Moreland Commission Tag All blog entries tagged as Moreland Commission http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Sun, 13 Jul 2014 19:02:10 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Blair Horner to Return to NYPIRG http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/08/28/blair-horner-to-return-to-nypirg- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/08/28/blair-horner-to-return-to-nypirg- What better way to celebrate the New York Public Interest Research Group's 40th anniversary than to have long-time good government gadfly Blair Horner return to deliver is one-of-a-kind anti-corruption quotes?

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Horner left NYPIRG two and a half years ago to work for The American Cancer Society. He returns to NYPIRG right in time for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's anti-corruption Moreland Commission's first public meetings and the 2014 state-wide elections.

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I will continue to work with them on the state’s important health issues,” Horner said in a statement. “I look forward to working on many other looming issues as well. From release of the findings of the Moreland Act Commission, to next year’s vote on the constitutional amendment on redistricting, to the 2017 referendum on whether to convene a Constitutional Convention, New Yorkers have big decisions to make and I want to be deeply involved in those discussions. Being back in NYPIRG allows me to do just that.”

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Horner is known for blisteringly poignant and funny quotes about corruption and good government policy. Albany reporters can rest easy knowing Horner will be bringing his quotes back with him.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Wed, 28 Aug 2013 13:09:45 +0000
Today's Lead: Cuomo Received Developer Cash Before Signing Tax Breaks http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/08/15/todays-lead-cuomo-received-developer-cash-before-signing-tax-breaks- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/08/15/todays-lead-cuomo-received-developer-cash-before-signing-tax-breaks-

Cuomo's Developer Donations

The New York Daily News reported today that Gov. Andrew Cuomo received $76,000 in donations from real estate developers just weeks before signing legislation that gave tax breaks to their properties. Three partners at Fisher Brothers donated $25,000 each to Cuomo on Dec. 27 of last year. Cuomo signed legislation giving tax breaks to their properties at New York Curb Exchange and 86 Trinity Place on Jan. 30. The Daily News reported last week that Extell Development Co. gave Cuomo $100,000 a few days before he signed the bill that gives creates $35 million in tax breaks on their One57 luxury apartment tower. The Moreland Commission that Cuomo created to investigate corruption has subpoenaed the five companies that received tax breaks from the bill. Cuomo administration officials say that the bill was supported by the city and wasn't their focus. The News writes however that legislators claims they don't know who inserted the tax breaks for the five subpoenaed companies.


Other Stories We're Following

Will BOE Struggle Through Mayoral Election? (Talking Points Memo)

NYC Will Cease Loans to Top Employees For Second Homes (NY Times)

City Evaluates Local Colleges That Train Teachers (NY Times)

Taxi, Livery Owners Help Fill Candidates' Coffers (Wall Street Journal)

Recovery is Choppy in Breezy Point (Wall Street Journal)

Quinn's Job Training Program (Daily News)

Cuomo Received $76,000 From Investors Before Signing Property Tax Bill (Daily News)

DOE Raises Price of School Lunches For Some, Makes It Free For Others (NY 1)

NYPD: Six Sought In Alleged Chelsea Bias Attack (NY 1)

Diaz Says Albany Has Ethical Double Standard (Gotham Gazette)

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Thu, 15 Aug 2013 12:51:12 +0000
Diaz Says Albany Has Ethical Double Standard http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/08/14/diaz-says-albany-has-ethical-double-standard- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/08/14/diaz-says-albany-has-ethical-double-standard-

The Daily News recently highlighted a $100,000 donation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by Extell Development that appears to have been made the same day as a piece of legisaltion that granted the company tax breaks was passed in the Assembly. The tax breaks applied to the One57 building at 157 W. Fifth St., and others.

The bill had been scheduled for a vote in June 2012. Cuomo's representatives have denied any connection between Cuomo's approval of the bill and the donations but Sen. Ruben Diaz sees things differently.

He used his newsletter to imagine what would happen if he was caught up in similar controversy.

My dear reader, can you imagine if I did that kind of thing? Can you
imagine if I, Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr., received $100,000 from any developer right before I threw my support for a piece of legislation that benefited that developer?

Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t think there would be full-scale
local, state, and federal investigations claiming that I had accepted a
bribe in exchange for a political favor? Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t think that every single editorial board would be condemning me as corrupt? I can only imagine the torch and pitchfork crowds descending on my office.

This spring, as a number of minority legislators were busted in corruption cases and wiretapped by other minority legisaltors, some began to question whether minority legislators from the city were being singled out. The New York Times ran an article on the issue.

A number of legislators have recently mentioned an incident that took place during Gov. David Paterson's waning days in office. Paterson took tickets to The World Series from the Yankees and was subsequently fined $62,125 by The Public Integrity Commission — the ethics group that has now been replaced by Cuomo's Joint Public Commission On Public Ethics.

The scandal added to Paterson's many woes as he was trying to mount his campaign for governor. Paterson eventually dropped out and Cuomo — who had already announced his campaign — no longer had a primary against a black candidate as he did during his failed 2002 run for governor.

Some legislators point out that there have been a number of incidents that seem ethically dubious involving Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that have gone uninvestigated — incidents similar to the Yankee ticket scandal or perhaps worse.

No ethics group is investigating Silver's mishandling of sexual harassment charges or the fact that the Cuomo administration negotiated a deal to keep the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo that included a 12-seat luxury suite. The Cuomo administration said the box will be used to promote Buffalo and some elected officials will pay to use the box.

But others criticized the deal.

“No government agency needs to lease a luxury suite to market upstate New York,” former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky told The New York Times at the time. “If they need to buy tickets, that’s fine, then they buy them on an as-needed basis. The cost of the luxury suite is being paid by the taxpayer, remember that.”

Now that Cuomo has freed the Moreland Commisison to investigate corruption and campaign finance, Diaz and other lawmakers wonder if it will truly analyze powerful leaders like Cuomo. The commission has subpoenad developers who have donated to Cuomo but Diaz remains skeptical:

Let’s see how bold and fearless the Moreland Act Commission is when it pursues compliance with the subpoenas it served on the One57 building management Let’s see how the Governor’s Commission investigates what appears to be corrupt and improper influence by luxury developers.

Let’s see if the Commission investigates the role and timing of the $100K donation to the Governor’s political campaign.

Will we see a quiet resolution of these subpoenas with no inquiry into the Extell donations to Governor Andrew Cuomo?

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Wed, 14 Aug 2013 14:08:02 +0000
Moreland Commission Announces First Public Meetings http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/07/16/moreland-commission-announces-first-public-meetings- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/07/16/moreland-commission-announces-first-public-meetings- Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Commission will hold three public meetings in September.

Cuomo called together the group of district attorneys and law enforcement officials to investigate corruption and dysfunction in Albany. The commission's first meeting took place in private witout any public notice. The move was roundly criticized.

The commission is next scheduled to meet Sept. 17 at Pace Univesity in the city; Sept. 18 at the state office building in Buffalo; and Sept. 24 at The Crossings in Colonie (near Albany).

Moreland Press Release 7-16

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 16 Jul 2013 15:22:30 +0000
Today's Lead: Cuomo Creates Commission To Investigate Corruption http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/07/03/todays-lead-cuomo-creates-commission-to-investigate-corruption http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/07/03/todays-lead-cuomo-creates-commission-to-investigate-corruption

Gov. Cuomo yesterday followed through on threats to establish a commission to investigate corruption in Albany after the legislature failed to pass any bills addressing the recent rash of scandals there. The commission will recommend cases against public officials and suggest changes to election and campaign fund-raising laws. It can issue subpoenas and examine witnesses under oath and it's slated to issue a preliminary report by year's end. Many of the panels members have ties to the governor. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Former Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau are special advisors to the commission.

Other Stories We're Following

City Finally Approved For .NYC Domain Names (Politicker)

Quinn Awards $210,000 To Nonprofits That Helped Her Campaign (Daily News)

Complaints Against NYPD Cops Mirror Stop-And-Frisk Locations (Daily News)

NYPD Crime Stat Review Shows Need For Transparency (NY Times)

City Officials Disclose Trips Paid For By Outside Groups (Wall Street Journal)

Stats Show Bloomberg Is Wrong On Race Comments (Daily News)

Utilities Sued For 120 Sandy-Burned Homes (Associated Press)

Red Cross Awards Organization $2.9 Million For Sandy Recovery (Associated Press)

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) The Eye-Opener Wed, 03 Jul 2013 12:13:19 +0000
Appointment of Prolific Fundraiser to Moreland Commission Raises Concerns http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/07/02/appointment-of-prolific-fundraiser-to-moreland-commission-raises-concerns- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/07/02/appointment-of-prolific-fundraiser-to-moreland-commission-raises-concerns- Gov. Andrew Cuomo's nominees to head his Moreland Commission that will investigate corruption in Albany have already raised the hackles of some advocates and legislators.

Cuomo announced the formation of the commission this morning. The Daily News reported yesterday that the committee — which will have subpoena power — will be chaired by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Syracuse District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and lawyer Milton Williams. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also leant his staffers and the power of his office to broaden the scope of the investigation.

Rice, who ran for attorney general in 2010, has long been a Cuomo ally, which does nothing to allay the fears of some legislators that Cuomo will have undue control of what the commission will and won't look into.

Furthermore, good government advocates worry that Rice is too close to the largest political donors in the state to cast a critical eye on their behavior. Rice is in the middle of running for reelection and is one of the state's most prolific fundraisers.

"This isn't kind of message we were looking for," said one advocate who asked to remain anonymous. "We are talking about someone who is just as beholden to this system as anyone else in the state."

Rice had $2,385,505.67 in her campaign account as of January 2013. In comparison, co-chair Fizpatrick had $60,862.41 in his coffers.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 02 Jul 2013 11:12:37 +0000
Cuomo Forms Moreland Commission to Investigate Utilities http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/11/13/cuomo-forms-moreland-commission-to-investigate-utilities- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/11/13/cuomo-forms-moreland-commission-to-investigate-utilities-

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made it clear he is angry at utility companies for their response to Hurricane Sandy. Thousands of people have been without power and heat for weeks and Cuomo has questioned whether the utilities were prepared for the storm despite fair warning. Now Cuomo has officially acted on his anger by issuing an executive order under the Moreland Act to form a commission to investigate all of the utilities that were charged with maintaining their infrastructure in the wake of Sandy.

Cuomo has repeatedly threatened the Legislature with the Moreland Act to get them to move on ethics legislation but he never used the authority in that case. Now Cuomo has chosen to invoke the power in the wake of Sandy. Utility companies are likely the only group more disliked by the Legislature, and the move is almost certain to boost Cuomo's already staggering approval ratings.

Here is the make up of the commission that will hav ethe power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath:

Co-Chair Robert Abrams, former Attorney General of New York State
Co-Chair Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services
Peter Bradford, former Chair of the Public Service Commission
Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University
John Dyson, former Chairman of the New York Power Authority
Rev. Floyd Flake, Senior Pastor of Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral
Mark Green, former New York City Public Advocate
Joanie Mahoney, Onondaga County Executive
Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney
Dan Tishman, Vice Chairman at AECOM Technology Corporation, and Chairman and CEO of Tishman Construction Corporation

And here is the Executive Order that Cuomo signed:

E X E C U T I V E O R D E R
DESIGNATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 6 OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW

WHEREAS, beginning on October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused massive power outages throughout Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Rockland and surrounding counties, affecting over two million customers, including ninety percent of customers on Long Island; and

WHEREAS, storm emergencies have effected, as well as thousands of businesses and private and public services providers charged with the protection of the health and safety of New Yorkers, including hospitals, adult homes, nursing homes and other residences serving persons with disabilities and other special needs; and

WHEREAS, storm emergencies crippled major public transportation systems, including mass transportation, bridges, tunnels, roads and several waterways, throughout the region; and

WHEREAS, the loss of power adversely affected a variety of other critical systems including communications services, gasoline terminals and stations, natural gas delivery to residences and steam delivery to large residential and commercial complexes, and

WHEREAS, on November 7, 2012, a Nor’easter with snow exacerbated the suffering, property damage and power outages sustained in some of the same areas affected by Hurricane Sandy; and

WHEREAS, such sustained disruption of the power supply and its cascading damage to other critical systems in many communities, neighborhoods and industrial areas, as well as the continued prevalence of downed utility lines, has jeopardized the health and safety of New Yorkers and undermined public confidence in the public utility service system; and

WHEREAS, in August and September of 2011, as a result of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee over one million customers in New York State lost power and some communities suffered prolonged power outages which not only impacted Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Rockland and surrounding counties, but also the counties of Albany, Broome, Chenango, Chemung, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Tioga, Tompkins, Warren and Washington; and

WHEREAS, in December 2008, an ice storm caused over 300,000 power outages in New York State, and many customers were still without power a week after the storm; and

WHEREAS, these recent and past events indicate that utility emergency response planning and procedures must anticipate future emergencies and be prepared.

WHEREAS, utilities are required to provide safe, adequate and reliable services to the public; and

WHEREAS, while the New York State Public Service Commission is the regulatory agency charged with oversight of private utilities in the State of New York, there exists a labyrinth of other regulatory bodies, state agencies, authorities and quasi-governmental bodies including but not limited to the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority, and the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, whose overlapping mandates, jurisdiction and responsibilities have contributed to a dysfunctional utility system; and

WHEREAS, serious questions have been raised about the adequacy of utility management, structures, resources, the current regulatory framework and oversight to ensure effective preparation for and response to natural disasters by utilities in this State, particularly in light of the increasing frequency and intensity of such disasters as well as the licensing, certification, supervision and regulation of the power industry in New Yorker under existing law; and

WHEREAS, to maintain public confidence in the provision of vital services by utilities, it is manifestly in the public interest to study, examine, investigate and review each and every component of the provision of power to New York State: and

WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 3, of the New York Constitution vests the Governor with the obligation to take care that the laws are faithfully executed;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:
1. Pursuant to Section 6 of the Executive Law, I hereby appoint a Commission to: (A) study, examine, investigate and review: (i) the emergency preparedness and response of utilities during and following emergency weather events, including the performance of the utilities during and following emergency weather events; (ii) the adequacy of present laws, rules, regulations, practices and procedures with respect to utilities’ emergency preparedness and response; (iii) the adequacy of existing oversight and enforcement mechanisms; (iv) the structure, organization, ownership, financing, control, management and practices of the utilities as they affect emergency preparedness and response; and (v) the provision of utility services to New York State under the existing legal regulatory framework, including but not limited to the jurisdiction, responsibilities and missions of the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, as well as the Public Service Commission; (B) report and make recommendations for legislative, policy and regulatory changes, as well as reforms as deemed appropriate in utility structure, management and practices, to best protect and serve the public’s interest with respect to emergency preparedness and response, and the provision of safe, reliable, responsive utility services; and (C) review any other matters or activities which may affect the issues herein before specified;
2. The Commission is hereby empowered to subpoena and enforce the attendance of witnesses; to administer oaths or affirmations and examine witnesses under oath; to require the production of any books, records or papers deemed relevant or material to any investigation, examination or review; and to perform any other functions that are necessary or appropriate to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of office, and I hereby give and grant to the Commission all powers and authorities which may be given or granted to persons appointed by me for such purpose under authority of Section 6 of the Executive Law. The Commission may exercise any such powers in cooperation with any other body or government agency.
3. The Commission shall provide a report and recommendations at the conclusion of its work, and may issue interim, preliminary and periodic reports and recommendations.
4. Within this Executive Order, “utilities” refers to the entities engaged in the provision of electric, gas and steam.
5. Every State department, agency, office, division, board, bureau, council, authority and public benefit corporation shall cooperate with the Commission and shall furnish such information and assistance as the Commission determines is reasonably necessary to fulfill its duties.

G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this thirteenth day of November in the year two thousand twelve.

BY THE GOVERNOR

Secretary to the Governor

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 13 Nov 2012 20:05:45 +0000