The genesis of the dispute is the environmental contamination of the Amazon rainforest from the mid-1960s to 1992 by a subsidiary of Texaco.
Well before Texaco was bought by Chevron, the Texaco subsidiary, TexPet, settled claims and launched a remediation campaign that Donziger and the Lago Agrio plaintiffs later charged was woefully inadequate when they sued Chevron.
In a statement provided yesterday by Chevron's public relations firm, Hewitt Pate, Chevron vice president and general counsel, referenced litigation in multiple jurisdictions where Chevron is fighting enforcement of the judgment, including before Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan, where Chevron has accused Donziger and others of racketeering for allegedly conspiring to corrupt the Ecuadoran judicial system.
"The Comptroller's continued advocacy has come despite repeated findings by U.S. federal courts that the Ecuador litigation is tainted by fraud," Pate said. "Mr. DiNapoli's actions serve only his political patrons, not the citizens of the State of New York or the beneficiaries of the Common Retirement Fund. This type of quid pro quo behavior is an apparent breach of ethical and legal responsibilities that warrants investigation."
Chevron charged before Kaplan and other judges that Donziger forged expert reports, intimidated a judge and actually ghost wrote the Ecuadoran court's judgment.
Yesterday's complaint said the efforts to gain leverage over Chevron through political and public figures, including the comptroller's office, began as far back as 2003, with outreach efforts to then-Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
Allegedly, on the day that DiNapoli was appointed to replace Hevesi, Donziger wrote of DiNapoli, "the advantage of a guy like this is he is political, meaning, if we show him how he can look good going after Chevron, he might be even more likely to help us," the complaint states.
Donziger then contributed $2,000 to DiNapoli in 2009, and emailed an associate about "delivering a bunch of checks" while adding, "I am worried this might not be a great idea."
The complaint also states that Orin Kramer, an investor in Donziger's lawsuit who is the former chair of the New Jersey State Investment Council, part of that state's Department of the Treasury, also "donated heavily" to DiNapoli, a Democrat, giving $55,000 spread out over eight donations between 2008 and 2012.
Kramer also invested $150,000 as a financial backer of the Lago Agrio litigation.