The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (“Commission”) today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with the engineering firm that retained the son of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for violations of the Lobbying Act involving Adam Skelos and a former officer of the firm. The conduct came to light during the Skelos’s criminal trial.
AEWS Engineering LLC, a subsidiary of AbTech Industries, Inc., agreed to pay the Commission $10,000 to settle violations of multiple sections of the Lobbying Act. The firm admitted that it filed inaccurate lobbying reports between July 2014 and June 2015. The filings omitted attempts by the younger Skelos to get his father to make legislative decisions favorable to the companies, as well as unregistered lobbying activity by Adam Skelos’s former supervisor, an AbTech vice president and later-president of AEWS.
During the Skelos trial, evidence was presented that, in response to pressure from then-Senator Skelos, Glenwood Management, Inc. (which entered into a separate settlement agreement with the Commission in 2016) recommended to AbTech that it hire Adam Skelos. As a result, AbTech hired Adam Skelos to advise both AbTech and AEWS. In a prior settlement with the Commission, Glenwood admitted to recommending the younger Skelos’s consulting services to AEWS in an effort to maintain the support and influence of the then-Senate Majority Leader.
In addition to the $10,000 payment, AEWS agreed to file amended Lobbying Act Reports for the relevant time period to include the unreported lobbying by Adam Skelos and the former company officer. The firm also agreed to enter into a Confession of Judgment with the Commission for $70,000 in the event the firm violates the Lobbying Act in the next five years.
This settlement is the end result of a nearly five-year investigation into the actions of multiple companies that engaged in unreported lobbying activity in attempts to influence then-Leader Skelos and then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.