City conflict of interest officials yesterday rendered their verdict on the misdeeds of the former top executive at the city’s own television station.
The penalty for ex-NYC TV general manager Arick Wierson who copped to using city workers for his many personal computer needs and heavily co-mingling his private movie business with his city work? A $5,000 fine will cover it, officials ruled in this latest episode of Justice in the Bloomberg Era.
As it happens, Wierson was a former Bloomberg campaign aide whose wife was a friend of the mayor who worked at Bloomberg LP, which may be one reason why Wierson got mixed up between the private and public aspects of his life.
In a five-page letter to the board that was released yesterday, Wierson said that since his work and personal life so overlapped, “it did not occur to me” that there was anything wrong with giving his personal credit card to a city worker and dispatching said worker down to the Mac Store in SoHo to buy a couple of MacBooks and accompanying software. He also didn’t see anything amiss in having the same said worker make monthly trips to Wierson’s Brooklyn home for the sole purpose of working on his personal computer equipment, or having the hapless aide buy wireless cards and configure his personal BlackBerry — all on city time.
Wierson said he also had the best of intentions when he had city technical workers install sophisticated remote TV monitoring equipment in his home. He needed it, he said, because he couldn’t access one of NYC-TV’s channels from his office in the Municipal Building. As it happened, the system didn’t work for bringing in the city channel, so he went ahead and used it for his own personal viewing needs.
There were a few other violations of city rules that Wierson acknowledged, most of them stemming from his ambitious efforts to recruit members of his city staff to help him in his private movie business. Former NYC-TV employees Andrew Atiya, Harry Hunkele, Roland LeBreton, and Nomi Roher all received warning letters for their work with Wierson on a large-scale international documentary film that was somehow made while Wierson was allegedly running NYC-TV.
The antics at NYC-TV were the subject of a July cover story in the Voice. Since then, Wierson’s former top finance officer at the station has pleaded guilty to stealing $40,000. Trevor Scotland said he was able to pull off his heist because Wierson was never around and even gave him permission to sign the boss’s name to any documents he required.
Wierson signed his own five-page mea culpa with the conflicts board back in early October, weeks before Bloomberg’s squeaker of a victory in November’s mayoral election. COIB chairman Steve Rosenfeld didn’t get around to signing off on the board’s behalf until yesterday. That’s the average speed for these matters, a board official said yesterday when asked about the time gap. Politics had nothing to do with it.