An Albany Whitewash

Pataki's Top Investigator Protects Everybody but Herself

In an article published six weeks ago questioning why Mauskopf never released her findings about these contracts ("Will Schumer Stand Up?"), Copeland told the Voice that he was sure she'd abandoned the probe. He said he was grilled extensively at the governor's office in Manhattan sometime last summer and that after the deposition, he got a call from an investigator about "minutiae." Saying that he got "the sense they were wrapping it up" in July or August, he decided they'd found no wrongdoing "because I haven't heard from them in so long."

Indeed, the report itself spells out that the most explosive and potentially criminal charge—the fabrication of a document by SUNY officials, ostensibly to try to cover up the fixed award of a contract to Copeland—was also fully probed by the summer. It notes that Ellen Biggane, the SUNY executive who admitted to creating a fake document, testified way back on July 12. Even though the IG has known about this admission for nine months, she is just now referring it to the D.A. and is finally making the findings public, compelling Biggane's belated dismissal.

It is anyone's guess whether Mauskopf would have ever released the report were it not for her troubled candidacy for U.S. Attorney. She only launched the probe last spring because of an extraordinary investigative series by Newsday (the Post and Daily News have yet to publish a word about this scandal, ostensibly because Newsday broke it, while the Times and upstate papers are giving it major coverage).

Mauskopf: Her scandal report is a scandal.
photo: Frances M. Roberts
Mauskopf: Her scandal report is a scandal.

Mauskopf is the governor's choice to be one of the top federal prosecutors in the land. She is, sadly, a reflection of his values. She was better off when all she could be accused of was a career of omission, never making a case against a top Pataki aide. This report is an act of commission, a whitewash with the brush squarely in her own hand, visible even from Schumer's Washington.

It will finish her always dubious nomination.

Research assistance: Annachieara Danieli, Jesse Goldstein, Martine Guerrier, Lauren Johnston, Peter G.H. Madsen, Jess Wisloski

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