Saturday, July 27, 2013

NYC Does Not Need Billy Thompson As Mayor

Billy Thompson should not, cannot, must not, Win another Election and Hold Public Office. He has a shady past which rivals other shady pasts, and I mean big names like Weiner and Spitzer, if not in sex scandal, financial scandal.

Hank Sheinkopf is working hard on his campaign. I will say no more, but re-post a prior post on my blog

Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson failed repeatedly as controller to intervene as payroll system CityTime ballooned in costs

The initial cost was $73 million, but that became more than $700 million as Thompson declined to audit the suspicious effort.

Comments (43)

Federal prosecutors called it a “fraudsters’ field day that lasted seven years.”

The effort to modernize the city’s payroll system — a project called CityTime — began with high hopes: a promise of huge savings by bringing the pen-and-paper timekeeping systems for city workers into the 21st century.

But from an initial price of $73 million, city spending ballooned to more than $700 million. Some $500 million of that money disappeared into a vast network of overseas bank accounts. Ten people would be indicted.

In his campaign for mayor, Democrat Bill Thompson touts his eight years as “the city’s top financial watchdog.” But a Daily News investigation has found that Thompson repeatedly failed to intervene as the CityTime scandal unfolded on his watch as controller.

His top lieutenants were told repeatedly about the soaring costs — and were warned that CityTime consultants had racked up tens of thousands of dollars in paychecks for work they didn’t perform.

Yet, of the 626 audits Thompson’s office conducted in his eight years as controller, none looked at CityTime.

“We just kept giving (CityTime) increases, and there was no limit to it. It was so obvious it was a runaway train,” a former auditor in the controller's office, who asked not to be identified, told The News.


“What needed to happen was that somebody needed to do an overall assessment to see where the money is going.”

Thompson spokesman John Collins acknowledged that Thompson could have done more — but Collins said that others, including the mayor, City Council and Budget Director Mark Page, bear responsibility, too.

Collins noted that Thompson met with Page “more than once to warn the administration about possible problems in this contract, and had assurances that those issues would be addressed."

The Office of Payroll Administration, a hybrid agency of the mayor’s and controller’s offices, oversaw the CityTime project. The OPA, in turn, was overseen by a two-person board — one representing the mayor, the other the controller.

In 2002, when Thompson took office as controller, OPA expected CityTime would cost $73 million.

But it soon became clear that the project’s software couldn’t handle the myriad payroll practices used by 81 city agencies, and costs began to rise.
Within a year, OPA requested a contract modification to $100 million

  Reddy and Padma Allen


The controller must sign off on all modifications, and the insider said Thompson was warned to reject the price hike until he got a clear idea of where the project was going.
Yet, Thompson signed off on that amendment.
As costs grew, Thompson’s top deputies were continuously briefed on the issue, through the controller’s representative on the OPA board.

The insider said OPA would always win approval to “modify” the contract from the controller without explaining the escalating costs.

“The (OPA) guy would come in. He didn’t know what the overall price was. He would just ask for increases that would get him six months down the road,” the insider said.

OPA’s former director, Joel Bondy, acknowledged in testimony to the City Council that Thompson’s office privately had “concerns” about the project as far back as 2005.

“There was concern about the fact that this program had gone on for years and that the costs were going up, and they wanted to know what was it really going to cost and how long was it really going to take?”


Yet, within a year, Thompson approved another amendment, hiking the cost to $244 million, then another in 2007, to bring it to $349 million. In all, the controller signed off on seven such authorizations.
In July 2008, evidence of fraud emerged. OPA audited the time sheets of 31 consultants who had been terminated the previous year.

The audit — which has never been released — found nine instances of consultants drawing paychecks weeks after they stopped working.

City investigators later calculated the city was ripped off for $145,000 in the scheme.

Thompson’s office knew of this audit but did not commit to taking a look at the troubled project, a move that might have uncovered what would emerge as corruption on a grand scale.

Instead, the evidence of fraud discovered by the internal OPA audit remained secret.

A union leader, Jon Forster, of the Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375, met with two Thompson deputies in the controller’s office to voice his alarm. Forster brought reams of documents to argue that millions of taxpayer dollars spent on CityTime were disappearing, he recalled.

Former Executive Director of the Office of Payroll Administration Joel Bondy admitted in testimony that Thompson's office privately had concerns about CityTime as far back as 2005.


He said he was told, “It’s a very huge and complicated issue, so if I could narrow it down for them and just take a chunk of that, they would be open to that.”

Mike Bloomberg

“In the end,” he said, “there was no audit.”

The lack of oversight became an issue at a Council hearing on CityTime on Dec. 18, 2009. Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn) asked Bondy, “Has the controller performed any audits?”

When Bondy said, “No,” James asked, “No audits at all? . . . So, basically, the only assessment was done internally, by the administration?”

Bondy replied, “Yes.”

Thompson left office 13 days later after losing the 2009 mayoral race. His successor as controller, John Liu, began investigating CityTime.

In September 2010, Liu’s audit revealed that a stunning lack of oversight allowed the CityTime contract to careen out of control. Liu called it a “money pit.”


Three months later, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced criminal charges against CityTime consultants who were hired to oversee putting the project into effect. They were accused of manipulating the city into paying out contracts to businesses that they controlled and siphoning off some of that money for themselves.

Prosecutors noted the smoking gun that could have halted the fiasco two years earlier — the 2008 OPA audit that Thompson had seen, but the public had not.

The audit said flatly:

“This situation should not have occurred.”

A look at the CityTime scandal:

Jan. 1, 2002 William Thompson’s first day as controller. CityTime’s cost: $73 million


December 2002 Thompson approves CityTime contract amendment, price rises to $100M.

February 2004 CityTime amendment approved by Thompson — now it’s $114M.

2006 Thompson approves CityTime amendment, hiking price to $244M.

2007 Thompson approves CityTime amendment, rising price to $349M.

July 1, 2009 Thompson approves another amendment. Price now $628M.

Dec. 31, 2009 Thompson’s last day as controller. No audit of CityTime completed during his tenure.

Sept. 28, 2010 Thompson’s successor, John Liu, audits CityTime, finds OPA’s “mismanagement” of oversight likely resulted in CityTime’s bloated costs.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Three Top "Ethics" Lawyers - Steven Zayas, Elizabeth Devane, and Peter Torncello - Are Pushed Out of Albany's CPS

re-posted from  


Posted: 24 Jul 2013 05:49 PM PDT

Unethical "Ethics" Lawyers Get Axed

Three top so-called "ethics" lawyers, based in Albany, have been pushed out.  Two staff attorneys, Steven Zayas and Elizabeth Devane, and their boss Peter Torncello, chief counsel for the Committee on Professional Standards- the attorney "ethics" committee for the Appellate Division, Third Department.
A New York Law Journal article by Joel Stashenko, "Chief, Two Lawyers Resign From 3rd Dept. Disciplinary Panel," published on July 10, 2013, quotes 3rd Department clerk Robert Mayberger as saying Sherrill Spatz, the NY State court system's "inspector general" is investigating. (To date, no one has been able to determine exactly what an "inspector general investigation" is.)

The official cover-up line, crafted by New York's Unified Court System, is that the firing had something to do with "inaccurate time sheets by the lawyers."  Not surprising, insiders say there's a lot more to the story.  

The 3rd Department Presiding Judge Karen Peters is to be applauded for taking decisive action to get rid of unethical ethics lawyers.

The recent unethical antics by those charged with overseeing the ethics of others unearths fond memories of The 3 Stooges of Manhattan's attorney ethics committee: Alan W. FriedbergSherry K. Cohen and Thomas J. Cahill.  Not much ethics, but a lot of laughs, to be sure. See, "Animal House on 2nd Floor at 61 Broadway - Double Secret Probation"

Not to be outdone with ethical absurdities, the Commission on Judicial Conduct ("CJC") re-hired Alan Friedberg -See, "Disaster Hits New York Statewide Judicial Ethics"

Alan Friedberg had been involved with CJC Chief Counsel Robert Tembeckjian's Bronx Money Grab:

Top Judicial 'Ethics' Lawyer Tembeckjian Settles His Lack-of-Sex Lawsuit


According to the wife of New York State's Commission on Judicial Conduct (the "CJC") Chief Counsel, the story involves the lack of sex to the top attorney at the state agency that oversees the ethics of all New York State judges.  Robert Tembeckjian's wife, New York Daily News reporter Barbara Ross, also says that the ordeal began near a Pizzeria Uno Restaurant and involved "filthy, black, slippery grease."
The lawsuit, Barbata Ross and Robert Tembeckjian v. Betty G. Reader Revocable Trust, et al., , was filed on July 5, 2007 in The New York Supreme Court in the Bronx (Index #17038-07). The additional defendants included Emigrant Business Credit Corporation, Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp; Individually and d/b/a Uno Chicago Grill, Pizzeria Uno Corporation, Individually and d/b/a Uno Chicago Grill, and NJC Carting Corporation, Individually and d/b/a Nicholas J. Cicale Carting. The plaintiffs were represented by Edward A. Steinberg of Leav & Steinberg, LLP with offices at 120 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, New York 10271. While the incident occurred in Manhattan, where the Tembeckjians live, the original complaint indicates that one defendant, NJC Carting Corporation, had an address at 2847 Dudley Avenue in the Bronx.  According to a source, the case settled in April of 2012.

The legal action, according to Ross and Tembeckjian, involved the lack of the defendants to adequately maintain the sidewalk near 391-395 Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Apparently, Barbara found herself walking in front of the Pizzeria Uno but then suddenly sitting in filthy, black, slippery grease. Barbara described what happened under oath, saying, "I can only liken it to a bagel overstuffed with cream cheese; when you squish it, the stuff comes out on the side. My shoe, my left shoe, the inside of my left shoe, had a ridge of grease, and my clothes were covered with it, my hands were covered with it."

Robert Tembeckjian Claimed Lack of Sex From Barbara Ross

Robert Tembeckjian alleged in the lawsuit that his sex life had been adversely affected on April 6, 2006 when his wife Barbara Ross was, "lawfully traversing over and upon the sidewalk in front of premises 395 Sixth Avenue in the County, City and State of New York." Bob also asserted that his wife "was caused to slip and fall at the aforesaid place as a result of the negligence of defendants…. and without any negligence on her part contributing thereto."  Co-plaintiff Robert Tembeckjian further claimed, "….loss of services, companionship, society, and consortium of plaintiff Barbara Ross that would normally flow between a husband and wife."  Under oath, Barbara was asked if there had been any disruption in the sexual relationship between her and her husband as a result of the accident. "Yes…. we were monks, for months….until the end of August when I began to feel better…."  The good news, for those interested in the top judicial 'ethics' counsel Tembeckjian's sexual happiness, is, according to Barbara, that their sexual relations resumed, "after my shoulder got really better, so probably November of '06."

The Tembeckjians Couldn't Take State-Paid Trip to Hawaii

When asked where she had traveled to since the accident, Barbara mentioned outside Syracuse and San Diego. The San Diego trip, Ms. Ross said, was "vacation slash business, last summer," adding, "[b]ut we lost a trip to Hawaii, because I couldn't deal with -- we lost a -- my kid is still not letting me live it down. A trip to Hawaii, which substantially would have been paid for by my husband's job because it was a business trip. I couldn't, I couldn't do the flight." Ms. Tembeckjian also indicated that there was an "out-of-pocket loss" not only for her family but for friends who where going to accompany her daughter on that trip.  It is unknown whether either of the Tembeckjians had been asked if they knew how many state judges and their families had been provided with taxpayer-paid trips to Hawaii.

Bob Too Busy Selectively Enforcing Judicial Ethics to Peel Potatoes

During her April 4, 2008 deposition, Barbara indicated that there were "many, many meals" that she couldn't prepare, so they had, "a lot of eat-out," adding, "If you can peel a potato with one hand, I'll tell you how you do it, you put it between your knees and it takes you 45 minutes to do three pounds of potatoes."  Ms. Tembeckjian also said she stopped using her maiden name Boylan, opting for Ross, about two years out of college because, "I worked for another nut named Boylan and I didn't want them to think I was related." After clarifying that Ross had been her prior married name, Barbara indicated that she had been the power of attorney for an Edith Asbury from about April of 2006.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Andrew Cuomo's Probe: Political Interference is Found

What Cuomo's probe found

Then-attorney general's investigation shows pattern of "political interference"
Updated 7:34 am, Monday, July 22, 2013
Then-Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo subpoenaed thousands of records during an intensive investigation of the New York State Police. Cuomo issued a 2009 report that found top State Police brass engaged in "political interference" but the probe fell short of proving there was a "rogue unit."
U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks claimed to be late for a dinner meeting with then-Gov. David Paterson.
The Queens congressman was behind the wheel of his Lexus, which was outfitted with tinted windows and an expired police placard in arm's reach. He flicked on police strobe lights as a trooper attempted to stop him along the Thruway just south of Albany. Meeks was driving at "triple digit" speeds and weaving through traffic. The trooper eventually backed off, believing the luxury sedan might be an undercover police vehicle.
"It's not pulling over," he told a dispatcher.
"It could be the president out on a little escapade in his Mercedes," the dispatcher said.
Minutes later, Meeks' grey Lexus was boxed in by three State Police cruisers as he exited the Thruway in Albany. One of the troopers, in an internal memo filed days after the March 2008 incident, said the congressman was "indignant." Another trooper said the congressman told them he was "driving a police vehicle" and "en route to 'pick up the governor.' "
Meeks could have been ticketed for speeding and unlawful use of emergency lights. Instead, aState Police sergeant let him go with a warning.
The encounter, which was never made public, is one of dozens of politically charged events revealed in documents gathered during a far-reaching investigation of the State Police by then-Attorney GeneralAndrew M. Cuomo.Cuomo's office declined to release the investigative files when he was attorney general — claiming the probe was active — but the records were recently made available to the Times Union in response to a Freedom of Information request filed last year with the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Although heavily redacted, the documents show extraordinary efforts by Cuomo's office to penetrate the inner dealings of the State Police and New York Power Authority, which has a history of political ties to governors, including supplying planes for their travel and jobs for their friends. Cuomo's 16-month investigation ended in September 2009 with an 11-page report that concluded that top State Police officials engaged in "political interference," but found no evidence of a "rogue unit" operating within the 4,500-member agency.
Cuomo's investigation was prompted by an April 2008 executive order by Gov. David Paterson, who became entangled in his own controversies involving his State Police protectors. Paterson publicly disclosed that he had an open marriage because he said he feared State Police operatives might disclose the information. He said his directive to Cuomo was also based on concerns that a cabal of state troopers was engaging in political espionage — an allegation unsustained by Cuomo's investigation.
Still, the records indicate that some governors, including George E. Pataki, bypassed State Police protocols and hand-selected the leaders of their own security details, leading to a series of political scandals and abuses of authority. They also reveal transgressions that were not included in the report: troopers using connections to gain promotions; running personal errands for governors; teaching governors' children to drive; walking dogs; and ferrying governors' children to social events.
The investigators also learned of unusual interactions between governors and the state troopers who protected them under a code of silence for anything they witnessed.
Eliot Spitzer demanded that troopers guarding him leave his hotel room floor at night — "Now we know why," a trooper assigned to Spitzer's security detail wrote in an email, referring to the governor's use of prostitutes; Pataki's wife, "Libby," had her cellphone paid for by the State Police, a former State Police major testified; Pataki's son, Ted, got "a pass" when a trooper stopped him for driving 91 mph on the Northway in 2007; and Thomas Doherty, who was a senior aide of Pataki's, drove a state-owned car outfitted with police lights and a siren, another trooper testified.
The files, packed in 65 bankers' boxes, reveal more serious abuses uncovered in the testimony and subpoenaed emails of dozens of troopers, NYPA officials and governors' aides who were interviewed for Cuomo's investigation. Still, the files' greatest details remain secret because Schneiderman refused to release transcripts of the more than 130 interviews, which were sworn testimonials compelled under threat of subpoena.
The witnesses included former State Police superintendents and numerous troopers assigned to protect governors. Zenia Mucha, a former top Pataki aide, and Chauncey Parker, who headed the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, were among those interviewed. Former Congressman John Sweeney and his wife, Gaia, testified about their 2005 domestic-violence incident and a decision by State Police officials, including former Superintendent Wayne Bennett, to "sanitize" the police report and remove any reference to domestic violence, in case it was leaked.
Cuomo's office subpoenaed the email and telephone databases of governors, the State Police, and the New York Power Authority. Investigators also were given records of State Police internal affairs probes dating to the 1990s and subpoenaed the motor vehicle records for anyone with state-issued legislative license plates, including members of theSenate and Assembly.
Around the time Cuomo's investigation began, a state lawmaker complained publicly that he believed troopers followed him when he drove to and from Albany. The investigation found no evidence lawmakers were singled out by State Police, though, and it's unclear that members of the Legislature were informed their motor vehicle records had been subpoenaed.
Fourteen months before the probe began, Lt. Walter Teppo, who was assigned to the governor's protection unit, sent an email to another trooper, Lisa Galbraith, warning what to expect as she joined the governor's detail.
"You are about to enter an environment of such backstabbing, lying and distrust it will make IAB (Internal Affairs Bureau) seem like the Mickey Mouse Club," Teppo wrote. "You will be intentionally lied to and deceived. You will be undermined and patronized ... Nothing about this place has to do with security, it has to do with 'him' and their (expletive) cloak and dagger agendas."
Teppo was referring to Daniel Wiese, a former State Police colonel who, as Pataki's hometown friend, rose rapidly through the ranks and headed the governor's security detail from 1994 to 2003. Wiese remained a controlling force in the detail even after leaving the State Police in 2003 when he was appointed inspector general for the New York Power Authority. At NYPA, personal tax filings from 2007 show that Wiese's gross income, including a State Police pension, topped $271,000.
The investigators drilled deeply into Wiese's life, using subpoenas to obtain his personal emails, EZ-Pass toll records, cellphone-call history and computer files, even reviewing the wedding guest list for Wiese's daughter. (Pataki and his wife, as well as Eliot and Silda Wall Spitzer, were among the listed attendees.)
The investigative files indicate that Wiese, who was allowed to keep his badge after retiring, wielded power within the State Police and influenced superintendents in their decisions, including promotions. Wiese had a direct line to the State Police's top brass, and logs subpoenaed by Cuomo's office indicate that Wiese left "too many messages to document" at the superintendent's office between 2003 and 2007.
In one instance, the files show, a trooper who was a close friend of Wiese's was suspended but not fired when he came to work intoxicated and with alcohol in his troop car. That incident followed an off-duty encounter when the trooper, who worked on the governor's security detail with Wiese, was let go by police in New Windsor when he was stopped for allegedly driving drunk.

Cuomo's office also accused Wiese of destroying evidence as the probe began, but that allegation was left unsustained. They said Wiese had wiped his BlackBerry on the day their investigation was revealed, but a computer analyst for NYPA told Cuomo's office he erased the data because the device was malfunctioning and needed to be reset.
Wiese did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
In the early weeks of the investigation, the attorney general's investigators interviewed a State Police major, Robin Benziger, who worked for Wiese on the governor's detail in 1994. Benziger told the investigators she was unaware of any political espionage by Wiese, whom she described as "insecure and paranoid." She said he lacked the experience to run the detail and had been given the job due to his connections to Pataki.
Wiese "brought in a number of his own people for the detail and used those guys to do his dirty work," according to a summary of Benziger's interview. "Benziger said she never ordered anyone to 'hawk down' a politician or knew of anyone that did. Benziger said that in the event that a trooper stopped a politician, they either called it in to a supervisor or made notes of the incident."
A 2008 traffic stop of an aide to state Sen. Joseph Griffo of Rome was among a series of traffic incidents examined by Cuomo's investigators. The aide, Brian Adey, who is still is?Griffo's director of operations, was ticketed for driving 73 mph in a construction zone along the Thruway while workers were present. Court records indicate that Adey pleaded guilty to a "parking violation" and paid a $150 fine. Adey could not be reached for comment.
In May 2008, a month into the investigation, Cuomo received an email from Fredric U. Dicker, a state editor for the New York Post who had written articles critical of Wiese. In the email, Dicker detailed why he believed Wiese, whom he referred to as "Danny," had been illegally hired by the New York Power Authority. The email was sent to Cuomo's private BlackBerry email address. Dicker also criticized Wiese's pension waiver, known as a 211, that allowed him to collect a salary and State Police pension.
Cuomo forwarded the email to Ellen Biben, one of his top assistant attorney generals leading the investigation. "Also, forward all of the past ones like this to Sharon. Do ustill have them," Cuomo wrote. He was referring to Sharon L. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who led the attorney general's investigation.
Steven M. Cohen, who was Cuomo's chief of staff as attorney general, on Friday characterized Dicker's email as part of a broad effort to obtain intelligence from "individuals familiar with Albany, credible information pertaining to any improper political influence infecting the State Police. This email in question, and every email we received containing tips or information related to the probe, was sent to our team for review."
Another email sent to McCarthy raised questions about whether Wiese may have been a "protector" of a politically connected owner of a Putnam County towing company owner. The email was sent by Cohen, who last week said he could not recall sending it or where the information originated.
"After Pataki got elected (the towing company) did not have the NYS Thruway service contract, he lost it to another firm, (the towing company) suddenly got the Thruway back," the email stated. "(The towing company owner) was able to fix anything through Weiss (sic) and Pataki, he also had another ex-employee in Pataki's private service to connect with."
Cohen expressed surprise that unsubstantiated information would be released to the public, but confirmed that he referred the email to McCarthy and her team. Cohen said the investigators concluded the information was without basis.
Yet It wasn't the only account in the Attorney General's files about troopers allegedly playing favorites with towing companies.
The files also contained a letter from Sean Brooks, who owns a Sullivan County towing company, outlining how troopers in Liberty removed his company from a towing call-list used by State Police. Brooks accused specific troopers of using a favored company, and not his, because of personal connections and favors the company may have done for the troopers.
In an interview last week, Brooks said nothing was ever done. He said State Police had briefly reinstated his company, but quickly removed him again after he met with internal affairs investigators in Poughkeepsie.
"Before I got back (home) I was off the list again," Brooks said. "They took me off for nine years. I probably spent $300,000 in attorneys fees. ... The court ruled it's their list and they can do whatever they want."
Brooks said the Attorney General's office represented the State Police in his lawsuit and that no one from Cuomo's office contacted him during the 2009 investigation.
Coming Monday: The Cuomo investigation examined NYPA planes, Spitzer's prostitution scandal, the suicide of a trooper and "political interference" for then-U.S. Rep. John Sweeney.  518-454-5547  @blyonswriter


"The Prisoner's Dilemma" is Tested and Comes Up Short

They Finally Tested The 'Prisoner's Dilemma' On Actual Prisoners — And The Results Were Not What You Would Expect


The “prisoner’s dilemma” is a familiar concept to just about anybody that took Econ 101.

The basic version goes like this. Two criminals are arrested, but police can’t convict either on the primary charge, so they plan to sentence them to a year in jail on a lesser charge. Each of the prisoners, who can’t communicate with each other, are given the option of testifying against their partner. If they testify, and their partner remains silent, the partner gets 3 years and they go free. If they both testify, both get two. If both remain silent, they each get one. 
In game theory, betraying your partner, or “defecting” is always the dominant strategy as it always has a slightly higher payoff in a simultaneous game. It’s what’s known as a “Nash Equilibrium,” after Nobel Prize winning mathematician and A Beautiful Mind subject John Nash.
In sequential games, where players know each other’s previous behaviour and have the opportunity to punish each other, defection is the dominant strategy as well.  
However, on a Pareto basis, the best outcome for both players is mutual cooperation.
Yet no one’s ever actually run the experiment on real prisoners before, until two University of Hamburg economists tried it out in a recent study comparing the behaviour of inmates and students. 
Surprisingly, for the classic version of the game, prisoners were far more cooperative  than expected.
Menusch Khadjavi and Andreas Lange put the famous game to the test for the first time ever, putting a group of prisoners in Lower Saxony’s primary women’s prison, as well as students through both simultaneous and sequential versions of the game. 
The payoffs obviously weren’t years off sentences, but euros for students, and the equivalent value in coffee or cigarettes for prisoners. 
They expected, building off of game theory and behavioural economic research that show humans are more cooperative than the purely rational model that economists traditionally use, that there would be a fair amount of first-mover cooperation, even in the simultaneous simulation where there’s no way to react to the other player’s decisions. 
And even in the sequential game, where you get a higher payoff for betraying a cooperative first mover, a fair amount will still reciprocate. 
As for the difference between student and prisoner behaviour, you’d expect that a prison population might be more jaded and distrustful, and therefore more likely to defect. 
The results went exactly the other way for the simultaneous game, only 37% of students cooperate. Inmates cooperated 56% of the time.
On a pair basis, only 13% of student pairs managed to get the best mutual outcome and cooperate, whereas 30% of prisoners do. 
In the sequential game, way more students (63%) cooperate, so the mutual cooperation rate skyrockets to 39%. For prisoners, it remains about the same.
What’s interesting is that the simultaneous game requires far more blind trust out from both parties, and you don’t have a chance to retaliate or make up for being betrayed later. Yet prisoners are still significantly more cooperative in that scenario. 
Obviously the payoffs aren’t as serious as a year or three of your life, but the paper still demonstrates that prisoners aren’t necessarily as calculating, self-interested, and un-trusting as you might expect, and as behavioural economists have argued for years, as mathematically interesting as Nash equilibrium might be, they don’t line up with real behaviour all that well.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Margarita Lopez and Emily Youssouf, Whose Jobs at NYCHA Were Eliminated, Keep Getting Their $187,000 Salaries

NYCHA board members keep drawing six-figure pay — for their eliminated jobs

This week, NYCHA board members Margarita Lopez and Emily Youssouf — who each made $187,000 last year — were still on the New York City payroll, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office confirmed.

Margarita Lopez
Two weeks ago, a state law went into effect terminating the jobs of the two full-time New York City Housing Authority board members who make six figures and are assigned their own drivers.
Somehow, they didn’t go away.
This week, NYCHA board members Margarita Lopez and Emily Youssouf — who each made $187,000 last year — were still on the city payroll, the mayor’s office confirmed.
It remains to be seen what this means for the board, now supposed to be made up of a salaried chairman and six volunteers — or whether the board even legally exists in its present form.
Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Keith Wright (D-Harlem) who sponsored the bill that restructured the board, was puzzled at Lopez and Youssouf’s continuing presence.

“If the legislation says it’s supposed to go into effect immediately, it should go into effect immediately,” he said. “I can only presume that maybe Mr. [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg is paying these board members out of some other pot of money.”
The mayor is to appoint the new seven-member board, but as of this week, Bloomberg had not done so, and the old board continues to run the authority.

It includes Lopez; Youssouf; Chairman John Rhea, who made $220,000 last year; and one volunteer tenant representative, Victor Gonzalez.

Judith Goldiner of the Legal Aid Society questioned whether the current board even has a quorum to vote on anything. A seven-member board would require at least four votes, and at NYCHA’s regular meeting yesterday, only three board members voted.

She noted that the board is required by law to oversee an annual meeting next week: “The board is required to oversee that and there is no board. How is that going that to work? How can they do anything? I don’t see how legally they do any of it.”

Emily Youssouf

Bloomberg says the full-timers can stay because state law allows board members whose terms have expired to stay on. But the two full-timers’ terms did not expire — their positions were abolished July 3 when the law went into effect.
On Wednesday neither the mayor nor NYCHA would reveal the current job titles or whether they’re still assigned full-time drivers.
Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg, said, “The current board members are continuing to serve until we appoint new members, which will happen soon. Our proposal to reform the NYCHA board is about instituting best practices and proper governance over the long-term.”
On Wednesday after voting on several items at the regular meeting, Lopez and Youssouf both declined to comment.
Lopez ran out of the meeting when a reporter asked her why she was continuing to collect a city salary when her job had been eliminated July 3.