Voters in the 48th State Senate District kicked out Darrel Aubertine in November’s election. His term as senator didn’t last long – from Feb 2008 to Dec 2010. Aubertine’s defeat comes mainly as a result of his advocacy with wind energy and his blatant conflicts of interest with wind developers. Now, like a bad penny, Gov. Cuomo has cursed NYS voters and hired Aubertine as commissioner of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. So here’s Aubertine feeding again at the public trough after north country voters just ousted him – bounced out of the Energy Valley of New York State by voters who understand the truth.
But Aubertine is still very much a conflicted state officer and should not have been appointed by Cuomo to this patronage position because of his conflicts of interest, integrity and ethics – well known by Mr. Cuomo from his AG days. His appointment is in direct violation of Public Officer’s Law §73 & §74. Aubertine, by his own admission, has wind contracts. Consider this:
filed: August 22, 2010 • New York
State Sen. Darrel Aubertine receives more than a $1,000 annually from a Cape Vincent wind developer even though his spokesman said there are no plans to build a turbine on his property.
The Democrat disclosed the income from St. Lawrence Wind Farm on an annual report to the state Legislative Ethics Commission that recently was made available on the Internet by the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Cuomo has reneged his position, violated his own ethics policies and forced an unwanted conflicted turbine hugger back on the public payroll. And what has Cuomo done to deal with the corrupt municipal officials in Cape Vincent since starting his investigation – NOTHING!
Below are parts of the NYS Public Officer’s Law. Aubertine, now a NYS officer who is being compensated by a wind developer that has leases with mainly agricultural lands in NYS. (note – we have used red text to emphasize the problems with Aubertine) Aubertine is being investigated by the state’s AG. Aubertine’s NYS ag business would be directly involved and interface with rural land owners, farmers, etc., many of whom already have leases with wind energy companies or might soon sign leases. Wind leases are part of ag business – can anyone dispute that? Could anyone possibly think rural property owner’s wouldn’t want to discuss wind leases with Aubertine as he makes his rounds as AG Commissioner? How would Aubertine respond? THIS IS AN UNQUESTIONABLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST. How could Cuomo appoint Aubertine knowing Aubertine is conflicted and part of an ongoing investigation? Why would Cuomo taint his strong ethics/integrity stand by taking such controversial action thus making himself a certifiable hypocrite?
NYS Public Officers Law §73
Business or Professional Activities by State Officers and Employees and Party Officers
§ 73. Business or professional activities by state officers and employees and party officers.
1. As used in this section:
(a) The term "compensation" shall mean any money, thing of value or financial benefit conferred in return for services rendered or to be rendered. With regard to matters undertaken by a firm, corporation or association, compensation shall mean net revenues, as defined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles as defined by the state ethics commission or legislative ethics committee in relation to persons subject to their respective jurisdictions.
(e) The term "regulatory agency" shall mean the banking department, insurance department, state liquor authority, department of agriculture and markets, department of education, department of environmental conservation, department of health, division of housing and community renewal, department of state, other than the division of corporations and state records, department of public service, the industrial board of appeals in the department of labor and the department of law, other than when the attorney general or his agents or employees are performing duties specified in section sixty-three of the executive law.
(g) The term "state agency" shall mean any state department, or division, board, commission, or bureau of any state department, any public benefit corporation, public authority or commission at least one of whose members is appointed by the governor, or the state university of New York or the city university of New York, including all their constituent units except community colleges of the state university of New York and the independent institutions operating statutory or contract colleges on behalf of the state.
(i) The term "state officer or employee" shall mean:
(i) heads of state departments and their deputies and assistants other than members of the board of regents of the university of the state of New York who receive no compensation or are compensated on a per diem basis;
(ii) officers and employees of statewide elected officials;
(iii) officers and employees of state departments, boards, bureaus, divisions, commissions, councils or other state agencies other than officers of such boards, commissions or councils who receive no compensation or are compensated on a per diem basis; and
(iv) members or directors of public authorities, other than multi-state authorities, public benefit corporations and commissions at least one of whose members is appointed by the governor, who receive compensation other than on a per diem basis, and employees of such authorities, corporations and commissions.
2. In addition to the prohibitions contained in subdivision seven hereof, no statewide elected official, state officer or employee, member of the legislature or legislative employee shall receive, or enter into any agreement express or implied for, compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any case, proceeding, application, or other matter before any state agency, whereby his compensation is to be dependent or contingent upon any action by such agency with respect to any license, contract, certificate, ruling, decision, opinion, rate schedule, franchise, or other benefit; provided, however, that nothing in this subdivision shall be deemed to prohibit the fixing at any time of fees based upon the reasonable value of the services rendered.
3. (a) No statewide elected official, member of the legislature, legislative employee, full-time salaried state officer or employee shall receive, directly or indirectly, or enter into any agreement express or implied for, any compensation, in whatever form, for the appearance or rendition of services by himself or another against the interest of the state in relation to any case, proceeding, application or other matter before, or the transaction of business by himself or another with, the court of claims.
7. (a) No statewide elected official, or state officer or employee, other than in the proper discharge of official state or local governmental duties, or member of the legislature or legislative employee, or political party chairman shall receive, directly or indirectly, or enter into any agreement express or implied for, any compensation, in whatever form, for the appearance or rendition of services by himself or another in relation to any case, proceeding, application or other matter before a state agency where such appearance or rendition of services is in connection with:
(i) the purchase, sale, rental or lease of real property, goods or services, or a contract therefor, from, to or with any such agency;
(ii) any proceeding relating to rate making;
(iii) the adoption or repeal of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law;
(iv) the obtaining of grants of money or loans;
(v) licensing; or
(vi) any proceeding relating to a franchise provided for in the public
NYS Public Officers Law §74
2. Rule with respect to conflicts of interest. No officer or employee
of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee
should have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or
engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur
any obligation of any nature, which is in substantial conflict with the
proper discharge of his duties in the public interest.
3 h. An officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature
or legislative employee should endeavor to pursue a course of conduct
which will not raise suspicion among the public that he is likely to be
engaged in acts that are in violation of his trust.