Report: Westchester DA And JCOPE Chairwoman Under Her Own Ethics Investigation

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Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, who heads the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, has found herself in her own ethics probe, the New York Post reported today.

The report claims that the county’s Department of Social Services is looking into whether DiFiore, a Democrat tapped by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year to head JCOPE, used her influence to her family’s live-in housekeeper food stamps, Medicaid benefits and cash assistance.

DiFiore is the chairwoman of JCOPE — the state agency that is tasked with investigating ethics breaches in state government.

Dhyalma Vazquez, a county anti-fraud investigator who also chairs the Yonkers Independence Party, alleged in an a June 30, 2010 e-mail to the DSS Comissioner that DiFiore’s housekeeper, Marina Buchanan, should not have received the benefits, the Post reported.

Here’s more from the Journal News on the Post’s report:

The Post states it obtained several leaked documents. Vazquez claimed that DiFiore, a Democrat, had Buchanan’s case file improperly reopened after the Yonkers branch of DSS denied benefits.

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for DiFiore’s office, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

County spokeswoman Donna Green would not comment on the Post story, she said, “even to confirm any of the particulars, because if somebody is a social service client, that’s a confidential piece of information. And law enforcement investigations, if one existed is also confidential.”

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14 Comments

  1. Yonkers Independent on

    Are you kidding me?!?!

    Dhyalma Vazquez, a county anti-fraud investigator who also chairs the Yonkers Independence Party…………….what qualifies Dhyalma for THAT job?!?!

    Dhyalma is just another political tool trying to make something of nothing…………

    Maybe it is Dhyalma Vazquez who should be investigated……………..

  2. are you kidding on

    someone should look into the entire independence party and why any of its leaders
    have government jobs…they also should inquire whether the independence party chairman
    is still working for the state senate democratic committee and if he is how either party
    can justify employing the chairman of one political party by the other….it should also be
    noted that difiore refused to accept the independence line last time around…what goes
    with accepting these minor party lines….what do you owe them in return for the favor?

  3. Such nonsense! on

    Rumor is that Dhyalma is about to get fired.

    Makes sense that she set herself up as some kind of crusader to make an end-run around that move by the County

  4. Social Services will ask a few employees if they had anything to do with this, they will all say ‘no,’ and that will be the end of their “investigation.” Furthermore, logic tells us that anyone who is appointed to an ethics committee or employed as an Inspector General should have no direct affiliation with any political party.

  5. are you kidding on

    the premise of the post article is wrong…the DA didn’t receive a thing and her housekeeper
    got whatever she got as the result of the social services department determination…why
    is that a story…as it turns out the housekeeper has MS…and her credit line as reported
    by the post was not hers but her employers to buy groceries with…just a name on a card
    like you would put your kids name on your own amex card…its time to pull the curtain back
    on the workings of the independence party and the independence club….where does the money
    come from and what is it spent on….

  6. Give me a break! on

    Why in the world is this news?

    Sounds like a very unhappy political operative lashing out at a very fair, well-regarded, highly principled and straight-shooting prosector.

  7. are you kidding on

    this is absolutely not news.but that has never been a consideration in writing stories by
    the NY post..they love to go with headlines that suggest wrongdoing even when there is
    none…in this case the decision to allow the person to get benefits was made by the department
    of social services…whether or not she was or was not rejected once twice or twenty times
    before is irrelevant if she finally met the standard necessary to receive assistance…but the
    real story is that there was an intentional leak by a county employee of private information
    of the housekeeper that is a striking violation of the law…who leaked it and why..should be
    the story

  8. Confidential??? on

    An investigation must be launched immediately into who leaked private DSS information on this woman with MS. Applications for Public Assistance, in whatever form it takes is confidential.

    The leak is a violation of the law.

    Enough said.

  9. whats up, Doc? on

    this “leak” was a preemptive move by the IP. they know the hammer is coming down on them. they want to make it look like its politically motivated, revenge by Janet etc., so they try to smear her. But it won’t be enough to save you from the Feds. say hi to Uncle Vinny, Tricky Nicky, Guy V., et. al

  10. The “ethics committee” accross in places of similar size and scope of urinals in Toilets ( based on observation,facts, and practices ) on-going conducts are apparently a HOAX ! … It’s amazingly shocking to see them at Town Halls! It’s all a coverup! 2+2 doesn’t adds in NY!

    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller

  11. just the facts on

    habibhasan…have you nothing better to do than to attempt to end every thread without
    a constructive comment?

  12. The Mad Hatter on

    He seems perfectly sensible to me. And his vote cancels out yours. :-)