23 October, 2006

Hevesi Broke Law In "Driving Mrs. Hevesi" Case, State Ethics Commission Says

The New York State Ethics Commission ruled today that state Comptroller Alan Hevesi broke state ethics laws by paying a state employee to be his wife's driver.

Here's a quote from the ruling, including some of the legal mumbo-jumbo.

"The Commission concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Hevesi knowingly and intentionally used his position as New York State Comptroller to secure unwarranted privileges for himself and his wife, and in doing so, pursued a course of conduct that raises suspicion among the public that he likely engaged in acts that violated the public trust.

... The Commission hereby sends to the Temporary President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly this Notice of Reasonable Cause alleging that Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi violated (the) Publiic Officers Law."

Hevesi's fate is now up to the state legislature, as stipulated in state law. He could face a fine, suspension or removal from office. In addition, the Albany County D.A's office is probing possible criminal charges against Hevesi.

Hevesi issued a statement today saying he doesn't agree with all of the commissions findings but said the referral of his case to the state legislature "was expected and understandable." He also asked New Yorkers to judge him on his 35 years in public service and not just one incident.

"I made a mistake. I am deeply sorry. I offer no excuses. I will continue to cooperate fully with any inquiry," Hevesi said in the statement.


The scandal has cost Hevesi the endorsement of at least one local newspaper. The Poughkeepsie Journal yesterday threw its support behind Hevesi's Republican opponent Chris Callaghan.


Meanwhile, CapitolConfidential is reporting that state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer 's office, in response to the Ethics Commission's ruling, will review the case primarily to determine if Hevesi's $83,000 payment to the state is sufficient reimbursement.


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