JCOPE Settles Alleged Public Officers Law Violations Against Former ESD Employee
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Admits Asking For and Receiving Job Offer from Vendor During Contract Negotiation; Did Not Recuse or Notify Agency

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (“Commission”) today announced that it has settled allegations of a Public Officers Law violation with a former Empire State Development (“ESD”) employee who sought a job from a vendor that she was involved in selecting for an agency project.

Sonia Gulati was the Assistant Director for ESD’s New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund for nearly two years between 2016 and 2018.  In 2018, Gulati participated in a Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposals process at ESD.   In the settlement, Gulati admits that shortly after a vendor was selected, she asked the vendor about future employment.  Even after receiving a job offer later in 2018, Gulati failed to recuse herself from the contract negotiation process with the vendor. Gulati also did not properly notify ESD’s ethics officer until after accepting employment from the vendor; however, Gulati ultimately did not end up employed by the vendor.

As part of the settlement, Gulati admitted using or attempting to use her official position to secure unwarranted privileges for herself and agreed to pay a $3,000 fine.

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The Communications and Public Information Office is the point of contact for the public and members of the press with questions about JCOPE's mission and to request access to records such as the financial disclosure statements filed by state officials and employees, the statewide elected officials, members of the Legislature and legislative employees. 

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