Thursday, July 31, 2014

Court: Strike Waterford attorney's name from The Bar (DOCUMENT)

A Waterford attorney will have his name stricken from the roll of attorneys licensed to practice in this state after pleading guilty to felony promoting a sexual performance by a child, according to a unanimous decision by the Appellate Division.
Erik C. Sanderson, of Waterford, was automatically disbarred on Feb. 7, 2012 after he pleaded guilty in Albany County Court. The Appellate Division decision said his guilty plea “was equivalent to a conviction for attorney discipline purposes” and the Committee on Professional Standards wanted to strike his name from the roll. Sanderson, however, wanted to resign rather than have his name stricken.
The decision states that there is no real difference since he is disbarred anyway and striking his name is merely a “formality.”
“Given these circumstances, respondents request to voluntarily resign … is inapposite and is rejected,” the decision reads.
In a footnote, the court said lawyers are required to report criminal convictions within 30 days but Sanderson, who was licensed in 2002, did not inform anyone of his guilty plea until April. Details of his arrest were not immediately available.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Troy cop arrested for tipping off drug dealers (UPDATED with DOCUMENTS)


A Troy police officer was charged with tipping off suspects about a drug investigation, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which allowed the suspects to remove narcotics.
Officer Brian Gross, a 10-year veteran, is charged with one felony of tampering with physical evidence as well as two counts of official misconduct and one count of obstructing governmental administration.

“Revealing confidential information threatens the safety of law-enforcement agents and jeopardizes criminal investigations,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “It’s particularly troubling to see an officer accused of abusing his position while violating the very laws that he’s sworn to protect.”
IPA photo

According to Schneiderman’s office, in 2013, the State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team had been investigating a drug ring in Rensselaer County. Gross was assigned to assist and had access to suspect information and information regarding the timing and location of search warrants.

In February, investigators executed search warrants at five locations where drug activity was observed - they found nothing and nobody was arrested.  

One of the residences searched was that of a suspect identified as “Person #2.” This person subsequently informed investigators that he’d been told by “Person #1” of CNET’s investigation into “Person #2” for drug trafficking and that a search warrant would be executed in the next few days.

According to the complaint, “Person #1” admitted receiving this information directly from Gross, who arranged in-person meetings via text message.

Further investigation revealed that Gross allegedly warned that “Person #2” had better “watch [his] back” because he had come to the attention of the State Police.

IPA photo
According to the felony complaint filed Wednesday, in the week prior to the execution of search warrants, Gross, again warned that there better not be any drugs inside the home of “Person #2” because “there was a good chance the police would be getting a warrant.”

In interviews with investigators, “Person #1” acknowledged warning “Person #2” to remove any drugs from his residence, based on the information from Officer Gross.

"The actions of this officer not only interfered with highly sensitive intelligence gathering on drug activity, it put the lives of our law enforcement officers in jeopardy," State Police Superintendant Joseph D’Amico said in a statement. "The success of these types of narcotics investigations could not be achieved without the hard work and dedication of our members working closely with our partners in law enforcement. It is unfortunate that this officer chose to breach that trust, abuse his authority and undermine a criminal investigation."

Gross, according to Talk 1300, is represented by attorney Steve Coffey, who told Channel 10, his client is innocent.

"We just met last night. We came in this morning I got to talk to him. I asked him he said I'm not guilty and beyond that I haven't had any discussions with him," Coffey told the television station. "I haven't talked to the Attorney General. I haven't really talked to Brian but that's where we are. There are serious allegations but we're defending them."

Gross pleaded not guilty in Troy City Court in front of Judge Chris Maier Wednesday morning. he was accompanied by Coffey and Police Benevolent Association President Bob Fitzgerald as well as a contingent of police officers. Protocol calls for him to be suspended without pay for no more than 30 days, at that point the department will determine what direction it takes regarding his future employment.

Gross was a member of the Emergency Response Team, an elite squad similar to a SWAT team, and spent time at the now defunct Special Operations Section, a squad that focused on long term drug investigations.

Police Chief John Tedesco said it was a "frustrating" situation and that he was aware of the State Police investigation since it began in February.

"He was a very competent and popular officer," Tedesco said. "There was a lot of work here and the career of a very good officer has been lost."




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wiltshire has more cash on hand than Rosamilia

The sitting Troy Council president has about $5 ,000 more in the bank than the sitting mayor, according to the latest financial disclosure statements from the state Board of Elections.
Council President Rodney Wiltshire, who filed his mandated July periodic report at least 10 days late, started the cycle with $6,780 in the bank – of which $6,000 comes from a loan he previously made to his campaign – raised $9,717, spent nothing and had an ending balance of $16,497.
Mayor Lou Rosamilia started with $16.83, raised $17,774 and spent $6,127 for a balance of $11,663. He previously lent his campaign 
$3,500. His largest expense, $5,872, was to Southpaw Strategies, a political consulting firm headed up by Steve Napier. Surprisingly, he also got a $100 donation from Empire Solar, Wiltshire’s alternative energy company.

The money raised by either man isn’t too significant since running a credible mayoral campaign will take at least $75,000, and has cost more than $200,000.
The scuttlebutt – and the purpose of this post - is whether or not Rosamilia runs for another four-year term after a rocky 2.5-plus years or if Wiltshire runs for the spot. Or, they both could run.
As the party hierarchy stands now, however, if Wiltshire does opt to run he will certainly face a primary because of his decision to take on Chairman Tom Wade. In September, the two will square off for committee seats in Election District No. 8.
That primary will fall short of setting the stage to the party’s future because a loss by Wade will not prevent him from being chairman for another term, and a loss by Wiltshire will not prevent him from seeking any office he chooses, be it the Council again or mayor.
But, the winner will certainly have much to talk about. For example, if Wiltshire wins he can say: “How can he (Wade) be chairman if he can’t even hold a committee seat?” And if Wade wins he can say: “How can he (Wiltshire) be mayor if he can’t even hold a committee seat?”
Finally, many do not think Rosamilia will run again after a rocky 2.5-plus years while just as many think he will, not because he particularly likes the day-to-day, nuts and bolts duties of the job but because the livelihood of a few party loyalists are contingent upon him being mayor.
One final thought, outside of Rosamilia the Democratic Party proper does not have another viable candidate outside of a few tired names and the Republicans are in worse shape than the Democrats.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Primaries shape up in Troy judicial race

There will be a three-way Democratic Party primary for the two open seats on the Troy City Court bench, in addition to a number of minor party skirmishes.
Incumbent Chris Maier is looking for a second 10-year term while Ian Silverman, currently the city corporation counsel, and attorney Keith Gorman circulated enough petitions to force a Democratic Party primary for the seat held by Maier and a new seat created by the state Legislature.
The lone Republican candidate for the two seats is attorney Jill Kehn.
Gorman, who is making his first run at public office and is bucking the party proper by waging the primaries, also filed petitions in the Independence Party, the Working Families Party and the Green Party.
Judicial candidates do not need a Wilson Pakula, or the party’s permission, to run on any particular line so long as a sufficient number of signatures are gathered.

The top two vote getters after the primaries in September will be on the respective party’s line come November, and then the two top vote getters will win the seats. In other words, Maier is, in a way, defending his seat, but he is also in a pool of however many candidates are on the ballot for the two open seats. There could be more than three depending on how the primaries turn out.
Here is a breakdown of who collected signatures for what parties:
-Maier: D, I, WFP

-Silverman: D, I, WFP
-Gorman: D, I, WFP, G
-Kehn: R, C, I, WFP
The candidates are also just starting to raise money.
According to the latest financial statements files at the Board of Elections:
-Maier started the period with nothing, raised $6,355 and spent $3,244.
-Silverman started the period with nothing, raised $12,254 and spent nothing
-Kehn started with nothing, raised $11,743 and spent nothing.

-Gorman, who has an account open at the BOE, has not filed anything for the July disclosure. Candidates are not required to file until they begin actively fundraising and raise more than $1,000.



Friday, July 25, 2014

Judicial delegates supporting Walsh sue for reinstatement

As far as insider political stories go, it really doesn't get too much better than this ... and it's not even in Rensselaer County:

Politics is more fun than soccer

John Cipperly, a soccer and softball coach in Lansingburgh, showed a lot of class in getting his old job back.

I don't know why the Board of Education let Cipperly go - outside of, according to the above clip, that they want to use active teachers in coaching roles - but I have to give the Board credit for listening to the public and bringing him back.

That said, I've never heard of the guy. But that doesn't mean anything since I really don't follow high school sports any longer. Obviously, given the outpouring of support the coach received after he was initially fired, many do follow it and care enough to show up at the BOE meeting to successfully convince the Board into changing its mind.

Sounds like it's a win/win/win and how things are supposed to work. The Board wanted to make a change - which is not necessarily a bad thing - the public didn't like it and voiced their opinion about it. The Board listened and went back on their previous decision. And Cipperly, who is by all accounts a pretty good coach, got his job back to the delight of his players, past and present.

That's why I like politics more. If Cipperly were in the political realm, he would hold a grudge, make the BOE president's kid run sprints instead of kicking a soccer ball around (it's a hypothetical because I don't have any idea if the president's kid plays soccer or not) and then sue the BOE for causing he, his family and his dog emotional distress. In turn, the BOE, not liking it's authority challenged, would hunker down, go into executive session and start a whisper campaign - complete with a fake Twitter account with the hashtag #coach'spervertcousin - against the coach for improper behavior his third cousin may or may not have engaged in back in 1979 ... on school grounds, no less.

In the end, outside of the BOE having a little egg on its face, which comes with the territory, everyone is happy. Happy endings do not lend themselves to column fodder.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Two primaries in DA's race between Laquidara and Abelove

September’s primaries will have a major impact on the race to replace Rich McNally, who is now a Supreme Court judge, as the Rensselaer County District Attorney.
Democrat Carmello Laquidara and Republican Joel Abelove both received permission from the Independence Party to run on its line so voters enrolled in that party will determine who will get the coveted “I” next to their name in November.
Also, while Laquidara got the Working Families Party permission – known as a Wilson Pakula – Abelove filed enough signatures to open the ballot up to write in candidates – known as an Opportunity to Ballot. A write in campaign is difficult, especially in a countywide race, but turnout is notoriously low in any primary and the smaller the number of voters the easier it is.  
Laquidara did not collect signatures to force an OTB for the Conservative Party and Abelove received the party’s blessing.
Of the 93,578 active voters in Rensselaer County, there are 27,650 Democrats, 23,999 Republicans, 7,380 Independence Party members, 4,440 Conservatives, 1,147 WFP members and 282 members of the Green Party. There are 28,659 not enrolled in any party, according to the state Board of Elections as of April 1.
Invariably, there are those voters who just vote along straight party lines so having any minor party letter next to any candidates name is a plus in anyone’s book.
As of the latest filing, Laquidara had about twice as much money on hand as Ablove, $48,608 to $24,495, respectively.
Laquidara loaned his campaign $15,000 and also received $2,300 from noted defense attorney Cheryl Coleman. Abelove loaned his campaign $10,000.
Laquidara was the City of Rensselaer judge before resigning to become an assistant DA under Acting DA Arthur Glass. He previously ran an unsuccessful for county court judge. Abelove ran against McNally four years ago.

Ricard is the next Third Ward representative in Cohoes

Bill Ricard is the next representative on the Cohoes Common Council in the Third Ward after his Democratic opponent, Jim Nichols, was tossed off the ballot by commissioners at the Albany County Board of Elections for inadequate petition signatures.
Since there are only about six Republicans in the City of Cohoes, without an opponent in the Democratic Party primary, Ricard will run unopposed for the seat in November. The vacancy was created when George Premeau, who represented the Third Ward for 13 years, was sworn in as acting mayor in December, 2012 replacing John McDonald III, who was elected to the Assembly.  
The rest of the Cohoes Common Council is expected to appoint Ricard to panel at the August meeting.
“I am truly excited and look forward to the opportunity to represent the residents of our 3rd Ward. Make no mistake about it, while I will be running unopposed this November, I will continue to work hard to earn each and every vote,” Ricard said on his website.
“I am thankful to Jim for his professionalism throughout this campaign,” he added later. “I am grateful that he's a resident of the Third Ward and the caring community of Cohoes as a whole. I look forward to continuing to work with Jim in his capacity as the leader of the Lansing Street Neighborhood Watch. Together we will accomplish a lot.”
Ricard is president of Citizen Helpers, a domestic business corporation that provides non-medical services, he founded in 2001. The Hudson Valley Community College and SUNY Brockport graduate is married with two children.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BOE commissioners rule on objections; Wiltshire vs. Wade still on in September

The petitions nominating 14 candidates to the Democratic Party Committee from one side of the interparty battle were tossed out after commissioners at the Board of Elections ruled on specific objections and four candidates suffered the same fate on the other side.
There are still a slew of primaries in the City of Troy between those loyal to Democratic Party Chairman Tom Wade and those siding with Council President Rodney Wiltshire. The pro-Wade faction filed petitions for two committee members in all 30 Election Districts, while the Wiltshire team filed in two each in 26. So that means there will be primaries in at least 19 EDs.
Committee battles are rare and when they do occur it’s largely an inside baseball game. But, this war stands out because Wiltshire is going head-to-head against Wade in ED 8. Their running mates are Rev. Tim Sherman 
and Rebecca Sweeney, respectively.
Neither Wade nor Wiltshire will suffer on the surface should they lose the primary but the ancillary ramifications are very real.
For example, two years ago Wade, with relative ease, survived coup attempt at his chairmanship and while being a committee member is not a requisite of being chair, it’s a harder sell if he can’t hold onto his own seat.
Not being on the committee doesn’t disqualify Wiltshire of running for any office – Council or mayor – but he did pick a fight with Wade and by extension a good many on the committee who generally are called upon to do the grunt work of any campaign. Also, the same could be said of him should he end up on the losing end of the primary that will be decided by less than 50 voters: “How can you vote for him when he couldn’t even win a committee seat.”
In a very real sense, since the primaries are largely confined to the City of Troy and likely won't impact the county committee configuration, the battle for the committee comes down to a grudge match between Wiltshire and Wade. And as far as inside baseball goes, it doesn’t get too much more fun than a sitting Council president taking on the sitting county chairman of the same party.
Anyway, the petitions that were disqualified by Commissioners Ed McDonough and Larry Bugbee, a Democrat and Republican, respectively, are as follows:

On behalf of the Wiltshire camp

-In ED 17, Michael LoPorto and William Dunne were disqualified based on an objection by Ethan Wolfson. Not only is it pretty funny that the two longtime enemies are running on the same ticket, but that the two veteran politicians couldn’t even follow through and get petitions in the proper way – it’s not rocket science, but there are certain rules that must be followed. I’m told the petitions were disqualified because the two candidates witnessed their own signatures.
-In ED 7, Catherine Conroy and Linda Meissner were disqualified on behalf of an objection by Robert Martiniano. Conroy is a Rensselaer County Committee vice chairman.

On behalf of the Wade camp

-In ED 1, Alfred Cussick and Tiffany Klimek were disqualified based on an objection by Suzanne Scales.
-In ED 2, Tina Turner and Diane Turner were disqualified by an objection by Timothy McDonough.
-In ED 4, Tanya Grant and Michael Grant were disqualified by objection by John Manupella.
-In ED 7, Robert Martiniano and Michael Rinaldi were disqualified by an objection by Catherine Conroy.
-In ED 10, Alexander Briggs and Tristen Wood were disqualified by an objection by Charlena Keels.
-In ED 12, William Campana and Chris Jackson were disqualified by an objection by Michael Barrett
-ED 15 Ronald Tinkler and Noel Hale were disqualified by an objection by Timothy Steele
Individual objections varied, but were largely either the signee previously signing another petition and general incorrect information such as witnesses living outside the county or other municipalities but put Rensselaer County or Troy as their address.

Friday, July 18, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: EPA, DEC investigators met with former city engineer


Representatives from the criminal investigation units of the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation visited with former City Engineer Russ Reeves earlier this week.
Barbara Tozzi, who was Reeves assistant in City Hall before he resigned and she retired, was also present. She now works for Reeves in his private engineering practice.
The focus of the nearly three-hour meeting was controversial demolition projects at the King Fuels site and on King Street.
Sources said the two investigators inquired about who paid for what, but were more concerned with the procedures that were followed - or not followed. Sources said both investigators showed up at Reeves house armed and wearing badges.  
The names discussed with Reeves and their activities regarding both projects, according to sources, were Mayor Lou Rosamilia, Deputy Mayor Pete Ryan, Corporation Counsel Ian Silverman, Planning Department Commissioner Bill Dunne, attorney Don Boyajian, who owns the King Street buildings, Fire Chief Tom Garrett and others.

It's unclear where the investigation is headed but sources said the two agents were "well versed" on the two projects and already had a firm grip on what transpired.   

When contacted, Reeves said he could not comment.
According to the Times Union, the city Council turned over transcripts from its investigation to the EPA. Reeves was previously questioned by the FBI and sources say the three agencies are now working together in a joint federal/state effort to uncover what actually transpired in the Collar City.  At a hearing in front of the city Council in its ongoing investigation into the demolition projects, Reeves said Boyajian had come to the city looking for permission to take the buildings down by emergency decree. He was denied under the administration of then Mayor Harry Tutunjian.
Late last summer, Reeves went on vacation and the buildings were condemned by Fire Chief Tom Garrett and taken down. There was no asbestos abatement done and the building next door occupied by Bombers was allowed to remain open and patrons were seen walking in and out while the wrecking ball swung.
Buildings at the King Fuels site were taken down without following the recommendations of a licensed engineer. In addition, there are questions about improperly demolishing the buildings without conducting asbestos abatement.
The project was temporarily shut down when crews came dangerously close to a gas main that runs through the site.

Below is a video depicting the demolition of a building at the King Fuels site. It's relevant to the investigation and just too funny not to post again. Warning: it contains graphic language.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Petitions - and objections - are filed in Democratic Party battle

Petitions are in and objections are filed in the ongoing battle over the Democratic Committee in the City of Troy.
County Chair Tom Wade and his supporters filed petitions for two committee members in each of the city’s 30 Election Districts while those in the corner of Council President Rodney Wiltshire filed in 26 EDs. 

The race to watch – yes, there is such a thing as a committee primary to watch – is between Wiltshire and Wade in Election District 8. Their running mates are Rev. Tim Sherman and Rebecca Sweeney, respectively.
While the petitions filed for Wiltshire and Wade have not been challenged, both sides have made objections. Objections can be for any number of reasons including improper or nonexistent witnesses to the signatures, the witnesses, the candidate or the signee not living at the proper address or someone else may have gotten the signature of a particular enrolled Democrat first.
The Democrat making the objection, the candidates they are objecting to and the Election District are as follows:


-Timothy Steele objected to Ronald Tinkler and Noel Hale in ED 15.
-Michael Barrett objected to William Campana and Chris Jackson in ED 12.
-Charlena Keels objected to Alexander Briggs and Tristen Wood, in ED 10
-Catherine Conroy objected to Robert Martiniano and Michael Rinaldi in ED 7
-John Manupella objected to Tanya Grant and Michael Grant in ED 4
-Tim McDonough objected to Tina Turner and Diane Turner in ED 2
-Suzanne Scales objecting to Alfred Cussick and Tiffany Klimek ED 1


-Robert Martiniano objecting to Catherine Conroy and Linda Meissner in ED 7
-Anne Moon objected to former City Clerk Karla Guerri and Councilwoman Lynn Kopka in ED 19
-Tyson Laboy objected to Michele Delair and Geraldine Fitzgerald in ED 11
-Ethan Wolfson-Seeley objected to former Councilman Michael Loporto and Planning Department Commissioner William Dunne in ED 17
-Councilman Kenneth Zalewski objected to Thomas Aldrich and Mary Carley in ED 24

Who controls the city committee controls the initial nomination for the next mayor. Wiltshire has political ambitions that include the possibility of running for mayor and obviously is not a “Wade guy.”
Few think Rosamilia will run for a second term and Wade would rather have a loyalist on the line such as Kopka.
Regardless of how the committee war shakes out, as I’ve written, the most effective weapon in the Democrats’ arsenal is the inept, nearly nonexistent Republican Party.
The above objections are called general, and specific objections will follow by early next week. It’s unclear when the two commissioners at the Board of Elections, Ed McDonough and Larry Bugbee, will make their initial ruling and then, depending on how they rule, some of the objections could end up in court.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

EXCLUSIVE State: Councilman Galuski improperly collected $34,700 in unemployment benefits (UPDATED)


A Troy councilman owes the state $34,700 in wrongfully obtained unemployment benefits and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants the money back.
In a lawsuit dated June 9, Schneiderman, on behalf of the state Department of Labor, said Councilman Gary Galuski, D-District 6, improperly collected the money from Feb. 2, 2009 through Sept. 5, 2010 and now must pay it back(The lawsuit can be seen below.)

Galuski, who now works at the Board of Elections in Rensselaer County, was elected to the Council in 2006 and took office in 2007. He is in his last two year term and will have reached his eight year maximum at the end of next year. He was hired at the Board of Elections in 2010 and now makes $39,000. He has made $15,000 in each of his six-plus years on the Council.
According the suit, the state DOL had unsuccessfully attempted to collect the money and then asked Schneiderman, the state’s attorney, to bring the lawsuit.  
Galuski could not immediately be reached for comment.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Top Rensselaer County Republican aide arrested


The top aide for Republicans on the county Legislature was arrested over the weekend for a physical confrontation he had with his 17-year-old son.
Rich Crist is charged with two counts of misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child and one count of harassment, a violation.
According to sources, there has been a months-long disciplinary issue with the 17-year-old that included involvement by law enforcement. The issue culminated in the early morning hours Friday in the parking lot of the Castleton Elementary School and included use of a family vehicle and efforts to get it back. It’s unclear who called Schodack Police to the scene, but in the end Crist was arrested on the abovementioned charges.
Crist, who is the county’s de facto Republican Party chairman, was released on his own recognizance. He will be arraigned at a later date since town police could not find a judge to perform the arraignment. When contacted, he declined comment.
Crist makes 95,000-plus in his role as legislative liaison, a position he has held for some two decades. He is also the Republicans’ most prolific operative in the rough and tumble world of Rensselaer County politics. He has come under fire in the past for allegedly doing political work out of the county office building using county staffers. He has also worked as a consultant on a number of local judicial and other races as well as statewide and congressional campaigns and serves as the Schodack Republican chairman.
If I get more information, I will pass it along.       

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wiltshire and Wade going head-to-head in a primary

Petitions are filed and, as expected, there is a battle for control of the Rensselaer County Democratic Party Committee.
Less expected, is the primary in Election District No. 8. Council President Rodney Wiltshire is going head-to-head against county Chairman Tom Wade. Their running mates are Rev. Tim Sherman and Rebecca Sweeney, respectively.
In all, the anti-Wade faction filed petitions in 25 of the 30 Election Districts in Troy with two committee seats in each district. It’s hard to say how many will stand up to scrutiny since there are all sorts of ways to get signatures bounced. As I’ve written before, collecting them is not rocket science but to do it right is a time consuming process and there are specific rules that must be followed. As such, corners are always cut, petitions are routinely bounced and so does a candidates’ candidacy.
But, even if the anti-Wade faction were fast and loose with some of the petition signatures, you can bet they crossed all the I’s and dotted all the T’s on Wiltshire’s. That means Wade and Wiltshire will square off on Sept. 9 in ED No. 8 – which is roughly 102nd Street to 107th Street (see map.)
On the one hand you have to give Wiltshire credit because he is taking on Wade head on rather than putting up a lesser known candidate. It was intentional too. A committee candidate can run in any Election District so long as the ED is in the Assembly District where the candidate lives. But, a member of Wiltshire’s camp said “we guessed right,” meaning they wanted the show down.
It’s a gutsy move, but Wade has more to lose than Wiltshire because not many pay attention to committee races and if Wiltshire gets beat he can still run for his Council seat or any other seat he wants – i.e. mayor. While Wade can still be chair without being on the committee, wanting to be the titular head of the county committee is a harder sell if he can’t hold onto a lowly committee seat.
On the flip side, I know of maybe two other people in Rensselaer County who can count weighted votes – each committee seat is weighted based on the number of Democrats within that Election District so it can get kind of confusing – as well as Wade. I don’t know of anyone who can do it better. He also knows how to line up committee members when it comes time to vote.
And, Wade has said he would consider bouncing Wiltshire and Councilman Ken Zalewski out of the party because of disloyalty if they fought his decision to not have his soldiers carry their committee petitions. Obviously, they are not only fighting that decision, they are throwing it back in Wade’s face so if Wade follows through, there is a chance the two Democrats won’t be Democrats any longer.
Obviously, Wiltshire is going for the jugular but the bottom line is if you’re going to shoot at the king you better kill him.  
Some background on committee races:
-They generally go uncontested and often times the seats are filled with the bodies of party loyalist’s relatives, who then obediently turn over their votes by proxy.

-There are two committee seats in each Election District so technically the Wiltshire camp is attempting to wage 50 primaries. How many will be on the ballot come Election Day is anyone's guess.
-I mentioned that the Wade camp will be challenging some of the Wiltshire camp's signatures but Wiltshire could also challenge the Wade camp's. I'll know more about what petitions will stand and which ones get bounced next week.
-Not many pay attention to committee races but a political party is built from ground up and coups always start in the street. Committees, too, are important because they in turn elect an executive committee and a chairman and ultimately nominate candidates.
-The first test of a petitions’ validity is the county Board of Elections. If both commissioners opt to bounce the petition, it’s bounced. If they both agree it’s good, it’s good. If there are objections to the petitions by a vested party and the commissioners split, it’s still good but will end up in court.
-The committee is, obviously, county wide and I will post more on town committees as I find out what is going on, if anything. 

-There are some questions about where Wade lives, on Fifth Avenue or in High Pointe, but residency requirements are far from cut in stone – just ask former Councilman Michael LoPorto who summered above his restaurant on Fourth Street spent his winters in Brunswick. Or was it the other way around?


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Independence Party snubs Assemblyman McLaughlin


In his bid for a third term, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-District 107, is forced to wage a write in campaign for the Independence Party line.
Evidently, the party extended his Democratic opponent, East Greenbush Councilman Phil Malone, permission to run on its line but snubbed McLaughlin for the first time in three election cycles.
 An email sent by Troy Chairman Mark Wojcik asks a number of Republican loyalists to volunteer to collect a second round of signatures on McLaughlin’s behalf. The signatures gathered the first time were specifically for McLaughlin to run on the Independence Party line, but they are null and void without the party giving its permission, known as a Wilson Pakula. McLaughlin will now have until July 13 to collect at least 5 percent of registered Independence Party members within the Assembly District who voted in the last gubernatorial election to force an opportunity to ballot, or write in.
“If you can spare 1 or 2 nights we would really appreciate the extra effort for Steve,” Wojcik wrote.
If McLaughlin does get on the ballot – in the form of an OTB, which opens up the ballot for anyone to write in anyone’s name – he still faces an uphill, if not impossible, battle to win the primary in such a fashion against someone whose name already appears on the machine.
The Independence Party – which is independent in name alone and infamous for giving (selling) its line to the candidate (bidder) who can give the most in return – is the third largest party in the state and coveted by any candidate. In the 107th Assembly District there are 26,011 registered Republicans, 25,096 Democrats and 7,304 Independence Party members with 27,536 not enrolled in any party. There are also 3,734 enrolled Conservatives and 854 enrolled in the Working Families Party.
McLaughlin has had the Independence Party’s endorsement in his two successful bids for Assembly – even in 2010 when he unseated the only enrolled Independence Party member to ever get elected to the Legislature, Tim Gordon of Bethlehem. In other words, the Independence Party stands strong for nothing nearing a platform, value or belief.
Statewide, the Independence Party endorses Republicans and Democrats equally depending on which candidate has the best chance of success. But, since the party’s vice chairman is Tom Connolly, of North Greenbush, who a decade or so ago pledged his allegiance to the Democrats but now works for the GOP, there is only one reason a local candidate like McLaughlin didn’t get the line this time around – Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
McLaughlin has been the most vocal Republican Cuomo critic in the state, hitting he governor about everything from the SAFE Act to giving state workers time off to watch the USA play in the World Cup. The Melrose resident toyed with the idea of running for the state’s top elected office earlier his year but opted out and Westchester County Executive Rob Astornio took the plunge instead. McLaughlin, however, continues to make statewide news as the party’s defacto attack dog and is constantly nipping at Cuomo’s heels.
Also, the governor has much more to offer the Independence Party than a Republican from Melrose. And the state Republican Party has more important things to worry about - like trying to get Astorino at least a respectable showing as opposed to getting crushed in a landslide and holding onto a semblance of influence in the Senate.
If nothing else, the potential new ballot dynamic is going to make for an interesting race since Malone, already an elected official, will get the WFP line too and McLaughlin’s write in campaign is a longshot at best. That said McLaughlin is popular in his district. Two years ago he ran against Cheryl Roberts, a popular attorney from Columbia County who was backed by the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee to the tune of $300,000, and he beat her by more than 3,000 votes – but he had the I line. It’s unclear if DACC will throw its considerable resources behind Malone.  
The 107h Assembly District includes the majority of Rensselaer County, nearly half of Columbia County and the towns of Cambridge and White Creek in Washington County.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Former Councilman John Brown will go to jail (DOCUMENT)

Former Councilman John Brown will head to jail for six months.
Brown, who pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of a forged instrument during the infamous voter fraud scandal, agreed to the jail time as part of deal that included him testifying for the prosecution.
JOHN BROWN wile pleading guilty (TIMES UNION photo)
He appealed the sentence as harsh and excessive, but the Appellate Division, in a short two-page unanimous decision released today, said it was too late because he had waived his right to appeal as part of the deal.
“Furthermore, defendant signed a written waiver in open court that acknowledged that he had discussed the waiver with counsel and that he was knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently waiving his right to appeal his conviction and sentence,” according to the decision, which can be seen below.
The court remanded the case back to Supreme Court and Judge George Pulver for sentencing at a future, undisclosed date. Brown could get a straight six months or he could spend six months’ worth of weekends behind bars as was previously discussed.

Brown testified for special prosecutor Trey Smith in the trials of former Councilman Michael LoPorto and Board of Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough - the first they were tried separately and it ended in a hung jury, then they were each acquitted when they faced the jury on their own.

Brown, former City Clerk Bill McInerney, Democratic Party operatives Anthony DeFiglio and Tony Rena all pleaded guilty to their role in an attempt to steal the Working Families Party line by forging scores of absentee ballot applications envelopes and the ballots themselves in the 2009 primary. Councilman Gary Galuski and former Council President Clement Campana were indicted but those charges were later dropped by Smith.

Brown is the only one who will see jail time in the more than five year scandal. McInerney, who admitted on the stand he forged dozens of signatures, did time in the Sheriff's Department Work Release Program whild DeFiglio and Rena were sentenced to community service as part of their respective plea bargains.

It is expected McDonough will file a civil suit claiming selective and improper prosecution and LoPorto may as well.