Attorney General

In Fundraising Appeal, Teachout Touts Schneiderman’s Trump Tactics

Former congressional candidate and Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout in a fundraising appeal praised Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s efforts to combating President Donald Trump in the courts.

Teachout, in an email sent Thursday, lists a series of efforts Schneiderman has undertaken as attorney general, which started before Trump was elected, including the lawsuit filed against Trump University, court challenges to the administration’s energy policies.

“Eric is up for re-election next year, and right-wing corporate interests have already pledged to spend millions of dollars to unseat progressive attorneys general like him who are fighting back against Trump’s dangerous and radical agenda,” she wrote in the email. “That means Eric Schneiderman needs a grassroots movement with him so he can win re-election and continue his fights against Trump and right-wing corporate interests.”

Teachout ran unsuccessfully last year for the 19th congressional district, losing to Republican Rep. John Faso. She also sought the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Schneiderman later would hire Teachout’s running mate, Columbia University professor Tim Wu as a senior enforcement counsel and special advisor.

Teachout remains popular on the left and has been adept at fundraising through small-dollar amounts. In the email, Teachout asks for a $3 contribution for Schneiderman’s re-election bid.

“He understands how abuse of power undermines our democracy and has made it a top priority to uphold the integrity of our government by removing bad actors, bringing corruption cases against 40 New York public officials,” she wrote of Schneiderman. “It’s no surprise right-wing corporate interests want to unseat progressive attorneys general like Eric Schneiderman — but it is why Eric needs your help today.”

Schneiderman Wants Trump Administration To Curtail Oil Trains

Attorney General Eric Schniderman has filed comments with federal regulators seeking to place new restrictions on oil trains that pass through New York.

Schneiderman is part of a six-state coalition of attorneys general that back the effort to curtail crude oil transportation by rail, cracking down on what activists have called “bomb trains” that can travel up to 700 miles in the stte.

The main concern has been the trains passing through populated areas and became more heightened after a tank explosion killed 47 people in 2013 in Quebec.

“Because of a regulatory loophole, these trains can carry crude oil through some of our most densely populated areas without any limit on explosiveness or flammability – creating ticking time bombs that jeopardize the safety of countless New Yorkers and Americans,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

“It’s time for the federal government to put New Yorkers’ safety first and take immediate action to close this dangerous and nonsensical loophole.”

The AGs filing the comments include California, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, and Washington in addition to New York.

2017 05 19 Comments to Phmsa Final by Nick Reisman on Scribd

AG: Allegedly Phony Architect Arrested In ‘Operation Vandelay Industries’

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office on Thursday announced the indictment of a Troy-based businessman who allegedly claimed he was an architect.

The case wouldn’t be so noteworthy if it weren’t for the Seinfeld-laden references.

The businessman’s name is Newman, the nemesis of Jerry Seinfeld’s character on the show. His best friend, George Constanza, had claimed to people he wanted to be an architect. The name of the probe to bring down Paul Newman? “Operation Vandelay Industries” — a reference to the fake business George concocts.

No word on whether he’s being represented by Jackie Chiles.

But the case isn’t about nothing, Schneiderman said in a statement, pointing to Newman’s alleged use of drafted architectural renderings for more than 100 properties in the Capital Region area that had been submitted along with engineer letters, foundation inspections, field reports and energy compliance letters.

“As we allege, for over seven years the defendant has pretended to be a Registered Architect, deceiving hundreds of New Yorkers – including families and senior citizens — with the sole goal of enriching himself,” Schneiderman said.

“By allegedly falsifying building plans, code compliance inspections, and field reports, the defendant jeopardized the safety of those who resided in and frequented the buildings he was contracted to work on. Deceptive actions like these erode public trust — and my office will not tolerate them.”

Professional licenses are managed by the state Education Department, including those of architects.

“The State Education Department’s Office of the Professions investigates and prosecutes professional misconduct in more than 50 licensed professions to help protect New Yorkers,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “We are grateful for our continuing partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman and his team of professionals as we work together to ensure the safety of the public is protected against the dangers of unlicensed practice.”

Schneiderman Donates ‘Blue Bloods’ Residuals

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s brief appearance on the CBS cop drama “Blue Bloods” netted him $2,368 in residuals — money he’s donating to benefit real-life law enforcement.

Schneiderman on Monday released his tax returns for viewing by reporters, showing he earned $249,137 in 2016, counting both his investments and his $153,596 salary as the state’s attorney general.

Schneiderman so far has received $650 from his appearance on the show, donating the money to the Police and Fire Widows and Children’s Fund. Once he receives all the residuals, the money will be donated to that charity.

Other charitable donations last year included is synagogue, Congregation B’Nai Jeshurun, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, and the Samuel L. Fields Y.

The returns show Schneiderman paid $48,080 in federal taxes and $23,434 in state taxes. He received a federal tax refund of $1,364 and a state refund of $1,259 which are being applied to next year’s taxes.

During the conclusion of the state budget’s passage this month, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan confessed the show starring Tom Selleck is one of his favorites.

“The AG is proud to donate all income from his appearance on Blue Bloods to the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, an organization that provides vital support to the families of those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice to protect New Yorkers,” said Schneiderman spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick.

Schneiderman Introduces Tenant Protection Measures

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Wednesday released a package of measures that would be aimed at strengthening tenant rights in New York City.

The measures, broadly, are aimed at addressing what Schneiderman says is a high bar for prosecutors in criminally charging landlords with harassment of tenants living in rent-regulated units. The bill backed by Schneiderman would set the bar for prosecution of landlords lower, such as removing the need that physical injury of a tenant must be proven. At the same time, the bill allows for prosecutions that arise from actions such as turning off utilities like heat and hot water or exposing children to lead and dust.

“Our current laws are outdated, ineffective, and totally inadequate to keep tenants safe from unscrupulous landlords seeking to unlawfully evict New York families. With affordable housing as scarce as ever, it’s time for lawmakers to give prosecutors new tools to stop the menacing – and often dangerous – measures these landlords use to force tenants out of their homes,” Schneiderman said. “Protecting vulnerable tenants has been, and will remain, a top priority of my office.”

The legislation introduced dovetails with the launch a new team that is designed to strengthen resources that combat tenant harassment as well as a tenant protection task force.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the proposal.

“Toughening up criminal penalties helps us level the playing field and protect tenants victimized by greedy, negligent landlords who put their own profit ahead of the rights of those paying the rent,” de Blasio said. “I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman’s move to make it harder for bad actors to harass tenants, and will join him in advocating for this important penal law change.”

Schneiderman Blasts Trump Administration, Once Again

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Monday once again signaled his opposition to actions taken by President Donald Trump’s administration on labor and immigration issues.

Schneiderman in a statement on Monday afternoon blasted the claim by the U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions, that states and local governments do not have the authority to refused participation in immigration enforcement actions with the federal government.

“As my office’s legal guidance makes clear, President Trump lacks the constitutional authority to broadly cut off funding to states and cities just because they have lawfully acted to protect immigrant families,” Schneiderman said.

“Public safety depends on trust between law enforcement and those they bravely serve; yet, again and again, President Trump’s draconian policies only serve to undercut that trust. My office will continue to ensure local governments have the tools they need to legally protect their immigrant communities – and we won’t stop fighting to beat back President Trump’s un-American immigration policies.”

Later in the day, Schneiderman knocked the Trump administration for scaling back a key labor regulation for wages.

“President Trump says he is fighting for American workers, and then signs a law that lets companies that repeatedly steal from their employees get federal contracts,” he said.

“Once again, Trump’s actions speak far louder than his words.
“As I’ve said, if the federal government falls down on the job, we won’t hesitate to act to protect workers. Over the past five years, my office has used state law to recover over $27 million in stolen wages for over 20,000 workers – and put those who steal their workers’ wages behind bars. That work will continue at full speed, no matter what President Trump does. New York’s workers deserve nothing less.”

Schneiderman has repeatedly blasted Trump and his policies, even since before he was sworn in, suing the businessman over the claims made by his Trump University for-profit school.

Ortt Pleads Not Guilty, No Plans To Step Down

A defiant Robert Ortt on Thursday morning pleaded not guilty to three charges of felony filing a false instrument in Albany County Court and vowed to fight the charges.

Ortt, a western New York Republican first elected in 2014, insisted he would not step down from his state Senate seat.

“I am not guilty,” he said after a 10-minute court appearance with his attorney, Steve Coffey. “I am not resigning. I believe I will be exonerated and vindicated.”

The charges unsealed in court stem from Ortt’s time as the mayor of North Tonawanda. Prosecutors allege Ortt’s wife was given a no-show job, being paid $21,500 between 2010 and 2014, in order to make up for a $5,000 reduction in his annual pay as mayor.

“No show jobs and secret payments are the lifeblood of public corruption,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “New Yorkers deserve full and honest disclosures by their elected officials-not the graft and shadowy payments uncovered by our investigation. These allegations represent a shameful breach of the public trust – and we will hold those responsible to account.”

Ortt faces up to 1-1/3 to 4 years on each count.

Ortt and Coffey both blasted Schneiderman following the court appearance.

Ortt, in a statement to the press after the appearance, insisted he is the victim of a partisan witch hunt.

“I haven no doubt the only reason why I am involved in this case, part of this investigation, is to further Eric Schneiderman’s partisan agenda,” Ortt said. “The people of the 62nd district know me. They know what kind of person I am and they know what kind of public servant I have been.”

He added: “I am guilty of nothing. I will fight these charges and I will prevail.”

Schneiderman, a former state senator and a Democrat, has prosecuted cases involving members of both parties, including Democratic political operative Steve Pigeon and former state Sen. Shirley Huntley, a Queens Democrat.

Former Sen. George Maziarz is due in court later today and is expected to be charged as well. Coffey said he did not know how Maziarz’s case was related to Ortt’s charges.

Ortt would not respond on Thursday when asked if he had spoken to Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flangan. In 2015, Ortt had called on then-Majority Leader Dean Skelos to step down from his leadership post following corruption charges.

One of Ortt’s GOP colleagues in the Senate, Fred Akshar, tweeted his support for the embattled lawmaker, posting that he is a “dedicated and distinguished public servant who has proudly served our country and the people of SD62.”

The indictments come as state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are negotiating a state budget that is due to pass by the end of next week.

Senate Democrats in the mainline conference used the news of the indictment to call for ethics reform.

Schneiderman Knocks Revised Travel Ban

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement Monday said he is ready to once again challenge President Donald Trump’s effort to limit immigration to the United States.

Trump on Monday issued a revised ban on travel from Middle Eastern countries, designed his aides say in an attempt to withstand the legal scrutiny that faced the previous executive order.

Schneiderman, along with Democratic attorneys general across the country, challenged the ban in federal court.

“Courts across the country have made clear: President Trump is not above the Constitution,” Schneiderman said in today’s statement.

“While the White House may have made changes to the ban, the intent to discriminate against Muslims remains clear. This doesn’t just harm the families caught in the chaos of President Trump’s draconian policies – it’s diametrically opposed to our values, and makes us less safe. My office is closely reviewing the new executive order, and I stand ready to litigate — again — in order to protect New York’s families, institutions, and economy.”

Schneiderman over the last several weeks has challenged a variety of Trump administration directives, including efforts to rollback Obama-era regulations on the environment.

Schneiderman, Gillibrand: Sessions Doesn’t Belong As AG

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Thursday in statements called for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down from the top law enforcement post in the country after it was revealed he spoke with the Russian ambassador while he was a senator.

“It’s clear that Attorney General Sessions gave false testimony under oath at his hearing. This should disqualify him from leading the Justice Department,” Gillibrand said. “Between Attorney General Sessions’s false testimony and the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman working with the White House to kill stories about Russian contacts, we need to get all of the facts.”

Schneiderman, meanwhile, also called on Sessions to resign, echoing a call made this morning by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Attorney General Sessions – our nation’s top law enforcement official – appears to have lied under oath, which in and of itself is disqualifying,” he said, adding, “For the good of the country, Sessions must immediately resign.”

Republicans have generally refrained from calling for Sessions’s resignation, but are asking that he step aside from overseeing an investigation into Russian’s alleged involvement in the U.S. election.

Schneiderman Makes Federalism Argument In Subpoena Rebuff

Rebuffing a suboena from a congressional panel reviewing his investigation into ExxonMobile’s climate change claims, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pointed to federalism and the separation of powers in justifying the rejection.

“We had hoped that with the start of a new Congress, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology would turn its attention exclusively to authorized and legitimate legislative activity,” Schneiderman’s office wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to Rep. Lamar Alexander, the committee’s chairman. “Your Subpoena does otherwise. I write to inform you that the NYOAG cannot and will not comply with the Subpoena as presently composed.”

House Republicans are investigating whether Schneiderman’s investigation into the energy company and its claims of impacting the climate was influenced by environmental groups.

But Schneiderman’s office says the Republican investigation of the state probe is only serving to disrupt the state-led effort.

“An inquiry into the alleged effects of the NYOAG’s state law fraud investigation on the research of climate scientists does not require a trove of confidential communications about ongoing law enforcement matters,” the letter states.

Nyoag Objections to Feb 16 2017 Subpoena-signed by Nick Reisman on Scribd