Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mrs. Agata can you straighten your husband out?

So I have it from a very reliable source that Seth Agata's wife is an avid reader of the blog.  Now she is Jewish so I'm guessing she either gets my neurotic side or she absolutely is disgusted by me.  I've been around a lot of Jewish women, including my mother so I know how I am perceived by that segment of society (it's also why I married a Sicilian).  In the hopes that she is a fan I am going to appeal to her to talk to her husband so he gets his head out of Dan Horwitz'z ass and doesn't repeat the mistakes of the executive directors that came before him.

At today's meeting he made a point to tell us how he has been on a listening tour of the good government groups and the various sides of the legislature, including the independent democratic conference aka Jeff Klein's I have to be a leader of something group.  How many times have I heard this same bullshit before?  If the good government groups and the legislature had answers we wouldn't need to keep replacing executive directors.  Changing the ethics laws is not the answer Seth.  YOU are the answer Seth, if your wife can get you to sack up and take control.  Blair Horner, Dick Dadey and Susan Lerner may make you comfortable but they are ethics losers, always were always will be (I kind of sound like Trump, huh?).

Todays meeting was a perfect example, instead of the inhumanely boring 30 minute lecture on the revolving door ban why not spend 5 minutes explaining how Joe Percoco violated that same ban and what JJOKE is doing about it.  That would have been memorable.  It also would have gotten you fired and into the private sector where you can earn the kind of living that will make Mrs. Agata happy.

See Mrs. Agata I am looking out for you.

No thanks necessary.

By the way Seth you meet with the good government groups but not with me?  Don't take this the wrong way but FUCK YOU.

You can pay for lunch next week.

$300000 to defend an opinion that JJOKE will not enforce

Now I could write volumes on JJOKE's opinion regarding pr consultants.  I'm making a lot of money advising the sharper pr firms on how to comply with the opinion without changing their business models and practices but I am baffled by why certain pr firms would spend what I am sure will total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to mount a first amendment challenge to a JJOKE opinion.  Not a regulation, not an enforcement action but an opinion that has no binding legal effect.  JJOKE opinions are only binding on those that request an opinion.  This opinion was merely advisory.  A little bit of saber rattling, a very little bit if you truly understand JJOKE and how it operates.  As I said the sharp pr firms hired me and that was that I take care of the rest and they go right back to doing what they are good at.  The Berlin Rosens and Mercurys of the world hire Andrew Celli and drop major coin in an overreaction and will be pissed off when their federal case gets thrown out for any number of reasons.  Reasons Andrew Celli knows very well since he was a Lobby commissioner when Russel Simmons and the NYCLU brought federal litigation to stop an investigation by the Lobby Commission.  A case that was thrown out of Judge Preska's court much as this case will be.

But that's not the part that interests me, I figured that out about 2 minutes after the opinion was issued.  The interesting thing is JJOKE is spending at least $300000 to hire out of town lawyers to get the case thrown out, and they will.  $300000  that's $25000 a month.  And what will be the end result?  The lawyers make a lot of money (I wonder which JJOKE commissioner's law firm will receive referrals from the out of town lawyers?  This is Albany you know a quid pro quo was involved, I'm just surprised Todd Howe, Joe Percoco and Alain Kalyeros don't have ties to the out of town law firm)  And when all is said and done we have a JJOKE opinion that they have not used in an enforcement action (which by the way they can't since it has no binding effect on anyone).

The real question we should ask before spending $300000 is why doesn't Seth Agata actually follow the opinion and bring an enforcement action against those very same firms that are claiming the opinion violates their first amendment rights?  If it is chilling their free speech they must be engaging in action covered by the opinion.  All you need to do Seth is call the governor's office and get permission to start investigating these pr firms then the $300000 will at least be well spent because we might get a resolution to the issue.  That's assuming the governor's office will take your call I hear they are a little nervous of talking on the phone these days.

If JJOKE will not follow the opinion and investigate pr firms that refuse to register what was the point of the opinion in the first place?  Other than as a reason for Celli and this out of town law firm to make bank.

New York ethics at best is like playing with yourself.  The pleasure given equals the pleasure received.  At worst it is a massive Ponzi scheme, which is why Preet is too busy these days to play with himself.

Play on playa.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

DeBlasio and Laufer tell Cuomo and Agata to f off

An amazing thing happened Friday.

Laurence Laufer, the attorney for the Committee for One New York, wrote a letter to JJOKE's new head Seth Agata, telling him in no uncertain terms that he thought Agata and JJOKE were doing Cuomo's dirty work by issuing subpoenas to the Committee for One New York and that they would not comply.  Basically a f you to JJOKE and Cuomo

But that wasn't the amazing part, the amazing part was Seth Agata responded in the media.  IN THE MEDIA!!!!!   Just the day before I had suggested Seth do that very thing but I never thought he would.  Seth's response was basically a f you right back to Laufer and DeBlasio.  Especially his line that lobbyists don't get to pick who investigates them.  Classic tough guy line, there may be hope for Agata yet.  Just a couple of problems that I hope Seth considered.

First you just confirmed the investigation and the issuance of subpoenas.  That stuff is secret unless your commission votes and authorizes you to do so.  If they did GREAT keep it up if they didn't I can see somebody bringing an ethics complaint against you and forcing your recusal on this issue.

Assuming you didn't go rogue and had been authorized by a majority of JJOKE to divulge that confidential information don't stop in the future.  You can't pick and choose.  Is JJOKE investigating Todd Howe for being an unregistered lobbyist?  Have subpoenas been issued?  Is JJOKE investigating Joe Percocco for revolving door violations? for conflict of interest? for violating the Public Officers Law for his outside deals?  Have subpoenas been issued?

You see Seth that going public thing only works if you don't pick and choose when to be secretive.

You can't protect the second floor while you throw everyone else out there to be raw meat for the media.  When you do that you are proving Mr. DiBlasio's and Mr. Laugher's point that JJOKE is merely a tool of the governor being used to punish his enemies.

A belief that is so widespread as to be universally believed.

In fact why doesn't Agata and/or Laufer release the subpoena so we can all judge for ourselves if the investigation is on the up and up or merely a witch hunt.  In fact release the complaint that started the investigation and the executive session minutes where JJOKE discussed it.  Now that would be amazing.

On a related point the recent stories of Todd Howe's checkered financial past and Percoco's to for that matter got me thinking.

Why don't the good government groups push for a change in the financial disclosure reports to require the listing of bankruptcies and felonies and misdemeanors?  While they are at it they can require that public officials declare under penalty of perjury who they are having sex with.  It might save us all a lot of trouble if we knew ahead of time which public officials were broke, soon to be or former criminals, and who the media would be writing about as there love interest when they get convicted.

Now that would be useful ethical data.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Seth Agata is between a rock and Cuomo

As the Percoco scandal perculates Seth Agata must wish he were back at PERB or on his way to Tax or even to the private sector on the west coast.  Here's a hint Seth, call Steve Cohen see if he has any available seats in the lifeboat.

And the Times Union is starting to circle Agata like sharks with blood in the water.

They are asking questions about JJOKE opinions for Percoco's activity.  Of course JJOKE mouthpiece Walt McClure is earning his $78752 salary (or are you a consultant Walt) by saying JJOKE will not comment about opinions it may or may not have given Percoco.

They are also asking if Agata has recused himself from any issues involving Percoco and by extension the governor's office where Agata used to (and may still) work.  Once again The $78752 mouthpiece Walt McClure says JJOKE will not tell us if Agata has recused or if JJOKE is investigating.

And therein Seth is your real problem.  The automatic secrecy that JJOKE defaults to.  It makes it easy for everyone to believe you are corrupt.  Just another stooge the governor has placed at JJOKE to control the process.  Hiding the nasty facts he doesn't want anyone to know.

There is an easy fix though Seth, just answer the media's questions.  They are legitimate questions and if as I believe the answer is no opinions were sought why not just say so?

And don't say the law doesn't allow you to disclose that information.  We both know that's not true (at least I do, you may not have actually read the law yet)  Get the majority of commissioners to authorize you to answer any media inquiry truthfully and watch how much easier your job gets until they abolish JJOKE.

I know because I did it with the Lobby Commission way back in the old days.  Pull the commission minutes I'm sure you can find the resolution.

Until then continue to watch your stress level go up and your reputation drop into the garbage.

Speaking of looking up old records I saw a story the other day about Carmen Arroyo's campaign accounts and casinos and it reminded me that during the Trump investigation of 2000 I got copies of all the NJ casino records for NYS legislators.  A lot of interesting information in those records of our elected officials gambling habits.  I'm sure I must have copies somewhere. It would have been just the type of insurance policy the paranoid Dave Grandeau would have hung onto back then.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What the New York Times editorial about Sheldon Silver's sentance says about Albany and ethics reform

Predictably the New York Times has written an editorial using the recent corruption conviction and sentencing of Sheldon Silver as the basis for it's call yet again for "ethics reform" in Albany.

I wonder does the New York Times editorial board know what they mean by "ethics reform"?

They've been calling for it for a long time.

"Better Albany Ethics" an editorial about the need for "far more exactness and detail" in a code of ethics was not written this session it was written November 1 1963.

"Ethics now - not next year" was an editorial about disclosing and recusing lawyer legislators from taking fees from those with business before the legislature.  Sound familiar?  it wasn't written about Shelly it was written January 16, 1964.

"Status Quo on Ethics?" an editorial about the benefits of a blue ribbon panel drafting proposed ethics reforms.  I'm still laughing about the fact it was written on February 13, 1964 and has been rewritten so many times in the last 50 years any amateur politician has learned that the media just can not resist writing of the benefits of blue ribbon panels . . . especially when it comes to ethics reform.

"Why give Politicians $50000?" an editorial calling for . . . wait for it . . . campaign finance reform published on January 30, 1986.  But right now is our Watergate moment for ethics reform?  Don't make me laugh every decade is our Watergate moment for ethics reform.

"Waiting, Waiting for Albany on Ethics" this editorial written on June 8, 1987 had this gem "Governor Cuomo and the leaders have remained locked in a desultory dance over terms of a better bill.  Each passing day deepens the Legislature's embarrassment and tries the public's patience"  Yea right, each passing day for the last 30 years.  Long enough for the son to repeat the fathers mistakes.

"Albany's Last Chance on Ethics" an editorial that when discussing ethics reform stated "Albany can gain some measure of redemption in the time remaining, but that time is swiftly running out".  Swiftly running out? that was written 23 years ago on June 30 1993.  I guess the New York Times defines swiftly differently than it's common interpretation.

And the New York Times is by no means alone in repeating the same editorial about ethics reform over and over and over again.  They just have the easiest data base to search.  Type in Albany ethics reform and laugh your ass off as the editorials go all the way back to the late 1800's.

So you might rightly ask what else can they do other than spit into the wind?

How about being realistic?  IT"S NOT THE LAWS IT'S THE PEOPLE STUPID

So write about the people, write about what they are or are not doing before you end up just reporting the news a prosecutor makes.

Here is an easy one.

Insist on an interview of JJOKE's new leader Seth Agata.  Write about Seth Agata until he answers questions about what he is or is not doing at New York's ethics agency.  We all know about Percoco's disclosure statement that JCOPE turned over to Preet under subpoena but what is Agata doing about it?  Is he barred because he was the governor's counsel during the relevant time period?  Is JJOKE looking at Alain Kalyeros?  or are the too busy going after DiBlasio and issuing subpoenas to those who donated to the Mayor?  How does JJOKE pick and choose it's targets? or does the governor pick the targets for them? 

Write about that and maybe you will not have to keep writing the same ethics editorial for the next 50 years.

And speaking of Alain Kalyeros, the rumor I'm hearing is that those expensive criminal defense attorneys the Nano folks hired LAST SUMMER, have already gotten Alain to do what he does best and save his own ass by rolling over on everybody else he possibly could.  In my opinion and for my money Kalyeros will go down in history as the greatest Ponzi schemer in the government tech world.  Think the Bernie Madoff for government tech.  In the words of Robin Williams . . . Nano Nano suckers.