New York ethics panel chair steps down, replaced by ex-Cuomo aide

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ALBANY — The state’s ethics panel chairman, appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, stepped down Wednesday and is slated to be replaced by another former staffer to the governor, officials told The Post.

Michael Rozen submitted his letter of resignation to Cuomo and emailed it to all 12 commissioners serving on the Joint Commission on Public Ethics — JCOPE — before noon Wednesday, a source confirmed.

He will be replaced by attorney Camille Joseph Varlack, a partner at Manhattan law firm Bradford, Edwards & Varlack, the Times Union first reported.

“We thank Mr. Rozen for his service and, as of this afternoon, we have appointed Camille Joseph Varlack, a former assistant district attorney and a lawyer with a long record of public service to take his place as chair,” said senior advisor to the governor, Rich Azzopardi, in a statement.

Varlack’s appointment takes effect immediately.

She is a SUNY trustee and previously worked under Cuomo as deputy director of state operations, chief risk officer and special counsel according to her LinkedIn page. She also served as deputy director for ethics, risk and compliance as well as special counsel to the superintendent for ethics, risk and compliance at the state Department of Financial Services under the third-term Democrat.

Before that Varlack also served as an assistant attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

Rozen had served on the panel since 2015, and is president & CEO of TRGP Capital Management, LLC, a private equity firm. He also was a deputy special master of the federal September 11, 2001 Victim Compensation Fund.

But JCOPE itself has come under fire in recent years and accused for its lack of transparency.

The panel was set up in 2011 as an independent check on state officials and lobbying activities. Appointees are made by the governor as well as the Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, but committee discussions are bound by state ethics law to remain private.

The commission was subject to a leak in 2019 after a whistleblower complaint alleged Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie were aware of internal deliberations around a possible investigation of Joe Perococo, Cuomo’s ex-top aide and fixer.

The leak was then investigated by the office of Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro — a Cuomo appointee who recused herself from the probe — but was unable to be substantiated.

The panel also launched an inquiry into what it viewed as alleged lobbying activity of rape survivor Kat Sullivan, who used her own money to buy billboard ads and fly planes over the state Capitol in 2018 as she advocated for the passage of the Child Victims Act.

The body eventually dropped attempts to extract fines from Sullivan as well as continued efforts to register as a lobbyist as they claimed she violated state lobbying laws.

A JCOPE spokesman confirmed both Rozen’s resignation and Varlack’s appointment, but would not provide additional comment.

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