Monday, September 10, 2012

NYT Protects Silver By Blaiming AG and Comptroller

Everyone Else Did It But Me . . . The Buck Stops Nowhere Generation

Before Cuomo or Silver take heat, they will make AG and/or Controller the fall guy. Look at how NYT is already taking up that narrative. Aides to both Mr. Schneiderman and Mr. DiNapoli said that the top lawyers who were sent drafts by the Assembly either did not open them, did not fully read them or referred them to subordinates.
While it is not unusual for the state to pay money to settle legal claims, the confidentiality language was unusual. But it appears there was little or no discussion of that issue. * Silver: Moreland Commission ‘Academic Now’(YNN) * Cuomo Is Open to ‘Tweaks’ in Ethics Panel(NYT) * Video: JCOPE calls it a day(TU)

Cuomo: Shelly Silver’s ‘Secret Deal’ With Vito Lopez Was Anything But
Will Silver Give Lopez Another Soft Landing in the Council?
“My point was that in some ways, it was even worse, it was not a secret deal done by Sheldon Silver, which people would think was just Sheldon Silver signs a secret deal,” Mr. Cuomo countered. “It was a secret deal reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office and implemented by the Comptroller’s Office.”
After Mr. Dicker repeated that the settlement was pretty much a “secret,” Mr. Cuomo asked, “Was it a secret?” “It was in writing, the settlement itself said it will remain confidential,” Mr. Dicker explained.

“My point was that in some ways, it was even worse, it was not a secret deal done by Sheldon Silver, which people would think was just Sheldon Silver signs a secret deal,” Mr. Cuomo countered. “It was a secret deal reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office and implemented by the Comptroller’s Office.” The host pointed out that now Mr. Cuomo was using the phrase “secret deal” that he was deriding just moments ago.
Protecting Boss Vito Lopez & Silver
NYT "Both men are Democrats, and both are former legislators who served with Mr. Lopez and Mr. 
Silver; Mr. DiNapoli was appointed comptroller in 2007 largely because of the support 
of Mr. Silver."  * NY ethics board meets amid sex harass scandal(Fox5) *
 ‘Vito Lopez vs. Bill Clinton(NYO) * JCOPE Debates The Merits Of Transparency(YNN)
Plausible Deniability 
Mr. Schneiderman has said that his office played only an 
informal role,and Mr. DiNapoli has said that his 
office’s role was technical.         
Both AG and Comptroller Office Could have 
Stopped the Hush Money - Received 3 Drafts 
"The offices of the attorney general and the comptroller received three 
draft copies of the settlements, but did not intervene to prevent the 
Assembly from using public money for the confidential settlement of 
sexual misconduct allegations against a powerful lawmaker." Both men 
said they were unaware of the settlement until it was described
 in the news media, even though their staffs were told that the 
negotiation involved Ms. Allred on one side and Mr. Lopez, the Brooklyn 
Democratic chairman, on the other.The two offices were drawn into the Lopez 
case when they were approached this year by Mr. Collins, a top counsel in 
Mr. Silver’s office. Mr. Collins sought advice from Arlene R. Smoler, a top employment law expert
 in the attorney general’s office, and Nancy G. Groenwegen, Mr. 
DiNapoli’s general counsel. The lawyers had several conversations over a
 period of weeks.                 
Eccentric ex-JCOPE member Ravi Batra explained his weekend resignation from the ethics panel. Quote part of his 3,500 word letter:
“…Albany is lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
Schneiderman and DiNapoli Epstein's Mother Note
Schneiderman and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli downplayed their roles in approving a confidential Assembly settlement for sexual harassment charges against Assemblyman Lopez. Aides to Schneiderman and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said top lawyers in their respective officials who were sent drafts of the Lopez harassment settlement by the Assembly “either did not open them, did not fully read them or referred them to subordinates.” Attorney General and Comptroller Play Down Their Roles in Settlement(NYT)  Mr. Schneiderman and Mr. DiNapoli and their aides have sought, in different ways, to describe their involvement in the Lopez settlement as minimal: Mr. Schneiderman has said that his office played only an informal role, and Mr. DiNapoli has said that his office’s role was technical.  

Both men said they were unaware of the settlement until it was described in the news media, even though their staffs were told that the negotiation involved Ms. Allred on one side and Mr. Lopez, the Brooklyn Democratic chairman, on the other. Officials in Mr. DiNapoli’s office said that Ms. Groenwegen never read the e-mails sent to her, but instead passed them on to a subordinate, and that neither she nor Mr. DiNapoli nor any members of his senior staff learned of Mr. Lopez’s involvement until it was reported in the news media, even though Mr. Lopez’s name was in the first sentence of one of the e-mails sent by Mr. Collins.Mr. DiNapoli said that his office processed hundreds of thousands of payments every month, and that the Assembly settlement was just another one described as related to “payments to a law firm” for what he called “legal services.”“Certainly, we were not involved in the negotiation or approval of the settlement,” he said. “We end up being the last part of it and making sure the details are in order from a technical perspective.” “I think it’s important to keep in mind that the issue here is really sexual harassment in the workplace,” Mr. DiNapoli added. “I sometimes get concerned that talk about process confuses the fact that these are serious allegations.”* Gloria Allred: "I have been receiving winks from some members of the delegation." 

Why Do You Think Schneiderman Wants the Lopez Story Off the Front Page? . . .  The Daily News’s Ken Lovett Spins for the AG
AG Eric Schneiderman Says Assembly Can Move To Oust Vito Lopez Now(NYDN) AG Schneiderman said the Assembly has the power under state law to expel Vito Lopez over sexual harassment allegations before a criminal conviction, which Silver is evaluating – much the way the Senate did, with Schneiderman at the lead, before expelling ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate.

The Reason People Get Excited Is Because They Know Scandal Produces Reform  It Was Koch's Citisource Scandal that Led to Term Limits and Public Campaign Finance
  Cuomo: scandals tend to "excite and titilate in Albany."

In Typical NYT Fashion They Buried the 
Lead in A Misleading Story 
Sheldon Silver,the Assembly speaker and a Manhattan Democrat, signed
off on an agreement to settle the allegations for $135,000, mostly paid out 
of a portion of the Assembly’s budget that is not publicly accounted for. 
Both sides agreed to keep the deal secret, and the Assembly did not 
refer the matter to its own ethics committee, which is responsible for 
investigating misconduct by lawmakers.     

Only  the TU's Odato Talks About the Resignation of Batra from JCOPE and His Charges Against the Ethics Commission
Cuomo takes out big stick(TU) Gov. Andrew Cuomo's threat of a Moreland Act investigation of the entire handling of sexual harassment accusations involving Assemblyman Vito Lopez would allow the former attorney general to flex his prosecuto-rial muscles again. The probe he is warning about could examine the actions of Speaker Sheldon Silver and the offices of the current attorney general and comptroller on settling accusations against Lopez by two female accusers. In the judgment of Ravi Batra, Cuomo proposed to interfere with an ethics commission that is supposed to investigate possible misdeeds of government employees — including Cuomo — and must be free of outside influence. Batra said the panel must be able to make its own decisions, good or bad, based on votes of commissioners appointed by the Legislature and the governor.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent the weekend assessing the strength of Speaker Shelly Silver, ethics reforms, hydrofracking, and a pay raise for lawmakers in a potential special post-election legislative session, the Post’s Fred Dicker writes: *If Cuomo convenes a Moreland Act Commission to investigate JCOPE, insiders expect it will be led by his top counsel, Linda Lacewell, whom ex-NYS Police Superintendent Preston Felton described as “abrasive, pushy – obviously with some sort of chip on her shoulder.”

At one point, Miranda an Assembly worker said her boss, whom she did not publicly name, regularly told her, 
“Resistance is futile.” Albany's good-ol’-boy culture
JCOPE Ineffective Want Outside Investigation 
A former state Assembly worker now running for state Senate yesterday claimed she, too, was once the subject of harassment by Albany pols and called for an investigation into Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“Vito Lopez is just a smoke screen and coverup for something much bigger,” blasted Senate hopeful Monica Arias Miranda. “Why are elected officials calling for Mr. Lopez’s resignation yet are not willing to say the same about the speaker, who is the one responsible for using $100,000 of tax-dollar money to hush the sexualharassment allegations?”* Ex-Assembly Staffer: Lopez Scandal The Tip Of The Iceberg(YNN)

U.S. Started To Wiretap Comptroller 2 Years Ago(NYT)

Lobbyist Vallone,Sr Blames A Secretary For Incomplete Financial Filings And Get Away With It Savning $$$ in Fines
Ex-speaker spared 400G in finesEx-speaker spared 400G in fines(NYP) Former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone’s lobbying firm was hit with a mind-boggling $470,000 fine — but got it knocked down to $70,000 after it hired the former head of the State Lobby Commission to plead its case before a judge. A spokesman for Constantinople & Vallone — which billed more than $2.5 million last year and was the city’s No. 3 lobbyist by income — blamed a “renegade” secretary for misleading the partners into thinking the filings had been completed on schedule when, in fact, they were delayed for nearly a year in many cases.

Campaign 2012 Adriano Espaillat has a tough mailer out against Guillermo Linares, accusing him of betraying the community. View the full item here. * NYC Parents Union endorsed Rodneyse Bichotte over Rhoda Jacobs. * CWA endorsed Yen Chou for Grace Meng’s seat. * Watch Dan Halloran kick off his campaign.* Lopez Scandal An Issue In District Leader Race(YNN) * He’s Not Running, But John Catsimatidis Wonders If Chris Quinn Is ‘Tough Enough’ to Be Mayor(NYO) * Cuomo Backs Stavisky(YNN) * Grimm Won’t Say Whether He Thinks Schumer Is Out to Get Him  * ADDED: Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s 20-year-old Democratic primary opponent, Moshe Tischler, has now succeeded in knocking him off both the Conservative and GOP lines.

Ruben Wills didn’t disclose income from a consulting firm ran in the same office as an under-investigation firm.

Rubber-room kidsRubber-room kids(NYP) The leaders of a Bronx public high school who have illicitly pressured dozens of struggling students to transfer out in recent years to keep up a 95 percent graduation rate are trying to push out more teens — with the help of an in-school holding pen, critics charge. Despite an ongoing probe by the city’s Department of Education on the issue, administrators at Bronx Health Sciences HS are allegedly pulling struggling students from class for minor infractions and sticking them in an office with nothing to do — leaving them there for hours, days or weeks until their parents come in for a conference — in a bid to break them A review of the first 75 teacher evaluation approved plans approved by the state Education Department shows a hodgepodge of methods for determining which teachers deserve to stay and which don’t.
Teacher Grading Off to Uneven Start(WSJ) New York state's first system to grade teachers using students' standardized test scores is turning out to be anything but standardized. The state Department of Education’s teacher evaluation system is an uneven hodgepodge, as only 10 percent of school districts approved the plan and its details are left to local districts and unions 
Kingsborough ranked in the top ten best community colleges(NYDN)

The Port Authority has neglected infrastructure improvements at its other sites in the region, including airports, bridges and tunnels, as it committed $7.7 billion to rebuild the WTC
Projects Delayed Since Attacks(WSJ) As the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks approaches, a picture is emerging of one of the event's often-overlooked legacies: the toll that rebuilding the site has taken on the region's aging infrastructure.* Zadroga Act To Cover Dozens Of 9/11-Related Cancers(NY1) * Significant Help Reportedly On The Way For Those Who Got(WABC) * Feds to Recognize 9/11 Cancer Link: Report(NBC) * Bloomberg Blames 9/11 Memorial Impasse On Misinformation By Cuomo Staff(NYO) *Deal reached to restart construction of 9/11 musuem(NYP)

cuomo on fracking: nothing new. anticipates legal challenges regardless of decision. some premises of them are being voiced now* Cuomo says no new developments on hydrofracking, denies election-season timing behind release. Says it's due to legal vetting.

19,000 Kids in NYC Homeless Shelters: Report(NBC)

Welfare cops expose poor-ly done scamsWelfare cops expose poor-ly done scams(NYP) City investigators saved taxpayers nearly a billion dollars last year by busting government-benefits hustlers, according to documents obtained exclusively by The Post. The Post wants the city and state to stop Medicare Part B reimbursements for retirees, noting that the city and state face a $250 billion unfunded liability from the cost of health care coverage to retired public workers. * The News calls on Cuomo and state legislators to curb mushrooming retiree benefits that could cost the state a quarter-trillion dollars by scaling back benefits to new retirees and requiring state workers to pay a share of their premiums:

Are the Supermarkets Behind This Lawsuit?
Opponents of FreshDirect move to the South Bronx(NYDN)

Amateur Mapmakers Reshape New York Neighborhoods Online(NYDN)

Workers comp costs are continuing to increase in New York desite 2007 reforms, making the state’s surcharge approximately five times the national average.

Traffic Safety Campaigner Finally Achieves His Goal(NYT)

Court Officer Union boss to pay up in credit card probe(NYDN)

The Making of A President
Mitt’s a ‘middle’ man (NYP) Praises Obama policies in switch * Israel haters in O’s party (Peyser, NYP) * Legal Battles Over Voting May Be Critical in Election(NYT) * Details in Romney’s Tax Plan Leave Key Variables Blank(NYT) * Obstruct and Exploit(Klughman, NYT)A cynical Republican strategy: block all efforts to strengthen the economy, then exploit the economy’s weakness.* Obama got a modest post-convention bounce, according to a new Gallup poll. He’s now leading Mitt Romney by 5 percentage points (49-44) – his largest margin since early July.* Obama just barely out-raised Romney in August for the first time in three months. Both campaigns had $100+ million dollar months.* Romney said there are “a number of things I like” in health care reform, and pledged to keep them if he’s elected.* Romney struggles in battleground states: A.M. News Link(SI Advance) * Both campaigns are pivoting to swing states, and in Iowa, farm subsidies and wind energy could make or break it.  *Bloomberg knows who he's voting for, won't reveal his choice for president(NYP) * Slight Convention Bounce for Obama, New Poll Says(NYT)

Law and Order

A Watcher of the Police Says He Is Now a Target(NYT)

Armed thug busted with Uzi in BronxArmed thug busted with Uzi in Bronx(NYP0

Family: It’s murderFamily: It’s murder(NYP) *Family of Bodega Worker Killed by Officer’s Bullet Wants Grand Jury to Investigate(NYT) * Probe Sought in Police Shoot(WSJ) * Slain Bodega Worker's Family Demands Full Investigation Of Shooting(NY1)* Family Of Man Killed In Bronx Police Shooting Demands Justice(WCBS) * Mother of Slain Deli Worker Collapses(NBC) * Victim’s Family Believes ‘Accidental’ NYPD Killing Was a Murder(NY Mag)

Bloomberg: Stop-And-Frisk Should Start At Home(Gothamist)

Video of Police Altercation May Take Key Role in Civil Rights Suit(NYT)

Remembering Victims of a Summer of Terror(NYT)

Arrest in Qns. cop shootingArrest in Qns. cop shooting(NYP) * Man Surrenders in Police Shooting(NYT) * Manhunt Ends in Queens Lot(WSJ) * Surrenders in cop shooting(NYDN) * Suspect In Shooting Of NYPD Sergeant Taken Into Custody(WABC)

DA probes lawyer Dominic Barbara's 'Mafia threat' voicemail (NYDN) * Staten Island man shot and killed in West Brighton(SI Advance)

Deaf Bronx murder suspect wants his confession video tossed(NYP)