RSS

Category Archives: Conflict

Stupid is as Stupid Does: Freakasaurus in our front yards!

Yup, The Inbreeding is Showing: Stupid is as Stupid Does

Please don’t waste our time with your stupid attempts to demonstrate your stupidity.

You are a Freakasaurus and the Smalbany Blog reports on freakasaurs; we do not publish freakasaurian bullshit.[1]

This is what to look for. Sometimes that actually look and act almost human.

As our more intelligent readers can appreciate, being a pubic forum and allowing public comment we get all kinds of visitors. Add to that the fact that we publish our email so that it’s easier for readers and informants to contact us. As you might expect, there are plenty of freaks who will abuse any and all opportunities.

Smalbany deals only in verifiable facts. Sometimes we get them by simply requesting the information, other times we have to use the Freedom of Information Laws to get the information. We interview informants to make certain they are real people and that they have real information. Only then do we go ahead with our investigations and finally, we publish what we find.


But, as we mentioned above, there are plenty of freaks out there and we’d like to share just one example of one who tried to pass off what the freak thought would be bait. It failed miserably. But that’s not to say that we didn’t give the freakasaurus a chance to come through, as you’ll read below.

Note that in the interest of protecting the innocent, we have redacted any information that would have the potential of identifying the persons concerned. That is our standing policy until the facts are confirmed: at Smalbany, you are innocent until the facts indicate your guilt.

Here’s the original message from a freakasaurus calling him/herself “small[redacted]@gmail.com”:

Someone from [redacted] and  [redacted]’s inner circle is paying to have the criminal records of them published as new on the internet and she is going to make flyers that [redacted] and [redacted] are the publishers of this website. She is actively getting the DEC involved to pursuit prosecution and getting the ATF to get a search warrant and pursue prosecution. Just a heads up and GOOD LUCK!!!

Freakasaurus actually expected us to bite at the bait. Instead we responded:

“Thank you very much for your tip; we appreciated hearing from you and would like to comment below.

“First of all, if you have information about a possible or a real conspiracy to harm Mr and Mrs [redacted], then you have a moral duty to inform them of your suspicions or of the facts you might have in that regard. We gather from your message that you are at least familiar with them and would know how to contact them with the information or “Heads up!” as you call it.

To leave them vulnerable to some scoundrel without letting them know the facts is immoral; we hope you will take appropriate steps.

“Second, let me clarify one fact: Neither Mr or Mrs [redacted] have any connection whatsoever with this site. They certainly do not own or write for Smalbany nor to they contribute to any of the content. So let’s put that tidbit to rest now and for ever.

“Thirdly, the information you provide anonymously is too vague to be of any use to us. If you have names, we need names. If you have facts, we need those facts. If you are familiar with this site, and it would appear you are, you certainly know that we don’t just publish speculation or common gossip. We need names and facts, and we will do our own fact-finding and verification.

“If you are really interested in getting the word out about some local dumbass with an axe to grind, please share details with us that we can verify.

“You write that “[S]he is actively getting the DEC involved to pursuit prosecution and getting the ATF to get a search warrant and pursue prosecution,” so we at least can guess that the villain in this story is a woman. That’s a start.

“Please provide us with details, what “inner circle” is it that you are referring to, what “criminal records,” how would the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation???) be involved in such a plot, and Why? the ATF? You obviously know more than you are sharing, and we would be grateful if you would share more.

“First things first: If you feel that this is a genuine conspiracy to harm the [redacted]s, you MUST inform them even if it has to be anonymously. We cannot do that for you unless we have more to go on.

“Thanks once again and we hope to hear back from you soon. Please note that we do not publish the names of informants and any information provided is subject to verification or editing. Apart from the facts and the names of the individuals plotting this alleged conspiracy, you will remain a confidential informant.”

We think that was a very decent response, don’t you? And we’ve given Freakasaurus several days to get back to us but s/he has not done so. We have to consider the “tip” to be bogus.

Given the fact that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is probably one of the most corrupt departments in New York State government apart from the Executive Chambers (Office of the Governor) and the New York State Assembly and Senate, we wouldn’t wonder for a New York minute that the DEC could be involved in something so shadowy, so nefarious, so stupid as to get involved in a silly-ass conspiracy. But the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms)?!?! Freakasaurus has a very vivid, if not pathological imagination.

ATF agents “protecting” us.

The ATF has to be as big a joke as the DEC!!! According to the ATF website,

ATF is a law enforcement agency in the United States’ Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.”  [emphasis provided] [Source: https://www.atf.gov/, last accesed on July 22, 2019)

We have the Russian mafia in our front yards and the ATF is worried about “diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.”

Now that had to be one of the biggest jokes since Laurel and Hardy were dancing across the Silver Screen! So, the ATF is going to protect our communities “from violent criminals, criminal organizations, and illegal use and trafficking of firearms…and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.” Well, that’s certainly what we all needed, another law enforcement agency to “protect” us. Yeah, they’re going to protect us from “criminals, criminal organizations…terrorism…and illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products,” while they’re building pot factories in our back yard that are very probably funded by the Russian mob and a Russian mobster!!! We have the Russian mafia in our front yards and the ATF is worried about “diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.” We have the Russian mafia in our back yards and the DEC is ignoring the contaminants and pollution being caused by Carver Companies and their dumping. You simply cannot make this stuff up, people! Either the DEC and the ATF have gone nutz or Freakasaurus thinks we all came down with the last shower. Maybe both.

Sgt Joe Friday and Officer Bill Gannon (Dragnet) rescue a Coeymans local from a DEC trap.

“How’d such shit-for-brains ever get beyond the evolutionary reject line?”

Given the amount of time and energy we spend getting information, responding to informants, following up on tips, and investigating, not to mention the writing and layout of the articles, we a justifiably pissed when some reptilian-brained freak wastes our reading time with such crap. But unfortunately this area is lousy with such remarkably stupid types that it would be hopeless to wish them to become extinct. The place would be a cemetery, a boneyard.

So, just look around yourself when you’re next in Shop’n Save, PriceChopper, a local yard sale, or even in one of our local churches and think to yourself, “How’d such shit-for-brains ever get beyond the evolutionary reject line?” But some did and they’re breeding locally.

[1] A freakasaurus is a freak of nature, a creature that did not have the good sense to go extinct 60 million years ago, and continues to walk the earth with only a primitive reptilian brain. They are caprophages (syn. scatophage, “shit-eaters”) and thrive in their local habitat. The only known habitats for the surviving mutant species are in the Albany County region — particularly in the city of Albany, Albany County Offices and state capitol offices —Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk region, and Northeastern corner of Greene County (Town of New Baltimore), while the brooding facility is maintained at the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District elementary, middle, and high schools.

Yes, Freakasaurus does exist. It was first used on StarTrek Voyager, Series 2 (1996):

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 25, 2019 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2019 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Antonio Delgado, ATF, Boris Jordan, Bureau of Alcohol, Capital District, Capital Region Independent Media, Carver Companies, Carver Companies, Carver Laraway, Coeymans Code Enforcement, Coeymans Police Department, Columbia Greene Media, Conspiracy, Corruption, Cuomo, D. W. Contento, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, David Soares, DEC, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Homeland Security, Executive Chamber, FBI, FBI, FBI Criminal Information System, FBI Public Corruption Squad, Firearms and Explosives, George Amedore, George McHugh, Governor Mario Cuomo, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Legislature, Gregory Darlington, Hudson Valley, Ian Foard, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Joe Bonner, Joe Stanzione, Joe Stanzione, Johnson Newspaper Corporation, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Bonner, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Law Enforcement, Marijuana, Mark Vinciguerra, Medical Marijuana, Melanie Lekocevic, Michael Biscone, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New York, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State, New York State Police, New York State Police, Nicholas Laraway, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Governor, Palliatech, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Peter Laraway, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Port of Coeymans, Public Safety, Public Safety, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena News Herald, Ravena Shop'n Save, Rick Touchette, Russian Mafia, Russian Mob, Safe Act, Senate District 46, Smalbany, Stupidity, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Tobacco, Tom Dolan, Town of Coeymans, United States Attorney, United States Department of Justice, United States Government, US Senate, William Misuraca, William Misuraca

 

Board of Education Member James “Hadji” Latter: Is he paying his fair share of property taxes?

In the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District, the name James “Hadji“* Latter has a murky history. He’s been able to stay on the RCS-CD Board of Education for a number of years now, not because of his tidy background and performance record, but because the RCS-CD is just a corrupt and manipulated as any other “elected” body in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk/Albany County region, including New Baltimore and Greene County. But New Baltimore, although in Greene County, pays a portion of their property taxes to support the bloated budget of the RCS-CD and the idiotic programs approved by a board of back-scratchers and cronies.

* “Hadji” is our nickname for James Latter II because of his close associations with the Saudi Arabian company SABIC.

We have reported in the past about Latter’s questionable conduct on the board but when you are dealing with a group who love their power to spend public money, and then ask for more and then make decisions that affect the school age young people in the district and their futures. It’s hard for them to let go and share the responsibility or even to acknowledge and consult the public. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the RCS Central School District Board of Education is no exception. Least of all Mr James Latter II.

That’s why, when a local resident drew our attention to the parking and traffic situation in the Village of Ravena in connection with our recent investigation of Village of Ravena Code Enforcement and, while guiding us around on the grand tour of the many Village of Ravena parking opportunities — in no less than six public parking areas less than one block from the commercial district of Village Center —, and that resident pointed out and commented on a particularly ostentatious eyesore of recent construction on a large lot on Aluise Drive, just in back of the huge lot owned by the Roman Catholic Church of St Patrick, we got curious.

That’s when sitting RCS Central School District Board of Education member James J. “Hadji” Latter II again waddled into the spotlight in his usual murky and questionable style.

You see, Latter and wifey, Amanda C. (Mrs Hadji) purchased two large adjacent lots (total acreage 6.5 acres, cost $101,000) on Aluise Drive in the Village. The lots were previously owned by the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Patrick (Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany) but were sold off and Latter was in the pews ready to close the deal. Was that because former BoE member and crooked cop Gerald “Dirty Hands Jery” Deluca was high up in the Church’s lay administration and an insider? Probably. Latter and “Dirty Hands” Jerry were thick as flies on fresh summer sh*t. So here we have another questionable business deal in Ravena, Home of the Incest Club, and the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Patrick, an Incest Club meeting place, probably brokered by “Dirty Hands Jerry” Deluca before he was forced out (“resigned”) of the Coeymans Police Department with former dunce Coeymans Police Chief Gregory “Dumplin” Darlington was canned (“retired”), and disgraced town/village justice Phil Crandall was elected to be Coeymans Town Supervisor. You really can’t make this stuff up!!!

Our investigations to date have revealed the following interesting and questionable situations. But please note: This information is preliminary and is based on our research in the Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans using immediately available information, that is, information we could get on the spot without the formal F.O.I.L procedure (demanding production of public access documents and information under the provisions of the New York State Public Officers Law), and our vetting of that information on official New York state tax online sites. We have demanded the production of documents that will provide finer details of the transactions and Mr Latter’s operations but that may take some time, given Mr Latter’s position and his “friends” in Village and Town offices.

The properties are listed in the official property tax documents as belonging to James and Amanda Latter of 13 Laura Drive, Ravena, New York. Note that address because we’ll be returning to that information shortly.

James “Hadji” and Amanda Latter posing with Hillary Clinton.
Birds of a feather…!

New York State Law Requires the Assessor to Assess Property Under Construction

In some states a new construction is not subject to assessment for tax purposes until it is completed and a certificate of occupancy is issued. The situation in New York State is different, however, here in New York state there is the so-called partial assessment.

Sitting Board of Education Member James Latter’s new house he will be sharing with teacher wife Amanda Latter.
It’s at 9 Aluise Drive in Ravena, in back of St Patrick’s Church.

New construction assessments are placed on the assessment roll based on the partial market value if the construction is in process or the market value of the completed construction as of March 1st, and that assessment is used to compute the school tax bill issued in September and the county, town, and special district tax bill issued the following January.

9 Aluise Drive. Behind St Patricks RC Church and next to the P.B. Coeymans Elementary School.

In the case of a partial assessment, the market value of the home is determined by using the completion percentage of the construction as of March 1st. If the construction is partially complete as of March 1st, the assessment will represent only a percentage of the total property tax assessment when the construction is completed.  A partial assessment will be place on the tax roll as a “partial”, and increased each year until the construction is 100% complete.

In New York State, the assessor is required to value the property exactly as he or she finds it on taxable status date, that is on March 1st. The Assessor is required by New York State law to value property in its condition on that date. A partially completed building will receive a partial assessment based on its estimated percentage of completion as of March 1st. If your house is under construction on March 1, its estimated percentage of completion on that date will be the basis for the assessment

The property was assessed at a time when the progress of the entire construction project was measured and recorded as a partial assessment. An assessment calendar requires that a property review be based on where the progress of the construction is at the time, and the assessment be based on the progress at the cut-off date on the calendar year. The property has to appear on the tax roll for taxes to be paid in the following year.

The law would require that the Latter construction be assessed in it’s state of construction on March 1st. It was not. This partial assessment procedure was not followed in Latter’s case and Latter’s property was not assessed in part while under construction and, though completed, the Town of Coeymans Assessor was unaware of the construction and the property has not yet been assessed! Mr Latter is not paying his fair share of property taxes. Mr Latter is not paying his fair share of his school taxes to the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District. Mr Latter should be required to resign from his position on the Board of Education for such malconduct.


We did some research and found that the latest tax information on the property at 9 Aluise Drive in Ravena doesn’t show a thing about any new construction and lists it as vacant land. But there’s a house on it that looks as if it’s market value would be at least $200,000!!! What is the deal here? We all have to pay our property taxes and a big part of those taxes go to the schools. Latter is on the Board of Education and decides on the school budget and how much we have to pay but it looks like he’s scamming the Town of Coeymans, whose Assessor wasn’t even aware the house was there — even though you can almost see it from Coeymans Town Hall!!!

Extract of New York State Real Property Report for one of the Latter Lots (where the house is standing).

New York State real property tax assessment law requires that a new construction be assessed as a partial assessment if it’s not completed by the date of March 1st of any year. That means that whatever part of Latter’s house that was completed by March 1, 2018, should have been assessed at that percentage of the total value of the house. But it wasn’t and we all want to know Why?

Another inconsistency is this: James Latter and Amanda Latter list their address of record as being 13 Laura Lane in the Village of Ravena. A bit more research shows that 13 Laura Lane in the Village of Ravena is owned by Anthony and Ann Carrk, not by the Latters. True, the Latters could be renting from Amanda’s parents all these years but isn’t that a stretch? Could be true, though. Maybe Jimmy “Hadji” or Amanda could shed some light on this question. Or maybe Anthony or Ann Carrk can explain the living conditions and how so many could be living in that tiny hovel on Laura Lane.

13 Laura Lane and 9 Aluise Drive. Where do the Latters live?

If you ask the Village of Ravena Building Department Joe Burns, he willl tell you that they issue the building permit for new constructions, do the code enforcement inspections, and when the construction is done, they issue the certificate of occupancy. The Town of Coeymans Sole Assessor Dawn DeRose will tell you that they are notified by the Village of Ravena when the construction is finished. But that’s doesn’t explain why a partial assessment of the Latters’ property wasn’t done by the Town of Coeymans according the New York State Real Property Law. You’d think Town of Coeymans Sole Assessor Dawn DeRose would know better.

This just in: According to a very simple document provided to the Town of Coeymans by the Village of Ravena entitled “Village of Ravena, Building Projects Completed in July 2018” the Village of Ravena provides a one-liner notification of Latter’s construction project. That’s all. The document provides only the following information:

The Bare Bones Provided to the Town of Coeymans Assessor.

The above document provided by the Town of Coeymans in response to a F.O.I.L. demand clearly shows that Latter’s new construction was likely completed by March 2018 and is valued at $300,000. Even if it were not completed it would have been substantially completed and should have been assessed and on the tax rolls!!! It is not. A 1728 square foot two-story home with attached garage can represent a pretty fair amount of tax revenue, even if only subject to a partial assessment. Our question is: Why wasn’t the information provided to the Town of Coeymans Assessor when the building permit was issued? Why was it provided only after a Certificate of Occupancy was issued on July 3, 2018!!! Latter saved a pretty penny thanks to the Village of Ravena’s substandard reporting procedures. We’re certain the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance will be very interested in this case and will likely want to investigate how many other similar cases have gotten past the Assessor and the Tax Department.

Ravena will tell you it’s not their problem because they don’t have an assessor; the assessments are done by the Town of Coeymans Assessor. Coeymans will tell you that they don’t police the Village of Ravena and the Village of Ravena has to tell Coeymans what’s going on so that the assessor can do his assessments. Latter will likely tell us that he doesn’t know anything about all this. Sounds like a really shady case of finger-pointing or passing the buck here, now that the cat’s hit the fan and yet another problem in Village of Ravena-Town of Coeymans communications is revealed. Don’t you think it’s high time the Village and the Town started communicating? Now the community is losing property tax money from a select few that managed to drop below the assessment radar. That’s just not fair and it’s not legal. Someone has to answer for this illegal conduct and investigate how many other similar cases have cheated the Town out of tax dollars.

This is another case for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Real Property Division, and the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Rest assured they’ll be informed of all relevant details.

Do the Village or Ravena and the Town of Coeymans need a Special Audit?

But isn’t Latter a Board of Education member elected by the deaf-dumb-and-blind voters of the Town of Coeymans? Doesn’t he put together the school budget that gets funded in major part by our property taxes as assessed by the Office of the Assessor. And isn’t Latter a so-called “financial analyst” at SABIC? Wouldn’t you expect him to know about property taxes, assessments, etc.?

Ignorance is no excuse
Village and Town are Accessories.


Editor’s Aside: Diverting a bit from Mr James “Hadji” Latter’s past malconduct while a Board of Education member and later as president of the Board of Education that ranged from violations of confidentiality to a laundry list of questionable conduct and associations, he seems to have allied himself with a clique that manages to get elected no matter what. Probably by friends and family and a bit of influence peddling. But Latter is a decision maker on the Board of Education that hires the Superintendent of Schools for the RCS Central School District who runs the schools and manages the teachers. Latter’s Board hired a former principal/teacher from the RCS high-school as Superintendent at an astronomical salary, and others in turn to other posts.

“Hadji” Latter and his cronies have considerable influence on what gets taught by whom in our schools but he is obviously a supporter of Hillary Clinton. What’s worse still, is the fact that he is employed as a financial analyst at the Saudi Arabian company SABIC!!!

The SABIC flag flying near one of the company’s cogeneration towers in Feura Bush.

SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) is a Saudi diversified manufacturing company, active in petrochemicals, chemicals, industrial polymers, fertilizers, and metals. It is the largest public company in Saudi Arabia, as listed in Tadawul, but the Saudi government still owns 70% of its shares. SABIC is also the largest listed company in the Middle East. Private shareholders are from Saudi Arabia and other countries of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Saudi SABIC

While Saudi Arabia is often a secondary source of funds and support for terror movements who can find more motivated and ideologically invested benefactors (e.g. Qatar), Saudi Arabia arguably remains the most prolific sponsor of international Islamist terrorism, allegedly supporting groups as disparate as the Afghanistan Taliban, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Al-Nusra Front. Saudi Arabia is said to be the world’s largest source of funds and promoter of Salafist jihadism, which forms the ideological basis of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Taliban, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) and others.

This is one of the guys you elected to run your school system!!!


We’re staying on top of this one and will publish the information provided by the Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans in response to our F.O.I.L demands as it becomes available.

Yes. We know.
But let’s see what you say when the cat hits the fan.
JUST PAY YOUR TAXES!!!
The Editor

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 23, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Accountability, Albany, Amanda Latter, Ann Carrk, Anthony Carrk, Assessment, Bill Bailey, Board of Education Member, Brian Bailey, Capital District, Church of St Patrick, Code Enforcement Officer, Code Violation, Coeymans, Coeymans Assessor, Coeymans Code Enforcement, Columbia-Greene Media, Daily Mail, Donna Degnen, Fair Play, Gerald Deluca, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County News, Henry Traver, Incompetence, James Latter, James Latter II, Jason Hyslop, Jeff Ruso, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Joe Burns, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, Joseph Burns, Joseph Tanner, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Michael J. Biscone, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore Assessor, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, News Herald, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Comptroller, Official Misconduct, Partial Assessment, Phil Crandall, Property Taxes, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena, Ravena Building Inspector, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena News Herald, RCS Board of Education, RCS Central School District, RCS School Superintendant, RCS Superintendent of Schools, Real Property Tax Law, Sabic, Sante Debacco, Selkirk Cogen, Shame On You, Smalbany, Tax Avoidance, Tax Evasion, Tax Evasion, Taxation, Thomas E. Dolan, Tom Dolan, Village of Ravena, Village of Ravena Building Department, William Bailey, William Bailey, William Misuraca, William Misuraca, Zoning Enforcement Officer

 

New Baltimore Property Taxes: Absolutely No Rhyme, Reason, or Answers!!!

The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review met on Grievance Day, May 22, 2018, and the Final Tax Roll was published on July 1, 2018.

The Office of the Sole Assessor, currently occupied by Mr. Gordon Bennett (an employee of the Town), and the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review (all appointees by the current Town board) is representative of the rest of New Baltimore’s dog-and-pony act, their excuse for Town government: Complete Incompetence and Ignorance!!!

Grievance Day is also a dog-and-pony act, where a gang of five appointees sit and demonstrate how ignorant and poorly qualified they are for determining the quality of property assessments in the Town of New Baltimore. The assessor sits by and listens, not contributing much in the way of assisting the poor wretches or preventing them from making complete asses of themselves and taxpayers!

Here’s this year’s tally of stupidity based on documents provided by the Town of New Baltimore and the official taped recordings of the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Reveiw of hearings held on Grievance Day, May 22, 2018, at New Baltimore Town Hall:

Shyster Michael Biscone of Ravena, apparently a bosom buddy of Mr. Bennett, since they are on a first-name basis, even in an official proceeding like Grievance Day, represents two property owners before the Board of Assessment Review, and presents their cases in a rambling fashion, so you have to pay close attention to understand the bottom line on the tapes. [Editor’s Note: For those of our readers, we are providing links to the Greene County online Property Tax Information website, where you can read everything about the properties we’re discussing. It’s all public access. Just click the links in the text below to go to the property information. The link to the main page, where you can search properties by municipality, tax map number, last name, first name, etc. is Greene County Search. ]

The first property is on Roberts Hill Road (565 Roberts Hill Rd, West Coxsackie NY 12192); it’s actually two properties that were once one but was divided in order to sell them. One has a house on it sitting on three acres (Tax Map No. 28.00-2-31.2). The other portion is 37 acres of undeveloped property (Tax Map No. 28.00-2-31.1). Mr. Biscone, on behalf of David Hales, whom he refers to as a “fine young man,” argues that the two properties should be assessed as one. He also admits that Grievance Day is not the place to argue his reasons but he does so anyway. Hales purchased the property in 2017 for $206,000. Bennett assessed the property for $210,000. The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review, practically no questions asked, reduced Hales’ assessment by $49,000. Why? You’ll never know.

The second property is an interesting case. Again, it’s presented by shyster Biscone and is a property owned by William Brant, who, by the way, gives his address as 72 Brownstone Way, Apt. 410, Englewood, New Jersey (!), and owns the property on US Rt. 9W, between the Best Western and New Baltimore Family Dentistry (Tax Map No. 40.00-4-2.111). He’s had his plan for a for-profit senior living project that has been before the New Baltimore Planning Board for several years now, and has finally gotten approval. If you drive down US Route 9W going South, you’ll come to the Best Western Hotel, and then New Baltimore Family Dentistry. The Brant property is between the hotel and the dentists there’s a cute little cottage sitting in the middle of the field (that’s the Brant property) . In fact, you can see the temporary road leading into the property, where construction preps are being done. Looking towards the back of the property is a small building, a “well house” that is discussed below.

The property is assessed at $120,000 land value, but Biscone somehow convinces the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review that it’s overassessed at $70,000 because of a “well house.” Biscone argues on behalf of Brant that the “well house cost” Brant only $27,000 but Bennett has assessed it at $70,000. If you’re lost here, don’t worry, it doesn’t make sense unless you listen to the tapes about 3 times. It’s a smoke and mirrors act and works for Biscone and Brant because the BAR buys it and reduces Brant’s assessment by $25,000. You’d think the members of the BAR would have the property tax reports in front of them to follow along but Hey! If they did that they might have smelled a rat and caught it. But that would be asking too much of a bunch of sillies trying to look important.

One tidbit that Biscone drops is that he will “drop off a number of receipts” that would prove what he was saying (not that Michael Biscone was ever concerned with the truth). But he never had to do that because the BAR made their decision to reduce the assessment that evening, on May 22, 2018, without the benefit of any proof or documentation.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that Biscone mentions that one of the contractors, whose receipts he was going to produce, is none other than Robert van Etten, New Baltimore Town Board member Shelly van Etten’s husband. What’s even more interesting is that van Etten, who owns an excavation-construction business located in Ravena, New York (only per the address), is the chairman of the New Baltimore Planning Board (and of the New Baltimore Town Committee on Agriculture)!!! Yes, readers, that’s the same Planning Board that kept Brant’s application in Limbo for several years and only just approved it! Does anyone smell something like conflict of interest here? Corruption? Stupidity?

Does anyone wonder Why? Mr. Brant got his Planning Board approval for his project after so many years of hassle? Just saying …

Case No. 3 is a property owner whose primary residence is in Long Island and who owns a property on North Ridge Road in Hannacroix. 2 acres with a 1 family house on it. Mr. Crimeni, whose primary address is 48 Lace Lane, Westbury, NY, is crying poverty. You see, he thinks his assessment is too high and he’s paying too much in taxes for his weekend country estate, comparing his New Baltimore taxes to his $8,000 Long Island taxes. Crimeni’s property (Tax Map No. 4.00-3-20)  full market value is $195,000 and is assessed at $145,000 but Crimeni is still not satisfied. (There seems to be some confusion also in the tax records because on one page for the same property we find the full market value to be $195,000 and on another page we find that value to be $116,000. It also shows it to be a 1-family house but the house has 0 living space! Maybe there’s an explanation for this?) Anyway, Rocco Crimeni co-owns the property with Nicola Crimeni (apparently his brother) and to listen to their story and compare it to the tax records is like, well, it’s like pure steaming bullshit. The original assessment was on a full market value of $195,000 which was assessed by Bennett at $145,000 for the 2 acres and the house. After the BAR heard Mr. Crimeni’s sad story we find that the assessment for the 2 acres and the house was reduced to a full market value of $119,298, and an assessed value for 2018 of $85,000, total tax bill of $ ??? The final assessment is $85,000, a total reduction of $60,000 !!! Great job, Ms Degnen and company!

Just for kicks and giggles, here are a couple of excerpts from the Crimeni hearing:

Crimeni: There was a trailer on the property and it burned down because of a wood stove we had there.

Crimeni: We purchased an Amish house for $38,000…the Amish people built it…it’s a shell…We’re finishing it ourselves.

Crimeni: We’re not rich people … the disparity in Mr. Bennett’s assessment is tremendous…We have a house on Long Island…and the taxes are $8000…

Degnen: You said it was a shed…[Editor’s Note: Crimeni did not say it was a “shed”, he said it was a “shell”! Degnan makes many such mistakes throughout the hearings. Is she hard of hearing or just demented?]…What are the dimensions?

Crimeni: 26 x 28, 2-story…We don’t have the money to finish it.

Degnen: Are you living there now? [Editor’s Note: Apparently Degnen missed the part where Crimeni says he lives on Long Island. She also hasn’t done her homework or she would know that Crimeni’s primary address is on Lace Lane, Westbury, NY!!!] … Do you have water and electricity? [Again, Degnen, homework? Familiarity with properties?]

BAR Member: Do you have the amounts of houses near you…did you bring the houses near you? [Editor’s Note: Apparently the BAR member is asking if Crimeni has any comparables, that is, information on similar properties in New Baltimore. The BAR member should know she should have these or could get them online in a couple of seconds. We did! In fact, if you go to the Greene County link we provided, enter the tax map number and go to the property page, you’ll be able to see the comparables for the property. Here’s the page for the Crimeni property:  Comparables.]

Crimeni: We ran out of money…We don’t have no money … We can’t afford this … [Editor’s Note: Here comes the best one: ] … We don’t live up here!

Hi, I’m the village crazy lady, and I’m on the Board of Assessment Review.

Now don’t you just have to sit down and cry hearing a story like Crimeni’s? Well, he apparently tugged at the heart-strings of the BAR because they allowed him a $60,000 reduction in his assessment, no questions asked!!!

For your information, you can find out any information you want on Greene County properties on the Greene County online property tax site, SDG Mate Online, and can search by property tax map number, owner’s name, etc. It’s all public access and available to anyone who is interested. Here’s the site link: Greene County Property Tax Info .

We could go on with the remaining 6 properties that received similar reductions but we’ve made our point. There’s something really wrong in the New Baltimore Assessor’s Office and on the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review and it needs fixing. We think it’s corruption and collusion because there’s no rhyme, reason, or fair play in these determinations. Here’s why:

Two properties on New Street in the Hamlet have been the subject of a great deal of anxiety and discussion because since late 2016, severe damage was identified. In the one case, runoff from the street caused the collapse of the building foundation, making it unusable. Then Town supervisor Nick Dellisanti (now Deputy Town Supervisor) and then Deputy Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso (now Town Supervisor), together with Town Board member Shelly van Etten, personally inspected the site and identified a number of problems. Two days later Dellisanti, Ruso, and then Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan and Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer visited the site and confirmed the same problems. After that the New Baltimore Highway Department created new problems and the Town was served with a number of Notices of Claim for the damage. In 2017, the Highway Department and Callanan paved New Street and created a mess. We won’t go into details here but if you want details go to our article: “New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways and Board to be Sued – AGAIN!

Dellisanti and Ruso’s game was “deny and hide,” handing the matter over to the town’s insurance company and their lawyers. Town Law would allow the town to make out-of-court compensation to the owner subject to the approval of a NYS Supreme Court judge but NO! they’d rather force the already traumatized owner to have to go to court and then to the poorhouse. That’s Republican fair play, apparently. No one in Town Hall wants to admit the wrong done. In fact, Dellisanti’s personal notes of a discussion with then Superintendent Jordan records that Jordan’s response to the resident’s request for a meeting was, “Let them sue us!” Apparently Dellisanti and Ruso agreed.

The owner of the property continued paying his taxes like a good citizen even though he couldn’t use the property and the damage was continuing because the Highway Department didn’t know what they were doing and Dellisanti and Ruso didn’t either – or they didn’t have the balls to go after Jordan directly. So the property owner requested a reduction in taxes on the collapsing building and the other impaired property, and appeared before the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review with a complete written history of the case and numerous photographs showing the damage.

The problems first began when New Baltimore Sole Assessor refused to provide the members of the Board of Assessment Review with copies of the property owners request saying, “It’s not our responsibility.” But it is his responsibility to provide the BAR with copies of all complaints, it’s in the Real Property Tax Law!!! At the Grievance Day hearing, Gordan handed the four members present ONE copy, his file copy, of the requests for reduction of assessment on two properties. The hearing was a complete mess, confusion, the BAR couldn’t follow the conversation and Degnen kept on saying, “That’s not our problem. You have to go to the Highway Department,” and had to be repeatedly reminded that the information was being provided for background only, so the Board would understand the history of the problem. Degnen just couldn’t get it. The rest of the Board had no idea what the property was.  By the way, New York Real Property Tax Law requires the Board of Assessment Review to be familiar with the properties they are considering. They were not, which was obvious already in the Hales, Brant and Crimeni cases.

The bottom line: The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review made all their decisions that evening, during the 4 hours they were hearing 11 case presentations, and did not adjourn to reconsider additional information, did not go into executive session to discuss any details of any property, as they should have done, did not request additional information, and refused to inspect the property. They approved 9 out of the 11 cases for reductions of between $12,000-$60,000, properties whose owners simply thought they were being taxed (Hales, Brant, Crimini) but the properties that were damaged and destroyed because of Town of New Baltimore negligence got NO CHANGE!!!

The Town of New Baltimore, the Office of the Assessor, and the Board of Assessment Review refuse to respond to inquiries or to answer communications on the subject. New Baltimore public servants at work, it seems. Any questions? You won’t get answers from Town Supervisor Mr. Jeff Ruso, Deputy Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Highway Committee member Shelly van Etten, Sole Assessor Mr. Bennett, or Board of Assessment Review Chairperson, Donna Degnen.

The board is made up of five appointees including: Donna Degnan, Linda LeClair, Ronna Smith, Lynn Taylor, and This year, the members of the  Board of Assessment Review, chose Donna Degnen to be the chair. The fifth member, Bernard “Bernie” Jones was absent on Grievance Day.

The members of the BAR receive $200 each, and the chair, Ms Degnen, $250, with an additional $50 per meeting for meetings beyond two meetings. So that came out to about $50.00/hr for each of the members of the BAR for the 4-hour Grievance Day hearings. Degnen received an additional $50.00. Total for Grievance Day circus appearances: at least $1050.00 to give away almost $300,000 in property tax reductions, the majority of which were totally unsubstantiated if you listen to the tapes!

The Board of Assessment Review and the Office of the Sole Assessor are just as indifferent and incompetent as the Office of the Supervisor and the New Baltimore Town Board.

We have obtained the taped recordings of the proceedings of the Grievance Day hearings before the Board and can only say that the bowel sounds in a special ed class would make more sense than what we had to listen to in the tapes. Degnen was dithering and the rest seemed intent on making their presence and importance known by asking irrelevant and generally uninformed questions. None of the four Board members were familiar with any of the properties presented. Just a minute, one member, Linda LeClair, was the only member who showed any interest in the properties and the only member who had personal knowledge of a property. That’s a very poor showing.

But the Board did hear presentations on a total of 11 properties and granted reductions in 9 of them. Two properties, one literally collapsing and unusable and the other defaced by former Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan’s incompetence, were left unchanged, despite comprehensive exhibits and a clearly well-founded presentation. We think that there’s some collusion/conspiracy with the Town of New Baltimore and the BAR to avoid admitting any damage to the two properties, since, if any department or agency of the Town of New Baltimore admits the severe damage to the properties, it will cause havoc in Town Hall. Town Hall has been ignoring the damage and trying to discourage the owner from demanding compensation in their usual way, that is, let their insurance company lawyers make any court case impossibly expensive. That’s New Baltimore Town Hall at work. They ask for residents’ votes and then send them to the poorhouse when something goes wrong and the resident asks the Town to be fair and evenhanded. It’s a lousy system.

Several of the 9 reductions stand out as particularly loathsome and examples of the corruption in small town appointed committees. But first of all, let’s look at some general facts:

The assessments in New Baltimore are done on the basis of the Full Market Value and an Equalization Rate is applied. The Equalization Rate is a percentage that is applied to the Full Market Value to arrive at the assessed value. In New Baltimore this year the ER is 71.25% which means that the assessed value of properties this year is 71.25% of the Full Market Value. That’s legit in our estimation. But that’s were the legitimacy stops cold.

The total value of the properties is divided into two items: the land value and the property value (living area, etc.). The problems start with the Sole Assessor’s, Mr. Bennett’s method for determining the land value, which has absolutely no rhyme or reason and, in Bennett’s own words, the basis for determining the land value is, “Because it’s easier.” “Easier?” Yes, it’s easier to just apply a random value per acre than doing an actual calculation. It’s easier for Bennett.

Here are some examples:

In the Town of New Baltimore, Bennett has assigned land values to comparable properties as shown in the examples below:

The wide discrepancy in the Sole Assessor’s land values is one example of a huge irregularity.

The chart shows properties that are in the same area of the town, actually the Hamlet, but if you look at the land assessment, compare it to the acreage, and then to the per acre assessment, you’ll see why we are so up in arms about Bennett’s crazy assessments! They just don’t make sense! How can the land value of a property of 0.18 acre be assessed the same amount as a property of 1.03 acres, that is, a land value of $11,000??? Then have a look at the difference in the proportional value (last column) per acre!

A property on S. Main Street in New Baltimore of 0.05 acre (Total assessment: $56,700, Land assessment: $9,600) has a proportional price per acre of $192,000!!! WTF?!?!

We’ve written to Mr. Bennett several times and he refuses to answer. We’ve also complained to New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso about the fact that his employees and appointees refuse to answer inquiries but he’s refused to respond as well. It appears that when New Baltimore officials feel the heat of unpleasant questions, they tend to hide or ignore questions. (See Ruso’s comments regarding the resident’s letter, above.)

What’s even worse is the fact that the Board of Assessment Review was very generous in granting their friends handsome reductions, while denying reductions to touchy properties, like ones that are impaired because of Town incompetence. Here are the results of the Board’s “deliberations”:

The Board’s reductions ranged from $0 – $120,000 but there’s no logic; the stories behind the reductions are, however, very troubling. For example:

Brant is the developer who has the property on 9W, just behind the New Baltimore Family Dentistry buildings. Brant is a developer and has been planning to develop the property to put in some sort of housing project. He’s complaining because he feels his property is being overassessed. So, moneybags Brant pulls on the heart strings of the Board and they give him a reduction in assessment of $25,000.

Another property owner, Spence, is apparently interested in selling the property but wants a reduction in assessment for some reason. So the board hands Spence a reduction of $12,000.

But the worst example we have to offer from our investigations, listening to the hearing tapes, and reviewing the documents produced by the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review and their determinations is a property owned by a downstater, Mr. Cremini and his partner:

Cremini owns a primary residence in Long Island and 2 acres in New Baltimore, where he and his partner a building a weekend home, which is livable and has electricity and water. Cremini is crying the blues because his assessment is “too” high. He pays about $8,000 in property tax on hi primary residence in Long Island and, convinced the Board that he can’t afford the taxes on his New Baltimore property. So the board reduces his assessment by $60,000!!!! Cremini lives in a primary residence on Long Island, can afford to own more than 2 acres and a house in New Baltimore, cries poverty and the Board reduces his assessment by $60,000!!! Of course, Mr. Bennett agrees.

Another property got a $12,000 reduction. Go figure.

Of course, the Board of Assessment Review doesn’t response to our inquiries regarding the reasoning behind these reductions. But our information comes from the actual tape recordings of the hearings made by the Board, and from the official Order for Change in Assessments and the so-called “minutes” of the Board’s meeting.

Got questions? New Baltimore’s got secrets and no one is talking. But these are the facts, people.

 

Go to other articles in this mini-series on New Baltimore:

Open Letter Blasts New Baltimore Supervisor, Town Board over Jordan Affair

New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and his Board: Hide and Deny

New Baltimore Sends “Acting Superintendent” to Highway School. Why?

The New Baltimore In-Justice Court and Kangaroo Judges: Thomas Meacham, A Case Study.

*****

 

Open Letter Blasts New Baltimore Supervisor, Town Board over Jordan Affair

New Baltimore Town Board Served with an Open Letter Exposing their Indifference and Negligence in Dealing with Malconduct and Incompetence of former Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan Malconduct and of his Deputy Superintendent Scott van Wormer.

Letter Broils New Baltimore Town Supervisor and Town Board: Incompetent!


An example of the abject stupidity and short-sightedness of the New Baltimore Town Board (Greene County, NY), the Greene County Independence Party, and the Greene County Republican Party is the fact that they are now circulating petitions to get Jordan’s Deputy Supervisor Scott van Wormer on the ballot to be elected to be Town of New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways. This is the same man who was hand-picked by the criminal Denis Jordan to be his deputy, his lacky, and the same man that stood by watching, and participating in Jordan’s unlawful activities and said and did nothing. It’s incredible that the Town of New Baltimore would even consider keeping him on the pay roll, much less out of jail, for not coming forward and exposing what was going on in the Highway Department under Jordan. Now they want to put his monkey in Jordan’s chair. Unbelievable!!!


The New Baltimore Town Supervisor, Jeffrey “Jeff” Ruso (R), and The New Baltimore Town Board, Mr. Scott Brody, Ms Kelly Downes, Mr. Charles “Chuck” Irving, and Ms Shelly van Etten, were served with an Open Letter on Monday, July 9, 2018, by a local resident on behalf of several other New Baltimore residents and the community. The Letter does not paint a pretty picture of former Town Supervisor, now Ruso’s “Deputy Supervisor,” Nick Dellisanti (R), Town Supervisor, then “Deputy Supervisor,” Jeffrey Ruso’s, or the Town Board’s performance over the last several years of former New Baltimore Supervisor Denis Jordan’s alleged unlawful activities in the Town at taxpayer expense. Jordan was forced to resign under investigation by several agencies.

Also mentioned in the letter is Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, claims to be investigating Jordan and his activities, but is just as weak in making a statement as Ruso or Dellisanti. The local Democraps may be backstabbing crooks but the local Repukelicans are backstabbing cowards, it appears.

The Letter refers to the June 12, 2018, by Columbia-Greene Media (CGM) reporter Richard Moody that appeared in the CGM newspaper, the Daily Mail, in which Mr. Moody reports on Jordan’s resignation, the investigation of the New Baltimore Highway Department, the New Baltimore Town Board’s glossing over the situation, and District Attorney Stanzione’s understatement. (Read the entire article ‘New Baltimore highway superintendent resigns; department under investigation.”)

The Letter also provides a so-called Memorandum of Law which points out all of the state laws that provide the Town Board with the powers to have prevented and avoided, or at least curbed Jordan’s devastating activities in the Town but which the Board and Town Attorney Tal Rappelea, as well as DA Stanzione ignored.

The Smalbany Blog was cc’d with the letter and we are providing it in its entirety for our readers’ information (See the link at the end of this article.).

Here are some excerpts from the Letter:

The letter starts out setting the tone by describing what can fairly be said to apply to most of the local municipalities in the Capital District (Albany, New York) region:

“Many of us in this Town of New Baltimore are angry and fed up with the corruption, indifference, back-scratching, cronyism, and lack of integrity in our local Town officers and employees. It’s a country club of log-rollers, and the residents and voters are being handed the dirty end of the stick.”

The Letter rightly tars and feather’s Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso at several points, but we’d like to include also former Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, now Ruso’s “deputy supervisor,” in the statement:

“Mr. Ruso, you are blowing more than smoke when you evasively stated, “It’s more like he retired.” It’s me, Harold W. Vadney, you are facing now, and you know I know the truth and the background to former Supervisor Nick Dellisanti’s and your own stormy relationship with Mr. Jordan.”

In the article, mealy-mouthed Ruso tells the reporter, “It’s more like he retired…” But Jordan didn’t “retire,” he resigned and he resigned under investigation by both the Office of the New York State Comptroller and the Greene County District Attorney! The author of the Letter correctly observes:

“If he “resigned,” there would be a clear and substantial reason for his resignation. If he resigned, the taxpayers of this community and the voters need to know the reasons. He is, or was an elected public figure; the public has a right to know. The reasons given by Mr. Ruso are not reasons; they are speculation. They’re also very weak-minded and are a slap in the public’s face.

“Do I need to inform you, Mr. Ruso, members of the Board, that there is a vast difference between “retiring,” Mr. Ruso, and “resigning.” The implications of “retiring” or “resigning” for the individual and to the Town and taxpayers is enormous.”

The general impression made by Supervisor Ruso, and Town Board member “Charles” Chuck Irving, who states in the article, ““All I know is that he resigned,” and the author of the Letter sharply but accurately notes:

“How can it be true that the very people sitting at the table before us didn’t know a thing about what was going on in the Town. That’s reprehensible! That’s simply unbelievable. What are you hiding and whom are you protecting. My guess is you’re hiding your own culpability and negligence in allowing this charade of local government to get to this stage in the first place, and the ones you are protecting are yourselves, for your negligence and indifference!”

This blog has reported for years and has directly contacted the New Baltimore Town Supervisor, the Highway Department and members of the Town Board about former Superintendent of Highways Jordan’s unlawful and unprofessional activity and incompetence, so it’s a very true statement when the Letter strongly criticizes Ruso and the Board with some strong words:

“Mr. Ruso, you are quoted as having said that “The Town is not investigating.” How can the Town be so negligent and indifferent as not to have investigated. The Town has been served with at least 4 Notices of Claim citing the Town of New Baltimore, the Town Board of New Baltimore, the New Baltimore Highway Department, Highway Superintendent Jordan, and all that the Town does is ship the Notices of Claim off to the Town’s insurance company, who then ships them off to a law firm, who then proceeds to protect the insurance company’s interests while trampling the rights of Town residents and taxpayers! Is that how you serve this community and its residents? Is that what we elected you people to do? You avoid fair play, justice, and your fiduciary obligations to residents and taxpayers in this Town? You beg for our votes and then you defecate on us!”

and

“Your statement, Mr. Supervisor, that the “Town is not investigating Jordan,” is an embarrassment and an admission of neglect, indifference and incompetence on the part of the office of the New Baltimore Supervisor and the Town Board.”

We have to ask the same question that the author of the Letter asks when he questions that if outside agencies are investigating the New Baltimore Highway Department, how can it be possible that the Supervisor, Jeff Ruso, and the entire Town Board of New Baltimore know nothing about the investigations? That’s a classic example of a bare-faced lie!!!

“Furthermore, and an even more scurrilous and specious evasion of your duties and responsibilities, Mr. Supervisor and members of the Town Board, is the statement, the indictment of you all in fact, that “If there are outside authorities investigating, I would not know about that?” Isn’t it your job to know about that, sir? And isn’t it your jobs to know about that, ladies and gentlemen of the Board?… It was YOU, Sir, ladies and gentlemen, and your predecessors’ duty to have investigated Mr. Jordan, but you were derelict in that duty, and now you are playing ignorant and innocent. But we know better, don’t we?”

The author of the Letter wipes Supervisor Ruso, former Supervisor Dellisanti’s and the entire New Baltimore Town Board’s faces in doggy doo, and doesn’t for a moment forget the disservice and incompetence, even malpractice of Town Attorney Tal Rappelea, when the author cites numerous provisions of New York state law and authoritative legal opinion to show how incompetent and indifferent the Supervisors, Town Board, and the New Baltimore Town Attorney, Tal Rappelea, were when turning their backs on the residents and taxpayers of New Baltimore.

“…[New York state] Town Law provides you with every possible opportunity to have taken charge of Jordan’s activities, to provide relief and compensation to the residents and taxpayers whose properties were damaged by Jordan’s incompetence and negligence — and I might add, the Town’s indifference and complicity in Jordan’s malfeasance —, and the means to have removed Jordan, and even to have made Jordan personally liable for any provable damage or waste he might have caused. It’s all provided in the New York State Town Law and New York State Highway Law…”

Far be it from the author of the Letter to leave it at that! He actually provides the Town Supervisor and the Board with a so-called Memorandum of Law listing and explaining the provisions of law that were available to the Supervisor and the Board, but were ignored!!! (Memorandum of Law re Hwy Super and Hwy Dept.)

“Then and now the Town Supervisor and Board played the three-monkey-game: See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. Good for monkeys but pretty shoddy practice for an elected supervisor and elected board members who have the power and authority to have eliminated evil or at least to have controlled it, but refused to do so, while aiding and abetting it to the detriment of taxpayers and residents.”

It is clear that the entire Town of New Baltimore operation is a failure, and that the corruption and incompetence, the abuse and indifference was not and is not restricted to the Town Highway Department and its crook Superintendent; New Baltimore Town Hall is infected through and through.

“But the abuse and indifference goes beyond our elected Supervisor, Town Board, Superintendent of Highways, and extends to our appointees and employees. The Code Enforcement Officer, the Sole Assessor, and the tax-paid Board of Assessment Review all have refused to budge when it means doing what’s right.”

The author doesn’t leave the abuses and violations at New York State Town Law and Highway Law, he accuses the Town elected and appointed officers, Town Supervisor Ruso, former Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Superintendent Denis Jordan, and others of violations of civil and constitutional rights and violation of their oaths of office!

“Let’s now move from your ethical and moral dereliction, from your administrative failure, beyond your violations of tort and contract law, to some violations of some US and New York constitutional violations, which you also managed to accrue.”

A very appropriate and brief final paragraph sums up the author’s challenge and his demands on behalf of residents, taxpayers and the community of New Baltimore:

“Mr. Supervisor, Mr. Deputy Supervisor, ladies and gentlemen of the New Baltimore Town Board, Mr. Jordan may be gone but the spectre of his acts and omissions haunts this Town Hall; Jordan may be gone but we still have the wounds and scars inflicted by his incompetence and indifference. The question remains: What do you intend to do to cure the injustice and to heal the wounds?

The Town of New Baltimore is just one sorry, pitiful example of the rampant corruption and incompetence that we find in our local elected officials and town halls. The nit-wits that stroll through our communities around election day campaigning, smiling, promising, begging for votes, once in office screw the daylights out of residents, voters and taxpayers. We all become invisible until the tax bills come rolling out. The Jordan affair was allowed to happen. It was allowed to happen because New Baltimore Town Hall allowed it to happen. It was allowed to happen because the gutless cowards working with Jordan were ignorant, stupid and indifferent to the unlawful and unprofessional conduct that was happening right under their dirty noses and overhanging bellies!

It’s worthwhile to repeat the Letter’s last paragraph and ask the Town Board, Mr. Ruso, Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. van Wormer how they are going to repair the emotional, psychological, physical and fiscal damage done by Jordan and his deputy van Wormer, and how the Town of New Baltimore is going to make those who suffered damage during Jordan’s term whole again?

“Mr. Jordan may be gone but the spectre of his acts and omissions haunts this Town Hall; Jordan may be gone but we still have the wounds and scars inflicted by his incompetence and indifference. The question remains: What do you intend to do to cure the injustice and to heal the wounds?”

The letter was distributed to the Town of New Baltimore and the Town Clerk was requested to distribute the Letter to the Supervisor and the members of the New Baltimore Town Board on July 9, 2018, in time for the regular public meeting of the Town Board. The letter was also copied to the Smalbany Blog, to the publisher of Columbia-Greene Media, LLC, Mr. Mark Vinciguerra, the editor of the Daily Mail, Ms Mary Dempsey, Greene County DA Joseph Stanzione, and the Office of the New York State Comptroller, Office of Local Government.

Mr. Patrick “Pat” Linger, Republican/Independence Party Greene County Legislator representing the Town of New Baltimore, was copied separately, as was New York State senator Mr. George Amedore, representating New Baltimore, and who we cited in an earlier article for his irresponsibility in channeling money into the Jordan highway department, taxpayer dollars that were completely squandered under Amedore’s nose (See our article, “George Amedore, NY State Senator for 46th District, Needs to do Some Homework“), the Town Boards, and at least two Town Supervisors’noses (Dellisanti and Ruso), as well as on the watch of county legislator Patrick “Pat” Linger and Greene County DA, Joseph Stanzione.

They’re Running for Election and the Petitions are Circulating

Please sign my petition…give me your vote!

They’ve come out of the woodwork again and are asking you for your support and your vote. What are you going to do? Just sit there with your thumbs up your butts as usual?

Patrick “Pat” Linger is running for re-election in November, as is Jordan’s former deputy (Jordan replaced him when A. van Wormer ran against Jordan), Alan van Wormer (Jordan’s Deputy Highway Superintendent Scot van Wormer’s brother), who is now running on the Republican/Independence Party ticket for the office of Superintendent of Highways. And you thought Ravena was the only community with an established incest tradition? We say that house needs cleaning. The house needs fumigating to get the stink and the vermin out. Remember all of this on election day. We’ll be there to remind you.

Thank you for reading and becoming active in cleaning of the Town of New Baltimore.

Something stinks in New Baltimore Town Hall and in the Greene County DA’s Office. What’s that smell?


Click on the links below to read the original documents.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 10, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 2Luck.com, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Amedore Homes, Arlene McKeon, Baynes Law Firm, Bitter Bob (Ross), Board of Assessment Review, Bob Ross, Brendan Baynes, Capital District, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Charles H. Stahlman, Charles Irving, Charles Stahlman, Chuck Irving, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Corrupt Legislature, Corruption, Crook, Daily Mail, David Louis, David Louis, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Diane Jordan, Diane Lewis, Diane Louis, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Elections and Voting, Fat Cat Antiques, Fat Cat Transport, Fourteenth Amendment, Fraud, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Independence Party, Harassment, Hudson Valley, Ignorance, Incompetence, Independence Party, Indifference, Irene Beede, Jean Horne, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Luckacovic, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kurt Froehlich, Lynn Taylor, Marjorie Loux, Marjorie Loux, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Meave Tooher, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Nepotism, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Family Dentistry, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New York, New York State, New York State Civil Service Department, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Public Corruption, Public Office, Ravena News Herald, Scott Brody, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Tooher & Barone, Town Board Meeting, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, Zach Stahlman, Zachary C. Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

Changing the Subject for a Moment…Let’s talk about Nancy Warner.

We figure you must be a bit tired of reading about rogue cop s and animal abuse, so we’re going to change the subject for a moment.

Let’s Talk About Nancy Warner and Irresponsibility and Corruption.

Nancy Warner: Lean and Mean behind the Ravena Dem Machine.
(The hill-town version of angry-old-woman Nancy Pelosi)

When we talk about the failure of local government, we cannot avoid thinking of the Village of Ravena, New York, a nest of political incest if there ever was one.

The recent raccoon incident calls to mind Nancy Warner, a trustee, that is, a member of the Ravena Village council, and her history of idiotic pet programs and wasteful agendas. Warner is a relic from the past, from the “Mummy Mayor” era, and has a reputation for being a veritable Witch-on-a-Stick (we all know where the stick is, too). She likes her little coven of idiots; We all know the saying “In the village of the blind the one-eyed man is mayor.” Well in a village of halfwits, the idiot is wannabe mayor.


The Raccoon PETITION got 1.6 million likes on Facebook! As of this writing (March 26, 2018), the “Justice for raccoon killed by officers from Coeymans Police Department in New York Statepetition on Care2 now has 88,060 signatures of which 10,589 are from New York. The goal was 85,000 but the response was so great we’re looking for 90,000 signatures! Express your outrage and add your signature here. Please help get us to the goal of 90,000 protest voices!!!

One of the Coeymans Police officers driving one of the vehicles involved in the scandalous incident has been identified. Click here.


Ravena Village Trustee Nancy Warner in conference with Ravena Mayor “Mouse” Misuraca.

But let’s get back to the point. The recent raccoon scandal that was perpetrated by two Coeymans police personnel at Ravena’s trashy Faith Plaza, brought to light a number of problems. Of course, the first problem is making sense of how two alleged qualified law enforcement personnel could harass, terrorize and kill (by running it over after some 15 minutes of torturing it) a wild raccoon, and do this in a crowded parking lot to the absolute disgust and horror of dozens of people. The Coeymans police response: ‘They had to use their vehicles to ensure the public’s safety.’ This situation becomes even more bizarre when you think that the scandalous scene was perped not by one idiot in one vehicle, who we then could say was just stupid and have done with it, it was two idiots in two separate vehicles. We’d love to hear the radio exchange between the two morons as they got their perverse rocks off killing the raccoon. That chapter has not yet ended and we’re following it closely.

The trashy Faith Plaza in Ravena. Home of Shop’n Save, CVS, and Dolan’s Choices program. Owned by the “Christian” Aaron Flach family of Ravena.

This all happened because a caller from the Ravena CVS at Faith Plaza noted the raccoon “trying to get into the building.” The conclusion was not that the animal was hungry, curious, but that it had to be “rabid.” A call goes into the Albany County 911 Center, which routes it then to the Coeymans Police and, well, the whole world knows the rest of the story. (For details on how owner of Faith Plaza, Aaron Flach responded, please see the Hudson Valley 360 article, “Petition calls for disciplinary action for raccoon killing,” of March 18, 2018, the updated petition has 83,777 (9,620 in New York) as of March 23, 2018.)

Crandall has been cutting the police budget since day 1 of his taking office

When cornered, Coeymans Town Supervisor, Phil Crandal states that “the call should never have been given to the Coeymans police,” but Mr Crandall doesn’t say to whom the call should have gone. The Coeymans Police Law Enforcement Manual states clearly that animal control calls should go to the Animal Control Officer. The problem is that the Town of Coeymans doesn’t have an Animal Control Officer, and the Manual hasn’t been updated since 1998 (neither have the other chapters in the “Town of Coeymans Police and Village of Ravena Police” Administrative Manual, such as Traffic Operations or Recruitment/Promotion, etc.).Problem is, Crandall has been cutting the police budget since day 1 of his taking office.

The Village of Ravena Abolished its Police Department in 2006

But Ravena does not have a police department, it was abolished in 2006! Here’s the official act abolishing it on January 17, 2006:

Article II:
Abolishment of Police Department
[Adopted 1-17-2006 by L.L. No. 1-2006[1]]
Editor’s Note: This local law also stated that it shall take effect 30 days after its enactment and is subject to permissive referendum. This local law was approved by the majority of the electors voting in the general election held 3-21-2006.
§ 22-6
Department abolished.
The Police Department of the Village of Ravena is hereby abolished.

The reason: to reduce costs involved with the operation of the Ravena Police Department. The result: The Coeymans Police Department took over law enforcement jurisdiction in the territory of the Village of Ravena.

Neither the Village of Ravena nor the Town of Coeymans has an Animal Control Officer

In the meantime, neither the Village of Ravena nor the Town of Coeymans have animal control officers, full-time or part-time. Again, the positions were eliminated for fiscal reasons. Eliminated to save money, that is. But while the Ravena Village Council and the Town of Coeymans are cutting public safety positions to save bucks, the Village of Ravena has no scruples wasting taxpayer dollars to pad the pockets of village “friends.” We’re referring to Nancy Warner’s pet project, the Ravena Fitness Center, for which the village of Ravena shelled out more than $40,000 to village “friend” and insider, Robert “Bob” Fisk — Fisk at the time wasn’t even living in Ravena, he was in Florida! —, for used fitness equipment from his defunct fitness center, previously mismanaged and failed under Guess who? Jerry “Dirty-Hands” Deluca’s partner, Cathy Deluca. Warner promptly handed over the Ravena Fitness Center to none other than fitness-club-failure-expert, Cathy Deluca. In the two years that Deluca ran the Ravena Fitness Center, the Center lost at least $115,000 a year!!! All Ravena taxpayer dollars. Ultimately, the Center failed after a short period of Deluca’s mismanagement. Deluca got paid and Carver Laraway did the village a favor by buying the equipment for pennies on the taxpayer dollar.

Nancy Warner’s Response to Ravena and Coeymans Residents.

We mention the history of the Ravena Fitness Center for two reasons: Nancy Warner’s stupidity and fiscal irresponsibility, and Nancy Warner’s corrupt practices in doing favors for the Ravena Incest Club, friends of the administration. Nancy Warner was also behind the harassment of local youth by the Coeymans Police for hanging around the village gazebo (which has since been removed), and for her involvement with then Coeymans police chief Gregory Darlington and Coeymans cop Jerry “Dirty-Hands” Deluca for a number of violations of civil and constitutional protected rights.

And a bit THANK YOU! to Mr LP of Ravena for reminding us that it was at Nancy Warner’s urging that the RCS Community Library was thrown out of the space to make it available for Cathy Deluca’s most recent failure, the Ravena Fitness Center. Not only did Warner urge the Village Board to evict the Community Library, while insiders Persicos were “renovating” the Library’s new digs, Warner actually punished the Community Library for not moving out by raising the Library’s monthly rent!!! Warner raises the Library’s rent and the money comes out of community and children’s programs but that doesn’t matter to someone like Nancy Warner and her pack of flying monkeys! She was sending Darlington, Deluca, and Johnson  of the Coeymans Police Department out to harass the kids on the street, and you think she’d want them to be in a library? That’s not the way she works. Nancy Warner works by screwing the community and taking care of her friends in the Ravena-Coeymans Incest Club! Typical of any fascist regime — and fascist is the most accurate description of Warner’s little nest in Village Hall with it’s figure-head mayor, Mouse Misuraca — Nancy Warner has no use for intelligence or education; after all, a stupid population is easier to control than an intelligent one. How quickly we forget, people!

Nancy Warner sending out her Monkey-Pets in the Darlington-Deluca Coeymans PD to harass local youth. One scandal after the other! Does it ever end?

Nancy Warner’s husband Harold “Hal” Warner, a sitting Village justice, is the man behind the backstabbing of then part-time village justice and full-time Coeymans town justice, Phil Crandall, resulting in Crandall’s forced resignation in disgrace from the elected judgeships. Nancy Warner, at the time, “supervised” her own husband’s court operations.

Ravena Village Justice Hal Warner disgracing the American Flag (Warner is in the foreground).

 

No story about Nancy Warner would be complete without mentioning her pet rodent, Mayor Bill “Mouse” Misuraca.

The Nancy and Hal Warner are democrats as is Phil Crandall, but given their history, do you wonder that there’s no dialogue and only animosity between The Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans? We tend to think that the two communities,separated only by an immaginary line — they were once a single municipality, Ravena-Coeymans, until divided into the Village of Ravena and the Hamlet of Coeymans — but even so, the Town of Coeymans offices are actually still located in the Village of Ravena, on Russell Avenue! Go figure!!!

Since March 20, 2018, the entire Ravena village board has been packed with Democrats, all under the heavy hand of Nancy Warner; the only Republican on the Ravena village board is Mayor Bill “Mouse” Misuraca, elected by his loyal barroom customers and perhaps a couple of dyed-in-the-wool die-hard Republicans still allowed to live in the Village of Ravena. That probably makes no difference anyway, since Misuraca is totally ineffectual — unless it’s tapping a beer keg or pouring a shot– and Warner ran things anyway, witch that she is.

So, people, what does this mean for the perennial problems plaguing the neighbors Ravena and Coeymans, such as water, sewerage, law enforcement, animal control? Well, the picture ain’t pretty, as you can well imagine. But ask Town Supervisor Phil Crandall and he’ll tell you, “Put that in an email or a letter and get it to me.” That’s where it will die.

With Democraps commandeering both Ravena and Coeymans boards but with the seething and roiling hatred between top elected officials, Warner and Crandall, the residents and taxpayers will continue to be victimized by the self-serving, corrupt and incompetent Village and Town Halls.

The recent raccoon scandal brought the historical scandal to light but this time it came to light on a never-before-experienced scale; this time it’s international.

So Ravena abolishes its police department to save money. Both Ravena and Coeymans abolish animal control to save money. Both law enforcement and animal control are public safety services.But that doesn’t stop Ravena (Warner) or Coeymans (Crandall) from spending on their pet projects!

Ravena, under Warner’s dictatorship, finds the money to fund a Ravena Fitness Center, and to take a load of used fitness equipment off a friend’s — that is, Bob Fisk’s — hands to the tune of more than $40,000. She then hands over a large portion of Ravena Village Hall to her friend Cathy Deluca, and approves a handsome salary for Deluca to manage the facility. Deluca manages the facility over a period of two years right into oblivion, as she had done with two previous fitness clubs she had “managed.” A fine example of local government’s idea of fiscal responsibility, right?

After Nancy Warner’s husband, Hal Warner, forced his fellow justice, Phil Crandall, into disgraced resignation, Crandall, banned forever from running again for judicial office because of his corruption — in which Coeymans board member Tom Dolan and Albnay County legislator, Richard Touchette were recipients — and ethical violations while a judge, now runs for public office, for the office of Coeymans Town Supervisor.

Nancy Warner was/is breast-to-breast, vag-to-vag with Cathy Deluca and Jerry “Dirty-Hands” Deluca

Cathy Deluca
Who does your hair, sistuh?

You’ll need a little background to understand Crandall’s hatred for the Coeymans Police Department and why Crandall did everything possible to drive any competent leadership from the Coeymans Police Department. Crandall’s vendetta has its roots deep in the Warner-Deluca conspiracies. You see, Nancy Warner was/is breast-to-breast, vag-to-vag with Cathy Deluca and Jerry “Dirty-Hands” Deluca, who, in turn were in a love-fest with Gregory “Dumplin” Darlington. When Hal Warner disposed of Crandall, this Warner-Deluca-Darlington love triangle was going full-throttle, until their activities were getting too hot to handle and Darlington and Deluca had to go — either just go, or go to jail. Now that the Delucas and the Darlingtons were sufficiently disgraced and out of the public picture, the scene was set for the Warner-Crandall wars.(It’s also interesting that Carmen Warner was fired from the Albany DA’s office and Leah Darlington left the DA’s office shortly thereafter to take a position as a secretary with Tom Dolan’s Choices program. Was it getting too risky for Albany County DA David Soares to have these liabilities in his office?) Just one more objective was left for Crandall — and he’s very near successful — that is, getting rid of the Coeymans Police Department.

Jerry “Dirty-Hands” Deluca.
Now with the New York State Fire Chiefs Association.

Phil Crandal is a retired prison guard and brings all the charm and refinement of a prison guard personality to Coeymans Town Hall.

But Crandall is no prize when it comes to human relations and fiscal responsibility. First of all, he’s a retired prison guard and brings all the charm and refinement of a prison guard personality to Coeymans Town Hall. Secondly, he’s surrounded himself either with a harem of paid women or a coterie of recycled political losers like Jim Youmans (used car salesman, lost a previous election then ran again under Crandall) and Tom Dolan (director of the Ravena CHOICES program, another political loser). Dolan and Rick Touchette (director of the notorious Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany Cemeteries, and recently “elected” to the Albany County Legislature) were both involved in the corruption and unethical activities that led to Crandall’s disgrace, Touchette and Dolan having received favors from Crandall while he was a judge. Touchette was part of the gang, too.

Crandall likes to hire consultants, clerks and secretaries for the Supervisor’s office

As we noted above, Crandall also likes to cut budgets to pad his office staff. He likes to hire consultants, clerks and secretaries for the Supervisor’s office, but likes to cut police and other budgets to save money (for his projects and friends). When cornered for answers, Crandall’s stock response is “send me an email” or “put that in a letter.”

A Lot of Finger-pointing going on right now in Ravena and Coeymans.

So we now have a scandal built up around the unfortunate fate of a wild raccoon who happened to be in the same space as two rogue Coeymans police idiots. The actors in this comedy of errors happen to be two Coeymans police personnel, admittedly morons, and a raccoon, at the time “presumed” to be a little too curious, a little too friendly, and thus “rabid.” Crandall has his moment pointing the finger at the bad cops and promising an investigation and accountability. Bravo, you stinker! Acting Coeymans Chief of Police, Daniel Contento, asking himself how’d I get into this position and what’s going to happen with my pension? Mayor “Mouse” Misuraca stands back and claims to be an animal lover and not to have any power or authority over the Coeymans Police, uses that simplistic mantra to get his useless ass re-elected. Nancy and Hal Warner are delighting that arch-enemy Phil Crandall has a scandal on his hands — again — and the public’s eye is on him, not on them.

Our burning question is this: Where is the Office of the New York State Comptroller, the Office of the Albany County District Attorney, the Office of the New York State Attorney General, and the FBI while all of this public corruption and abuse of public office is going on in broad daylight and has been going on for decades?

We think it’s high time for a lot of audits, investigations, indictments, prosecutions, and convictions. What do you think?

We’ll be asking similar questions about the New Baltimore town government, the New Baltimore Highway Department, and their ineffective and corrupt operations in an upcoming article. The situation, therefore, doesn’t appear to be isolated only to Ravena and Coeymans; it appears to be contagious, a sort of rabies that infects neighboring local governments like Ravena/Coeymans and New Baltimore. Maybe we can find two morons to run them over, too?

WE REALLY HOPE THE TWO IDIOT COPS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED AND ARE NOT STILL OUT THERE ON OUR STREETS!!!

NEXT STEPS:

RECALL PHIL CRANDALL; REMOVE HIM FROM OFFICE
ABOLISH THE COEYMANS POLICE DEPARTMENT
INVESTIGATE NANCY WARNER AND THE RAVENA VILLAGE BOARD
PROSECUTE THE ROGUE COPS
CLEAN UP THE COMMUNITY — CREATE A LOCAL WATCHDOG GROUP
MAKE THE ALBANY COUNTY DA P. DAVID SOARES ACCOUNTABLE

On Friday, March 23, 2018, three RCS high school  students were reported to be “joking” about coming into the high school and shooting it up. Click here.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 26, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 4-H, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Aaron Flach, Abuse of Police Power, Abuse of Power, Acting Police Chief, Albany, Albany County Civil Service, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Amanda L. Mueller, Amanda Mueller, Animal Control Officer, Animal cruelty, Animal Rights, ASPCA, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Bill Bailey, Bryana Catucci, Capital District, Care2, Carmen Warner, Carver Companies, Catherine Deluca, Catherine M. Deluca, Cathy Deluca, Cindy Rowzee, Civil Rights, Claude A. Wheeles, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Elections, Coeymans Industrial Park, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Attorney, Coeymans Town Board, Coeymans Town Budget, Conflict, Cooperative Extension, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Corrupt Judge, Craig D. Apple Sr., Cruelty to animals, D. Darlington, D. W. Contento, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, Daniel Contento, Danielle Crosier, David Soares, David Wukitsch, Dawn Dolan, Dead Raccoon, DEC, DeLuca Public Affairs, Democrats, Department of Environmental Conservation, Dick Touchette, Drive-by Shooting, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, Eric T. Schneiderman, Faith Plaza, George Amedore, Gerald Deluca, Greene County, Gregory Darlington, Hal Warner, Harold Warner, Henry Traver, Humane Society of the United States, Illegal Search and Seizure, James Youmans, Jason Albert, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Jerry Deluca, Jim Youmans, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Josephine O'Connor, Kerry Thompson, Lazlo Polyak, Leah Darlington, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, Moose Misuraca, Moose Misuraca, Mueller Automotive, Mueller's Automotive, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New York, New York State, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, New York State Department of Health, New York State Town Law, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, Nita Chmielewski, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, NYSAFC, NYSDOH, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, P. David Soares, Perjury, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Peter McKenna, Petition, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Police State, Public Safety, Raccoons, Ravena, Ravena Choices, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Elections, Ravena Fitness Center, Ravena Village Board, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Robert Fisk, Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany Cemeteries, Ryan Johnson, Smalbany, Stephen Flach, Steve Prokrym, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Todd Polverelli, Tom Dolan, Tom Dolan, Town Justice, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, Village Justice, Wadsworth Center, William Bailey, William Misuraca, William Misuraca

 

Follow-up Report: Coeymans Raccoon Incident. We still have our doubts!

Please Note: On Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 7 p.m. the Town of Coeymans will hold it’s Town Board Meeting. We have information that residents, citizens and animal organizations will address the board about the conduct of the Coeymans Police and what the Town of Coeymans is going to do about it. Be there. Make your voice heard! Or at least just show up to learn what the community has to say!


The Town of Coeymans Police Department continues to be the subject of widespread interest following the ugly display of unprofessional conduct and stupidity last Monday, March 12, when Coeymans Police responded to an animal control call and proceeded to provide a sickening circus freak show performance as they pursued a raccoon in their patrol cars (one marked, another unmarked), finally running down the terrified animal and running over it. All of this happened in the pothole-rich parking lot of the Ravena Shop’n Save (Village of Ravena, Town of Coeymans), after a call from the CVS Pharmacy that a raccoon had “tried to enter the building.”

After one courageous residents, Ms Bryana Catucci, and several other witnesses videoed the Coeymans Police yahoos and the termination of the terrified animal, those videos went viral on several Internet sites, including Facebook and YouTube, and the Smalbany blog published a detailed and informative article on the incident. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society voiced their outrage and condemnation of the Coeymans Police actions.

To give you an idea of how outraged people are about this incident, just one site, Care2 Petitions, has more than 76,000 signatures, more than 8,500 signers in NY state alone, condemning the Coeymans Police! To give you an idea of how many people 76,000+ is, it’s more than 9x the entire population of the Township of Coeymans!!! What does that tell you, dear readers?


The Coeymans Police have no up-to-date procedure for dealing with animal control issues. The town of Coeymans has no Animal Control Officer. The New York State Department of Health report on tests done on the animal sounds bogus!

I can’t believe my eyes!!! I can’t believe their horrible conduct!!! I can’t believe the lies!!!


Almost immediately following the incident, Smalbany blog contibutors filed a demand under the provisions of the New York state Public Officers Law, Article 6 Sections 84-90 Freedom of Information Law (N.Y. Pub. Off. Law Sees. 84 to 99) for the production of documents with the Coeymans Town Clerk and the Coeymans Police Department, demanding information related to the March 12, 2018, incident in which the Coeymans Police Department used police vehicles to harrass, terrorize and kill a raccoon in front of dozens of witnesses at Faith Plaza in Ravena, New York (Town of Coeymans, in the jurisdiction of the Albany County District Attorney, P. David Soares).

Initial Information Provided by the Coeymans Police Department (“acting” police chief Daniel Contento (SGT)) and the news media were contradictory and confused. We decided to get the facts.

One glaring fact is that the Coeymans Police protect their own. They delete any references to the officer’s involved or anyone involved. Do you think that’s fair play? If you were picked up by the police, your face and name would be plastered all over the police blotter and the local news media. Why are the police and their cronies so protective? Aren’t they public servants, paid by us? Don’t we have a right to know which ones are bonkers and which ones are not?

The Town of Coeymans responded with the usual halfwit evasive answers but provided two important documents: the Testing Report No. RAB18ANI01172-SR-1 from the NYS Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, and an extract from what appears to be an ancient “Coeymans Police and Ravena Police Law Enforcement Manual, Administration (in the following called the PLEM/A),” Section 46.0, Subject: Animal Control/Rabies.” the Coeymans Police Department. We say “ancient” because this section dates back to October 15, 1998 — it’s almost 20 years old and hasn’t been revised, updated, or replaced — and refers to “Village of Ravena Police,” which hasn’t existed for years, and is signed by former Police Chief Scott Geroux!

Furthermore, the Law Enforcement procedure repeatedly refers to the Animal Control Officer and how the police have to notify the Animal Control Officer for assistance when dealing with an animal control issue.  According to the Law Enforcement Manual:

“46.2.1 The Animal Control Officer (ACO) is a civilian employee of the Police Department. The ACO is responsible for responding to and mitigating incidents and complaints relating to domestic and wild animal”

If the local Animal Control Officer is unavailable, the procedure requires the Coeymans Police to notify an animal control officer from a nearby jurisdiction. Again, according to the Law Enforcement Manual:

“(46.3.2.2) Request the response of the ACO to the scene whenever available.
“(46.3.2.2.1) If the case requires the immediate attention of the ACO, that information shall be relayed to the ACO. If he is still unavailable to respond an ACO from another jurisdiction shall be requested.”

Town of Coeymans PD: “The Town of Coeymans does not have an Animal Control Officer.”

Coeymans Police Department Procedures date back almost 20 years without revision!!!

The problem that we have identified in this entire Keystone Cops episode is that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department are about 20 years behind. You see, according to a certified statement provided by the Town of Coeymans, “The Town of Coeymans does not have an animal control officer.”

Well if the Town of Coeymans has no animal control officer, then the entire 1998 procedure allegedly followed by the Coeymans Police Department is absolutely useless, out of date, and a sham!!! In other words, the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department have no up-to-date guidelines for handling this type of situation.

The Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department have no up-to-date guidelines

[Editor’s Note: We have considerable information that shows that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department Law Enforcement Manual is out-of-date and obsolete in several other areas, including How to handle a traffic stop!!!]

The basic issue is leadership and how law enforcement functions or does not function in the Town of Coeymans

 

Coeymans Police on Pussy Patrol.
Did you know that cats are the domestic animals most at risk for rabies?

But this whole hullabaloo is NOT about whether an animal was sick or not. The basic issue is leadership and how law enforcement functions or does not function in the Town of Coeymans. There is no leadership in the Town of Coeymans or the Town of Coeymans PD.. The Coeymans Police Department is dysfunctional. That’s the question that is driving most people crazy right about now. Then there’s the question of how the Coeymans Police abused and tortured a defenseless animal using their patrol cars. Anyone with half a brain would have been able to figure a reasonable and safe procedure for dealing with an animal threat, if there was one, and there was none.  Just view the videos and all you’ll see is a normal appearing raccoon, terrified, running for its life and two Coeymans cop cars racing back and forth. Any sane person would, as most of the witnesses did, that the cops were a greater threat to the public’s safety than a terrified animal trying to escape them!!!

Well, we also have a copy of the Department of Health (DoH) test report done on what was left of the raccoon after the Coeymans Police had their perverse jollies. The DoH report is apparently written by a halfwit chimp. Here’s why:

First of all the report does indicate that the raccoon showed evidence of rabies infection. The report did not say that the animal was capable of infecting another animal or harming a human being. Information obtained by us from the CDC clearly states that the animal is infectious only in the very late stages of the disease, shortly before the disease kills the animal. At that late stage the animal’s brain is so far gone that the animal’s behavior is obvious: it acts like it’s drunk, it loses its balance, it staggers, it is confused. Again, the videos show none of this; in fact, the animal looks pretty coordinated as it’s running across the Faith Plaza parking lot!

Some sections of the report make it look like it’s been jerry rigged to provide the Coeymans Police with an alibi. Here are just a couple of examples taken directly from the DoH report:

“Signs of rabies: NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER; Other signs: MOVING ABNORMALLY, SHAKING.”

Who made these observations? Do the Coeymans Police have veterinary neurological training that made it possible for them to have decided that the unfortunate animal had a “neurological disorder?” They also note in the report that the animal was “moving abnormally, shaking.” Well, first of all, the DoH was unable to make those determinations because the animal was d-e-a-d, pancaked by the Coeymans Cops. So where did this information come from? Hearsay? The Coeymans PD?

Here’s more of the gibberish in the report:

“Comments: Observed acting sick at the CVS in Ravena. Killed by running over with car by Officer [Redacted] of the Coeymans Police Department (…No reported contact. Rabies test need before further testing.”

The only animals acting sick were the Coeymans cops who tortured the animal and killed it!

Again, we have the DoH sockpuppets repeating what the Coeymans PD was insisting but didn’t have a factual basis to make the statements. The raccoon was “observed acting sick at the CVS in Ravena.” Sick? Curious? Hungry? If an 8th grade science student made these statements, we’d send him or her for remedial help! But that’s in an official report. Hearsay! Not facts! The only animals acting sick were the Coeymans cops who tortured the animal and killed it by “running over [it] with car by Officer [his name is deleted from the report!].” What’s disturbing is not only the unsubstantiated statements but the fact that there was  “no contact reported.” According to the report, the animal made no contact with anyone!!!

After all is said and done, the report reads:

“Rabies testing: Evidence of Rabies was found by the fluorescent antibody test.”

The report is again incomplete because it doesn’t state which fluorescent antibody test was used. That information is very important in terms of whether the test is accurate. Furthermore, for scientific and epidemiological reasons the information provided is incomplete and practically useless! Again, whether this is the truth or not, the test results came fully 24 hours after the incident, and cannot provide any justification or support for the Coeymans Police stupidity.

Just by way of comment, the report concludes with the statement:

“Notes: [1] Submitting county was phoned with positive results. Reported to Marsha at 10:32 a.m. by JJ.”

What in hell does that mean? Who in hell is Marsha? Who in hell is JJ? But that’s supposed to be an official report from the NYS DoH in response to a serious incident. Don’t we have any standards at all in this community, in this state? Or are all of our public servants halfwits and dumbasses? We think you know the answer to that question already.

So, dear readers, you have the state of affairs in the Town of Coeymans: Useless and outdated procedures no one has had any interest in updating or revising, a team of goons who have no leadership or guidance, disgraceful and despicable conduct by local law enforcement, a very questionable report from a New York State department tasked with ensuring the public’s health, and another negative report gone viral about the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department. But you must admit, they are consistent, even in making complete asses of themselves.

We are making the documents provided by the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department available for your entertainment. Please note that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department refused to provide some documents, including the names of the Coeymans PD employees involved in the incident. They also have no records about callers reporting the animal, although acting Coeymans police chief, Daniel Contento (SGT), made public statements that “numerous calls” were received (but not by the Coeymans PD, since their listed number goes to Albany County 911). We verified only one 911 call about the raccoon. That call was allegedly from someone at or in the CVS pharmacy at Faith Plaza. We do know of numerous calls received by the Albany County 911 Center complaining about the conduct of the Coeymans Police. Maybe those are the calls Contento is referring to.

If you are interested in viewing/downloading the Coeymans Police 1998 procedure and the NYS DoH Test Report we refer to above, here are the links:

  • You can view the Town of Coeymans and Ravena Police Department Law Enforcement Manual dated October 15, 2018 here.
  • You can view the New York State Department of Health Report here.

Editor’s Notes

As we mentioned above and as we published in our initial article on this incident, “We are speechless! OMG! Coeymans Police Caught on Video Again!” we obtained our information on rabies from several official sources. One of them was the Centers for Disease Control, the federal government’s department for disease control, prevention, and reporting. Here’s some additional information of interest:

According to the CDC, in the period of 2008-2017, a total of 23 human rabies cases were reported in the United States; most of the infections were acquired outside of the United States, most from animal bites in such places as Afghanistan, India, Mexico, etc. On average there are 1-3 cases/year of human rabies reported in the United States . (Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/location/usa/surveillance/human_rabies.html) Compare that with 90 motor vehicle caused deaths each day in the United States (CDC statistics are always 3 yeas behind; in 2015 there were a total of 37,757 deaths in motor vehicle accidents (11.7/100,000 population) Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/accidental-injury.htm).

Given those statistics, where to you suppose our law enforcement efforts should be concentrated? On a raccoon or on motor vehicles?

Furthermore,

  • Transmission of rabies virus usually begins when infected saliva of a rabid animal is passed to an uninfected animal. The most common mode of rabies virus transmission is through the bite and virus-containing saliva of an infected host. ( Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/transmission/index.html)
  • Other contact, such as petting a rabid animal or contact with the blood, urine or feces of a rabid animal, does not constitute an exposure. (Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/transmission/exposure.html)
  • From numerous studies conducted on rabid dogs, cats, and ferrets, we know that when the rabies virus is introduced into a muscle through a bite from another animal, it travels from the site of the bite to the brain by moving within nerves. The animal does not appear ill during this time.
  • The time between the bite and the appearance of symptoms is called the incubation period and it may last for weeks to months. A bite by the animal during the incubation period does not carry a risk of rabies because the virus has not yet made it to the saliva.

According to the CDC, the Infectious Path of the Rabies Virus can be outlined as follows:

  • An animal is bitten by a rabid animal.
  • Rabies virus from the infected saliva enters the wound.
  • Rabies virus travels through the nerves to the spinal cord and brain. This process can last approximately 3 to 12 weeks. The animal has no signs of illness during this time.

A diagnosis of rabies can be made after detection of rabies virus from any part of the affected brain, but in order to rule out rabies, the test must include tissue from at least two locations in the brain, preferably the brain stem and cerebellum. [Editor’s Note: The NYS DoH report is incomplete in this respect because it does not state what parts of the animal’s brain were tested!!!]

The test requires that the animal be euthanized. The test itself takes about 2 hours, but it takes time to remove the brain samples from an animal suspected of having rabies and to ship these samples to a state public health or veterinary diagnostic laboratory for diagnosis. [Editor’s Note:  the test requires that the animal be euthanized, killed humanely and mercifully, not terrorized and run over!!!]

In the United States, the results of a rabies test are typically available within 24 to 72 hours after an animal is collected and euthanized. (Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/diagnosis/animals-humans.html)

When it reaches the brain, the virus multiplies rapidly and passes to the salivary glands. The animal begins to show signs of the disease. The infected animal usually dies within 7 days of becoming sick. (Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/transmission/body.html)

(Please check out the references on our original article for more information on rabies.)


 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 19, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse of Power, Accountability, Acting Police Chief, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Anger, Animal Abuse, Animal Cruelty, Animal cruelty, Animal Rights, ASPCA, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Blog, Blogger, Bob Freeman, Bryana Catucci, Bully Cops, Capital District, Coeymanazis, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Attorney, Coeymans Town Board, Coeymans Town Board Meeting, Coeymans Town Clerk, Columbia-Greene Media, Committee on Open Government, Craig D. Apple Sr., Cruelty to animals, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, Daniel Contento, Dawn LaMountain, Dawn LaMountain, DEC, Demand for Resignation, Demand for Termination, Department of Environmental Conservation, Dick Touchette, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, FaceBook, Facebook, Faith Plaza, Freedom of Information Law, Friendship Animal Protective League, George Amedore, George Dardiani, Greene County News, Hal Warner, Harold Warner, Humane Society of the United States, Incompetence, James Youmans, Jim Youmans, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Faso, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Kerry Thompson, Law Enforcement, Mark Vinciguerra, Mercy for Animals, Misconduct, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Health, News and Information Media, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, North Shore Animal League America, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, NYSDOH, Office of the Attorney General, Official Misconduct, P. David Soares, Paul Courcelle, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Pete Lopez, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Police Incompetence, Police Thugs, Public Safety, Ravena Shop'n Save, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Robert J. Freeman, Robert J. Freeman, Ryan Johnson, Scott Giroux, Steve Prokrym, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Times Union Blogs, Todd Polverelli, Tom Dolan, Town Clerk, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Wadsworth Center, William Bailey, William Misuraca

 

Who are the Thought Police in Your Community? Do you know?

“As members of a community, even as citizens of a nation, we are frequently exposed to and have to cope with what is known as groupthink, a phenomenon that may seriously compromise our image of ourselves, our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, community leaders, and may also compromise our moral rights of personal dignity and autonomy. And yet, groupthink is precisely what underlies much of our “training” in how to be good citizens and in the so-called education programs and our social organizations, and is pandemic in most of the institutions in which we work. Groupthink,  shamefully, has been a part of our religious institutions since time immemorial. Agendizing, brainwashing, programming.”

Anonymous Contributor.

We, as citizens, as members of our community, parents and educators, as human beings we are told that we have an inherent and guaranteed right to speak freely and openly about most subjects without the stigma that might apply to a person living and working in a different country. We would like to think that people, especially our elected leaders and our educators, tend to listen to us and give some weight and importance to what we have to say; consequently, we can and should play an important and proactive role in deciding how we live, work and are governed, and in order to do this, we must make our leaders aware that we are aware of the groupthink phenomenon, its dangers and risks, and implement ways of avoiding this insidious, infectious, and fatal phenomenon in our communities and in our lives. Once people are made aware of the groupthink phenomenon and ways to identify it and prevent it, we are on the path to reclaiming the efficacy and authenticity we once enjoyed but lost in the wake of the development of corporate control of our institutions and the chilling of interpersonal relations by online social media.

Groupthink.[1] It’s everywhere and it’s toxic! It’s dehumanizing. It perpetuates lies and factoids. Yet you love it! It makes things so much easier when you don’t have to use your own brain and you allow yourself to be programmed to think, speak, act, perform according to the in-group’s agenda.

Irving Janus mainstreamed the term in 1982. [2] According to Janis, groupthink

“[h]appens when in-group pressures lead to deterioration in mental efficiency, poor testing of reality, and lax moral judgment. It tends to occur in highly cohesive groups in which the group members’ desire for consensus becomes more important than evaluating problems and solutions realistically. An example would be the top executive cabinet (the president and vice presidents) of a firm, who have worked together for many years. They know each other well and think as a cohesive unit rather than as a collection of individuals.” [my italics]

We can find groupthink in our workplaces, churches, schools, social media, government, and Yes! even in our homes.

Janis identified eight symptoms of groupthink, which are noteworthy and which I will briefly describe below.[3] Persons affected by groupthink may exhibit any of these symptoms:

  1. An experience of the illusion of invulnerability. This illusion produces an unreal sense of optimism and the sense of empowerment to take risks, sometimes extreme, which the individual would not otherwise take.
  2. Acceptance of a collective rationalization. The individual ignores the red flags and warnings and refuse to reassess their biases, prejudices and assumptions regarding reality.
  3. Belief in the inherent morality of the group. The individual and members of the group are convinced of the righteousness of their beliefs and become indifferent to the ethical or moral effects and consequences of the group’s decisions and actions.
  4. Establishment and adoption of stereotypes of out-groups. Stereotypes are a facile way of dealing with the “others” and do not require thinking or decision-making. De rigueur negative presumptions and characterizations of the “enemy” render rational and effective responses to conflict unnecessary. Cookie-cutter responses are the result.
  5. The imposition of direct pressure on dissenters. Any deviation from the presumptions and dictates of the group results in sanctions. Individuals, group members are discouraged from expressing alternative views, or representing positions conflicting any of the group’s views.
  6. Requirement of self-censorship. The individual and members of the group are required to ensure that any questions, doubts and deviations from the group’s “consensus,” program, or agenda are not expressed. The individual must “watch his/her mouth” or be sanctioned.
  7. The illusion of unanimity. The views and judgments, decisions and actions of the “group” or of the group’s statutory and declared leader(s) and majority are assumed to be unanimous, justified and reliable.
  8. The presence of self-appointed ‘mindguards’. Certain members isolate and “protect” the group and its leader(s) from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions. These are the “thought police” who ensure that any information that can potentially threaten the group or its leaders is filtered out and neutralized.

In other words, the phenomenon of groupthink seems to have grown out of and fits perfectly into the framework of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” with its implications of superpower invulnerability, collective processing of carefully cooked data and information, a sense of moral superiority of the group’s decisions and actions, the facile handling of non-members by the application of stereotypes, direct suppression and sanctioning of any opposing thought or expression — the individual “watches his mouth” to avoid attracting attention to himself and possible sanctioning —, all communications and indicators seem to indicate that “everyone is on the same page” and “stands united.”  Finally, the self-appointed “mindguards,” the Orwellian “thought police,” ensure that everyone toes the mark, knows his place, and follows the “party line.” Sounds awfully much like PC, political correctness, doesn’t it?

The Thought Police or Mindguards ensure that you don’t think out of the box.

As I mentioned above, groupthink is easily observed in our schools, churches, public servants, social groups, the workplace, etc.

Here’s an example that comes from my college days when I worked as an encyclopedia salesperson. We were trained to ask potential purchasers questions that they could not disagree with, such as, for example: “You do care about your children’s education, don’t you?” or “You want your children to have the best available information for school, don’t you?” Once they answered in the affirmative, they were cooked. It was sort of like asking a veteran the question, “You do love your country, don’t you?” Or a clergyperson asking a dissenter, “You do believe in God, don’t you?” Ask those sorts of questions and you get a commitment to groupthink; the rest follows once the individual is on the slippery slope to group membership, willingly or not.

It’s certainly easy enough to self-test yourself by asking yourself if any of the above symptoms could possibly apply to you…but be aware of the sneaky symptom of “self-censorship” because you might actually be unaware that you are self-censoring; you may actually believe that what you say you believe is in fact what you believe. (Please go back and reread that last part. It’s important and you really didn’t understand it, did you?!)

Everyone connected to the same “brain”, the core-group’s!

Here’s a real example: I was at my fitness center and struck up a conversation with a guy who was working on a neighboring piece of equipment. The conversation started out on muscle groups and doping, use of anabolic steroids, doping scandals, and how natural fitness was desirable over and against taking performance enhancers. The conversation drifted to the inquiry, “What do you do?” The guy was intelligent, apparently well-read in the subject of performance enhancers in athletes, and was no dummy. He responded by telling me he was a “personal income tax auditor” for the state of New York. What followed was a textbook example of groupthink. He commenced by telling me how interesting his job was because he was making sure everyone stayed honest. Everyone should pay taxes. Not everyone was honest, some people were honest but ignorant. The tax department and auditors were there to protect the public. He was happy doing what he was doing, and he liked his work. He was protecting honest citizens from the crooks and the parasites. New York state took care of its people unlike those states with no personal income tax, states that provided sanctuary to people who want to keep their fortunes but not share by paying personal income taxes. Basically, you can’t argue with this guy because what he is saying is superficially true, ethical and moral. But, and there’s the clincher, his thinking from one subject to the other was schizoid! He was very individualized, independent, even liberal when discussing the social and personal impact of performance enhancers on non-professional vs. professional athletes, and the use of performance enhancers in the guy-next-door who works out to stay healthy or attractive. His lock-step “tax department” jargon and speech, almost soapbox preaching, was groupspeak, the product of groupthink. Can you identify the symptoms?

Here are two more examples I found on a professional networking site, LinkedIn, which is slowly morphing into a Facebook-type social media space. Whereas LinkedIn was originally intended to be a forum facilitating networking among professionals, the parasites slowly infiltrated and started their social justice preaching and religious proselytizing.

One characteristic of social justice and religion is that both are fertile ground for a bumper crop of groupthinkers. Example 1: Social Justice. This example is remarkable because it is so homogeneous in the majority responses and because of the sheer number of responses: 5,013 Likes, 321 comments! Synopsis: A young woman with Down’s syndrome appears in what is obviously a staged video, in which she receives a call from a fast-food chain, Chik-Fil-A, in which she is offered a job paying $11.50/h. It is her first real job and she is elated at the offer and accepts.

The groupthink: Actual comments: “Awesome!” “Wonderful!””Isn’t Chik-Fil-A a great company!””The story brought tears to my eyes!” “It made my day! We need more stories like this!” But many of the comments were condescending: They mentioned “learning disability” and how remarkable it was that this young woman had “won,” how employment “is a right,” and other misguided slogans associated with what we know as PC but was described by Janis as groupthink. The censorship/sanction/thought police action: A commenter posted some reasonable, dissenting, conflicting thoughts about the reality of the situation in terms of stereotyping highly functional Down’s syndrome  persons as having “learning disabilities,” a bucket term that stereotyped them unfairly. That she was hired on her merits and if she didn’t have what Chick-Fil-A needed and wanted, she would not have gotten the call. That Down’s syndrome persons are highly desirable in service jobs with customer contact because of their personality characteristics, as was pioneered by McDonald’s some time ago, and that these corporations are exploiting vulnerable persons with Down’s syndrome because they are perfect for these low-paying jobs, and it creates a very positive social image for the corporation, so-called “organizational health.” (See the McKinsey report below.)

Needless to say, the “mindguards” were quick to respond, and butchered the commentor for being “a Grinch,” for not “caring” and for his “dripping sarcasm.” Not a single comment out of more than 300 comments and replies accepted the truth of what the commenter wrote; almost all condemned him for not sharing the majority’s groupthink. (Click here to read the actual comments made by the commenter and some of the replies.)[4]

The value of hiring persons with Down syndrome is not lost on the corporations![5]

The economic benefits of hiring persons with intellectual challenges is not lost on the corporations, as is demonstrated by the McKinsey report[6], but we’re not supposed to talk about the dark side of Julia’s hiring because the group think won’t allow anyone to pop their bubble of denial or distract them from their happy, be nice, love fest by suggesting reality. That’s groupthink.

Here’s another from the same site, LinkedIn. This time it was a religious fanatic known popularly as a “Jesus-freak,” someone who posts an inflammatory statement about how Jesus is the truth and everything else is a lie. First of all, such posts are more Facebook quality and have nothing to do with professional networking, so it shouldn’t have been on LinkedIn in the first place. So the original post by one David Wood, who describes himself as the “Executive Producer Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Resurrection of Jesus Christ LLC, School Of Hard Knocks,” and his project as:

“The Resurrection Project unites the Body of Christ, to launch a global love movement, a feature length movie, and a video game, and tell the story of Jesus’ Christ resurrection and the 40 days that followed. “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” is the greatest love story ever told.” www.theresurrectionofjesuschrist.com [Author’s note: My italics; I have not undertaken any editing of Mr. Wood’s English.]

His post was simply:

That was it. My first reaction was that Islam never claimed that Muhammad was God. Nor does Buddhism teach that Buddha was a god. The name applied to God in Arabic, and hence in Islam is Allah, which is merely an equivalent of the English, God, so that point is really moot. And the fact that Wood claims that his Jesus is the “only one God” reveals a bit of tunnel vision, even religious and theological ignorance. This is groupthink at one of its worst moments!

My point is this: Approach that post as I did, with the above reasoning, and you will obtain a clear lesson in groupthink.  The post received 51 Likes and 15 Comments but was seen be hundreds, perhaps thousands who didn’t want to “offend” by responding. (Or perhaps because religion is not as popular as Down’s syndrome? Or because the message was so bizarre? Who can say for sure?)

Those three examples should suffice to convince even the hardcore groupthinkers of their affliction.

The kinds of groups that are particularly at risk for the groupthink phenomenon are, of course, groups that we could characterize as cliques, whether consisting of 3 or 3000 persons. Cliques don’t need to be small and a whole company or department may become a clique. The group or clique should be cohesive for groupthink to develop; cohesive factors may include ethnicity, similar interest, and physical appearance. Members of a clique often isolate themselves as a group and tend to view the clique as superior to anyone outside the clique.

Cliques can form in any age group but they are most associated with groups whose members have gotten stuck in an adolescent or late childhood developmental stage, the stage when individuals normally form and become members of such groups. Accordingly, groupthink is characteristic of individuals who may have gotten stuck in a pre-adult developmental stage.

Facebook is a well known huge groupthink-collective in which groupthink can be diagnosed at various levels in the interactions from the very top, where the Facebook Standards and the thought police are active censoring deviant thinkers, that is, anyone who may not agree with Facebook or its policies, to the smaller yet equally repulsive “groups,” which may be “open,” “closed” or “secret”. The problem and real danger associated with Facebook and other social media that functions by exploiting the groupthink phenomenon is the sheer numbers of people who can be and actually are affected by the clique(s).

The proven disorder of Facebook Addiction or Internet Addiction Disorder make the problem even worse because once subscribers are addicted, they are captivated by the groupthink phenomenon and cannot escape.(See our article on Facebook Addiction Disorder on this blog.)

It’s the beginning of the end of open communication, autonomy, and due process.

Another problem is what I would call the “Room 101” factor[7]:  the fact that in terms of groupthink, when Facebook decides to deactivate an account for one reason or another, whether for a period of time certain (days, weeks, etc.) or permanently, this “punishment” practice has a psychospiritual effect on the affected individual, similar to being shunned or banned froma group or a clique. It is a powerful motivator to keep people under their thumb, a control strategy, that works extremely well once Facebook has hooked a person, and the person is sufficiently invested in Facebook in terms of time spent online and digital friends collected, such that the now addicted subscriber will feel the psychosocial pain of being “deactivated.,” in a sense placed in isolation by Facebook without the benefit of due process. Yes, it’s the beginning of the end of open communication, autonomy, and due process. Similar, in fact, to “vaporizing” a dissenter in Orwell’s “1984” where the dissenter is simply made to disappear, as if he never existed. [8]

The recent reports of Facebook’s cooperation with the US and Israeli governments to deactivate certain Facebook pages because their messages are “inconvenient” is a very disturbing step taken in the direction of thought control, Thought Police and Mindguards. That’s why we’ve been trying to get through to our readers to campaign against social media like Facebook! (See our articles on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg‘s ambitious agenda to become God. Once he’s got a fifth of the world’s population addicted to Facebook and can control what they read, hear, see, and say, he’s well on his way to become the next Dictator in Heaven.)


The same “vaporizing” occurs when someone “unfriends” or “blocks” another subscriber who may have violated the group-leader’s or the group’s groupthink policies. Have you been Facebook vaporized recently? You wouldn’t know if you had been because Facebook strategically keeps it a secret; only the vaporizer and Facebook know it. Same applies when someone has a grudge against you on Facebook: they simply report you for such-and-such, and you find yourself deactivated. Groupthink à la Facebook!

The groupthink phenomenon can be avoided but only if the clique or the group is willing to acknowledge the phenomenon, to recognize it in their group, and sees the benefits of avoiding the phenomenon.

Fred Lunenburg (2012) proposes a number of possible ways to avoid groupthink in a group, including[9]:

  • Encouraging group members to state and air objections, doubts, and questions,
  • Promoting impartiality rather than stating preferences and expectations of the group at the outset,
  • The group leaders should periodically discuss the group’s policies and practices and report their transactions back to the group, inviting feedback,
  • Members should be invited to challenge the views of core members (and leaders),
  • At least one member should play the role of devil’s advocate, expressing objections or critiquing group policies and practices, and beliefs,
  • Where there is devil’s advocacy, members should spend time and effort evaluating the warning signals of developing groupthink inherent in adverse responses,
  • Alternative scenarios should be constructed by group leaders in evaluating any rivaling intentions,
  • In the case of a member who appears to consistently rival the group’s polices or practices (Red flag! Think groupthink!), the member should be asked to express as vividly as he can all his residual doubts,
  • Group leaders or core members should present the entire issue to the group to elicit feedback and insights before making any definitive choices or decisions.

Group coherence and decision making has clear benefits over individual decision making. This is especially true when a decision must be made under conditions of uncertainty.[10] Some of the benefits described by Bonito (2011) include[11]:

  • Improved decision quality
  • Higher level of creativity and creative thinking
  • Improved decision acceptance and organizational learning
  • Increased decision understanding
  • Enhanced effectiveness in establishing objectives, identifying alternatives
  • Greater decision accuracy and avoidance of errors and glitches

Admittedly, these benefits may be less related to the actual outcomes of decisions than they are to group morale and satisfaction; we can agree that groups should and probably do perform better when

  • Group members present a variety of relevant skills that differ sufficiently but do not create constraints or conflicts;
  • There is a division of labor or effort, input;
  • Individual inputs can be “averaged” in such a way as to arrive at a group “position.”

Are you controlled by the Thought Police, the Mindguards from the cradle to the grave?

By now you might be asking yourself the question: “That having been said, and while applicable to business decisions or to Facebook and other moderated social media, how does that apply to spiritual care or to our lives in our communities and the nation at large?” Well, in order to answer that question, I have to ask you to step out of your stall in the sheeple box, and think about the environment in which you live. Ask yourselves if you can identify groupthink in these situations:

  • In your church or faith community. (Hint: How do you talk about other faith or belief groups)?
  • In the Sports Association or Social Club. Do you have to toe the mark in what you talk about?
  • In your political or social club (Hint: When at a Republican Club or Democratic Club or American Legion occasion, are you careful what you say?)
  • In your children’s schools (Hint: Do you speak your mind at a Board of Education meeting or just sit simmering? At a PTA meeting what do you feel you can discuss? Do you even attend any of these?)
  • At town board or village board meetings (Hint: Do you speak your mind at a board meetings or just sit simmering? Do you even attend any of these?)
  • Have you ever avoided going somewhere or doing something because you were concerned what “they” would say?
  • Are there subjects or topics or language that you avoid specifically to avoid being stereotyped or labeled? Do you choose political correctness over truth and honesty? Do you do that out of fear of the Mindguards?

Are you being stalked by the community or social media Thought Police, the Mindguards?

At home do you have open discussions with family members or are some subjects simply avoided or off-topic? Are the Thought Police at work in your home? Or are you letting the Facebook and social media thought police do their work for you? Have you seen your kids today?

When is the last time you looked at what your schools are teaching to your children? Have you ever openly questioned what they are being taught? Or are you letting the Mindguards manage your kids’ minds?

At work do you challenge social injustice or do you simply turn your back hoping it won’t hit you next? Are you open in discussing what you feel needs to be considered for change? Do you suggest improvements? Or are you living in constant fear of being “vaporized,” “unfriended,” “blocked” by your employer or even your workmates and coworkers?

Have you been castrated by the Thought Police, the Mindguards?

Most of us will find ourselves interacting throughout our entire lives with employers, educators, community members, governing bodies, committees, or just with our families. We take these interactions for granted; that’s a big mistake..Each of these environments is at high risk of the groupthink phenomenon, and we need to start thinking about the nature and quality of those interactions. Can you identify the symptoms of groupthink in any of your relationships or interations?

We frequently say that “emotions are contagious,” but we don’t frequently admit that not only emotions but the environment created by the attitudes and thinking of leaders and core members in a group are just as contagious in the form of groupthink.

Organizations like schools, religious institutions, government, social organizations are hotbeds for the groupthink

Those of us who are aware of our lives will admit that each group or community has its own culture, and if we are to work effectively with the members and effetively serve the ourselves and our community, we have to be aware of the groupthink phenomenon as it most certainly exists in that group or community. Ask yourself if you feel your teachers, your administrators, your elected officials, local law enforcement are listening to you and your concerns and their attitude towards the “necessary evil” of your opinion must be tolerated rather than facilitated. That attitude extends to all the members of the community, including educators, elected officials, law enforcement, etc.,  and the symptoms of groupthink can be quickly and easily identified if you care to look. How do we deal with that situation armed with the awareness of the probable existence of groupthink?

Organizations like schools, religious institutions, government, social organizations are hotbeds for the groupthink phenomenon because they are founded on very clear principles of operation and program; they have their” agendas.” The objectives and goals of the group are clearly defined and the members are controlled by the assignment of specific tasks and imposing protocols. The agenda is clearly defined. You simply don’t dissent or rock the hospice boat. Groupthink.

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

As “tradition” the groupthink may have developed as a response to the local culture, whether it be socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, etc. In this case, it is a response to the exigencies of doing living and functioning with that demographic mix, and is almost a requirement for survival. Is this “positive” groupthink? Perhaps, but it goes without saying that unless the establishment leaves the door open to open discussion, sharing of insights, correct interpretations of warning signs and red flags, it can quickly transmute into “negative” groupthink.

As the organization leaves the traditional, local, “family” orientation or organization and moves towards the group or the corporate systems, groupthink becomes more of a high risk than a positive stabilizing factor. This is where the culture of the group or corporation overshadows the individuals that move it as well as those who consume its products and services. Rather than being an evolving, “living” organism, it is a monolith. Again,I can’t help but cite Facebook or the federal government as outstanding examples of such a negative development.

A number of large multinational corporations like IBM, 3M, Anheuser-Busch have recognized the threat posed by groupthink and have implemented and developed processes to prevent or at least to mitigate its deleterious and prejudicial effects within the components of the organization and on the organization as a whole. Lunenburg (2012) discusses some of the ways they have approached prevention of groupthink by way of methods like devil’s advocacy and dialectical inquiry. McDougel and Baum (1997) discuss the application of devil’s advocacy to stimulate discussion and avoid groupthink in focus groups.[12] McAvoy et al. discuss how devil’s advocacy and the principles of sensemaking can be used in a method they call the “agitation workshop” as a method of challenging the false consensus created by the groupthink phenomenon.[13]

Do frequent meetings and evaluations work to avoid groupthink? More likely than not, they may actually promote groupthink when leadership reiterate at each meeting the same expectations at the outset, setting the stage for a more limited and controlled conversation that does not allow for alternative discussion. But such meetings and evaluations and be highly productive if, at the outset, the leaders or facilitators are aware of the symptoms of groupthink and some of the methods to directly avoid it, as well as the quasi-paedagogical methods of enhancing creative thinking, even improving performance by institutionalizing dissent!

We can and should play an important and proactive role in making the organizations and leaders with whom we work aware of the groupthink phenomenon, its dangers and risks, and ways of avoiding the phenomenon in our environments. Once people are made aware of the phenomenon and ways to identify it and prevent it, we are on the path to reclaiming the efficacy and authenticity we once enjoyed but lost in the wake of the development of corporate control of our institutions and the chilling of interpersonal relations by online social media.

By using your brain you can avoid the dangers of groupthink!
The Editor


Notes

[1] Irving Janis originally coined the term groupthink in 1972. (Janis, Irving L.  (1972).  Victims of Groupthink.  New York: Houghton Mifflin.)

[2] Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascos (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin.

[3] For a more comprehensive discussion of the eight symptoms please refer to Janis’ Groupthink, Psychological Studies, above. A brief and very helpful overview of groupthink is provided in What is Groupthink? (http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm, last accessed on January 8, 2018, 2018).

[4] The “Julia got a job!” obviously scripted video is synopsized on YouTube in the following words: “A heartwarming video shows the moment a teenage girl with Down syndrome receives her first job offer. A girl named Julia gets a phone call from a Chick-fil-A employee in Rancho Murieta, California. ‘I was just calling to offer you a position here,’ the woman says on speaker phone. ‘Your pay rate would be 11.50 per hour, would you like to accept?’ ‘I do,’ Julia says, her face overcome with emotion. As the woman tells her that she will start in December, Julia breaks down in tears of happiness. ‘Oh my gosh,’ she can be heard saying as she thanks the woman profusely. Julia’s family then encircles her and gives her a massive hug while chanting ‘Chick-Fil-A’. “ (AutoNews- Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5101331/Teen-girl-syndrome-cries-s-given-job.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490)

[5] According to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm that serves private, public and social sector institutions, in a report entitled, “The value that employees with Down syndrome can add to organizations,” we read “[H]owever, some companies have chosen to tackle the far more complex challenge of hiring people with intellectual disabilities. Those that have done so have found that these people can add value to organizational health (an organization’s ability to align, execute, and renew itself faster than competitors so that it can sustain exceptional performance over time). Employees with Down syndrome are a particularly interesting topic of research, as they have a number of characteristics that both increase the challenges associated with inclusion and bring added benefits.” [my italics] (McKinsey & Company (2014) “The value that employees with Down Syndrome can add to organizations” (Vicente Assis, Marcus Frank, Guilherme Bcheche, and Bruno Kuboiama), last accessed on January 9, 2018.)

[6] Ibid.

[7] I’m referring to the notorious Room 101 described in Orwell’s novel “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” the room in the Ministry of Truth (MiniTru in Newspeak), where dissenters were taken for “processing,” most never to be heard from again. “You asked me once,” said O’Brien, “what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”  (“1984” Part 3, Ch. 5)  In “1984” the Inner Party persecutes individualism and independent thinking known as “thoughtcrimes” and is enforced by the “Thought Police.” The Ministry of Love (Miniluv), the ministry in charge of torturing dissidents.  The protagonist Smith is subjected to many forms of torture and is forced into the horror chamber known only as Room 101.

[8] Mind Control – George Orwell BBC 101 Documentary last accessed on January 9, 2018.

[9] Lunenburg, F. (2012).” Devil’s Advocacy and Dialectical Inquiry: Antidote to Groupthink”. International Journal of

Scholarly and Academic Intellectual Diversity, Vol 14, No. 1, pp 1-9.

[10] Nikolaidis (2012) defines uncertainty as “the condition under which an individual [or group] does not have the necessary information to assign probabilities to the outcomes of alternative solutions. (Nikolaidis, E. (2012).  Design decisions under uncertainty with limited information. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.)

[11] Bonito, J. (2011). Interaction and influence in small group decision making. New York, NY: Routledge.

[12] McDougal, C., F. Baum, (1997) “The Devil’s Advocate: A Strategy to Avoid Groupthink and Stimulate Discussion in Focus Groups,” Qualitative Health Research, Volume 7, Number 4, pp 532-541.

[13] John McAvoy, Tadhg Nagle and David Sammon, (2013) “A novel approach to challenging consensus in evaluations: The Agitation Workshop,” The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation, Volume 16 Issue 1,  pp 45-55.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 13, 2018 in 1984, 19th Congressional District, 2017 Elections, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Addiction, AFL-CIO, Albany, Amanda L. Mueller, Amanda Mueller, Amedore Homes, American Legion, Anheuser-Busch, Antichrist, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Block, Blocked, Catholic, Censorship, Chaplain Services, Church, Church and State, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Coeymans, Coeymans Town Board, Columbia-Greene Media, Community, Conspiracy, Constitution, Corporation, Daily Mail, Death care, Deathcare, Elected Official, Ethics and Morality, Evil, FaceBook, Facebook, Facebook unfriend, First Amendment, Freedom, Freedom of Speech, Funeral Home, George Amedore, God, Government, Greene County, Greene County News, Groupspeak, Groupthink, Hearst Corporation, Hudson Valley, Immorality, Immorality, Internet Speech, Johnson Newspaper Group, Justice and Courts, Law Enforcement, Mark Vinciguerra, Mark Zuckerberg, Mind guards, Mindguards, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, Morality, New Baltimore, New York, New York State, New York State Education Department, New York State Funeral Directors Association, New York State United Teachers, News and Information Media, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, NFDA, Nineteen Eighty Four, NYSED, NYSUT, Obstruction of Justice, Official Misconduct, Orwell, Paranoia, Parent Negligence, People of Faith, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Political Expression, Politics, Public Office, Ravena, Ravena News Herald, RCA, Reformed Church of America, RegisterStar, Retaliation, Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Room 101, Service Corporation International, Small Town, Stereotype, Suffering, Teachers, Teachers Union, The Daily Mail, Thought Police, Times Union, Town Board Meeting, Town Council, Town of Bethlehem, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Transparency, Vaporization, Vaporize, Village Council