Has Preet Bharara scared the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board into doing its job?

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Mark-ViveritoJanuary 6, 2016- by Steven E. Greer

BatteryPark.TV has made numerous of complaints to the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, only to find that they were ignored or covered up, despite strong supporting evidence. That was all before the arrest and conviction of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.

Now, a fire seems to have been lit under the collective arses of the COI board. They actually did something, and fined City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for campaign violations.

Politico reports, “Lawyers for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have reached a settlement with the city’s Conflict of Interest Board following an investigation into free political consulting services that Mark-Viverito accepted during the race for speaker in 2013.

As part of the settlement, the speaker has agreed to pay a $7,000 fine for accepting the services, a small fraction of the $25,000 statutory maximum she faced when the inquiry was first launched.

The ethics board launched the non-criminal investigation in January of last year, alleging she acted improperly by accepting help from the Advance Group — a lobbying firm which has business dealings with the city. Elected officials are barred from accepting anything of value from registered lobbyists including a gift in the form of a service.

The settlement may help to establish a precedent in the future for how the Conflict of Interest Board vets fundraising efforts in elections for leadership positions.”

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