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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hevesi's Hypocrisy

This is why I think Alan Hevesi is no longer fit for the job of State Comptroller:
State Controller Alan Hevesi, facing possible removal from office for using a state worker to chauffeur his wife, released his first audit yesterday since his reelection - and immediately chided others for wasting tax dollars.

In what critics called a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Hevesi slapped the state Health Department and county governments for making $3.6 million in Medicaid payments over 34 months - for dead people.

Although Hevesi concluded that the state's Medicaid controls were "generally working," he said in a statement that local governments "need to do a better job of using the available tools to identify ineligible individuals and discontinue Medicaid benefits ... in a timely manner."

The statement drew gasps of disbelief from Hevesi's critics, especially the "timely manner" part.

Hevesi recently repaid the state nearly $180,000 for his use of a state-paid employee to chauffeur his ailing wife over a three-year period - but only after the arrangement was revealed by his Republican foe, Chris Callaghan, who lost the election anyway.
How in the world to take his audits and findings seriously when he himself was so egregiously guilty of much of the same type of fraud his whole office exists to uncover? I know I find it hard to take his sanctimony towards other agencies seriously when he himself spent years hiding the fact that his own books were far from in order.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

What I find it dificult to believe that he was re-elected with such a large margin.

I understand the sympathy he must have aroused when he explained his fraud away by mentioning his very ill wife. People have problems. Financial, health, emotional. Voters might have be willing to forgive someone who so clearly had problems of his own. I won't judge Hevesi for losing his moral compass in the face of such personal travails either.

But re-electing him? To a job that is all about uncovering the type of actions he himself committed? Incomprehensible.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like a tempest in a teapot to me.

$180,000 over 3 years. Comes to$60K a year. seems like a reasonable salary for a driver. Except I can't believe that the driver did nothing bu chauffer the wife. I suspect Havesi didn't really owe the state even that much, becuase I suspect that driving Mrs Havesi was a small fraction of the work he did.

I suspect you fell for the smear job because you have subconscious resentments that high government officials get a car and driver in the first place.

Chris callaghan played you like a violin.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG is Moshiach coming? Is hell frozen over? Are there pigs flying? Om critised a Democrat!

10:33 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


$180,000 over 3 years. Comes to$60K a year. seems like a reasonable salary for a driver. Except I can't believe that the driver did nothing bu chauffer the wife. I suspect Havesi didn't really owe the state even that much, becuase I suspect that driving Mrs Havesi was a small fraction of the work he did.

I suspect you fell for the smear job because you have subconscious resentments that high government officials get a car and driver in the first place.

Chris callaghan played you like a violin.


Um, you got played. Like the rest of the NY State voter population. Did you read the findings of the report on Hevesi's actions? It's far more damning then most people think.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Om is right. Its far from a tempest in a teapot, He should be removed from office.

Here's a link to the full report. Read for yourself and see:

http://empirezone.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/11/04/text-of-hevesi-report/

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that his wife is very sick is no excuse for what he did. With his salary, plus pension from the city and whatever income she has they could easily afford to use car service and a personal health aide and/or security guard if necessary. Even if they couldn't the state has no interest in the expenditure of these funds. If there was a compelling security threat the NYPD or state police should have assigned her a detail.
What's most interesting about this is that Hevesi said in his televised debate with Callaghan that the practice began during the Giuliani years when he saw that various mayoral aides had guards for their wives. This should be investigated by journalists, since it's too late to be actionable now. Who else got away with this and what was the threat level and how much did it cost the city? More interestingly, how much of that potential waste did Hevesi as city comptroller sign off on because he did not want to call attention to the practice -- a conflict of interest if there ever was one.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Shmilda said...

"What I find it difficult to believe that he was re-elected with such a large margin."

Incumbent Democrats in NY. Have you seen one lose in the last 10 years? Occasionally a strong Republican (Giulliani, Pataki) will unseat a weak one (Dinkins, Cuomo), but they've mostly given up.

On the other hand, considering the culture of corruption which has long prevailed in Albany (among both parties), Hevesi still got my vote. He's the boring guy who could never win a front office job such as mayor because he was too dedicated to his doing his job well without focusing on all the politics. Personally, I'd take Hevesi over Pataki (state GOP paid for his wife's driver, and he kept a spare on the state payroll), Spitzer (I'm sure he'll do the same or worse), and the rest of the bunch up there.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous REReader said...

Most Democrats I've spoken with voted for Hevesi with the assumption that he'll be forced out of office, seeing as
Spitzer made such a point of rooting out corruption, and that another Democrat will be appointed in his place. (This was my reasoning as well.) In other words, an unknown Democrat felt like a better choice than an inexperienced and highly conservative Republican.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few threads down OM was complaining about the big bad Republicans who control the AB Bridge (she was wrong its the Dems). I pointed out how Dems vote with their legacy, Republicans vote with their intrests. That is what happaned here. The dems whould almost never vote for a rep, even electing theives (Alcee Hastings, Mario Biagi, etc), then a big bad republican. Espically here in the 5t, previously a Republican strong hold, now populated by lost Dems who think with their legacy of voteing Dem in Brooklyn ansd Queens, and cant bring themselves to vote rep here in the suburbs.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the Hevesi situation is that many politicians (possibly including those who will remove him) have been doing the same thing with their cars and drivers and intend to continue enjoying this "lulu" along with all the rest of their "lulus".That is calling the kettle and the pot and all the other keilim the way they are.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Amen to the post.

I'm a bit annoyed from what I've heard from some people: "Better Hevesi, and he'll get removed, than an incompetent." Yet they knew nothing about Callaghan. I heard Callaghan (who's an accountant) speak a month ago, and he made quite a convincing case for himself; meanwhile, it is clear that anything is better than a thief for the position Hevesi holds (basically, managing taxpayer money). On top of that, removing him isn't simple no matter how clear it is that he's guilty.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Hevesi election is reminiscent of the local sanitary elections.

Everyone knows it stinks, but they get elected anyway.

10:13 PM  

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