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Transparency for Thee, but Not for Me

By   /  March 6, 2017  /  No Comments

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Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti

When Glen Cove City Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti ran for re-election in 2015 on the Team Gallo (Glen Cove United) ticket, he supported “comprehensive conflict disclosure requirements for elected and appointed City officials.”  Now it seems that he believes in “transparency for thee, but not for me.”

Per multiple Freedom of Information Law (F.O.I.L.) requests, the City of Glen Cove confirmed that Spagnoletti failed to file a financial disclosure form.  He is the only member of the council who did not submit the documents as required by section 26-14 of the Glen Cove City Code.  The Glen Cove Board of Ethics may fine an offender a civil penalty up to $10,000 for “knowingly and willfully” failing to file the form.  The form, which is viewable here, asks for thorough financial information.   For example, Spagnoletti must state gifts he and his wife received that were greater than $1,000.  Certain real estate, income, and securities exceeding $1,000 must also be indicated on the form.

A reporting individual who knowingly and willfully fails to file an annual statement of financial disclosure or who knowingly and willfully with intent to deceive makes a false statement or gives information which such individual knows to be false on such statement of financial disclosure filed pursuant to this law shall be assessed a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000. Assessment of a civil penalty shall be made by the Board of Ethics with respect to persons subject to its jurisdiction. The Board of Ethics acting pursuant to the law may impose a civil penalty as aforesaid and said Board shall refer a violation to the appropriate prosecutor and upon such conviction, but only after such referral, such violation shall be punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. –City of Glen Cove Code § 26-16

Councilman Roderick Watson, who ran with Spagnoletti in 2015, stated that the council members were given a clear deadline at a pre-council meeting to submit the forms to the city clerk.  When asked for comment on enforcing Spagnoletti’s compliance with the law, Glen Cove City Attorney Charles McQuair deferred to the Ethics Board.  Spagnoletti refused to answer repeated requests for comment on this story.

As of now, the public is unaware of any potential conflict of interest between Spagnoletti, his wife, and the city.  The Ethics Board should hold him accountable.  The Beacon will update this story as it develops.

Update 5/23/2017: Per a response to another F.O.I.L. request, Spagnoletti finally submitted his financial disclosure form to the city.  His form is not available for viewing at this time as the Glen Cove Board of Ethics is currently reviewing it.  

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