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Friday, September 19, 2014

Providing confidential information to a drug dealer


Providing confidential information to a drug dealer
OATH Index No. 556/14; adopted, Bd. Dec. COIB Case No. 2013-258

The New York City Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) adopted in full OATH Administrative Law Judge Kara J. Miller’s finding that a former clerical associate [Accused] employed by the Staten Island District Attorney's Office violated the Conflicts of Interest Law by offering confidential information to a drug dealer.

The drug dealer asked Accused if he was under investigation in exchange for providing cocaine to Accused's husband. On another occasion Accused  displayed her District Attorney’s Office identification to detectives in an attempt to prevent her husband's arrest.

The ALJ found that although Accused submitted an answer denying the charges, the record established that Accused was properly served with the notice of hearing and advised of the consequences of a failure to appear at the hearing. Notwithstanding being so advised, Accused failed to appear at a settlement conference and her attorney filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, stating that Accused was not responding to her telephone calls or letters.

After further conversations with Accused, Judge Miller ultimately proceeded to hold the hearing in absentia*when Accused failed to appear for a scheduled hearing. The ALJ found Accused was in default based upon her written and actual notice of the hearing, her demonstrated reluctance to participate, and her failure to appear. The Administrative Law Judge also granted Accused’s attorney’s motion to be relieved as counsel.

The ALJ sustained the charges, setting out the following findings and conclusions:

1. Accused was properly served with charges and notice of the hearing.

2. COIB proved that Accused attempted to use her position for personal advantage by offering to provide confidential information to a drug dealer in exchange for narcotics, in violation of §2604(b)(3) of the City Charter.

3. COIB proved that Accused displayed her employee identification for a non-City purpose in violation of §2604(b)(2) of the City Charter.

4. COIB proved that Accused attempted to use her position for personal advantage in violation of §2604(b)(3) of the City Charter when she identified herself to the police as an employee of the District Attorney’s office in the course of their investigation of her husband for his allegedly participating in a drug transaction.

COIB adopts Judge Miller's recommended penalty of imposing a $10,000 fine on the former associate clerk.

By law, an OATH report and recommendation in an enforcement action brought by the Conflicts of Interest Board is confidential until the Conflict of Interest Board determines that a violation has occurred.

* Mari v Safir, 291 AD2d 298, sets out the general standards applied by the courts in resolving litigation resulting from conducting a disciplinary hearing in absentia. The decision demonstrates that an individual against whom disciplinary charges have been filed cannot avoid the consequences of disciplinary action being taken against him or her by refusing to appear at the disciplinary hearing. The decision also provides an opportunity to explore a number of factors that should be kept in mind when involved in a disciplinary or other administrative action held “in absentia.” [Source: The Discipline Book, http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html ]

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/14_Cases/14-556.pdf
.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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