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How Ex-NY Attorney General Lawyer Lost His Job After Reporting ‘Misconduct’ by the Chief Prosecutor

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Not all heroes wear capes, and not all get away with trying to do the right thing. Just ask John Oleske, a former NY attorney general lawyer who wanted to report someone he thought was the bad guy. Only for him to lose his job. 

He has come forward with some interesting claims. Some include the prosecutor’s hidden potential conflicts of interest and controversial professional relationships. 

According to Oleske, he’s been flagging concerns to his superiors about chief prosecutor José Maldonado for about two years. However, his employer repeatedly dismissed the allegations before eventually firing him in October.

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Two anonymous people say the senior lawyer’s concerns were a “personal vendetta.” While a third tagged the 74-page report he wrote on Maldonado a “manifesto.” As a result, Oleske has become an unlikely whistleblower gunning for Maldonado, the chief of the office’s criminal division.

Oleske’s job did not need him to report to Maldonado. However, reports claim he grew frustrated with how Maldonado ran his division. He also stumbled on “apparently serious misconduct” due to “falsifying his resume and hiding conflicts of interest with OAG’s enforcement targets.”

Oleske’s report highlights allegations against Maldonado that have yet to hit the headlines. For example, in 2020, he was facing accusations of racism in an ongoing federal discrimination lawsuit in Manhattan.

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Another thing Oleske’s report revealed was that Maldonado tries to hide his prior involvement with a nonprofit called the Brooklyn Golf Alliance. Oleske believes this could become an issue if Maldonado ever has to investigate the organization. 

Maldonado’s relation to Donald Trump also had Oleske worried. He notes in his report that he worries Maldonado was somehow able to influence the office’s early inquiry into the former president. 

Oleske also voiced concerns over the Chief Prosecutor’s alleged secret involvement in lobbying for private garbage companies. However, the AG’s office insists he did this work as an outside adviser.

After sharing his concerns internally, Oleske was told he was “observed to have engaged in a pattern of erratic, agitated, irrational, and disruptive behavior” and was coerced into an extended leave.

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After the leave, Oleske returned to work to colleagues who acted as if nothing happened. He said: “My first thought was: I must have been right about José being crooked. They’re trying to get rid of me under this threat that they’ll say I’m crazy. This is Soviet-style, sick kind of s—t.” 

Thirty minutes before losing his job, Oleske shared his report with over a dozen AG colleagues, accusing the office of “trying to intimidate and extort me into silence rather than addressing and resolving the problem inherent in Mr. Maldonado’s false statements about his work history and business relationships.”

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