of lobbying and government interacted.

This curiosity also got me in trouble with powerful people all the time including:
Elliot Spitzer
Sheldon Silver
Joe Bruno
David Paterson
Donald Trump
and too many lobbyists, public officials and CEOs to count.

In the end it got the lobby commission abolished and ended my public career.

On the up side I can look at myself in the mirror and know I was an independent ethics enforcer.

Colorful, arrogant and willing to play by my rules and not the rules imposed by a corrupt system and yes I will admit I spoke to the media all the time when it advanced the cause and would again if I ever get that chance which brings me to Kevin Gagan and his conflict of interest.

I've been trying to meet Mr. Gagan for over 2 months, ever since he was appointed by the outgoing head of JJOKE to become the new head of JJOKE.  And be honest LT that was exactly what you did.  No one hires a person for $20k more than they are making to play second fiddle, especially if you knew you were leaving.  And Kevin be honest, will you be staying if you have to work for the person JJOKE selects instead of you for the top job?

For the last week I called every day sometimes twice a day to extend the invitation.  You see once Gagan didn't return my calls I became curious, it's just a habit.

Finally Gagan sends me a message thru a low level clerk "he will not be returning your call as he has applied for the job of executive director and it would be a conflict to meet with you since you have applied as well"

WOW Kevin must be a really deep thinker because I can't figure out what the conflict is.

So being the curious fellow I am I tell Times Union reporter Chris Bragg that Gagan has confirmed he is a candidate for the top job, and I let Bragg do his thing.

Lo and behold Gagan gives him an extensive on the record interview.  Spending a large part of Friday afternoon talking and emailing Bragg.  The resulting story can be found here

Now this story gives me some hope that Gagan may be different than the previous JJOKE and PIC heads, you see this is the first time I can recall anyone in his position doing an interview since I held that job.

Of course it also brings up many new questions that need to be asked.

Was it a violation of the Public Officers Law for Gagan to do an interview and use state resources to advance his own personal position?  After all his candidacy is not something he should be working on while on  state time.

How did Gagan know I applied?  Did he actually see my application because that would be using his official position to benefit his personal situation, another violation.

And on that point why is Gagan allowed to be in meetings with people at JJOKE discussing the search for the next executive director?  The other 70 applicants don't have that advantage.  Maybe Gagan should resign while his application is pending to avoid the appearance of impropriety.  If you think coffee with another presumed applicant is a conflict what is using your position at JJOKE to get a leg up on the competition?

If he was relying on what I have written in the blog to establish I have applied he needs to sharpen up his investigative skills because I lie all the time on the blog.

Having aired some possible issues Gagan's actions have brought to the public eye lets turn to his actual comments in the interview.

My personal favorite is the following:

 "Gagan said he was too new at JCOPE to have specific ideas about reforms for the oft-criticized watchdog, but he found the prospect of leading its staff compelling." 

Let me translate.  I have no idea how to run this agency but I am absolutely certain I am the right man to do it.

How about this one:

"The idea that I'm a Cuomo lackey is funny," Gagan said. "Those who know me well find it rather comical."

I like a good laugh Kevin who are these people that know you well that can explain to us that it is comical?  On paper you have relied on Cuomo for your last three jobs including traveling around the state defending the Governor's Safe Act.  I think there is a presumption that you are a Cuomo lackey until you prove otherwise.  I was a Bruno lackey so I know what a lackey looks like.  But you can prove your independence from Cuomo just put together a list like mine at the top of this blog.  I'll give you a freebie Cuomo violation that you can prove your independence with.  Investigate the governors book deal and it's promotion.  Did he cut a deal with a client of a lobbyist that amounts to an illegal gift?  Did he use his state office to promote his book?  You can read my previous blog entries about these issues to save some deep thinking.  Look into Cuomo's actions and then you are Cuomo lackey no more of course you are also unemployed but worse things can happen to a talented manager with expertise in ethics.  Wait a minute you don't have that expertise in ethics or management do you Mr. Gagan?  Don't worry you can get on the job training after you are hired as the next executive director.

And make no mistake you will be the next executive director, which means saying ""It's not up to the governor, it's up to the 14 commissioners," Gagan said. "I'll respect whatever they decide." is not a good idea.  The governor may read that and decide you are telling the truth in which case you will have to leave and go work at the Tax Department with the other former executive directors who couldn't handle the job.

And that Kevin is why I wanted to have coffee with you.  I was just curious what kind of executive director you will be and I wanted to see if you would listen to my advice.  Some that have come before you have and some haven't. 

At the end of the day it just determines how I go about satisfying my curiosity about what's going on at JJOKE.

But Kevin . . . a conflict of interest?  having a cup of coffee and meeting someone who practices in this field is a conflict of interest?  really?  You've got to do better than that.

I'll see you for coffee Wednesday or Thursday and we can talk about it and decide if we are going to get along or hate each other.

But I warn you I am an arrogant asshole . . . but my research and your recent interview shows you may be in touch with that emotion already.