To Avoid Ethics Questions, Binghamton Mayor Should Have Paid For Las Vegas Trip Himself, Says Philosophy Professor

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Bret Jaspers / WSKG Public Media

Binghamton Mayor Rich David.

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — The all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas and an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout that Binghamton Mayor Rich David accepted from a longtime friend of his raises some ethical questions.

Earlier this month, David’s good friend, Adam Weitsman, flew him and a group of friends to Las Vegas for a few days to see the UFC fight. David’s share of the trip cost about $5,000. Weitsman, an area businessman, often posts photos on Facebook of him, David and their friends hanging out at restaurants and events. At the end of September, Weitsman posted on Facebook he’s planning to open a sports bar in downtown Binghamton.

“Even though there wasn’t a kind of quid pro quo exchange,” said Anthony Reeves, director of the department of philosophy, politics and law at Binghamton University. “Most people, many people, will feel a kind of pressure.”

Mayor David accepting this gift doesn’t look great, said Reeves. Elected officials are held to a higher ethical standard because their constituents trust them to act in the interest of residents, not their powerful friends.

Even if Mayor David isn’t swayed by this trip, the possibility that he might be acting outside the public interest can erode confidence in his administration.

“So that’s why there’s such a high bar for officials, especially when it comes to friends and family, is they have to show us that there isn’t that kind of environment, that environment where influence will be operative,” said Reeves.

“Private interests will effect decision-making, even if there is no exchange one thing for another.”

The city’s code of ethics prohibits city leaders from accepting gifts that could reasonably be seen as trying to influence them in their official duties.

In a statement in the Press & Sun Bulletin, David responded. He said it should be clear to a reasonable person that the trip was based on their personal relationship, and wasn’t related to his position or duties in office.

“I mean he could have paid for the trip himself, right?” said Reeves. To avoid any question of impropriety, he said, David could have skipped the trip altogether.

2 thoughts on “To Avoid Ethics Questions, Binghamton Mayor Should Have Paid For Las Vegas Trip Himself, Says Philosophy Professor

  1. This is not just a matter of the City Ethics Code. There are statutes under NYS Muncipal and Public Officers Law and Federal Law such as USC 18 ss1952 “Travel Act” that may have been violated.

  2. I have personal experiences which implicate Weitsman and the Mayor in several crimes, which to this day, have not been investigated by New York Law Enforcement. So have several others that have given statements into witnessing major crimes involving Weitsman and his associates. While I worked for Weitsman at Upstate Shredding, I met the drug dealers employed by Weitsman and they would later elaborate on how they sold drugs FOR Weitsman. In regards to the gifts lavished upon the Mayor, it occurred a short time AFTER charges were filed against me by Weitsman and the Broome County District Attorney, using a law that the NY Appellate Court has deemed to be Unconstitutional, re: pl 240.30 Aggravated Harassment. It should be noted, with emphasis, that the District Attorney of Broome County Steve Cornwell will not look into the matter of ethical violations but has the time to pursue charges against me and for Adam Weitsman.

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