Dan McCaffery, Ethics Board reach settlement on defamation suit

Daniel McCaffery, a candidate for city district attorney in 2009, and the city Board of Ethics have reached a no-fault settlement in a long-running suit in which McCaffery alleged the board defamed him by announcing an investigation into his campaign days before the primary.

As part of the agreement, McCaffery, brother of state Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery, withdrew his suit against the board, which will take out an ad in the Legal Intelligencer that McCaffery's lawyer, Dion Rassias, says will "vindicate" his client.

"The Board of Ethics acknowledges that neither Dan McCaffery or his then-campaign treasurer acted intentionally or deliberately, or that any scheme existed to violate campaign-finance law," the ad will say, according to Rassias.

However, Shane Creamer, executive director of the board, noted that the settlement involves no payment of damages to McCaffery - as had been originally requested - and places no blame or liability on the board for the alleged defamation. 

The Intelligencer ad, Creamer said, only described positions the board has already acknowledged. Rassias disputes that claim and considers the ad a major admission.

McCaffery, a lawyer at Friedman Schuman and a former city prosecutor, sued the board after it announced at a regularly scheduled meeting days before the 2009 Democratic primary that it was filing against McCaffery and his campaign in Common Pleas Court over an alleged scheme to circumvent restrictions on donations.

McCaffery's campaign admitted to reporting errors in a settlement with the board later that year, but the candidate himself was never found to have intentionally broken any law or regulation.

McCaffery finished second in the primary to current District Attorney Seth Williams.