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Saturday, April 5, 2008

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Spitzer's embattled NY inspector general resigns
BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - April 3, 2008

State Inspector General Kristine Hamann, who was appointed by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and was criticized for her two investigations into his administration, has resigned.

Her spokesman, Stephen DelGiacco, said Hamann submitted her resignation Thursday and it will be effective April 10. Her one-page letter said she was honored to serve and proud of her accomplishments in just over a year in office. But Hamann's biggest investigations drew severe criticism by the Senate's Republican majority that was in open conflict with Democratic Gov. Spitzer and his administration.

Republicans faulted her for her investigation of Spitzer when his top aides were accused of plotting to discredit Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno. Her July 2007 report on the scandal involving the use of state police to compile travel records on Bruno was a one-page letter that said she concurred with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who found no laws were broken but that aides had acted inappropriately.

She said she determined in her investigation that she had a conflict of interest because her boss, then-Secretary to the Governor Rich Baum, was one of the Spitzer officials who had internal conversations about the case. Hamann reported to Baum, who recently left the executive chamber. In February, Hamann also faced scrutiny for her 10-month investigation of a former Spitzer energy policy adviser who was accused of threatening the job of a Republican-appointee on the independent Public Service Commission.

Her investigation found no conclusive proof that Spitzer energy adviser Steven Mitnick threatened the job of state Public Service Commission member Cheryl Buley or tried to force her to vote for Spitzer policies. Buley had said Mitnick threatened her job last year to make room for a Spitzer appointment.

Bruno had no comment, said spokesman Mark Hansen. Bruno and Senate Republicans have questioned Hamann's investigations and whether she was independent from the governor. The Inspector General's office is responsible for detecting and investigating allegations of corruption, fraud, criminal activity, conflicts of interest and abuse involving state agencies, departments, commissions and authorities headed by appointees of the governor. Not all of her investigations were contentious.

In December, she found New York City Police Department's crime lab cut corners analyzing evidence and submitted results in drug cases without having done the required tests in 2002. In September she found that while thousands of people waited years for affordable apartments in New York City, the agency that regulates low-cost housing allowed ineligible renters to move into the projects. And on Wednesday, she reported that a former state employee certified more than 200 unqualified crane operators even though they failed the practical exam.

Gov. David Paterson, who succeeded Spitzer last week after he was implicated in a prostitution investigation, is expected to replace Hamann in the $145,000-a-year job. The governor accepted the resignation and thanked Hamann for her service, said Errol Cockfield, the governor's spokesman. Dennis E. Martin, special deputy to the inspector general, was named acting inspector general.

Hamann spent 30 years in the Manhattan district attorney's office. She served as executive assistant district attorney to Robert Morgenthau since 1998, leading the development of procedures for DNA testing and the creation of a child advocacy center. Before that, she headed the office's criminal court trial division and headed training efforts for three years and worked briefly in the district attorney's office when Spitzer worked there.

2 comments:

joe from scarsdale said...

The irony is that now that we have a blind governor, those in charge of overseeing ethics in the state will be replaced with people who will open their eyes to the unlawful misdeeds and take, finally, action against the rampant corruption.

letters said...

Joe, I hope you are right. But corruption is so deep with lawyers in Biglaw, lawyers in the legislature, lawyers in executive offices, lawyers in Law Enforcement and lawyers on the bench. The sad truth is that non lawyers are punished when they act as whistle-blowers. Look at the guy who exposed fraud in eToys, they threatened his life, denied his compensation, refused his right to counsel, and his employer refused to pay his legal fees even though he was under contract.
Look at the whistle-blower in the Worldcom fraud, the recorded death threat conversation was delivered to Eliot Spitzer as AG, but it was buried. Let's hope that Gov. Paterson is good, brave, and has a thick skin.

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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:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2