He Shot the Sheriff

Spitzer guns down Albany's real clean-up man

So how come a smart guy like Spitzer didn't decide to give himself a leg up in the ethics wars by enlisting someone considered too independent to be corralled? You won't find out from the public comments of the governor's advisers.

"David Grandeau has stood for ethics and integrity," says Richard Emery, the civil liberties attorney and Spitzer adviser. "He was a lone voice in Albany for a long time."

John Feerick, the former Fordham Law dean who headed a prominent 1980s panel on government ethics for Governor Mario Cuomo—and who has been tapped by Spitzer to serve as chairman of the new integrity commission—calls Grandeau "very important to the transition," adding that his designee for the new executive director of the integrity commission, a veteran litigator named Herbert Teitelbaum, was already drawing on Grandeau's knowledge.

Privately, Spitzer's crew has a different spin. "David Grandeau was the greatest friend to journalists in the history of Albany," says one gubernatorial pal. "He played a very dangerous game, but his constituency has always been the media, as opposed to even his own board. He used his leverage to get good stories out there to perpetuate his own interests."

What? A public official using the media? No wonder Eliot Spitzer doesn't want anything to do with him. The man who enjoyed the greatest press in a generation of attorneys general—thanks in no small part to the uncanny way the newspapers got the inside story of his own investigations—could never run the risk of having loose lips on his team.

And besides: There's room for only one sheriff in town.

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