Sunday, February 24, 2013

Senor vs Hoffay

The Daily Freeman has an article today wherein Aldermen Senor and Hoffay attempt a battle of wits despite both being unarmed.

The name calling contest sounded like two children at elementary school recess trying to come up with the best "Your Mother" jokes.

I hope this election season results in better candidates.  The people of Kingston deserve so much better than these two clucking hens.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sottile May Get Away With It

The Kingston Times wrote a story about Sottile's involvement with the Salzmann case, though they did not mention the affidavit allegedly signed by Sottile.

In the article, Mayor Gallo is quoted as follows:

There was an agreement between the prior mayor and the former fire chief to be able to literally take time off, to be paid for time off that he did not earn.   I had no knowledge of that and if I had I would have advised that mayor, ‘What you’re doing is unlawful.' "

The District Attorney confirmed that Sottile had been interviewed during the investigation.  He would not say whether Sottile confirmed Salzmann’s claim that he had been instructed to file the way he did.  

Sottile said that Mayor Gallo’s claim that he had acted unlawfully was “ridiculous.”  However, he refused to discuss the rest of the matter.  Sound like he has been advised to keep quiet??

Now comes the really interesting part.  No charges are being brought against Salzmann for being overpaid as alleged by the report from the State Comptroller.  Instead, the charges relate to subsequent filings.  When Chief Salzmann was asked to explain the discrepancies, he filed new documents in an attempt to hide the truth.  His misdemeanor charges relate only to the later filings.  He is charged with the cover up and not the crime.

The District Attorney was quoted as saying that the improper payments will not be prosecuted.  Apparently, the claims of Salzamann that Sottile authorized him to do it is being accepted as a proper defense.  Put another way, if your boss orders you to file false papers dealing with taxpayer money, this is not a criminal matter in Ulster County.

I have always supported and respected Holly Carnright, but must strongly disagree on this one.  This entire matter should be submitted to a Grand Jury to consider charges against Salzmann, Sottile, and anyone else who either engaged in this conduct or authorized it.  To do nothing sets forth a terrible precedent.  Basically, where a city department head receives payment to which he is not entitled, no criminal prosecution will result in Ulster County so long as the Mayor or other supervisor told him it was okay.  Be careful though.  If you later try to cover up something that is apparently not criminal, then you have committed a crime.  The person who authorized you in the first place never gets prosecuted.

Does any of that sound fair or just??  Should the prior administration get away with this charade?  Those of you who railed against the County Jail prosecution ran by former ADA Schreibman, where is your outrage now?  

I say put this entire matter before the Grand Jury.  Let them hear all of the evidence and testimony.  Let them make a decision.  If they decide to drop it after hearing all of the evidence, fine -- that's our system of justice.  But to do nothing and allow potentially guilty parties to get away with this abuse and waste of taxpayer money is wrong.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

EXCLUSIVE -- New Evidence of Corruption Surfaces

The Daily Freeman has reported on the arrest and arraignment of former Fire Chief Salzmann on four misdemeanor charges for filing false documents in an alleged attempt to defraud the city.  What is yet to be reported is potentially a bombshell of a story.

I have recently learned from a reliable source that the attorney for Mr. Salzmann is presenting a defense that implicates someone else in the former administration.  Supposedly, the attorney has a signed and sworn affidavit from former Mayor Jim Sottile.  In this affidavit, Sottile apparently asserts under penalties of perjury that he not only knew what Salzmann was doing, but also condoned it and gave Salzmann permission to do so.

Think about this for a minute.  I have not yet seen the affidavit.  If I get a copy, I will post it on this blog for all to see.  Nevertheless, if Sottile has admitted that he knew about the filing of false official documents, condoned their submission, and gave permission for their filing, then we have a new charge to be investigated and considered by the Ulster District Attorney's Office: CONSPIRACY.

For those who do not know, Conspiracy is defined by the New York Penal Law as follows:

Under section 105.00, a person is guilty of conspiracy in the sixth degree when, with intent that conduct constituting a crime be performed, he agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct.  

If Sottile has signed an affidavit asserting under penalties of perjury that he not only knew what Salzmann was doing, but also condoned it and gave Salzmann permission to do so, then we have an agreement between two people to engage in conduct that constitutes a crime.  This would seem to fit the definition of conspiracy.  

Moreover, this would also constitute a serious breach of the constitutional oath of office taken by Mayor Sottile.  Basically, this affidavit is proof that he condoned the filing of false governmental documents and allowed an employee to receive taxpayer money to which he was not entitled.  

In his recent press conference, Mayor Shayne Gallo said, "Indeed, prior administrations, unfortunately, condoned, gave consent, permitted the practice utilized by Salzmann ..."  This statement seemingly refers to the affidavit.

I urge the Ulster County District Attorney's Office to investigate this alleged affidavit.  If Sottile has signed an affidavit asserting under penalties of perjury that he not only knew what Salzmann was doing, but also condoned it and gave Salzmann permission to do so, then charges of Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree should be considered against both parties immediately.