JCOPE Complaint Alleges DiNapoli Benefitted From Pressuring Chevron
A complaint filed today with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics by David Grandeau on behalf of the Chevron Corp. alleges Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reaped political benefits by pressuring the company to adopt more rigorous environmental standards in Ecuador.
Grandeau, a well-known and outspoken figure in Albany political circles, alleges in the complaint that DiNapoli’s pressure came as lawyers who arranged a “fraudulent” lawsuit against Chevron showered his campaign with political donations, arranged for trips to the rain forest and a meeting with pop singer Sting and wife Trudie Styler.
It is unclear if DiNapoli ever met with the celebrity couple or took the trips.
DiNapoli last year had called on Chevron to settle the suit, claiming the company had caused “grave reputational damage” to itself during the suit. Chevron had acquired Texaco at the start of the last decade, and lawyers in suit charged that Texaco, along with joint venture partner, had dumped millions of gallons of waste in Ecuador.
DiNapoli was using the state pension fund’s 7.5 million shares in Chevron to leverage better environmental controls.
“The entire case is looming like a hammer over shareholders’ heads,” DiNapoli said in a news release at the time. “Chevron should start fresh with a new approach that embraces environmental responsibility and risk management as part of its corporate culture. More legal proceedings will only delay the inevitable.”
Grandeau, speaking to reporters at JCOPE’s, said more information would come out if JCOPE takes the case up.
“There’s enough evidence here I believe for JCOPE to move ahead,” Grandeau said.
And he declined to say whether any laws were broken, but said DiNapoli should have disclosed proactively that he was receving offers of trips and meetings with celebrities.
“We won’t know that until you put the man under oath and ask him some questions,” he said.
DiNapoli issued a statement callnig the accusations “baseless” and “without merit.”
This is a baseless attempt by big oil to intimidate me and it won’t work. The allegations are without merit.
Since 2004, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, along with dozens of leading investors worldwide, has called on Chevron to settle its nearly two-decade-long legal battle for polluting the Amazon. Chevron refuses. This effort is about protecting shareholder value and fulfilling my fiduciary responsibility to the New York State Common Retirement Fund.
Instead of owning up to its corporate responsibility, time and again Chevron has denied its responsibility, distorted the facts and ignored the ruling of a court of law.
I am confident that JCOPE will see through this blatant attempt to intimidate responsible shareholders who dare to question Chevron’s actions.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on November 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm, and is filed under Comptroller. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|