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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Attorney General Took Cash From Opposing Attorneys

Cuomo Took Cash From Lawyers With Matters Before Him
Bloomberg News by Linda Sandler and Karen Freifeld -November 23, 2009

(Bloomberg) -- New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s campaign fund took tens of thousands of dollars from law firms representing clients his office investigated or accused of wrongdoing, state records show. Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, a New York law firm led by David Boies, gave Cuomo $35,000 this year, records show. The firm represents former American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg in a civil fraud case the attorney general is pursuing. Lawyers defending Dell Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and a former state political party chief in Cuomo cases also contributed to him, records show. Cuomo’s donation forms ask contributors to sign a statement saying they have no “matter” pending with him. That rule “does not extend to attorneys representing persons or entities with matters before the NYS Attorney General’s office,” the form states, mirroring predecessors’ policies. The exception creates the appearance of impropriety, ethics experts said. “If Cuomo doesn’t want to accept contributions that have the appearance of being corrupting, then he would need to include those attorneys as well,” said Allison Hayward, a former Federal Election Commission chief of staff and counsel who teaches legal ethics at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. Middlemen, such as lawyers, are sometimes seen as a bigger threat to an official’s integrity than their clients, because “they are working the political system for a profession, and the public sees them as insincere and manipulative,” she said.

About $1 Million

Cuomo in 2006 and 2008 raised about $1 million from lawyers and lobbyists in the U.S., out of a total $18 million gathered in those years, according to FollowTheMoney.org, the Web site of the nonprofit National Institute on Money in State Politics, which analyzes campaign funding. For his fund “Andrew Cuomo 2010” he raised more than $10 million as of July, according to records at the New York State Board of Elections. By the next filing due mid-January, Cuomo, 51, plans to have $20 million in donations and plans to run for governor, said a person familiar with his plans. By now, ‘Andrew Cuomo 2010’’ has $16 million to challenge fellow Democrat, Governor David Paterson, said another person familiar with his plans. Former Republican Congressman Rick Lazio, who is seeking the New York governor’s job, said today in a statement that Cuomo’s donations taken from lawyers with cases before him expose the “ethically challenged culture that exists in Albany,” the state’s political capital.

Appearance of Impropriety

“It is even more dangerous because of the Attorney General’s power to decide whether or not to prosecute or publicly destroy someone in the media,” Lazio said in the statement. “We must end the appearance of ethical impropriety in Albany and restore the people’s faith in government.” If Cuomo were to reject lawyer donations to avoid any appearance of conflict, he could still raise enough for “a credible campaign,” said Ronald Michaelson, a former national chairman of the Council of Governmental Ethics Laws who teaches at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “Even if he’s going to use the money in a gubernatorial race, he would still be the attorney general,” Michaelson said in an e-mail. “The perception of impropriety is obviously clear, and that’s reason enough to refuse the money.”

Hurt Chances

Excluding large groups of donors might make Cuomo a leader in ethics while hurting his chance to be elected, said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause, New York, a nonprofit that promotes honesty in government. “People who run for office are between a rock and a hard place,” she said. “The system stinks. If you don’t want people running for office to be influenced by campaign contributions, then you have to give them public money to run.” Richard Bamberger, a Cuomo spokesman, said in an e-mail, “Lawyers appear constantly before all sorts of government agencies, whether it is the Mayor’s Office, the Governor’s Office, or countless agencies and boards. No one would argue that lawyers can’t donate to candidates for any of these offices. Indeed, the ABA and New York State rules specifically encourage lawyers to participate in the political process.”

The Rules

The American Bar Association “Model Rules” for lawyers, which don’t address attorneys general, prohibit donations made for the purpose of getting hired by judges and other government officials. Cuomo, who doesn’t hire outside lawyers, abides by that principle, Bamberger said. Except for donations made to win jobs, the commentary to the ABA rule says, “Lawyers have a right to participate fully in the political process, which includes making and soliciting political contributions to candidates for judicial and other public office.” New York State rules for attorneys allow contributions to judges or public officials as long as the recipient is allowed to accept gifts. Eliot Spitzer, attorney general from 1999 to 2006, took lawyer donations too from those with cases before him. Boies gave him $15,000 and the Boies Schiller firm gave $10,000 in 2004, according to state records. “Candidates in New York State for district attorney, judge, attorneys general, and all other offices have operated under the very same rules for decades,” Bamberger said. Spitzer, who resigned as New York State governor amid a call-girl scandal in March 2008, declined to comment.

‘A Meeting’

Peter Harvey, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, who attended a Nov. 18 lawyer fundraiser for Cuomo and has been a supporter since Cuomo ran for attorney general, said that supporting the attorney general means “you get a meeting.” “You get an opportunity to communicate your thoughts but that doesn’t mean the person listening is going to agree with you,” said Harvey, New Jersey’s former attorney general. In fact, he said, “because you are a supporter they will be careful not to give you any special treatment” so they can’t be accused of anything. Cuomo’s campaign chest is being swelled by lawyer donations and pledges from recent fundraisers including a Nov. 12 event at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and the Nov. 18 lawyers breakfast, held at New York’s Sheraton Hotel with a requested $1,000 minimum donation. Maria Vullo of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, co-chair of the “Lawyers Committee for Andrew Cuomo,” said about 200 people attended the Nov. 18 breakfast, exceeding the target in a non-election year for Cuomo. The attorney general spoke about “integrity” in state government, she said. Sponsoring firms at the event included Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.

Greenberg Case

Cuomo’s case against Greenberg, inherited from Spitzer, is pending in New York state court. Greenberg, pushed out by AIG’s board during a 2005 probe by Spitzer, asked a judge in September to dismiss the suit, which accused him of distorting the company’s financial condition. If the case isn’t dismissed, Cuomo could still drop or settle it, both of which would benefit Boies. Boies, who represented the U.S. Justice Department in a successful antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. and former Vice President Al Gore in a court fight to recount Florida votes in the 2000 presidential election, didn’t respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment. Spokeswoman Dawn Schneider declined to comment. New York-based Kramer Levin & Frankel LLP gave Cuomo $33,459 in 2005 and 2006 for his successful attorney general race, records show. This year at least 21 Kramer Levin partners gave Cuomo amounts of $100 to $500 each on June 3, according to state Board of Elections data.

Raymond Harding

Kramer Levin Co-Chair Gary Naftalis is representing former New York Liberal Party Chairman Raymond Harding, who pleaded guilty Oct. 6 to wrongfully taking $800,000 from investment firms that sought access to New York public pension fund money. Since 2007, Cuomo has been investigating kickbacks at the $116.5 billion state fund. Harding, who agreed to cooperate with Cuomo, eventually will be allowed to withdraw his felony plea, the judge handling the case said in court. “Our firm, like many other law firms, makes contributions to candidates whose policies we support,” said Kramer Levin Managing Partner Paul Pearlman in an e-mailed statement. “All our contributions are vetted to insure that they comply with all applicable ethical and legal standards. These contributions are not intended to have any impact whatsoever on client matters involving regulatory bodies.”

Restitution

Cuomo in 2007 sued Dell, the third-biggest personal- computer seller, accusing it of deceptively advertising financing and warranties. The company committed to pay $4 million in restitution and penalties, Cuomo said in a Sept. 15 release. Featherstonhaugh Wiley & Clyne LLP, Dell’s local counsel in Albany, New York, gave Cuomo $18,000 in 2008 and 2009, state records show. Name partner James Featherstonhaugh said he hasn’t noticed that his donations helped clients. He failed this year to win money for a client who had a ski accident at a state-owned resort that Cuomo’s office defended, Featherstonhaugh said. “I contributed because I have known him since he was 20, am an old friend of his father’s, and his brother Chris used to work for me as an intern,” Featherstonhaugh said. Cuomo’s father Mario is a former Governor of New York. Cuomo’s campaign, according to state records, took $2,500 on Dec. 15 from Philadelphia-based Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, which represented Deutsche Bank as Cuomo probed banks that allegedly underrated the risks of auction-rate securities.

Goldman, Merrill

Settling with Cuomo, the Frankfurt-based lender agreed to pay $15 million in penalties to state regulators, Cuomo said in August. It was one of a series of deals that made banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co., return $61 billion to investors who bought illiquid securities after being told they were safe, Cuomo estimated in July. Morgan Lewis Chairman Francis Milone didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment. Chicago-based Mayer Brown LLP, which represented TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. in Cuomo’s auction-rate securities probe, gave the attorney general $2,000 on May 4, according to state records. The Omaha, Nebraska-based online brokerage agreed in July to buy back $456 million of the illiquid investments from customers, Cuomo said in a July 20 release. A Mayer Brown spokesman declined to comment or be named. Mayer Brown partner Lynn Neils, who attended the Sheraton fundraiser, said on Nov. 18, “I think he would make a great governor if he decides to run.”

Coventry First

In a September settlement with Cuomo, Philadelphia-based life insurer Coventry First LLC said it agreed to pay the state $10.5 million to end a lawsuit originally filed by Spitzer in 2006 that alleged it had defrauded policy holders. Los Angeles-based O’Melveny & Meyers LLP, Coventry’s law firm, gave Cuomo $7,500 on May 10, 2006, through a political action committee, according to state data. “We do not think that the attorney general of New York would make it any easier for lawyers or cut any slack for their clients because of the lawyers’ prior campaign contributions,” said Arthur Culvahouse Jr., the law firm’s chair, who was counsel to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. “That was not our thinking in 2006 or now. Indeed, as officers of the court we would not contribute to a candidate if we thought that were the case.”

‘Cost of Doing Business’

Lawyers probably regard campaign contributions as “a cost of doing business,” said Peter Henning, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission senior lawyer who teaches legal ethics at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. “They take the view that it will help us down the road.” Former New York Attorney General Dennis Vacco, who lost to Spitzer in 1998 and has a case before Cuomo, has contributed to him even though his own policy was not to take money from lawyers who had pending matters. He did accept money from such a lawyer’s firm, he said. Such an exemption, he said, might be interpreted as “splitting hairs.” To contact the reporters on this story: Karen Freifeld in New York at kfreifeld@bloomberg.net; Linda Sandler in New York at lsandler@bloomberg.net.

35 comments:

omg said...

Oh My God! I can't believe this. Is Cuomo worse than horndog Eliot Spitzer?!?

Anonymous said...

What do you expect, Cuomo's a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

That is why pimp Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. is allowed to continued her crimes against families and children. Once again the trafficking of children for prostitution and porn is not out of control, is just that the AG Office refuses to investigated criminals like Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. and the rest of the judicial gang in Orange County fixing child custody and divorce cases.

Anonymous said...

Hey Cuomo,
I hope you read my previous posts because someone is setting up one of your contributors clients and using the sheriffs,DA's to do it and harming me and the other one who committed suicide.
Your help in the matter would be appreciated!
Karen M Summers

Anonymous said...

Don't think they are done doing this and I am their only victim,
they been doing it for decades and have taught their children how to do it and they need to go to prison, rauncketeers!

Anonymous said...

those children claim to be professionals.....like sheriffs lawyers nurses!!!!!! part of the low life club!

Anonymous said...

Deutsche Bank and their attorneys gave Andy Cuomo money, now I know why Andy Cuomo doesn't go after Deutsche Bank - two plus two equals four, it's easy. And this whore wants to be Governor - forgetaboutit!

Anonymous said...

it is "forgedaboutit", that is what they can do with every piece of paperwork making the case come out they way the one who pays the most!

Anonymous said...

they need to reverse the Supreme Court decision..
Citizens United vs Federal Election.......
otherwise we will vote them all out and create mass confusion!

Senators sign a proper ethics package!!!!!!

T Finnan said...

Dear Gov. Paterson: I refer you to the article published on ExposeCorruptCourts.blogspot.com on Feb. 2,2010 in regard to Andrew Cuomo accepting money from opposing attorneys to the State of NY. I ask you to direct the AG, Cuomo, to appoint a special prosecutor to convene a grand jury to consider the following charges against Cuomo. Please serve the people's interests. I'm quite sure that I or any honest attorney could present evidence to show that Cuomo violated the below laws. As said in the Bible: one cannot serve two masters. Cuomo is serving his own corrupt interest in becoming governor and the interests of attorneys with actions against NYS.
Cuomo is following in the same shakedown techniques used by Spitzer against Wall Street. I can assure you that a grand jury and eventually a jury would see Cuomo's shakedown as criminal.
§ 200.35 Receiving unlawful gratuities.
A public servant is guilty of receiving unlawful gratuities when he solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit for having engaged in
official conduct which he was required or authorized to perform, and for which he was not entitled to any special or additional compensation.
Receiving unlawful gratuities is a class A misdemeanor.
§ 195.00 Official misconduct.
A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with intent to obtain a benefit or deprive another person of a benefit:
1. He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an
unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized; or
2. He knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.
Official misconduct is a class A misdemeanor.

Anonymous said...

Dear Governor Paterson,
I also ask that you appoint a Federal Prosecutor, the HIPPA violators should have been called in last February by his office.
This has only led to the wrong people being hurt by all of the felonious acts being committed in the 8th Judicial District.

A Federal Prosecutor is warranted.
It is also warranted for the last one who committed suicide.

Karen M Summers

Anonymous said...

and for the next one they will do it to

Karen M Summers

Anonymous said...

Ms. Summers and to all it may concern:

I am not sure about the Suicide you refer to which apparently is in the 8th Judicial District but here is a capital district article from the Times Union about the "apparent suicide" of a former Assistant District Attorney from Rensselear County just over 2 weeks ago.

The body of former ADA Andrew Martin was found near the home of Ken Bruno in Grafton, New York in Rensselaer County. Andrew Martin had worked for Ken Bruno who is the son of former State Senator Joe Bruno now convicted on federal corruption charges.

A former worker at the NYS Legislative Ethics Commission noted that the Times Union article is a bit odd as it only indicates that there was no sign of foul play but how was it deduced as an apparent suicide? There is no mention of a toxicology report? No mention that ADA Martin had been depressed?

ADA Martin was known to be a likeable, easy going and jovial person to many. Why would he drive near the home of Ken Bruno to commit an apparent suicide?

It is hoped that answers to your concerns and remedial action is taken in your area and around the state and there are many that likely join in your request for a special federal prosecutor before too many more people become "suicided".

hudson valley region

( * note: the "d" on the end of suicide and implications )

Anonymous said...

here is the link to the "suicide" story about ADA Andrew Martin

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=888240&category=REGION

Anonymous said...

AND the sad part of this story is ..AG Cuomo will probably win the election and he will be our next Governor..SAD, VERY SAD..As the corruption continues!!!

WHAT A DISGRACE!!! said...

How about the AG's Office illegally representing the Defendants in all the related cases to Christine Anderson and as well as Ms. Anderson's case!! Talk about appearance of impropriety, appearance of bias, etc...and the corruption is ignored and still continues!!!

Anonymous said...

here is a quote from Senator Sampson, current Chair of the Senate Judiciary:

“To average New Yorkers struggling to keep their jobs, feed their families, and pay their bills, ethics reform might not seem that real or important. But the impact of special interest money can be felt at kitchen tables across the state. Corruption costs money. Inaction is unacceptable, and change delayed is change denied."

BUT?? Where is Senator Sampon Calling for a Special Prosecutor in NY AFTER ALL the Evidence heard at the hearings already not to mention why has he not rescheduled hearings cancelled?

Notice Sampson does NOT even MENTION JUDICIAL Corruption or the CJC or DDCs at all? But then again, neither does Paterson or cuomo.

Looks like these folks are all playing politics with the issues hoping a certain percentage of voters don't see through the scam.

Sampson's statement was taken from the following link:

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/22183/paterson-vetoes-legislatures-ethics-bill-goo-goos-unhappy/

Anonymous said...

Sampson is receiving personal income, not campaign money on the payroll of Trial Lawyers. The poor back voters of his district are not served by a corrupt judiciary or large fees extracted by NY Law firms. Samson used the hearings to shakedown the corrupt NY Lawyers for protection money.
Did the shakedown work for Samson; yes. Did it work for the corrupt lawyers and judges; yes. Does Samson serve the people of NY; no. Does Samson serve the poor blacks who elected him: no. Should Samson have a leadership in NY Senate; no.
Samson's “To average New Yorkers struggling to keep their jobs, feed their families, and pay their bills, ethics reform might not seem that real or important. But the impact of special interest money can be felt at kitchen tables across the state. Corruption costs money. Inaction is unacceptable, and change delayed is change denied." is his Kool-ade for the the suckers fooled by the NY media covering for him.

Nancy Swan said...

See my website for story ToxicJustice, news, and resources about judicial misconduct and judicial corruption. I sparked a high profile federal judicial bribery investigation that led to the conviction of my former attorney Paul Minor and judge, John Whitfield. http://www.nancyswan.com
Follow at http://twitter.com/ToxicJustice for news and commentary on judicial misconduct

Anonymous said...

the suicide happened in the 8th, ask Todd Schiffmacher, Henry Wojtaszek and George Maziarz who it was, I am sure it was another female being stalked by a psychotic person in this district, who rights were constantly violated......who was subjected to witch hunts.......
did you guys pass around fake psych paperwork on her too......
burn in hell you lying bastards!

Anonymous said...

ask Voutour to ask
Beiter Grear and Lomabardo how do they stalk females.........

Anonymous said...

and their low life friends, part of the LLC! and that is not limited liability corporation or are they!!!!!!!!
we call them the Beiter and Brauer gang, they gang bang whomever they want in this town,
of course, they are not the educated in this town, any low life scheme and scam is their motto!

Anonymous said...

they use our Sheriffs and DAs to do it, every gov't state agency, getting the picture......
lawyers, judges,
low mentality thugs low educated who harm whomever they want.....
you harm one more resident
I will turn you all in!

Anonymous said...

did you guys pass around fake psych paperwork on her too so no one would believe you were stalking her! sick tickets!

Anonymous said...

burn in hell!

Anonymous said...

Saint Andrew, Patron Saint of Crooked Lawyers and Judges, reminds his flock to give to his campaign and the campaigns of your local DA in adequate sums commensurate with your takings to receive your indulgences. Nothing in life is free and protection (insurance) is a necessary expense.


I love this one so much, just had to reprint!!!!!!!!this one's a keeper!

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between Cuomo and a gangster? Agangster has a gun, Cuomo doesn't need one he has a law degree and is the Attorney General so he can shake-down anyone he wants and GET AWAY WITH IT! Eliot Spitzer did the same thing and look what happen to him.

Anonymous said...

I hear you been trying to cover this up at the local sheriffs office......too late, those false arrests and backdating prove it.....can you guys change out that false paperwork again and put more false paperwork in your files!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Georgie do not say you do not know anything about all this! Find out how they are doing all this before more people get hurt!

Anonymous said...

George if those nurses are that sick get them the help they need!
They needed help a long time ago, help them George!

Anonymous said...

you guys have a lot of contributions to make if you do not want to get caught.....
this one will cost you!

Anonymous said...

Oh my they sound like the children's pimp in Orange County. For those unawared of her name is Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. this is a law guardian who helped fixed a child custody case in order for the children to be sexually exploited. This criminal upon information and belief has fixed many child custody and divorce cases. Because of her, children are been raped and involved and exposed to child porn in Orange County. The Orange County District Attorney's Office refuses to investigated. The prodigy ADA there is believed to be waiting for a position for looking the other way. After all Bernadette E. Lupinetti's husband was until 2007 one of Cuomo's ADA's for medicaid fraud. Now, I am thinking can it be that these crooks, forensic experts assigned by the court to fix cases are protected from medicaid fraud in return for helping fix child custody cases and facilitated child sexual exploitation??

Anonymous said...

Nancy Swan how did you do it?
we want details on this site......
We want a Federal Prosecutor on all our cases, start with Anderson, she deserves protection, if our state is that corrupt we want Federal Protection!
Lippman step down!

Anonymous said...

this is disgusting people are committing suicide because of the corrupt crud bastards....
remember this is a fight
good against evil and the darkness that follows evil.......
always tell that crud to stick it,
we are protected by the Lord!

disgusted said...

Andrew is no Saint and there are a whole lot of people that know the truth. Wake up and smell the coffee Andy.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
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