Wednesday, December 27, 2006

One City, One Double Standard

We were a little bemused by the news that the city's Conflict of Interest Board had "scolded" staffer supreme Mike Nieves for his supposed indiscretion in "representing" a landlord. . Leaving aside the actual facts in the case-that the landlord in question was a sixty-seven year old Hispanic woman who was being hassled by her tenant-it is a manifestation of extreme hypocrisy for this useless agency to say anything about Nieves.

Let's not forget that it was this same board that ruled in 2002 that there was no conflict at all between Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and developer Steve Ross even though the two men had been business partners before DD came into office. The board, in making this asinine ruling, alleged that no conflict existed because the Ross-Doctoroff relationship predated Dan's entry into government. In doing so, it manged to overlook the fact that the relationship was continuous and ongoing with Ross's pivotal role in the 2012 Olympic bid.

In the ensuing four years Related has done very well indeed and there is clear evidence of its favored nation status in the awarding of any number of lucrative city contracts. The NY Times' Charles Bagli exposed a good deal of this in his 2005 article on the Ross/Doctoroff friendship. So it seems to us that the COIB should have the decency to keep silent on anything but the most egregious violations in the realm of interest conflicts. After all, giving Doctoroff a pass entitles all but convicted felons the same privilege.