Harris Beach PLLC
Karl focuses on providing legal counsel and strategic advice to clients that operate in highly regulated environments having an active government oversight component. He assists clients along a broad spectrum of sectors, including in the fields of gaming, college athletics and health care, and advises on government ethics and lobbying compliance. Karl represents individuals, businesses and institutions in civil litigation, government and oversight administrative investigations, lobbying and ethics compliance, and white collar criminal defense matters. He represents individuals and institutions in high profile matters containing a public or political element. He has represented numerous Fortune 100 companies involved in government inquiries and serves as special counsel for Major League Baseball.
Karl has served as counsel to casino and gaming interests on a variety of matters and served clients successfully navigate the statewide casino site selection competition and process in 2014, continuing to represent successful bidders in this regard. Notably, in the field of thoroughbred racing, Mr. Sleight is a licensed horse owner, a member of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and the managing partner of a modest racing stable that in 2014 finished in the top 10 percent by earnings of all licensed owners in North America. He serves on the organizing committee of the Albany Law School Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law, which sponsors the annual industry conference in Saratoga Springs in August, where he has been a featured speaker and commentator on issues of ethics and racing. Karl has been a featured speaker on the topic of ethics and gaming at programs sponsored by the American Bar Association.
Since leaving government service, Karl has testified before the New York State Legislature on the topic of ethics reform, and at the request of the New York State Bar Association president, chaired the Due Process and Investigations subcommittee for the association’s 2011 Task Force on Government Ethics. The subcommittee’s recommendations have been credited with influencing important aspects of the groundbreaking Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011. Karl has also served as Special Counsel to the New York State Legislative Ethics Commission and is a frequent commentator on issues involving ethics and compliance in the media.
Karl regularly serves as counsel in high profile government inquiries. He was engaged as counsel in both of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission investigations. An experienced trial lawyer, Karl also represents selected individuals and businesses in white collar criminal defense matters. Since returning to private practice in 2007, he was lead counsel in the jury trial of a corporate executive who was acquitted of all larceny and tax charges, and he forged a negotiated plea disposition in a multi-million dollar larceny case whereby the president of the company was able to avoid incarceration.
Karl served as the Executive Director of the New York State Ethics Commission from March 2001 through March 2007. During his tenure, he was responsible for conducting investigations of high ranking government officials and private sector entities that interact with government officials. He also provided advice and interpretation of the state's ethics and integrity laws to statewide elected officials, including the governor and attorney general, as well as private sector business leaders that interacted with the government. His term at the commission was marked by fair and effective enforcement of the ethical principles that apply to state employees and strong, effective support for legislation to improve the ethics laws.
Karl previously served in the Office of the Attorney General under former Attorneys General Dennis Vacco and Eliot Spitzer. As an Assistant Attorney General, Karl was primarily responsible for prosecuting complex narcotics organizations, government corruption and homicide cases. He was the only attorney in the office assigned to both the Organized Crime Task Force and the Capital Assistance to Prosecutors unit.