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THOMAS M. WHALEN, III,


MAYOR, CITY OF
ALBANY, NEW YORK
BOBBS ACT - CORRUPTION
PUBLIC OFFICIALS
OO:AL
194C-187

On June 15, 1987, I I provided


the following information to SA DONALD H. JOHNSON of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation.

I a Etendance
Source adyj sed ~hat ~ told by I.
_ . who waf had
1n
I
at I i tha made
numerous palQf:~ :0 THOMAS WHAt,:N nye: the vrarso Source
stated that. _ _ _ ... _ ' he estimated
these payof 5 0 e In excess 0 SIX 19ures.
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THOMAS M. WHALEN, III,


MAYOR, CITY OF
ALBANY, NEW YORK
HOBBS ACT - CORRUPTION
PUBLIC OFFICIALS
OO:AL
194C-187

On May 8, 1987,1 l provided


the following information to SA DO~N~A~LD~~H~.~J~O~BN~SON of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Source advised that Albany Cityl
I would be willing to meet wi th the L,F"'B"'I~--
l
regarding recent assessments wit~iD the ctty
of Albany.
Source additionally advised thatL ,would be able to
provide a copy of all assessments which were increased in
the City of Albany. Source stated these assessments which
were increased were arbitrarily done with selected
individuals in mind as targets for re-assessment. Source
stated these assessments were not predicated necessarily on
increased values but moreover on personal and political
affiliations of the individuals involved.
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THOMAS M. WHALEN, III,


MAYOR, CITY OF
ALBANY, NEW YORK
HOBBS ACT - CORRUPTION
PUBLIC OFFICIALS
OO:AL
194C-187

On July 9, 1987, I 1 provided


the following information to SA DONALD B. JOBNSO~ of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Source advisedihat be ras tOld.b~Y:lIEani:~


had made a ~_~~~ payoff ~
a or, EN, III. Source stated t~~----------L,
that th 5 a 0 f wa h

~---,....,=~=~===~=,-,=,-=--dthe payoff occurred,-~.J


e ore WHALEN got out of the 39 North Pearl Street
property, which had been acquired by his law firm, COOPER,
IRVING, SAVAGE, WHALEN, NOLAN, and BELLER.
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THOMAS M. WHALEN, III,


MAYOR, CITY OF
ALBANY, NEW YORK
HOBBS ACT - CORRUPTION
PUBLIC OFFICIALS
OO:AL
194C-187

On JUly 29, 1987, I ~ provided


the following information to SA DONALD B. JOHNSON of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation.
~ I
....sso=I1.<r"'C"'A"""rdvised that
~as feeling'-a-'t-r-e-m-e-n-d"-'o"'u-s-'amount of
Lp~r~e~s"'s"'u"'r-e-7f-r-o-m-'t'h"'e-WHAL~~~E~N~Administrationwithin the City of
Albany as a result of current re-~~~es~~ents o~ selective
parcels within the C i t y . · w~e
currentlY inauiri~a as to I
was v u ith
the WHALEN Admini~trat;on wh;ch

BoureT additionally advised tha~, ~~c---


I J was currently undergoing some
serious financial p~Qb]em5r Source stated that certain
investments held byl had gone sour and he was
presently trying to raise capital to bail himself out.
Source advised that I
I I was very upset about the recent increases in
assessments on properties he owned. Source stated that
I Imay be in a position to assist the FBI in furthering
its invest! ation with res ect to ca tioned matter. Source
stated that Albany law
firm of gpOPER, IRVING and SAVAGE, w c was supposed to be
farmed out to the Albany law firm of RUTNIK and RUTNIK
because of the apparent conflicts of interest involving
THOMAS M. WHALEN, III as Mayor for the City of Albany and as
a senior partner in the Albany law firm of
and SAVA u

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THOMAS M. WHALEN, III,
MAYOR, CITY OF
ALBANY, NEW YORK
HOBBS ACT - CORRUPTION
PUBLIC OFFICIALS
OQ,AL
194C-187

On August 25, 1987,1 I


provided the following information to ~S~A~DO~N~ALD~~~H~.--JOHNSONof
the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

t at had indicated that certain


1n 1V uals hLa-r~e--e-n--s~1ngled out for property re-assessments
by Alban

estate t at
L",=,.-,,==-==-::-=-===o:-:=:::-==:-r-:=:! wasl=,---==:='
very upse W1t t e current City Administration, especially
as a result of public upro
area of Alban New York.

J
,-
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TBQMAS M. WHALEN III
MAYOR, CITY OF ALBANY, NEW YORK b2
HOBBS ACT CORRUPTION OF PUBLIC OFFICIAL b7D
OO,AL
194C-187

On 1/23/87IL-,ru;o"",,,,=..J1 provided the following


information to SA DONALD ~ JOHNSON Of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation.
Source advised that in 1987 it was given
procedure within the City of Albany to annually raise
assessments on downtown commercial properties. Source stated
that this procedure then generated legal work for specific
firms within the City of Albany as a result of clients
chattenging the increased assessments. This procedure,
according to source, was cal ted a certiary proceeding. Source
stated that a significant portion of business or billings
within COOPER, ERVING & SAVAGE was generated as a result of
certiary proceedings.
Source advised in 1983 even though COOPER,
ERVING & SAVAGE had been using backers supplied by JOSEPH
YAVONDITTE was in affect precluded from doing certiary work.
They precluded, according to source, as a result of the
apparent conflict of interest generated by senior partner,
THOMAS M. WHALEN III, being the Mayor for the City of Albany.
Source stated that upon becoming Mayor for the City of Albany
WHALEN discontinued arbitrary assessment increases within the
City of Albany. Source stated that it was his contention that
this procedure was discontinued because of the unfair
competitive advantage it would have given other firms.
• THOMAS M. WHALEN I I I
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MAYOR, CITY OF ALBANY, NEW YORK
HOBBS ACT CORRUPTION OF PUBLIC OFFICIAL
OO:AL
194C-187

On November 5, 1986,1 Iprovided the


following information to SA DONALD H~.-J:O==H~N~S~O~N~o~£~the Federal
Bureau of Investigation.
Source advised that THOMAS M. WHALEN III, as a
partner in the Albany law firm of COOPER, ERVING & SAVAGE,
received approximately $325 per month as a car allowance from
Albany law firm of COOPER, ERVING & SAVAGE during the year
1985. Source stated at the same WHALEN was serving as Mayor
for the City of Albany. Source advised, while Mayor of the
City of Albany, WHALEN received a free car from the City of
Albany.

Source advised that althoug.h conflict of


interests were frequently discussed within COOPER, ERVING &
SAVAGE he could recall no specific attempts to ever seek
ethical opini~ns either formally or informally. Source
. dv'

ew York State Bar AssociaL_t__o_D_'__1_fo1k£ Street, Albany,


New !ork. sorrce stated thar thel . the Ethics
Comm~ttee was
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I ~~-:L~1- ---J) ;L
..'
" - . ".r.t:L
~~l

G 1';:;1'
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FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
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3/9/87
or tfllnscrlpU.....'----'- _

On February 27, 1987,1 I


I I
39 North Pearl Street, Albany, New York,
voluntarily appeared at. 'the Albany office of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation. At ibis time
I I was accompanied by Att:orney . • I
of the si.\tlle address. At 'the outset of the :Lntexview
I j was advised of the ident.i'ty of ~tje j ntenrj:wing
Agent, and the purpose of the in1:erview. L _
thereafter provided the following information:

I
the A]himS~law
~
fi:
COOPER, ERVXNG &
_advised tbis ·£irm I
~AVAGEQ=1
:EE'
T

subsequen y merg .1nt.o a new firm named COOPER, ERVING,


SWAGE .. NOLAN and HELLER in January of 1987 ..
ICOOPER,vnG
st:a'ted a senior partner in the firm of
SAVAGE was Albany Mayor THOMAS ML,,_ _..,
&

r
'W'lffiTiIW, I I I . KQRNSTEIN advi~ed
I of the law firm of
that. as aL
m",=ember=;=~I:;::::;:::=~
:::J
i I ]partners recognized potential
conflicts. of interest. when WHALEN first came int.o public
office. [ Istated conflicts arose at: the time
WHALEN was presfdent of the Albany COmmon council, and
became more evident and blatant when WHALEN was appointed
II.

~
Ma~~O~r~O~f~A1ban~
y , subsequent to the death of ERAST.US CORNING,
advised that a1.though the conflicts existed they
n lly discussed amongst a1.l partners of the firm~
L e
~~~~~adVised
c
that these di~cuB~lons often covered
hat WHALEN sQould remore himself from the firm
due to the conflicts~ L a d v i s e d that as a resul.t of
blatant .conflicts often work was "farmed out to the Albany
law firmqf RUTNIK & RUTNIK~ These cQnflicts, according to
j were discussed at Partnership Meetings ~ It was
suggesfed: at these meetings 1:ha.t WHALEN remove himse1.f from
the firm~ WHALEN, however, would not ag~ee to this, nor
' would he accept .a reduction in partner point:;1, but did
subsequently agree to accept an amount le~~
which would have been a senior partner :;1hare. ~
advised initia1.1y this was a sum. of $1.0,000 alii a ruction
thIn t:t I
to WHALEN I s drfw wbi cb Wits to be distribut:ed equally amongst
all partners ~ L ..J advised this figure went up

IOWfl'.,..U<tn on 2/27/87 ~t -=Alban====y,,_,,__=_N:.:e::w:....:Y::o::r=k_=___F1,",. AI. 194C-187 --JP


" ~ H. JOHNSON/mmg 0". Ctl~ted,_ _.:.2:!/~2~7'"/~8'_7 _

T"1s GCKum..., o;ont.ln.....;1".. r6C.........nd.t1on. nOl' conc:'llllllonS of '1M "SI. II b , .... fU"OlNrt)' 01 tna "SI II"" It _ned to you. ~,
II _Ill III cont.nll IIr. not leo "dl.trlbut.d olllSkl. YO" _f1CY.
• F0-307a(Rev.11-15-831

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""".....tIon 01 fO.:102 01--1 - - - - - - - - - , On 2/27/87
significantly, possib1y in 1986, when WHALEN's saLary as
Mayor jumped to $60,000.00
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I ladvised that even though conflicts of


in"terest were discussed openly amongst: the part.ners, no

:
~cal 0fiDions were ever sougb"t from 'the Bar Association.
I_ _advised tha"t .partners of"t.en considered doing this
ever never followed up and actually ask for an opinion.

I ~dVised that approximately 50i of all


revenues generated: wi "thin COOPER, ERV%NG & SAVAGE came
from the principal accounts, namely BANKERS
and to a lesser ex1:ent, ALBANY SAVINGS BANK. _
XrrST
COM:~
~J
sta"ted that when BANKERS TRUST COMPANY so1d i s opera ons
to FJ:RST AMERJ:CAN BANK OF NEW YORK, an arrangement was
made with: t:he Albany law firm of NOLAN & HELLER t:o split
t:he FXRST AMEIUCAN W.NK bUl;>inesEr, approximately 60' t.o
COOPER, ERVING & SAVAGE, and 40' t.o NOLAN & BETJ.ER.
I I
recalled discu~sions, however no"t
specifics, of partnership meetings at which point FIRST
AMERICAN BANK had expressed a concern for ri~ing assessments
on :roperties they purchased from BANRERS TRUST COMPANY.
I I
advised tha"t .he had taken not:es of all partners
meeJ.ng~ ana. if reviewed they would refresh his recollection
as to speci.t'ically what was said ~"t 'these partnership meeti.ngs.

I I
adviped that JOSEPH YAVONDITTE wa~ a
former Albany County Clerk 'thin

mas
COOPER; :RVING & SAVAG .,
I __ ladvised that g
fIrm 'tar ·1:he removal 0
advised thif:i move was cause rouq
with him thq unts the MAIDEN LANE
PARKING accoun"ts. L dviaed 1:ha.t YAVONDrrTE
was no"t considered an empoyee of COOPER, ERVING & SAVAGE,
yet his backers were used on certiary work completed and
billed by COOPER, ERVING & SAVAGE. The backers were used
to give the appearance that: "the enclosed work had been
comple"ted by YAVONDITTE as opposed to COOPER, ERVING &
SAVAGE because of apparent conflicts of interest:.
Irecalled
~
on at least. one occasion
rL~~;~~ ~A1ba.ny Ci"ty COur"t befyre Judaq LYNN at: which
p01nt advised by Judge LYNNl ~should not be
• FO.302a (Rev. 11-15-83)

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Continuation Df FD-302 01 _ _---1 2/27/87


, On_==!..:::.-'---_. 3 _
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represent:.ing a clien't,.J;·lI...l:JlaJ:-<:"l'rt because of the obvious


conflict:. of interest. was directed by Judge LYNN
to. advise his client: 0 let: and to suggest he
Obt2in oth . d this same sit.uation
occurred to in COOPER, ERVING &
SAVAGE, who appear ore bany city Judge DUNCAN.

beblee.n
r Iwas at
t:!i=e""C"'int:"'y'""""of"" Albany
t:hi.~I:.iII......sh<_....a....l.i_Il.S.<L.ac:r<il,ement
ani!
.~ ocwnen was
~Pr.~~~~~~~~"",~~~~~thedetails had b
r ou pr or 0 e agreemen~
~tween the client and "the City of AIbaiiy, New York.

At this timet lrequepted that any further


clieni:. '.5 involvement noe be d scussed at i:his interview
until such time as a waiver could be obtained from the
clients. I Iodvised be did not foresee t:his as being
a problem, and would be more t:h.an happy to obtain the
waivers and return at a sub:;;equent tinte to further discuss
specific involvements of COOPER, ERVING & SAVAGE attorneys
and 'their relationships with 'their client.s in such as way
as not 1:0 breach any p~ivilege which may exist.
Iladvised tha:t prior 1:0 the actual
effective merger of 'the law firm of COOPER, ERVING
& SAVAGE ani! NOLAN & HELLER tb . -,~,_.
~.. ' ·1

I In hindS1ght, accord1ng to the advantages


L...,OF~~£~h~e-lrnerger provided a convenience "to clients such as
FIRST AMERICAN, better s~ice to clients, more "t.ability
wi1:hin the firm because of a broader client. base, a larger
firm and i'ts inherrent. competitive advantages in at:t:ractinq
broader client base, and finally, the perl?on~JJ::~nci"at
rewards could be bett:.er off in the long run. _L__ .
advised. i:hat .one of -the inherren~ problems wi . OOPER,
ERVING & SAVAGE was that: it. had become a law firm wi:thout
leadership, and that: its ·clients had not inqeased and
in effect had become stagnant, with no apparent growth
poteni:ial.
--------------------------
FO-302. (Rev. I t·l5-83J

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Con1lnuatlon 01 FD-302 ot L ."" 2/27/87 . _-'4'---_

WHAL1lN,
I st:ated
Il"I'1I~.-:w'::er=e=-;:never
tha't partners such as THOMAS
an account or client: producer.
M.

WHAI,EN moreover inherited the accounts or clients assigned


to him as a result .of ot:her partners retiring, dying, or
leaving \:he firm.

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