The Associated Press - January 12, 2009
ALBANY - The head of New York's state Public Integrity Commission, which was created by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer then criticized for its investigation of him, is resigning. John Feerick, an architect of New York's ethics laws, is resigning for what he says are health concerns. Feerick took up the job as head of the commission that replaced the state lobbying commission and the state ethics commission. The commission was criticized in its first year for a lengthy investigation into whether top aides to Spitzer misused state police to document the use of state aircraft by Sen. Joseph Bruno, then the Senate's Republican leader. Although aides were accused of ethics violations, Spitzer wasn't.
WATCHDOGS FACING BITE
The New York Post by FREDRIC U. DICKER - January 12, 2009
ALBANY - Some members of the state Public Integrity Commission, official watchdogs over public ethics, have hired private criminal attorneys because of an ongoing probe into leaked information involving the Dirty Tricks Scandal, The Post has learned. A source close to the commission said "at least" two of the 13 commissioners, a majority of whom were named by disgraced ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, hired outside counsel in the face of an ongoing probe by state Inspector General Joseph Fisch, an appointee of Gov. Paterson. Fisch is seeking to determine whether commission Executive Director Herbert Teitelbaum, a Spitzer friend, and/or some commission members illegally leaked information to top Spitzer aides as it pursued its probe of a scandal in which Spitzer and his top aides used the State Police to gather purportedly damaging information on then-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer). Fisch is believed to have asked several commission members to submit to under-oath testimony - prompting them to hire lawyers. Fisch is expected to release a report this month or next, and if the findings are damaging Paterson would likely call for some commission members to resign, it was learned.
Commission spokesman Walter Ayres refused to say if anyone at the commission had hired outside counsel. But after being pressed by The Post to present the question to commission Chairman John Feerick, Ayres said Feerick responded by saying that he had not hired a private attorney. The commission, filled with Spitzer loyalists, was widely criticized for apparent conflicts of interest and seeming hesitancy in investigating the scandal. But after Spitzer resigned last March in a hooker scandal, the commission took a far more aggressive stand. Last July, it issued a report on the scandal that accused four top Spitzer aides, Richard Baum, Darren Dopp, William Howard and Preston Felton, of repeatedly breaking state law.
See Related Story: "One of the Few to Confront Corruption Flees Albany"