Sunday, July 18, 2010
The People's Lawyer - Eric Dinallo
So I took the time to watch the New York State Attorney General debate this morning. First let me start by saying that I had an opinion about a candidate in this race previously which over the past month or so has changed. Today however, I have decided that former State Insurance Superintendent Eric R. Dinallo is the right person to succeed Attorney General/Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo.
Eric Dinallo has a proven record of protecting New Yorkers, standing up to dangerous criminals, Wall Street, and powerful interests. As a former Assistant District Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, and head of the New York State Insurance Department, Eric has the experience and independence to watch over our safety, our rights, and our pocketbooks.
Keeping New Yorkers Safe
Eric’s commitment to keeping New Yorkers safe and pursuing justice led him to a career in public service. He began as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan D.A.’s office under Robert Morgenthau. He went after repeat felony offenders and put violent criminals behind bars. He took on enterprise corruption and aggressively prosecuted some of the state’s first insider trading cases.
Standing up to Wall Street
As an Assistant Attorney General, Eric led the Investor Protection Bureau and prosecuted fraud and abuse on Wall Street. He resurrected the decades-old Martin Act to investigate conflicts of interest that took advantage of average investors. The groundbreaking casework resulted in the $1.4 billion settlement from the nation’s largest financial firms, including Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Bear Sterns. The case also secured important reforms to protect consumers and prevent the abuses from happening again.
The Martin Act cases helped to transform the Attorney General’s office into the powerhouse it is today. Eric’s work kept the life savings and pensions of ordinary New Yorkers safe, putting the people’s interest ahead of powerful interests.
Working as an Internal Watchdog
Eric applied his ability to route out waste and fraud to the private sector, where he worked as an internal watchdog to ensure that companies played by the rules and treated their customers fairly. As Managing Director of Global Regulatory Affairs at Morgan Stanley, and the General Counsel at Willis Group Holdings, Eric led internal reviews and audits to certify that the firms complied with regulations to protect customers and make sure businesses operated with honesty.
Holding Insurance Companies Accountable
Most recently, as the New York State Superintendent of Insurance, Eric developed a reputation for being what the New York Times called a “regulator not stymied by red tape.” He was responsible for regulating and investigating insurance companies – from auto to life to health – and took his watchdog approach to examine how they treated policyholders. He co-chaired New York’s Universal Health Insurance Task Force, provided access to health insurance for 400,000 uninsured New Yorkers and extended insurance benefits to same-sex couples.
Eric also stood up to insurance companies to protect consumers. When Oxford Health illegally overcharged customers, Eric recovered $50 million owed to policyholders. When gas prices spiked and people drove less, Eric made sure car insurance companies lowered their rates accordingly – saving Empire State drivers over half a billion dollars. When Allstate and Liberty Mutual used unethical sales tactics to alter or cancel the homeowner policies, Eric forced the companies to stop exploiting homeowners’ fears.
And when the nation faced its biggest economic challenge in a generation, Eric played a key role in addressing the global financial crisis by making sure that AIG’s policyholders were protected.
Living in New York
Eric now teaches ethics at New York University’s Stern School of Business as the Henry Kaufman Visiting Professor of Finance. He serves on the board of the American Institute for Stuttering, an organization that supports individuals who stutter – a speaking disorder that Eric has had to overcome to practice law and become a public servant. He lives in New York City with his wife Priscilla Almodovar and their two young children.
Posted by Jeremy Blaber at 5:17 PM