From the NY Times:
Ever since the New York City Charter was revised in 1989, public officials have been warned about trying to parlay their official positions into personal gain. And the powerful, if largely anonymous, body that keeps those officials in line, using the threat of hefty fines and even job termination, is the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.
But even as they scrutinize the ethics of others, several board members, all five of whom were appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, have ties to city funding and the mayor’s fortune that raise questions about their own potential conflicts.
One member, Monica Blum, testified at a recent City Council hearing in favor of a project that would benefit the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District, a group for which she serves as president.
Another member, Angela Mariana Freyre, was once a registered lobbyist who, city records show, tried to influence both the mayor’s office and the City Council while on the board — even though the City Charter forbids that.
Several members — including the newest one, Burton Lehman, a former general counsel at the real estate developer Tishman Speyer — sit on the boards of nonprofit groups that have received city contracts or have accepted charitable money from Mr. Bloomberg.
Such affiliations are legal. But when it comes to government ethics, perception is often as important as reality, and watchdog groups say the board members, all lawyers, are doing a poor job of proving that they are independent and not beholden to the mayor’s wallet.
Thompson has shown concern.