ALBANY — A Garden City-based lobbying company was hit with a $180,000 penalty by the state Wednesday in one of Albany’s larger sanctions against lobbyists.
State Advisers is a lobbying firm that has operated in Albany since 2007 and represents before state government a wide range of clients, including some upstate municipalities and real estate firms. The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics said Wednesday that the company and its principal, Keith Sernick, failed to file bimonthly reports and pay its filing fees from 2011 to 2015.
In April the company agreed to pay the state $62,000 in a settlement of claims, but then failed to pay the settlement, JCOPE stated.
JCOPE then took the company to court where Sernick said a decline in revenue made it impossible for him to pay the settlement. The judge added a civil penalty that was still less than the $250,000 fine JCOPE has sought. The investigative report said 17 checks from the company totaling $3,390 were returned for insufficient funds.
State Advisers “flouts the law and has done so since 2008,” stated state Judge Elaine Stack in her decision. “Nothing in respondent’s history reflects any intention to follow the law as it is written.”
Sernick didn’t immediately respond to a call requesting comment that was left at his company.