It's been about 6 weeks since Seth "Igottagetoutofhere" Agata was named the head of JJOKE, after another national search and extensive interview process (one that I could not even make the cut for a preliminary interview - I wonder why?). Now I wonder during that interview process did anyone at JJOKE consider that because of Agata's prior service as counsel to Governor Cuomo he would be in a difficult position as the head of the ethics agency charged with enforcing the ethics laws against the Governor and his staff?
I'm sure the gubernatorial appointees saw it as a plus. Who better to protect them than one of their own. Much like John Gotti would have picked Sammy Gravano to be the head of the organized crime task force. But now Agata has to deal with a world where people are willing to ask the hard questions. Preet is always lurking around Albany politics and as a result the John Gotti's of the Albany political world don't scare the rank and file like they used to. As a result Sammy Gravano might protect John from the organized crime task force but can't help when bigger predators show up to hunt.
And in fact when those shark fins break the surface all the scavenger fish also show up to pick at the ravaged remains.
A quick explanation for those not quick enough to understand the analogies at play. Cuomo is Gotti, Agata is Gravano, JJOKE is the organized crime task force and the media (specifically Casey "cut and paste" Seiler is the scavenger fish. And before anyone says I am being Trump like in picking on Italians my wife is Sicilian, Agata is Jewish and if anything scavenger fish should be insulted by the comparison to Casey.
Having cleared that up think about this. JJOKE is being criticized by Casey for some mythical policy that allowed Joe Percocco (continuing the analogy - Fredo from the godfather movie, a likeable idiot that damages the godfather thru avarice and stupidity. As an aside Percoco should avoid fishing in small boats) not to file a 2013 financial disclosure report. JJOKE's explanations ring false and Agata and Walt McClueless sound like operatives for the second floor. All JJOKE should have done was apologize for not getting Percoco to file the 2013 report and then force Percoco to file or face stiff penalties after a public hearing (the equivalent of being sent to Vegas to work for Moe Green). But noooo they just say it couldn't happen now.
Here's the problem. Since Agata has been publicly quoted on the issue we know he is involved in it. BUT how can that be? He was Cuomo's counsel when this all happened. Shouldn't he recuse himself? Doesn't he have a major conflict of interest? I blogged before that Agata should investigate himself for his role in Cuomo's book deal. Now I think Blair Horner and Dick Dadey should demand that JJOKE and it's commissioners be investigated for Agata's actions regarding Percoco, Howe and Howe's buddy that is a registered lobbyist for Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna unless JJOKE scrubbed his name already.
Seth, you have a major problem, you are conflicted as a result of your prior position, you have been and you always will be. It should have been obvious to those that placed you in the job.
My suggestion is if you want to stay (and I don't know why you would if you are just going to keep doing what those that came before have done) you need to publicly explain your thoughts on your conflicts. Remember even Sammy had to do the right thing eventually.