Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's an understandable mistake

REID (TIMES UNION PHOTO)

I think it is an honest mistake. Actually, it’s so understandable it’s painful.
I can see how it all went down now.
Martin Reid, chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature, gets let go from a pretty nifty $70,000--plus job at the state School Board’s Association and signs up for unemployment. The state Labor Department is pretty liberal in granting unemployment benefits to those just out of work – only to scrutinize later - and since he was making a good buck he gets the max, $405 a week.
Each week he hops online and answers a series of questions to get his $405, one of those being: “Did you work from such and such a date to such and such a date.”
Reid, sitting at his computer on a Sunday night or Monday morning, thinks about the previous week and comes to the only logical conclusion – he didn’t work.
Sure, he approved a resolution honoring the Hoosick Falls Junior Varsity Volleyball team for coming in third out of the four JV volleyball teams in Class DD. Yes, he signed off on another resolution urging state lawmakers to repeal the Safe Act.  And yes, he personally found the legislatures Veteran of the Month to honor and nominated a Rensselaer County Dairy Queen because he is friends with the teen’s parents.
That’s the gist of what the 19-member panel – that has an annual budget of $1.3 million – does at their monthly meetings so it’s understandable if Reid was confused with the word “work.”
But, for being the titular head of that body, Reid gets $30,000. Therein lies the rub.
He failed to report that income – whether he earned it or not – while collecting more than $15,000 in unemployment benefits and that is a problem.
 According to the Times Union, a state administrative law judge assigned the case said Reid: “Willfully and intentionally misrepresented the facts.”
According to the TU, each week Reid collected benefits he told the state he made less than the $405 eligibility threshold to collect any unemployment at all. But, also according to the TU, he made about $1,150 every other week to clap for volleyball teams (that last part was mine, not according to the TU.)
I did, however, break out my calculator and divided $1,150 by two and discovered Reid earned (made is a better word) $575 per week as chairman of the Legislature. That, in case you need me to hold your hand through this complex arithmetic, is $170 more than $405.
The state Labor Department referred the case to Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove, who has yet to indicate whether or not he will pursue criminal charges.
I would say Abelove, who like Reid is a Republican, is in a tough spot.
ABELOVE
His office just agreed to dismiss endangering the welfare of a child charges against the county’s top Republican operative, Rich Crist, for an altercation Crist had with his 17-year-old son. And it just so happens Crist makes more than $95,000 a year working for Reid. Also, according to the TU, Abelove , who has been in office all of 21 days, hired one of Reid’s relatives, Christine Labbate, as an assistant district attorney.
And, Crist’s brother, Greg Crist, represented Reid through his dance with the Labor Department.
Legalize for that scenario is: “In a tough spot.”
As an aside, I don’t see the difference between this case and that of Councilman Gary Galuski, D-District 6, who the AG threatened to sue in an effort to recoup more than $30,000 in unemployment benefits Galuski collected while he earned $15,000 a year on the Council.
One difference is that Crist, who is Reid’s spokesman, told the TU Reid settled the case and paid what he was supposed to pay. I don’t know if Galuski did or not, but one reason the AG threatened civil action was because he wasn’t making his payments.
Why one is civil at the state level and the other referred to a local DA as a criminal matter I have no idea.

68 comments:

  1. It's ALL relative.

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  2. So in other words, blatant, intentional and repeated deceit and breaking the law. This the guy who has $1.3 M under his control. If county residents only knew half of the crap the Republican controlled Leg does they would vote differently.

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  3. Another day, another ethically challenged Republican.

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    1. Republicans are not the only ethically challenged politicians. Have you heard about Sheldon Silver. Oh, that's right. He's a Democrat and you don't want to acknowledge that. He's only accused of taking MILLIONS for services he NEVER provided!

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    2. As if only Republicans are ethically challenged, you're an idiot.

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  4. guess the legislature is just for fun. let him keep the unemployment and return the county's money

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  5. Jim - I'm glad you seem to think that what Martin did was an honest mistake. In fact, from what little I know about all this, it sounds like anyone could have made the same type of mistake he did. The main difference here is the spotlight is understandably a bit brighter because of who made the mistake this time. Hopefully wiser heads prevail and this blows over quickly. Since this man's integrity has been under some scrutiny, I figured I should say something on my friend's behalf, starting with this: Martin Reid is one of the kindest, most decent individuals I know. I just realized that I've known Martin for parts of five decades.The only thing I resent about the guy is that he has barely aged since we were in high school together in the late 70s/early 1980s. In our extremely small school setting, you get to observe a person's inherent character up close. He was a great kid back then and he grew up to be the good man he is today.
    Now then, as for this whole unemployment insurance benefits matter, I'm still confused by what happened. And I think that is the point of all this. Anyone who has had to endure the frustratingly confusing process of signing up for & claiming uninsurance benefits knows how depressing it is. Unfortunately I too once had to be on unemployment and I know there were a few times I wasn't sure of which key I had pressed on the phone when dealing with the automated unemployment benefits system. It was all a surreal blur to me, so I totally get why he might have submitted incorrect income information. However, what remains clear to me is that Martin Reid is a good guy.
    -- Tom Murnane, Latham
    (Jim - for some reason I was prompted to register as "anonymous" to submit a comment but I'd like my name published with this.)

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    1. Just type your name in your letter Dummy

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    2. He was being sarcastic, dumbass

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    3. "Good people" have no right to rip off the tax payers like this. He knew that he was not entitled to those payments. Everyone screams (including me) when it is welfare fraud for less money from a person who has never earned more than 20k a year. It is greed and embarrASSment. He doesn’t want to “downsize” and has bills to pay. We all have a story to justify but it is just as crooked as any other fraud. He gets the spotlight because guys like you are responsible for prosecuting this crime and will say the embarrassment and re-payment is enough. They’ll go after a construction guy making money while laid off. He’s no different. Anyone who says “He didn’t know!” is a straight liar.

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    4. You gotta be kiddin. He is a great guy and you've known him for decades. So? It's pretty simple, he collected unemployment, and failed to report his earnings from his position as conty leg. WTF is an honest mistake here? Does he have memory loss? Or is it a now show job, which then I could understand why he'd "forget" to report his county check.
      SMH

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    5. Reid was also quick to accuse and condemn recipients for welfare fraud as chmn. of social Services comm. and chmn. of legislature.
      He ripped off more from the taxpayers than those he likes to point fingers at.

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  6. It's the end of the line for martin greed and joel unabelove

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  7. Guluski with the indictment, and now the labor fraud, should have been urged to resign long ago. If Reid did something criminal, thne charges should be pursued. If it's been settled. with the blessing of the AG, then it's a moot point.

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  8. What is sad and pathetic is that the "Troy Record" doesn't even come close to doing these stories. It used to when Jim Franco was on staff.

    In tomorrow's record, HS Basketball scores from 2 days ago, a story about Saratoga, some AP canned stuff, and a story about a downtown restaurant thinking about expanding its hours by one hour on weekends. And no local columnist.

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  9. Historically, NYS Unemployment Insurance as well as Workers Compensation did not consider obtaining benefits fraudulently a crime until 1996 .The cases that are referred to local District Attorneys as a result of the agency's investigation are not done unless they've found blatant fraud.

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    1. Which is what the judge found in Reid's case. Read the decision. Blatant fraud.

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    2. You either earned money other than unemployment when your unemployed or you didn't. Not that hard of a question. So if your on unemployment and you deliver newspapers 2 hours a day everyday for a week and get paid for it. You report that income.nit that hard to figure out.

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  10. mr franco the fans want to kmow how close you and crist are? wasn't he your go to guy when you were at the record? didnt he leak you info about voter fraud? was he not an employee of the record? surely he still keeps you apprised of democratic shenanigans. just sayin

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  11. Tom, I think you missed the whole sarcasm aspect...

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  12. Ironic how the person assigned to the Crist case was let go by Abelove....

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    Replies
    1. Damn, that bitch slap must have left a mark...

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  13. 15K divided by $405.... Yep, blatant.

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  14. Both Reid and Galuski knew exactly what they were doing while defrauding the taxpayers. If they both make the case it was a mistake and plead ignorance Reid will be found guilty but Galuski may skate.

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  15. How can a man who cannot handle affairs that thousands do correctly handle an entire counties affairs.

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  16. When will some county legislator finally step up and be a leader and stop this madness. Reid must go to show people that they represent the public and not just themselves. WHO WILL ?.

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  17. too bad he didn't read the handbook. it is all spelled out in black and white. even volunteer work must be reported

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  18. He should be arrested and lose his job on the legislature. He knew what he was doing, and if he didn't, he is not competent enough to serve. He could have made up the shortcomings of losing his job by applying for food stamps and heap. There were options other than defrauding taxpayers. That is what he did. No mistake. And Abelove should request a special prosecutor. Recuse himself. His credibility is already shot from letting Crist off. All of this would require the GOP to do the right thing. We know that ain't happening. Nice spin on it though Jim. Understandable mistake. That's funny.

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  19. Martin Reid is a picker. Sign Sheldon Silver.

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  20. Someone should do something about it.

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  21. Isn't Peter Ryan's middle name Sheldon?

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  22. Ruff ruff just moved out of troy

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    Replies
    1. How would you know. Neither of them know how to talk

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  23. If I said it once,, I'll say it a 1000 times.. Rensselaer County does not need a 22 person legislature.. or a legislature at all.. Waste of money.. On the other hand they endorse shooting guns in clubs as long as no one calls the police.. at least they're entertaining

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    1. bring back the board of supervisors

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  24. I'm going to go out and steal purses from old ladies and if I ever get caught, I'll just offer to return the ill gotten gains and everything will be peachy and forgotten, right? Unreal......Raoul Duke.

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  25. If it is an honest mistake as you claim it is, then how does one explain away the issuance and receipt of W2 Forms over the years ? Elected officials to a city council, or county legislature should certainly understand that the forms are issued for work performed. The pay check that is received and cashed is another reminder of receiving pay for work performed. The forms are used for the completion of income tax returns so it is impossible to claim I did not know.

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  26. Couldn't have said it better. County Governments are such a relic practice. They date back to English settlers coming here and unable to shake the memories of English government. Shires were created in England to divide up the land and continue the Monarchs influence over its subjects even at large distances. This form of government dates back to when there were only 3 numbers in the year. Time to adapt with the times and eliminate useless government.

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    1. RENSCO is a microcosm of government at its all time worst and has been stolen with 350 Absentee Ballots

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    2. Mcinerny, Mcdonough, Brown and Galuski back in the game?

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  27. this knucklehead will be the first DA in NYS history to be censured for actions in his first week in office.

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    1. I'm laughing so hard I peed my pants!

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    2. We elected a bald Bozo the Clown!

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  28. KNUCKLEHEAD! Hahahaha it fits him to a tee!

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  29. I'm starting a pool. When will Abelove prosecute a republican? Anybody want in?

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  30. This knucklehead is carrying a handgun! He'll end up shooting his big toe off!

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  31. Hey G.I. Joel, go on back over and write some wills for the real soldiers!

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    1. So now we mock a war vet? What were you doing when Joel was serving his country? Lowlife

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    2. He was fixing tickets in Green Island and using stolen SEARCO $ to fund his failed campaign.

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    3. Troy politics is a bloodsport 8:25, he got elected, now all gloves are off.

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  32. Scandal after scandal Joel ablove will not survive.

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  33. What do the latest stories have in common? Rich Crist! He the one who must go. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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  34. Great. The new charter will call for jamming poorly built homes on lots undersized.

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    1. You must be talking about the housing by HVCC and also across from the heights!!!

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    2. And next to old Marty Burkes

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  35. Lest we forget you don't have your hack brother anymore to give u a variance to allow it.

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  36. Old socks tossed under his desk. Little crusty. Thank god for the screen protector

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    1. @6:53 that is disgusting even for this blog. So gross.

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    2. Disgusting is lou buys him a screen protector and space heater after all that's done is browsing match dot com

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    3. Speaking of gross, when does that loser go to jail?

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  37. SOMEONE had to tell this guy, it was an easy thing to do, to sign up for unemployment, AND that he wouldnt be found out...WHO was this person ?

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    1. Pavlic-- If no one cross checked the rolls there will be no issue, he's paid back the money so it should be fine.

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  38. With Zelewski on there, it will be another No Decision.

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  39. http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Two-wrongly-collected-unemployment-checks-6056848.php
    Q. what's the difference here? A. political connections!

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  40. I've known the Reid's for many years, the whole family isn't very big on ethics. Martin was always very quiet but he was very smart. This being said, it doesn't shock me that this happened. There is no way this was an accident. I'd even go as far to say his wife was behind it as well. This is just speaking from long, personal experience with the Reids.

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