Here is the complete copy of Chevron’s Ethics Complaint against NY Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, which Chevron filed in New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
Chevron’s timing on this complaint is curious. It comes on the heels of the US Supreme Court’s refusal in October 2012 to grant Chevron’s Cert Petition after the Second Circuit’s Order vacating the district court’s decision and entry of a preliminary worldwide injunction against enforcement of an $18 billion Ecuadorean judgment against the company. (Here is a NYT summary of the case if you don’t have the time to read the district court’s 131 decision).
To be clear, as this Forbes article reports, the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Chevron’s appeal is not a decision on the merits, and does not foreclose the relief that Chevron ultimately seeks (i.e., a ruling that the Ecuadorean judgment is unenforceable in the US). Nor does the Second Circuit’s ruling vacating the district court’s injunction take issue with the district court’s conclusions of fact that the Ecuadorean judgment was likely procured by the plaintiff’s fraudulent conduct. It merely ruled that until the plaintiffs actually attempt to enforce the judgment in this country, Chevron can’t get an injunction under a particular statute.
Of course, DiNapoli claims that Chevron’s Ethics Complaint is “Baseless”. But it is difficult to understand why he has publicly urged Chevron to settle the case when a Federal District Court Judge has (along with many other courts, apparently) have ruled that there are serious questions as to whether the plaintiffs procured the Ecuadorean judgment by fraud and/or whether that judgment is enforceable given that Ecuadorean courts are notoriously corrupt. It doesn’t appear that DiNapoli has ever explained why he believes that Chevron should settle at this point, nor discussed the district court’s rulings with respect to the various frauds alleged.
Which brings us back to Chevron’s allegations that DiNapoli has criticized Chevron because the plaintiffs and plaintiffs’ lawyers in the case have contributed to his campaign and wined and dined his staff. In his public comments, DiNapoli has dodged the point, claiming that the Comptroller’s Office had taken the same position under Hevesi. That’s not exactly convincing, since Hevesi just got paroled after being convicted for pimping out the Comptroller’s Office to the highest bidders.
As the sole trustee of the State’s Pension Fund, DiNapoli is obligated to have a good reason. But it simply doesn’t make much sense for DiNapoli to criticize Chevron (and potentially depress its share price and also the value of the State Pension Fund’s investment in Chevron), particular in light of the allegations that the Ecuadorean judgment was procured by the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fraud. How does this help the beneficiaries of the State Pension System?