FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 6
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Matthew Gorton (212) 442-1500
Public Integrity is the fourth topic to be considered by the Commission during its month-long series of Issue ForumQs held in the five boroughs
The New York City Charter Revision Commission will hold the fourth of five “Issue Forums” this Wednesday in Manhattan, focusing on issues related to public integrity. Addressing the Commission will be five experts: Mark Davies, Executive Director of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board; Amy Loprest, Executive Director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board; Richard Rifkin, Special Counsel to the New York State Bar Association; Benito Romano, partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; and Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation, Columbia University Law School.
At Wednesday’s forum, the Commission will invite testimony from the expert panel and will accept public comment on the issue. Those wishing to testify may begin signing up one half-hour prior to the start of the forum. Anyone wishing to testify will be given the opportunity to do so regardless of arrival time.
The forum is open to the public and will be streamed live via webcast through the Commission’s website. Comments to the Commission can be submitted through the Commission website by selecting “Contact the Commission” or by emailing the Commission.
Executive Director, New York City Conflicts of Interest Board
Mark Davies has served as Executive Director of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board since 1994. He previously served as Executive Director of the New York State Temporary State Commission on Local Government Ethics and as a Deputy Counsel to the New York State Commission on Government Integrity and prior to that as a full-time law professor and in private practice, specializing in municipal law and litigation. A graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School, he is the co-chair of the Government Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Municipal Law Section and is a member of the Section’s Executive Committee. He also serves on the board of directors of Global Integrity and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham Law School, where he teaches New York Practice. He has lectured extensively on ethics and has authored numerous publications, including chapters for Ethics, Lawyers and the Public Sector (ABA 2008), Ethics and Law Enforcement: Toward Global Guidelines (Praeger 2000), and Ethics in Government – The Public Trust: A Two-Way Street (NYSBA 2002). He is also the lead author of New York Civil Appellate Practice (West 2008).
Executive Director, New York City Campaign Finance Board
Amy M. Loprest was named Executive Director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board in September 2006. Ms. Loprest had served as the Board’s Assistant Executive Director since 2004, and before that held a number of key positions at the CFB, including Chief of the Candidate Services Unit and Deputy General Counsel. Ms. Loprest has been a speaker and participant at forums nationally, as well as internationally, on campaign finance issues and is the author of a report for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, an international nonprofit organization that supports the building of democratic societies, titled Transparent Public Funding in Nigeria. Ms. Loprest received her B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and graduated cum laude from Fordham University School of Law where she was a Stein Public Interest Law Scholar and a member of the Fordham International Law Journal. Ms. Loprest is a member of the Order of the Coif, clerked for the Honorable Denise Cote, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and is an adjunct professor of Political Science at Fordham University.
Special Counsel, New York State Bar Association
Richard Rifkin is Special Counsel to the New York State Bar Association. He was born in Brooklyn and attended New York City public schools. In 1962 he received a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Washington and Jefferson College, having been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and in 1965, was awarded an LL.B. degree from Yale Law School.
Mr. Rifkin was admitted to the Bar and entered into the private practice of law in 1966. From 1970 to 1973, he served during the session as staff counsel to Assemblyman Leonard Stavisky. He was appointed Counsel to the Bronx Borough President in 1973. In 1979, Attorney General Abrams appointed Mr. Rifkin Deputy First Assistant Attorney General; and in 1984, Counsel to the Attorney General; and in 1991, First Assistant Attorney General. From 1994 to 1999, Mr. Rifkin served as Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission. He was appointed in 1999 by Attorney General Spitzer as Deputy Attorney General for the office's State Counsel Division. In 2007, he was appointed Special Counsel to the governor where he remained until June, 2008, when he assumed his current position at the New York State Bar Association.
Since 1984, Mr. Rifkin has served as a member of the Chief Administrative Judge's Advisory Committee on Civil Practice. He has served on various committees of the New York City Bar Association and New York State Bar Association, and was, for two terms, a member of the House of Delegates of the latter.
Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Benito Romano is a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, in their litigation practice group, based in New York. He focuses on white collar defense, including SEC and other regulatory enforcement, and related complex civil litigation. For the past 20 years he has been a partner and the leader of the white collar defense practice group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Romano has represented public companies, board committees and individual officers in internal investigations and in a wide variety of criminal and regulatory investigations, prosecutions and related civil litigations, including recently concluded investigations of price fixing in the airline industry by the U.S. Department of Justice, options backdating, fraud in the auctions rate market and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers by the SEC as well as the criminal trial of Conrad Black.
Before returning to private practice in 1989, Romano served as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, representing the United States in all criminal and civil court proceedings in Manhattan and surrounding northern counties. He supervised the work of the Criminal and Civil Divisions of his office. Prior to assuming the position of United States Attorney, and the preceding two years in private practice, Benito was an Assistant United States Attorney, and served in a variety of supervisory and executive positions in that office, including Chief of Public Corruption, Chief Appellate Attorney, Executive Assistant United States Attorney and Associate United States Attorney. Romano also served on the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board.
Benito earned his B.A. from New York University in 1972 and his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1976.
Professor, Columbia University Law School
Richard Briffault is the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, where he is also Vice Dean and Director of Columbia’s Legislative Drafting Research Fund. Briffault’s principal areas of lecturing and publication are election law, state and local government law, and property law. He joined the faculty of Columbia in 1983, and has served on or advised as a consultant for several major commissions of the City of New York, including: Mayor Koch’s Early Childhood Education Commission (1985-86); Governor Cuomo’s Advisory Commission on Liability Insurance (1986); the New York City Charter Revision Commission (1987-89); the New York City Real Property Tax Reform Commission (1993); the New York State Commission on Constitutional Revision (1993-94); and the Special Commission on Campaign Finance Reform of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (1998-2000).
Briffault is the author of multiple law review articles regarding campaign finance law and federalism. He is also the author of the book, Balancing Acts: The Reality Behind State Balanced Budget Requirements. Previously, Briffault worked as an assistant counsel to the Governor of the State of New York (1980-82) and as an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (1978-80). He received his Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and his law degree from Harvard Law School.