Ethics commission members were never pressured to vote a certain way.
One former commission member claims he was somehow pressured into reading before the legislature a document he did not know about. What’s not mentioned in the report is that he signed this very letter (see attached). Is he saying that as an attorney licensed by the New York State Bar that he would sign something he did not read or agree with?
The Ethics Commission was being pummeled by the legislature and the press. There was nothing wrong with the commission members defending themselves. This commissioner was apparently asked by other members of the commission to appear for them and read a statement because they were busy that day and unable to attend. It is simply beyond belief that any of these commissioners – two attorneys and a Ph.D. – could be cajoled into making a public statement they disagreed with.
Another former commissioner was described as saying that I wanted to have him be “a good boy”(his words, not mine) and not “embarrass me.” This was extrapolated into a supposed agreement to “do as I say.” The reality is that I ask every prospective appointee if there is anything in his or her background that could embarrass the administration. I also tell them that we expect them to conduct themselves in a good and professional manner that will not embarrass the institution for which they are working. This is not to be interpreted that you must write opinions as I say.
The commissioner says that I wanted him to be a team player. I wanted a commissioner that would work with me in implementing a number of long overdue reforms including hiring an executive director for the first time and banning political leaders from being appointed to governmental boards. If the commissioner interpreted this as him having to be a “good boy,” that is something I could not control.
The former commissioner’s inaccurate speculation as to my intent is debunked by the fact that there is not a single, specific case mentioned where I sought to tell a commissioner how to vote. Had there been such a specific case, one can be assured that it would have been included in this report. In fact, this commissioner joined five others who provided statements in 2010 that they were never pressured by me, or anyone on my behalf, to take a certain position on any matter before them (see attached).
To reiterate, there was no evidence in the testimony that any follow up meetings ever occurred where I sought the commissioner to vote in a certain way. The only conversation cited outside the commissioner’s interview was his incorrectly stating that I minimized my marital status with my wife. At no point did I ever do so. It is possible that he was confused over the fact that my wife and I were once legally separated. My wife appeared before that commission to make herself available for any questions the commission desired to ask.