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NY’s continuing corruption: An unethical ethics watchdog, Rep Meeks investigation, State Sen Krugers investigation plus aiding a money launderer, Leibells conviction and pension, Jailed Mclaughlins mom one of his victims, Most Ny Dems gave Rangell a pass, How Cuomo opperates – on Lynch Rattner lobbyists bullying and settlements

December 16, 2010

NY ETHICS WATCHDOG HAS NO ETHICS
By Roger Stone

New York’s top ethics watchdog is not leaving his job quietly, but he isn’t leaving a moment too soon. Public Integrity Commission Chairman Michael Cherkasky used his farewell remarks to warn the ethics agency is underfunded and lacks the resources to properly police Albany. What Cherkasky failed to mention is his active role within the Commission in the cover-up of Governor Eliot Spitzer’s abuse of power in the Troopergate matter, in which Spitzer used state resources against his political opponents.

(To read more go to www.StoneZONE.com)

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Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. and his son, former-Assemblyman Pedro G. Espada, were indicted by state and federal prosecutors on charges of embezzling money from the Soundview Health Network. Prosecutors say money was taken to pay for Broadway shows, sushi, pony rides and a petting zoo as part of Espada’s “lavish” lifestyle. (TU/NYT/DN/NYP)

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Meeks’ $325/month office a suite fantasy – under investigation

By ISABEL VINCENT and MELISSA KLEIN

Last Updated: 7:09 AM, December 12, 2010

GREGORY MEEKS - Soaring legal fees.Rep. Gregory Meeks’ Build America Political Action Committee pays $325 in monthly rent for a phantom Queens office.

The organization says it is based in “Suite 535” at 153-01 Jamaica Ave., but there is no such office in that building, which houses Meeks’ district office and his campaign committee.

And the building’s manager said it had no record of the Build America PAC as a tenant.

The questionable spending is one of several inconsistencies in the PAC’s records, a Post review found.

The organization’s legal fees jumped this year after Meeks became the target of a federal investigation. Lawmakers are not allowed to use PAC money for their legal defense.

The Queens congressman has long faced challenges in reporting both his personal finances and political spending. Just last month, he disclosed four omissions to his mandatory congressional financial disclosures, including “approximately” $3,500 in gambling winnings in 2008.

The Democrat, who has consistently claimed to have few assets, also suddenly remembered at the end of 2005 $25,965 in a savings account, which had dwindled to $8,926 by the end of 2008.

Meeks was fined $63,000 in 2008 by the FEC for using campaign cash on a personal trainer and for repairs to and the lease on one of his cars.

Patsy Simmons, the PAC’s treasurer, refused to comment on the legal bills or any aspect of the organization’s spending.

melissa.klein@nypost.com

Fallout and a Rift from Queens’ special election starts conversation on Meeks’ seat

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NYC politicians come to the aid of money launderer

By MITCHEL MADDUX

Last Updated: 7:16 PM, December 13, 2010

A Brighton Beach-connected international money launderer — who worked under the European equivalent of John Gotti — counts ranking New York politicians among his friends.

A trio of powerhouse politicos is coming to the aid of Nikolai Dozortsev: Democrats State Sen. Carl Kruger, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, and even Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. The elected officials all sent letters on his behalf to the Brooklyn federal court judge who will sentence Dozortsev later this week….. more…

Flashback to June-July

Carl Kruger, already under investigation, now has Post looking at his questionable campaign spending

KRUGER’S CAMPAIGN EXPENSES REVEAL A REALLY FANCY BATHROOM   State Sen. Carl Kruger’s $2.1-million campaign war chest brings new meaning to the phrase “money to burn.”. Kruger’s

SEN. KRUGER SPEAKS: SELL MY SERVICES TO DONORS? ME?  Carl Kruger is finally speaking out about the FBI’s probe into his campaign practices, saying that he’s just an innocent patsy despite allegations.

PROBED POL’S BIZARRE MONEY TRAIL – NYPOST.COM – Carl Kruger last year tapped his campaign fund for $10500 in payments to an obscure New Jersey company that operates out of a private home

SENATE’S BIGGEST ‘WASTE’ – NYPOST.COM  Brooklyn Democrat Carl Kruger, who’s being probed by the FBI in an alleged shakedown scheme, has amassed a $2.1 million war chest, the  

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Former State Senator/never-to-be Putnam County Executive Vincent Leibell may be facing up to two years in prison on federal corruption charges but he won’t have to worry about how to pay his bills — even with a rap sheet.

Dec 3, 2010 – Because public *pension* benefits are constitutionally protected in New York, even lawmakers and state workers who are convicted on felony charges can be assured of receiving their retirement checks.

According to benefits calculator on the state Comptroller’s Website, The Republican Leibell, who served 39.33 years in public office, is set to receive $71,331 a year in *pension* benefits. (That’s based on his years of service and his average *salary* over the past three years: $79,500 plus a $9,000 lulu for serving as a ranking member on committees).

There has been legislation floating around for years now that would end *pension* benefits for lawmakers convicted of felony charges, but to do so would require a constitutional amendment (which means such a bill would have to be passed by two separately-elected Legislatures and then be approved in a public referendum).

 Alternately, the issue could be addressed in a constitutional convention http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/nyregion/24convention.html, which Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo supports, but isn’t automatically up for approval by the public until 2017.

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Ex-N.Y. Lawmaker McLaughlin Accused of Ripping Off His Own Mother

Updated: Monday, 06 Dec 2010, 3:16 PM EST
By BRUCE GOLDING / New York Post

NYPOST.COM/NEWSCORE – Former New York Democrat Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin’s mom has added her name to the list of victims in his epic, $3.1 million rip-off scheme, the New York Post reported Monday.

Court papers filed by Ilene McLaughlin, 82, state she lost $145,000 that the ex-politician borrowed against his swanky second home on Long Island’s exclusive North Shore.

The widowed granny, who lives in a modest co-op apartment in Flushing, says in her self-filed court documents that she handed over the dough in March 2006 but never got a nickel back.

Instead, the Democratic former labor leader forfeited all his proceeds when he sold the house for nearly $1.2 million two years later as part of the settlement of the racketeering case against him.

His mother’s Manhattan federal court suit seeks to force the Justice Department to repay the entire mortgage, plus unspecified interest, “as stated in my contract.”

The aging pensioner joins the lengthy list of marks that McLaughlin preyed on to bankroll a lavish lifestyle that included luxury cars, a country club and a string of mistresses.

Her son is currently serving 10 years in jail for swindling taxpayers, political contributors, union members and even his local Little League, from which he looted $95,000.

Property records show that McLaughlin and his wife, who left him after his arrest, bought the newly built Nantucket-style Colonial at 1 Hawks Nest in Nissequogue for $760,000 in 2003.

The luxurious four-bedroom pad features custom woodwork, a gleaming granite kitchen, two fireplaces and a wine cellar.

It sits on a heavily wooded, two-acre (8,000sqm) spread in a secluded neighborhood bordered by the Long Island Sound, a state park and the plush Nissequogue Golf Club.

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Majority of NY Democrats Voted to Give Charlie Rangel a Pass

Rep. Bill Owens was among 13 New York Members of Congress voting in favor of censure for Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel. Sixteen NY lawmakers voted against the punishment for Mr. Rangel, who has been in the Congress 40 years.
Rep.Rangel continued to deny that his ethics violations were a sign of corruption and said the actions against him were political.
An interesting aside. Defeated Syracuse Rep. Dan Maffei, who once worked for Rangel, voted in favor of censure…Perhaps a sign he will the 25th CD seat again and didn’t want to be seen as soft on corruption.
NY Members Votes On Rangel’s Censure

AYES: Mike Arcuri, Tim Bishop, John Hall, Brian Higgins, Steve Israel, Dan Maffei (a former Rangel aide), Carolyn McCarthy, Michael McMahon, Scott Murphy, Bill Owens, Paul Tonko.

NAYS: Gary Ackerman, Yvette Clarke, Joe Crowley, Eliot Engel, Maurice Hinchey, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Greg Meeks, Jerry Nadler, Charlie Rangel, Jose Serrano, Louise Slaughter, Ed Towns, Nydia Velazquez, Anthony Weiner.

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How Cuomo Operates

by Ira Stoll  |  Dec 8, 2010 – There’s more to be said about the Andrew Cuomo-Steven Rattner situation, and I will do so sometime soon. But until then, today’s front-page New York Times article is really a classic. The Cuomo camp deals with the Rattner camp’s complaint that it is an unfair prosecution by leaking to the Times that it might go after Mr. Rattner for perjury? Think about this for a minute. If Mr. Cuomo wants to charge Mr. Rattner with perjury, he can go ahead and do that and take his chances in court. But leaking and hinting to the Times, in essence, that if Mr. Rattner doesn’t settle the civil charges against him, Mr. Cuomo might go after him for perjury is exactly the sort of bullying prosecutorial behavior that Mr. Rattner’s allies are upset about to begin with. The Times article, rather than dispelling those concerns about how Mr. Cuomo and his office have handled the matter, compounds them. The Times reporters, alas, seem not to comprehend this.

Lynch and Rattner  

December 9, 2010 at 8:53 am – If you are undecided about whether Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been unfairly harsh on Steven Rattner in the New York state pension fund investigation, check out the settlement he just reached with Albany lobbyist Patricia Lynch. She pays a $500,000 fine and agrees to a 5-year ban on contact with the state comptroller’s office, for conduct that seems far worse than anything Mr. Rattner did. The attorney general, by contrast, is seeking from Mr. Rattner at least $26 million and a lifetime ban from the securities industry in New York.

What accounts for the different treatment? The New York Times front-page article today on the Lynch-Cuomo settlement doesn’t even raise the question, let alone answer it. The Times article also today does not mention that Ms. Lynch gave four campaign contributions to Mr. Cuomo in 2006 totaling $8,000, while Mr. Rattner gave not a cent. 

Andrew Cuomo Settles With Ex-Mario Cuomo Aide

Posted by Liz Benjamin  – As I predicted earlier today, AG/Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has announced yet another settlement in connection with his pay-to-play pension fund probe, this time with a lobbyist with long-standing ties to his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Jerry Weiss, who worked for the governor-elect’s father in both political and state government roles, admitted to acting as an unlicensed placement agent.

He has agreed to the AG’s Public Pension Fund Reform Code of Conduct and will return $52,000 he received in fees plus a $26,000 fine. He also pledge to forgo any future payments in connection with the NYC Police and Fire pension fund investments in his firm, GF Capital Private Equity GP, LLC. We Iss

Naming Names

Dec 8th – 12:19 pm Posted by Liz Benjamin  – Here’s the agreement between Andrew Cuomo and Patricia Lynch that details the AG’s allegations against the Albany-based uber-lobbyist.

There are a number of unnamed individuals in the agreement, at least one of which could still be in Cuomo’s crosshairs, according to a source familiar with the settlement.

The individual identified only as Lynch’s “partner in LW Strategies” is veteran political operative Jerry Weiss, I’m told, who has in the past been close to Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings (a Cuomo ally) and also has a long history with former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Weiss managed Mario Cuomo’s LG campaign, served as counsel to his gubernatorial campaign and then went on to work in the administration at the state Secretary of State’s office.

Also, I believe the chief of staff to the state comptroller referred to here is Jack Chartier, and the “girlfriend” is former “Mod Squad” actress Peggy Lipton, for whom Chartier sought all sorts of perks from people trying to land business with the state pension fund.

Lipton has two daughters with her former husband, Quincy Jones: Kidada Jones and Rashida Jones.

According to this agreement, Lynch helped land the daughter of Chartier’s girlfriend a $12,000-per-month consulting contract with one of her clients and also paid $8,500 in travel expenses for the daughter to cover a “business trip” to Tokyo. PLA

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