The Sheldon Silver arrest by Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara could be just the beginning in unraveling the corruption that is New York politics on fracking.
If Preet Bharara’s “stay tuned” remark is any indication, there is much more New York State corruption to be exposed. Shelly Silver is only the beginning and the biggest fish are yet to be caught, assuming Bharara has the courage to go there and it appears he does. If he really wants to uncover the depth of the corruption he might, in fact, want to focus on the state’s fracking decisions (there are many) and the land deals being made with the state by the trial lawyers and wealthy special interests behind the decisions.
The easiest way to explain is to simply suggest the questions Preet Bharara might want to ask if he wants to see how New York’s trial lawyers, politicians and elite special interests have turned the state into their own fiefdom. Here are 10 such questions, for starters:
- Why was Attorney General Schneiderman, the recipient of more than $200,000 in campaign cash from Weitz & Luxenberg principals, not to mention Jay Halfon, a host of other trial lawyers and various NRDC connections, promising to fight fracking as part of his campaign (against ethics rules), promoting the NRDC from the Attorney General’s website and apparently coordinating with the NRDC to harass tiny pro-fracking towns in the Catskill-Delaware region where NRDC principals have major land interests?
- Why was Attorney General Schneiderman so invested in supporting the NRDC’s and the Delaware Riverkeeper’s legally weak position that proposed gas drilling rules for the Delaware River Basin Commission would require a Federal Environmental Impact Statement?
- Why did Attorney General Schneiderman put Weitz Luxenberg trial lawyer Lemuel Srolovic in charge of his Environmental Protection Bureau and why was he integrally involved in the DRBC matter? [See video below of Srolovic as he defends his DRBC lawsuit together with radical fellow panel members Bruce Ferguson of Catskill Citizens and Eric Weltman of Food & Water Watch. It starts at 8:12 and ends on a good laugh with Ferguson at 30:24. Also, see Part 2 of the video where Weltman states how important Srolovic’s lawsuit is to allowing enough time for special interests like the Park Foundation and dark money funded Food & Water Watch to permanently ban fracking. Finally, see Part 3 beginning at 1:36 where Srolovic attempts to justify why oil and gas companies should have nothing to say about lawsuits aimed directly at their interests.]
- Why was this Lemuel Srolovic telling the Mayor of Ossining the Attorney General’s office was trying to slow down the fracking decision-making process so fractivists would have time to make a case against it?
- What role, if any, did Jennifer Cunningham, Eric Schneiderman’s ex-wife, confidant of Cuomo and Deputy Counsel for Sheldon Silver, have in the fracking decision?
- What role, if any, did Karen Hinton, wife of Howard Glaser, Cuomo’s State Operations Director, have in the Cuomo fracking decision, while helping to lead an extortion campaign against Chevron (with the assistance of Cuomo), as she simultaneously tweeted out this?
- Why were there three Senior Attorneys from the NRDC on Cuomo’s hydraulic fracturing advisory committee and why did it suddenly stop meeting, just like the Moreland Commission?
- Why does the State of New York continue to pay a NRDC sister group, the Open Space Institute (OSI), inflated prices for open space, after several audits and complaints (see here, here and here) have identified the lack of accountability in connection with these deals and suggested the state was helping create a slush fund for these special interests?
- How did OSI (essentially a no-growth Rockefeller special interest organization) manage, in 2007, to wrangle a $25 million loan from Empire State Development, a state agency created to spur economic development and job creation?
- Why did Attorney General Schneiderman suddenly, shortly after taking office in 2011, abruptly end the investigation into the Domtar land deal from which both the Nature Conservancy and OSI benefited while selling the state land at inflated prices?
These are just a few of the questions Preet Bharara ought to ask if he wants to learn who’s really running a corrupt New York for their own benefit and catch some really big fish. As he says, “stay tuned.”
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