As Knott has benefitted materially from the contract between the Town and Better, at the very least, Knott should not have participated in the decision-making process to hire Better, nor have any conversations with Better about the matter at issue in this case, as per General Municipal Law § 805-a (1)(c).
The New York Attorney General says (Opinion, Attorney General, [Inf.] 93-36), “The purpose of section 805-a and common law conflict of interest rules is to ensure that public responsibilities are performed impartially and solely in the public interest. If a public body was allowed to waive conflicts of interests, this important public purpose would not be achieved.” In the Better-Knott situation, the public interest is clearly secondary to the private interests of Knott. This Better-Knott problem would not have happened if Knott had hired his own lawyer. It would be better not to force the taxpayer to pay for Knott’s private lawyer.
Nothing about that in the decision of the court. This bothers me.