Following a marathon meeting behind closed doors, a spokesman for the newly minted state ethics board said the Joint Commission on Public Ethics remains supportive of Janet DiFiore as the board’s chairwoman.
DiFiore, the Westchester County district attorney, found herself at the center of reports concerning an investigation into her live-in housekeeper and how the housekeeper was afforded low-income benefits like food stamps.
“We have absolutely no information that would impact her role here, and the commission remains fully committed to the district attorney as chair,” John Milgrim, the JCOPE spokesman, said following the meeting.
JCOPE met for a 26-minute public session today before going into executive session for close to four hours. Reporters sat in the lobby of JCOPE headquarters while the commissioners sat in a meeting room, where they watched DiFiore exit the room for well over an hour while the meeting continued.
Following the meeting, DiFiore briefly spoke to reporters, where she was asked if she had arranged for her housekeeper to receive the benefits.
“Look, I have made a statement on this,” DiFiore said. “I have done nothing wrong on anyone’s behalf, let alone someone who was an employee for me. This is generated as a politically motivated attack by a political operative in Westchester County, and I’m just not going to speak about it any further.”
DiFiore was referring to Dhyalma Vazquez, a county anti-fraud investigator who also chairs the Yonkers Independence Party. Vazquez alleged in a June 30, 2010, email to the DSS comissioner that DiFiore’s housekeeper, Marina Buchanan, should not have received the benefits, according to a New York Post report.
Here’s a (brief) video of DiFiore speaking to reporters: