Thursday, February 6, 2014

Taking out Melissa Mark-Viverito’s trash

Ethics watchdogs slam sanitation man for simple tip while ignoring speaker’s violations.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito broke a lot of rules, but paid no price.

From the Editorial Board of The New York Daily News :

Twenty-four years on the job couldn’t protect Sanitation worker Lenworth Dixon when he pocketed a measly $20 tip from a grateful homeowner last fall.

For taking the gratuity — a reward for helping to remove an extra-heavy load of furniture and wood — Dixon was forced by the Conflicts of Interest Board to retire, as well as to fork over a $1,500 fine. Rough justice.

Which brings us to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

In her campaign for the speakership, Mark-Viverito accepted free services from the Advance Group, a political consulting firm that also maintains a lobbying practice. That’s a violation of the city’s gift ban as well as the ban on lobbyist giving.

When exposed, she switched to Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin, a lobbying law firm. While she paid them, did she underpay?

She also hid years of personal rental income from the conflicts board. The City Council didn’t care and still unanimously elected her as speaker.

Yesterday, the same City Council approved Mark Peters as the new Department of Investigation commissioner. A Friend of Bill (de Blasio), he served as the mayor’s campaign treasurer.

In 2010, Peters, put on the state ethics panel by his friend Gov. David Paterson, voted to impose a record $62,125 fine on Paterson for taking Yankees World Series tickets worth $2,125.

Peters rightly hit Paterson for soliciting and receiving a gift from a lobbyist with business before the government — just like Mark-Viverito did.

Will Peters and conflicts board Chair Nick Scopetta hammer a trash hauler while letting a powerful speaker skate?

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