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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Two NY Lawyers' Resignations Should Close Corruption Probe, Official Says

Two NY Lawyers' Resignations Should Close Corruption Probe, Official Says
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - May 20, 2009

ALBANY, NEW YORK - The resignations of the executive director of the Commission on Public Integrity and the former Spitzer administration official to whom he is accused of leaking information have served the goal of the report accusing them of misdeeds, the state's inspector general said yesterday. Herbert Teitelbaum submitted his resignation from the integrity commission on Monday and Robert Hermann, alleged by Inspector General Joseph Fisch to have been the recipient of confidential information from Mr. Teitelbaum, stepped down yesterday as a counsel to Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens. "You have two resignations that have taken place within the last two days and these were the principal actors," Mr. Fisch told reporters yesterday. "One was Teitelbaum and one was Hermann. They're gone. I think it's in the public interest that they are gone. . . . I don't know whether any additional purpose would be served by any further pursuit of that." Earlier, Mr. Fisch had told members of the Senate Investigations Committee that the Commission on Public Integrity itself is the only agency empowered to bring civil charges against Messrs. Teitelbaum and Hermann for violations of Public Officers Law and Executive Law alleged in the inspector general's report.

But Mr. Fisch told senators there was no practical way for the commission to act because its own executive director was involved in alleged misconduct and the commission had already declined to formally investigate the allegations. "The commission would be conflicted and could not sit in judgment of its executive director, having not taken action against the executive director," Mr. Fisch said at the committee hearing. Mr. Fisch said he saw the conflict on pursuit of civil charges against Messrs. Teitelbaum and Hermann coming as his probe unfolded, but referring the case to the state attorney general or the Albany County district attorney was not an option because the alleged violations were civil and not criminal. The inspector general urged legislators to give power to some office or official independent of the Commission on Public Integrity to pursue civil charges against commission members or personnel if they are charged with ethics violations. Governor David A. Paterson said Monday he would file legislation later this week to scrap the public integrity commission and replace it with a new government ethics commission. The governor's aides said the proposal will call for an "independent" governing board that is not controlled by the governor or any other appointive authority in state government. Critics of the current commission, which is less than two years old, say its investigation of whether top aides to former Governor Eliot Spitzer misused State Police to gather damaging information about a political rival was compromised because the governor appointed seven of the 13 members of the commission. Mr. Fisch's report contends that Mr. Teitelbaum was tipping off Mr. Hermann, his former law partner who had become head of Mr. Spitzer's Office of Regulatory Reform, about the commission's investigation.

Probe Transcripts Released

In a resignation letter, Mr. Teitelbaum called Mr. Fisch's investigation a "witch hunt" that was premised on "speculation and rank hearsay." Mr. Teitelbaum insisted he divulged no confidential information about the commission's probe of Mr. Spitzer's office. Mr. Fisch countered yesterday that damning evidence from Mr. Hermann clearly showed Mr. Teitelbaum was the source of the sensitive information. "Teitelbaum's anger should not be at me, although I can understand that, but should be at his former law partner and his friend of over 30 years who testified under oath that he had received confidential information concerning the Troopergate investigation from Teitelbaum," Mr. Fisch told reporters. The inspector general's office yesterday posted transcripts of all testimony it gathered as part of its investigation at A spokesman for Mr. Smith announced Mr. Hermann's resignation, effective immediately, from his $140,000-a-year post as Senate counsel but gave no reason. Mr. Hermann later released a statement in which he said the "unceasing cacophony" caused by Mr. Fisch's report "has made my continued service unpalatable to me and distracting for the business of the Senate."


unhappy in albany said...

Before this I thought Fisch was serious about the corruption. Now it looks like he's just putting out some fires. Very disappointing, Joe, you could have taken the opportunity to really do some cleaning up of the corruption. I believe YOU, joe fisch, should resign next.

Anonymous said...

Haven't they ever heard of a special prosecutor?

Using this logic, they should let Madoff go because he doesn't run his fund anymore. And all those other criminals. I guess if you just confess, you can get off scot-free.

I love NY.

Anonymous said...

Corruption reflux, over and over again.

Anonymous said...

they probably had help
that is why they are not following up. they should just clean house.
thier might be someone else that they are protecting, maybe thier was a rat involved.

Anonymous said...

Joel Stashenko is a worthless piece of shit.

Ret. State Police said...

Two straw men get to the real bad guys this is a con job

Anonymous said...

Official Announcement from the Rats Central Nest: The two rats found were the only rats in your system/house. Stop being paranoid and trust us.

Anonymous said...

Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery Richard Emery,

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