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Spitzer delivers keynote at IREM.

When a group of scholars were pressing for the shift of power from Washington, D.C. back into the hands of individual states, NYS Attorney General Eliot Spitzer opposed the concept. He believed there should be national uniformity in decisions and laws affecting areas like the environment, civil rights and anti-trust. That was before he became Attorney General. As New York's top law enforcement official charged with protecting residents and businesses, he sees the value of state's rights from a slightly different perspective.

"It is time to swing the pendulum the other way. The notion of restoring the power to individual states is better for the people. It is intellectually disingenuous for the federal government to reverse a decision made by a state," Mr. Spitzer said during his keynote address at a recent luncheon of the Greater New York Chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management. "The shift in power has recast the authority and responsibility of the Attorney General, who now presides over cases that would have otherwise been handled by the federal government."

Joe Scholes, CPM, President of the Greater NY Chapter of IREM -- an elite group of certified property and asset managers of residential, commercial, retail and industrial property in the metropolitan area -- said Attorney General Spitzer's keynote offered insight into many issues that affect the quality of life of New York's businesses and residents -- particularly in the area of civil rights, sexual abuse, and labor law violations.

AG Spitzer said that all of these issues are now falling under the watch of individual states for enforcement instead of the federal government -- which is beneficial to the local populous because the results are more closely related to its interests and concerns.

For example. Attorney General Spitzer attacked the acid rain problem plaguing hundreds of lakes in upstate New York by filing suit against Midwest utility companies for violating the federal Clean Air Act. The companies agreed to spend $2.8 billion in emission control systems. "The federal government was doing nothing to protect our aquatic life, so we enforced the laws when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not," he said.

He has also taken on cases involving civil rights abuse that normally would be handled by the U.S. Department of Justice -- a recent one involving the Walkill, N.Y. police department, accused of sexually harassing female motorists. Mr. Spitzer has also played a greater role in enforcing labor laws against the New York City garment district and a major supermarket chain when no one was protecting workers, particularly immigrants.

IREM members listened with great interest when AG Spitzer said Internet fraud ranks third among consumer fraud complaints. "It's the same source of scams, involving catalogs and transactions, just a different and higher degree of technology," he said.
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Title Annotation:Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 20, 2001
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