Wednesday, September 05, 2007

NON COMPLIANCE WITH NEW ETHICS LAW DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT

This summer the Greenburgh Town Board approved a new Ethics Law. The law requires disclosure of campaign contributions by candidates and elected officials from those who are applicants, consultants, affiliates--people who want something from the town. The Town Board required the disclosure statements to be filed by September 1.
I filed a list of all contributors with the Town Attorney before September 1. No other elected official, according to the Town Attorney, filed any paper work as of this morning.
One of the reasons why the other members of the Board may not have complied with the law is because the law that they wrote is overbroad, vague and ambiguous. There is no registry of applicants, lawyers, consultants or affiliates. It's impossible for any elected official or candidate to know what an affiliate is or who an applicant is, without a registry. Is the contribution of an affiliate of a consultant made 11 months before the consultant is retained by an applicant to be considered an improper contribution?
I have suggested to the Town Board amended curative language. The amendments to the code can only work if they do not require a crystal ball to understand - especially with regards to contributions received up to 12 months before there was any indication that someone would later seek something from the town.
The Town Board has set up a new law to fail because it's impossible to comply with. The members of the Board did not even bother to file their statements by September 1, as the law suggests. If they are certain that they did not accept contributions that fall within the disclosure requirements, I believe they should have to file a form stating that they received no contributions.
I am asking the Town's Ethics Board to review this matter.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

.


Paul you are so right about this.

The ethics laws are a mess and as usual the rest of the town board is more interested in playing politics than good government.

Thank you for complying with their crooked laws; you are showing the integrity that we can only hope that our town board will one day demonstrate.

Anonymous said...

return the chase caro money.
thats what a true democrat like hillary did.

feiner = hypocrite said...

feiner voted for the law. what a hypocrite!

Anonymous said...

Paul voted for the law because he would have been hammered by the sign-stealing knuckleheads for not voting for it.

Remember, accepting the developer money through the Greenburgh Democratic party = good; same amount of money from same people to someone the Greenburgh Democratic party does not want to funnel the money to = not good.

You may now return to your regularly programmed sign-stealing program.

PS - Doesn't that sound like typical Team Bernstein tortured logic?

Anonymous said...

I'm working on a crossword puzzle.

Maybe someone on the Ethics Board can help me.

What's a nine letter word that begins with an e and the clue is: demands a developer "exchange" land for an Edgemont Town Hall for a favorable Town Board ruling, facilitated by an illegal meeting?

Anonymous said...

I’m not an Ethics Board member, but is the word you are seeking……………………

Extortion?

Anonymous said...

Paul,

I think you should provide a list of contributions recieved at your 2004 Fundraiser. It is quite a bit late, but better late than never.

feiner - time to come clean said...

good idea
and while your at it - release all the emails where you suggested a contribution minimum of $250 plus your ideas on the wording of the invite plus the list of invitees

Anonymous said...

Let's see:

- Feiner: provide information dating back to 2004.

- Bass, Barnes, Jutner, Sheehan: no need to provide anything.

There's that Team Bernstein tortured logic at work again.

Anonymous said...

only feiner is under an ethical cloud. why cant he just come clean?

Anonymous said...

Dear 4:59 pm -

I guess you are the same type of person who says that the no bid Susie Berger law contract really wasn't no bid because....well you know.....everybody already knows everybody.

Isn't there some lawn signs that you could be tearing down right about now?

Anonymous said...

FEINER ISN'T UNDER AN ETHICAL CLOUD. HE IS UNDER A POLITICAL ATTACK. REMEMBER, FEINER IS THE ONE WHO ASKED THE ETHICS BOARD FOR AN OPINION AND HE HAS BEEN TOTALLY FORTHRIGHT. HE HASN'T HIDDEN ANYTHING. ALL HIS CONTRIBUTIONS ARE DISCLOSED IN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS.

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A TOWN BOARD MEMBER WHO WAS MORE CRITICAL OF DEVELOPMENT THAN FEINER.

I USED TO THINK THAT LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WOULD NEVER STOOP TO THE TACTICS OF ROVE, THE SWIFT BOAT LIARS, AND RUSH LIMBAUGH. NOW I KNOW THAT IN GREENBURGH THIS ISN'T TRUE. BERNSTEIN AND HIS COFORTS CAN TEACH THE DIRTY CAMPAIGN REPUBLICANS SOME USEFIUL TRICKS.

Anonymous said...

"HE HASN'T HIDDEN ANYTHING. ALL HIS CONTRIBUTIONS ARE DISCLOSED IN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS.

Where can I find the donors who contributed as part of the March 2004 soire???

Anonymous said...

Francis Sheehan- NOT in COMPLIANCE
with Ethics law
Steve Bass-NOT iN COMPLIANCE WITH ETHICS LAW
EDDIE MAE BARNES-NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH ETHICS LAW
DIANA JUETTNER- NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH ETHICS LAWW

WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? They wrote a law hoping to get Feiner but forgot that the law applies to them too.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ignorant 9:24, the list is public since all contributions over $100 have to be identified in public disclosures.

Now you may ask what about those who contributed less that $100. Well, those aren't the ones who allegedly contributed "tens of thousands of dollars." Those are just plain supporters because even the nuts wil admit that people who want influence don't do it with a $99 contribution.

The whole ethics investigation is a ruse. It was started by people who spend their lives trying to get Feiner. Feiner was a fool to ask the Ethics Board for an opinion -- just as foolish as when Clinton asked for a special prosecutor.

And Sigal is a more subtle Kenneth Starr.

Anonymous said...

It is Ms. Ignorant, please,

And if you could tell me whrere he list is I would be most grateful. I beleive all that was made public was a contribution from a Mr. Weingarten, even though contributions were solicited and received from many others.

Anonymous said...

Steve "No Pay to Play" Bass and Eddie "Please Don't Wake Me" Barnes, not to mention Czar Sheehan and Ms. Juettner, all took copious notes from last year's campaign classes taught by Eliot Spitzer. You know that class: How To Accept Contributions from Developers and Still Call Yourself a Reformer 101. After all, if Spitzer could accept nearly $650,000 in campaign contributions from the four developers who were actively bidding over the New York Racing Association franchise (it was announced yesterday that the franchise went to the incumbent organization, by the way), why shouldn't they? Bass, Barnes & Co...what hypocrites! They hammer Paul over a few hundred dollars in old contributions when their Gov. wrote the book on how to get the really big bucks from the big developer fish. Next debate, someone please ask Bass and Barnes their position on Gov. Spitzer's acceptance of the NYRA pots of gold and how that jives with their "No Pay To Play" positions. Let them publicly denounce Spitzer's money grab. That's the only way they'll have any credibility on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:01 is not being candid. Feiner's list of contributors to the March 2004 fundraiser is "public" only in the sense that it can be obtained by filing a Freedom of Information Law request with the Westchester County Board of Elections. Feiner sure as hell won't give it to you -- just as he won't tell the Ethics Board who was invited to that March 2004 soiree.

Alternatively, you can go to the Grassroots for Greenburgh website. Just google "Grassroots for Greenburgh" and you'll find it. Copies of the disclosure forms were placed online in 2004, when complaints about Feiner's soliciting thousands of dollars from developers with applications were first raised.

Anonymous said...

Good. It is on the GfG website. Now all these people can check it out and maybe we will hear the end of the bitching.

Anonymous said...

Paul,you should know by now that the ethics board will not investigate anything concerning the four members on the town board.
They cannot go after the ones that put forth the stupid laws that are full of holes.
This ethics board is disfunctional,since it was put together by Sir Sheehan.
We all know what ever he is involved with is one sided Sheehan side.

Anonymous said...

One can see how the ethics board does not take the necessary steps to punish,the authors of their new laws,Bass,Barnes,SHEEHAN,and Juettner.The enactment of these loopholed laws were put forth to go after the supervisor.
So Sigel what happened at the executive session of the ethics board on Sept.5.
We would like to know your findings if there were any.
The supervisor laid all his cards on the table did your buddies do the same.

feiner lying about ethics probe said...

Feiner doesn't need the ethics board to act. He just has Dr. Felix, the husband of one of his paid campaign advisors, write false letters to the newspapers proclaiming that Feiner was "found not guilty of any violations."

In fact, the Ethics Board made no such finding. To the contrary, the Ethics Board is still investigating Feiner's March 2004 fundraiser.

Dr. Felix further states that only one campaign donation was being reviewed, which is false, that "just to remove any doubts, [Feiner] returned that $1,000 donation anyway."

In fact, Feiner never returned that $1,000. Nor has Feiner ever returned any of the tens of thousands of dollars that he received from developers with active applications before the town.

It is a measure of Feiner's last minute desperation that he'd have the husband of one of his paid consultants make these false statements to the newspapers on the eve of the election. I suppose if you're getting paid to say it, you'll say just about anything, no matter how demonstrably false it is.

Anonymous said...

12:09
Stop the BS, no findings were released to the press or any person outside the meeting room.You're only looking to start trouble.
If anything ,we will be told when the time comes.but for now keep your dam mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

By the way 12:09
Feiner does not need anyone to spread false statements like you.
Wait until Sigel releases the findings ,,,if any,,,then make your statements.
Right now you are just making assumptions,and you know what they say about assuming,that makes you an ass........
To bad that there is nothing else to hang your hatred on.
What ever you say or do Feiner will be the victor.

Anonymous said...

We all know what the ethics board stands for.
It's formation was made for one reason and one reason alone.
after the election we will see a new demension of this group.
Their aim right now is to stop the election from going foward.
This plan was put forth by Sheehan,Bernstein and their cohorts,some time ago.
Now because their plan for Dromore rd. backed fired they are looking to Sigel another person on their payroll to do what he has to do to stop Feiner.
These are members of the community who claim to represent us,who are more crooked than than a winding road.

feiner lying about ethics probe said...

Anon at 12:09 doesn't seem to be spreading any false statements. Those false statements seem to be coming from the Feiner camp.

I ask you, where does Dr. Felix, whose wife is on Feiner's payroll, come off telling the press as follows:

"The truth is, supervisor Feiner requested an ethics committee review of one campaign donation and was found not guilty of any violations."

There's not one word of truth to this. Nor is any truth in Dr. Felix's statement that Feiner returned the $1,000 donation. Feiner never returned a dime to anyone.

The Ethics Board, as far as we know, is still looking into these things. Findings should have been made long ago.

If no findings were released to the press, how can the Feiner camp allow Dr. Felix to report that Feiner was found "not guilty of any violations?" Is this one of those instances where, if someone from the Berger camp cared, they could bring Feiner up before the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Board for lying to the community?

hal samis said...

OK, here's what happened at this week's Wednesday afternoon meeting of the Ethics Board
held when most Greenburgh residents are at work. Nevertheless, in attendance, was Ella Preiser, Herb Rosenbert, Heather Murray of the Inquirer and myself (15 minutes late).

Nothing.

Mike Sigal has copious notes to affirm this nothing.

Among these notes is "attendance" which will confirm the absence of Ken Bunting, Esq., one of the new appointees to the Board.
This I believe is the third meeting he has missed since being appointed.

Mr. Bunting, you will recall, got his appointment without even bringing his resume. To his credit, he told the Town Board at his interview that he would not be able to attend these meetings because his law practice and family takes up all of his free time. He must have said that at least five times during the interview. But Francis and Steve had to get the Ethics Board filled so that the Board could get to work rooting out all the evil in Greenburgh. Even Ms Barnes, at the work session after that day's interviewees (Bunting and Milton Hoffman) left, said she wished they had time to continue interviews because she would have liked to see a woman on the Ethics Board. But noooo said the Great Sheehan, we have to get this Board launched.

As you know, the first meeting of the Ethics Board cleared the decks of considering all the complaints other than dealing with the subject of Wednesday's meeting: Feiner.

But a little wrinkle. The Town Board was supposed to vote on the hiring of the outside attorney for the Ethics Board and they had not done that yet. This gave rise to my comments that the Town Council only wanted to use the Ethics Board as the destination for Bob Bernstein's press releases ahead of the Primary. But the Ethics Board, having made the case that they needed the Attorney to do their work, was caught in a trap...how could they go ahead without the Attorney.
So they took the position that when the Town Board is interested enough to hire the Attorney, they'll be interested in going ahead with their work.

This did not sit too well with the Chair, Mike Sigal, but he went along.
Mr. Sigal, despite whatever I may criticize him for regarding his position or views, is a gentlemen in that he does allow the Public to participate in these meetings.
So much for my time out. However what he did do was, in my opinion, deliver a little speech about how important it was to consider the Bernstein press release in the form of his complaint. This is the complaint that charges Feiner with using the Town email system and Town website. Not unlike how Mr. Sigal used his position as Ethics Chair to contaminate the waters by lawyering his introduction to the Bernstein complaint. As if Bob needed help.
Tsk tsk. Bernstein had already delivered part deux of this complaint with lots of pages taken off the Town's website to illustrate Feiner's illegal use of the Town website. Sorry Bob, but the pages on the site clearly show the heading "News" and "Inforamtion".

A little more procedural stuff and the meeting was over at 5:45 because two of the members had to attend doctor's appointments. Thus another scare tactic of the importance of the meeting; a meeting which was scheduled during the day but a meeting which had to end by 5:45.

Does anyone out there agree with me that the Ethics Board meetings should only be held when the FIVE members can attend without time restriction. And, what is Mr. Bunting doing on this Board in the first place and how long should his non-attendance be tolerated?

I would also note that other than the Antenna Review Board, I believe this is one of the smallest Boards created by the Town to deal with serious issues.
Apparently the Town Council feels that Ethics are not as important as the Parks Board, the Planning Board, the Zoning Board, The Conservation Advisory Commission, the SCOBA Committee and the Comprehensive Plan Committee. But at least they got the new laws on the books before the Primary -- not that the Ethics Board (then just three members) had anything to do with the creation of those laws.

If I haven't been clear enough, this entire Ethics Board matter and new laws as written are travesties. They should have been amending and revising these laws starting a minute after passage. Ella Preiser said at the Town Board hearing that these laws may not be perfect but we can always change them. I'm not going to start here reminding Town Hall watchers how contradictory that was for Ella but this campaign has born witness to lots of surprises. Instead I shall remind her, when is the Town Board going to start to correct the flaws?
Nothing beats perfect. And you can check the facts on this, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Democracy and free speech --erosion takes place in small,incremental steps.

Anonymous said...

Yes a lady had said at one of the meetings that the laws could be changed if they were not to the likening of the public. So what happened,
Some time ago someone had said that the laws will stay as they are because they are Sheehan's and Bernsteins laws.
Yes they put together laws that will only do one thing and that is try to hang the supervisor.
So lady you were wrong .