Enforcement

The Board uses its enforcement powers to hold servants accountable for violating the City's ethics law. Click the topics below to learn more about the enforcement process.

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

Over whom does the Board have enforcement authority?

The Board has enforcement authority over:

  • Current City Employees;
  • Lobbyists of the City; and
  • Former City employees, both for "revolving door" violations and violations that occurred while they were in City service.

How do enforcement cases begin?

All Enforcement cases start with a written complaint.

  • Anyone can make a complaint, and complaints can be made anonymously.
  • To file a complaint,click here.

How are complaints investigated?

Investigations into potential conflicts of interest are conducted by the New York City Department of Investigation on behalf of the Board.

  • DOI's investigations are confidential by law.

How does the Board address minor violations?

If a violation is minor or if there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution, the Board can send a Private Warning Letter to the alleged violator.

How does the Board address more serious violations?

If the Board determines that a more serious violation of the conflicts law has likely occurred, it will send a Notice of Initial Determination of Probable Cause to the alleged violator.

  • The alleged violator has twenty days to respond in writing to the Notice.
  • The alleged violator can be represented by counsel; employees who are union members often get counsel from their union.
  • The Board then attempts to enter into a settlement agreement with the alleged violator.
  • Settlements typically include the payment of a fine (the Board can impose up to $25,000 per violation) and always include a Public Disposition in which the violator’s conduct and violations are described
  • Prior Public Dispositions are available here.
  • If the alleged violator does not settle, the Board will consider any materials submitted by the violator in deciding whether to sustain its initial determination of probable cause.

How does the Board conduct trials?

If the Board sustains its initial determination of probable cause and the alleged violator still refuses to settle, the enforcement case will proceed to a hearing at the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings ("OATH").

  • The assigned OATH Administrative Law Judge will issue a confidential, non-binding written Report and Recommendation to the Board.
  • Following the OATH hearing, the Board will issue an Order either imposing a fine on the violator or dismissing the case.

What penalties can the Board impose?

  • The Board can impose civil fines of up to $25,000 per violation.
  • The Board can order the violator to pay to the City of New York any financial gain obtained as a result of his or her violation.
  • The Board can join settlements with a violator and the violator’s employing agency in which the agency imposes additional penalties, including loss of City employment, suspension, and the forfeiture of annual leave.