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Category Archives: Abuse of Public Office

New Baltimore: Pick up rocks, find snakes. Part I.

Is the Chairman of the New Baltimore Town Planning Board
Guilty of Conflict of Interest and Abuse of Public Office?

Our message to Robert Van Etten, Shelly Van Etten, Jeff Ruso, Nick Dellisanti, Gorden Bennett, Donna Degnen.

Is his wife, sitting Town Board Member Shelly VanEtten, accessory to the criminality of her husband?

Are the New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and Deputy Supervisor Nick Dellisanti and the Town Board involved as well?!?

Based on documents, records and information received under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law, and based on the Town of New Baltimore’s refusal to provide information exonerating the suspects, we think that several resignations are in order and that the alleged criminal activity in Town Hall should be prosecuted by the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione.

As the saying goes, if you pick up rocks, you’re liable to find snakes. Well, we’ve been picking up rocks in New Baltimore, New York, and we’ve found snakes, a lot of snakes. Here are just a few:

Several months ago we reported on some disturbing facts about the Town of New Baltimore Assessor, Gordon Bennett, and the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review, headed by Donna Degnen (members include: Donna Degnen, Linda LeClair, Bernie Jones, Ronna Smith, Lynn Taylor). Based on our initial findings, we continued our investigations and have received confirming information in the form of documents produced by the Town of New Baltimore in response to a resident’s Freedom of Information Law demands.

Not only is the Assessor’s Office under Gordon Bennett operating under some very creative assessment procedures and is very likely guilty of abuse of office, the Board of Assessment Review, as we have already reported is incompetent and corrupt as ever. But more details on Bennett and Degnen in a follow up article devoted completely to them and their keepers, New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso, his deputy supervisor, former town supervisor Nick Dellisanti, and the New Baltimore Town Board. Bennett is one of their hirelings, and the Board of Assessment Review is a town committee appointed by the Supervisor and Town Board. The incompetence and corruption is gargantuan but more on that later. Right now we’d like to take a closer look at one property owner who got special treatment under the Board of Assessment Review and with Gordon Bennett’s blessing: William Brandt, owner of the Bristol Manor Senior Housing Project in the Town of New Baltimore, and who is represented by local  Ravena sheister Michael Biscone, so you know something has to be crooked about the whole business once Biscone gets involved. Well, we won’t disappoint you on that item.

Business as Usual in New Baltimore, Coeymans, and Ravena.

The Brandt project had been languishing in the New Baltimore Planning Board for several years. It got our attention when we started investigating the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review and found, after reviewing the documents and the taped recordings of the proceedings, that Brandt was granted a substantial reduction in his tax assessment, and that he was supposed to have submitted a number of documents, including receipts, to support his claim for a reduction. Michael Biscone clearly states that he will provide the receipts within two weeks of the Board’s hearing, those receipts were to have included receipts for work done by “VanEtten construction.”

The first problem we found was that the Board of Assessment Review made all of their determinations on the evening of the hearings. In other words, they didn’t wait for any further discussions or for any receipts to arrive from Mr Biscone; they just doled out the reductions in assessment to their friends. We’ll report on the details in that promised follow-up.

The name VanEtten raised our interest because Shelly VanEtten is a sitting member of the New Baltimore Town Board and her husband Robert VanEtten owns VanEtten Excavating out of Ravena (1314 Saw Mill Rd, Ravena, NY 12143 (518) 756-3517 / 424-8854). Robert VanEtten is also chairman of the New Baltimore Planning Board, and has been since at least 2017. Before that he was a member of the board.

[Editor’s Note: In all fairness, we have attempted to obtain information from the Town of New Baltimore in order to either eliminate any involvement of Van Etten or to confirm his alleged misconduct. The Town of New Baltimore on at least two (2) occasions has refused to provide confirmation or any information about Van Etten in response to our inquiries. In fact, both the New Baltimore Town Clerk and the Clerk of the New Baltimore Planning Board, Ms Marjorie Loux, have denied having any telephone number or other information on Mr Robert “Rob” Van Etten. We find that incredible (unbelievable) that no one in New Baltimore Town Hall has any information on a member of a Town committee, particularly an individual appointed by the Town Board to the position of chairman of the New Baltimore Planning Board. Too many secrets in New Baltimore Town Hall, don’t you think? Now, Readers, do YOU believe that the Town of New Baltimore doesn’t have as much as a telephone number for Mr Robert Van Etten or for sitting board member Shelly Van Etten? Aren’t they both getting checks from the Town of New Baltimore? The snakes are thriving in Town Hall and the lies and corruption don’t seem to end! Note that the Town did not respond by saying “We cannot disclose the requested information,” they responded that they  did not have the information. Now either that’s a lie or it’s complete incompetence, neither of which belong in Town Hall.]

The Building Permit 2017-65 issued by the New Baltimore Building Department (Allan Jourdin) to Mr Brandt was based on the information provided in the Application for Building Permit approved by Marjorie Loux on November 15, 2017. The Application names “VanEtten Construction” as the general contractor doing the work on Brandt’s building. Was this the same VanEtten construction as the VanEtten construction owned by sitting New Baltimore Planning Board and husband of sitting New Baltimore Town Board member, Shelly VanEtten? When we looked up some information, the picture got grimmer and grimier by the minute. You see, Robert VanEtten’s business is exactly what you’d expect a local general contractor to be and is described on VanEtten’s website as “Excavation Contractors, Landscape Designers & Consultants, Tree Service, Drainage Contractors, Utility Contractors, Concrete Contractors, Foundation Contractors.” Now that alone doesn’t make VanEtten’s activity criminal in any way but what we found in the Planing Board minutes does.

You see, New York State law forbids a sitting member of a Planning Board to vote on any project in which that member has an interest. So, if Robert VanEtten is a member of the New Baltimore Planning Board and has accepted work from a developer whose project was before the planning board, and the member votes on that project, then the member has committed a crime.

We demanded the Planning Board Minutes for the meeting at which the Brandt project was finally discussed and approved. Guess what we found! You guessed it!

At the 2017 Organizational Meeting of January 1, 2017, and reported in the approved minutes of that meeting on January 9, 2017, Mr Robert VanEtten was appointed by the New Baltimore Town Board (in a motion by then Supervisor Nick Dellisanti and passed by board members Dellisanti, Ruso, Briody, and Irving. S. VanEtten abstained since they were appointing her husband) to be Chair of the Planning Board. So, Robert VanEtten was a member and chairman of the New Baltimore Planning Board in 2017, and reapppoitned on the motion of Supervisor Jeff Ruso (passed by board members Ruso, Briody, Downes, and Irving; S. VanEtten again abstained). Robert VanEtten was again chairman of the New Baltimore Planning Board in 2018. Having established that fact, we then examined the Minutes of the New Baltimore Planning Board.

In the Minutes of the Town of New Baltimore Planning Board Regular Monthly Meeting of June 8, 2017 (Approved on November 9, 2017), the meeting was called to order by “Rob” VanEtten, and the meeting was opened with board members Jean Horn, Bob Court, Pat Bruno, and Lee Salisbury present. Board members Vadney and Boehlke were excused and absent.

Under the heading “Old Business” we find “William Brandt – Bristol Manor Assisted Living Facilty [sic] – Site Plan.” According to those official minutes, Mr Robert VanEtten presided as chair and voted to approve the site plan together with board members Court, Salisbury, Horn and Bruno (members Vadney and Boehlke were excused and absent).

If Mr Robert VanEtten who is a sitting member of the New Baltimore Town Planning Board is the same Mr Robert “Rob” VanEtten who owns VanEtten Construction, and if Mr Robert VanEtten as owner of the VanEtten construction company voted to approve the Brandt site plan, and if that same VanEtten construction company is the same “general contractor” named in the Application for Building Permit, and VanEtten construction did the preparation work for the Bristol Manor Senior Living Facility on Route 9W in the Town of New Baltimore, then Mr Robert VanEtten has violated New York State law and is guilty of profiting from a conflict of interest.

There are some pretty big snakes in New Baltimore Town Hall!

Given the fact that the then Supervisor, Nicholas Dellisanti, and present Supervisor Jeff Ruso, were on top of the Brandt project all along. And given the fact that Dellisanti and Ruso appointed VanEtten to be on the Planning Board and to be chairman of the Planning Board, and S. VanEtten, wife of Robert VanEtten and sitting Town Board member, was aware of all these goings on, Dellisanti (currently Ruso’s appointed “deputy supervisor”), Ruso, the entire Town Board, and especially Shelly VanEtten, as the wife of Rob VanEtten and a sitting board member, are all implicated in serious abuse of office.

Consequently, there are two options: (1) Either Robert VanEtten, Shelly VanEtten, Nick Dellisanti, and Jeff Ruso come forward and deny these allegations, and provide proof that the facts so presented and based on the documents provided by the Town of New Baltimore were incorrect and the documents misleading. This is unlikely because the Town of New Baltimore, according to New Baltimore Town Assessor Gordon Bennett, is in “lawyer mode“, meaning that they’re scared shitless and won’t say a thing because it might incriminate them. Despite our efforts to get more information the Town has been silent — in Bennett’s “lawyer mode” — and has not provided any other information, not even confirming VanEtten’s telephone number!!!

The second option, (2): Robert VanEtten must resign from the New Baltimore Planning Board and the Town of New Baltimore must notify the Greene County District Attorney, Mr Joseph Stanzione, of the facts of Mr VanEtten’s suspected criminal activity. Furthermore, VanEtten’s wife, Shelly VanEtten must resign her seat on the New Baltimore Town Board because she knew or should have known of her husband’s alleged conflicts while chairman of the New Baltimore Town Planning Board. Jeff Ruso and Nick Dellisanti, both responsible for recommending Robert VanEtten to be chairman of the New Baltimore Planning Board, were and continue to be responsible for his activities while on the Board, and, consequently should be forced to resign from public office for their abuse of office and failure to ensure the lawful operations of the Planning Board they appointed and which the New Baltimroe Town Board approved!!!

If the documents are misleading and, despite our good faith efforts to clarify the outstanding questions, and despite the Town of New Baltimore’s refusal to provide accurate information, Mr Robert VanEtten comes forward and provides proof that he has not been involved in a conflict of interest in the Brandt project, then we will take appropriate action.

The fact is that all of the circumstances and available facts point to a conflict of interest on the New Baltimore Town Planning Board and the Town of New Baltimore has done nothing to refute those facts is evidence enough to make the reasonable conclusions made in this article.

The further fact that the New Baltimore Office of the Assessor refused to produce the receipts promised by Mr Michael Biscone at the Board of Assessment Review hearings, receipts that Mr Biscone expressly and explicitly states on the record to be from “VanEtten” construction, further supports our conclusions. Had those receipts been provided as promised by Mr Michael Biscone, and if they were not provided we have to ask:  Why did the Board of Assessment Review proceed to grant a reduction in tax assessment to Brandt? If the promised receipts were provided but not produced upon demand under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law, then there is something the Town is hiding. We think we know what.

We think that it’s time New Baltimore Town Hall started answering some very serious questions about what’s going on in New Baltimore’s inner circle of special friends. Town Hall has too many secrets being kept from voters and residents. Town Hall is doing too many favors for special people while ignoring those with real complaints and failing to play fairly and in good faith.

When you have two individuals in the Supervisor’s office who have not been put there by a democratic vote — one who ran unopposed and took office by default  (Supervisor Jeff Ruso) and the other one (Nick Dellisanti) appointed by him as his deputy — there’s something wrong with the system. When the Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione — another Republican who ran unopposed — the supposedly “elected” chief law-enforcement officer for Greene County runs “unopposed” and has to recuse himself from the investigation of the New Baltimore Highway Department because of involvement with former Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan (forced to resign), there’s something wrong with the oversight in Greene County. When the brother, Alan Jordan, of suspect Denis Jordan’s former deputy, Scott Jordan, runs unopposed for the office of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent and gets into office by default, there’s something rotten in New Baltimore Town Hall. When the Office of the Assessor, the New Baltimore Building Department and the Board of Assessment Review ignore facts and hand out favors, there’s something wrong in New Baltimore. How long will New Baltimore residents and taxpayers continue to play STUPID and ignore what’s going on. But is the real question this: Are residents of New Baltimore just playing stupid or are they, in fact, really STUPID? After all, STUPID is as STUPID does.

Most popular tattoo in New Baltimore. Wonder why?
(Ask Joan or Robbie Ross. They coined the term “Newbaltimoron.”)

As of this writing there are still public Town Meetings and you can ask questions — even if your elected public servants refuse to answer them — , and even if the media closes their eyes and ears to the situations that are not news but need to be covered.

Time for New Baltimore Town Hall to Come Clean!

 

The Town of New Baltimore’s calendar of “events” can be viewed here. The next Regular Town Board Meeting is on February 11, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. Please attend and get some answers.

If you’d like to contact your New Baltimore Town Officials, here is their information:

Members of the New Baltimore Town Board
Supervisor Jeff Ruso – jruso@townofnewbaltimore.org
Scott Briody – (518)469-0031
Chuck Irving – (518)424-1950
Kelly Downes – (518)396-9255 downes@townofnewbaltimore.org
Shelly VanEtten – 518-756-3517 svanetten@townofnewbaltimore.org

Members of the New Baltimore Planning Board*
Robert “Rob” Van Etten –  Chair 
Robert Court
Frank Orlando
Lee Salisbury
Ann Marie Vadney
Marjorie B. LouxClerk  mloux@townofnewbaltimore.org

* The Town website does not provide contact information on the Planning Board Members. You may email the Town Clerk, Hon. Barbara Finke (clerk@townofnewbaltimore.org) or Ms Marjorie Loux ( mloux@townofnewbaltimore.org) with your comments or complaints.

Stay tuned for upcoming reports on:

  • The New Baltimore Office of the Assessor and the Board of Assessment Review: Abuse of Public Office and Incompetence.

  • Local Government by Appointment: How New Baltimore is run by Unelected Supervisor, Deputy Supervisor, Highway Superintendent and what it means to residents.

  • Unelected Town Government and Appointed Board Members: Dictatorship and Tyranny at Home.

  • The New Baltimore Office of the Assessor, the Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, and Abuse of Office.

  • UPDATE on the New Baltimore Highway Department and Denis Jordan Investigation. Confirms all we have been saying!!!

  • We’ll also keep you up-to-date on the progress of the Van Etten case and what the Town of New Baltimore and the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, are doing about it. We hope to see some resignations real soon…or some prosecutions.

  • The local epidemic of running stop signs and heavy trucks pulling out in front of oncoming traffic (LaFarge, Port of Coeymans and Carver). Our question is: Where are the Coeymans cops? Or are they letting the Albany County Sheriff do their jobs while they collect their salaries and accrue their pensions? “Car 54 Where Are You?” Crandall’s Coeymans Cop Comedy.

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2019 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse of Public Office, Alan VanWormer, Assessment, Bitter Bob (Ross), Bob Ross, Bristol Manor Senior Living, Burning the Constitution, Chuck Irving, Coeymans, Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Interest, Conspiracy, Constitution, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Denis Jordan, Fraud, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greed, Greene County, Greene County District Attorney, Hypocrisy, Jean Horne, Jeff Ruso, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John Cashin, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Marjorie Loux, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Misinformation, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New York State Town Law, Nick Dellisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Official Misconduct, Pat Linger, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Patrick Linger, Planning Board, Professional Misconduct, Public Corruption, Robbie Ross, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shame On You, Shelly van Etten, Shelly van Etten, Town of New Baltimore, Van Etten Construction, William Brandt, Zoning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals

 

Open Letter to County Legislator Patrick Linger and Greene County DA Joseph Stanzione

Funding for Justice

We’re big enough now to start making a real serious difference in how things are done around here. So far, we’ve just been providing information and facts. Maybe it’s time to start rocking some boats through the courts. Just think of it this way: If we were to ask only 50% of our readers to donate only $1 to a Justice Fund, we’d have enough to send a good number of our elected officials and public servants to the new jail they want to build. (We say only 50% of our readers because the other 50% are readers who say they don’t read this blog but practically live on it. That 50% are the state, county, and town parasites who go on this blog to see if they’ve been mentioned today. We seriously doubt that they’d be willing to contribute to their own prosecution fund. Even if we sent just two or three to jail and a couple were to lose their pension rights, that would send a message to the others that they might be next. Send a couple of public employees to jail, have a couple of judges disbarred, take away a couple of attorney’s license to practice their corrupt law. What do you think, readers, voters, citizens? Does that sound like a plan?)


It’s an election year and in the New Baltimore Town Hall they’re still in “lawyer mode,” according to New Baltimore Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett.

It’s and election year and County Legislator for New Baltimore, Patrick “Pat” Linger, running on the Republican ticket, is seeking re-election. Joseph “Joe” Stanzione is also seeking re-election to the Greene County District Attorney Office.

Linger’s and Stanzione’s Republican “friends” in New Baltimore Town Hall haven’t done them any favors! In fact, the way New Baltimore Town Hall has conducted the business of government is likely to have hurt Linger, Stanzione and others very badly, and may even cost them the election. We’ll be doing our best to see to that.

These two politicians seeking re-election have two things in common:

  • They have dropped the ball when it comes to ensuring good government and compliance with the law.
  • They have managed to slip under the radar during their past terms in office, to avoid detection of their incompetence.

We haven’t missed the fact that while the New Baltimore Highway Department was squandering taxpayer dollars, Pat Linger and George Amedore were handing him fistfuls of taxpayer money in CHIPS grants and other state and federal support for highway infrastructure. The New Baltimore Highway Department under Denis Jordan and now under Scott van Wormer, had no training or education to qualify them for planning or designing or even for repairing roads and highway infrastructure. The money was squandered, wasted, and Linger and Amedore just were oblivious, never checking or monitoring how the money was being used. The Greene County DA, Joe Stanzione, was aware of what was going on; WE REPORTED IT TO HIM!!! Nick Dellisanti and Jeff Ruso were also aware of what was going on but couldn’t control Jordan!!! Puppet Dellisanti, we recall, defended his choices of appointees by saying, “Republicans appoint Republicans,” and we see where that got New Baltimore! Residents and taxpayers got screwed!!!

Thanks Linger, St anzione, Dellisanti, Ruso, Jordan, van Wormer!!!
You sure know how to kindle a cozy fire for yourselves…using our money!!!

We think that a local resident has hit the nail on the head when he writes in an

Open Letter to
Patrick “Pat” Linger, Greene County Legislator for the Town of New Baltimore
and
Joseph “Joe” Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney

Here’s what the resident has to say:
(Reprinted in its entirety; we have added the graphics.)

Dear Mr. Linger:
Dear Mr. Stanzione:

You have failed us miserably. You have betrayed the trust we invested in you when we stood behind you and elected you to public office. You have violated your oaths of office. You have shown yourselves to be unfit for public office.

I am writing to you regarding a state of affairs in the Town of New Baltimore, County of Greene, which has been ignored by the incumbent Republican Town Supervisors over three terms: Nick Dellisanti during his two terms in office, and Jeff Ruso, the current Town Supervisor.

We cite here as well the state of affairs that has been going on for almost two decades in the New Baltimore Highway Department under former Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, and which is continuing under the acting Highway Superintendent Scott vanWormer, and will likely continue under the next Highway Superintendent Alan vanWormer, Scott vanWormer’s brother, who is running for that office unopposed and who will be “declared elected,” under New York State ElectionLaw.

Residents and voters, at least those of us who have not been so discouraged by the state of affairs in New Baltimore, and who still go to the polls – for all the good it does and what little difference it makes. New Baltimore voters have for several years now been deprived of their right to choose their elected officials because the Greene County and New Baltimore political party committees are unable to run candidates, and we voters are being force-fed candidates running unopposed; we are being denied our vote. We do not have “elections” in New Baltimore; we may go to the polls but we have a choice of ONE. That’s not democracy.

Business as usual in Greene County and New Baltimore.

Former Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti chose not to run for office in 2017; instead, his deputy Jeff Ruso (R) ran unopposed and was “declared elected” though not elected, in fact more than a third of those going to the polls abstained from casting a vote for Ruso. But Ruso’s first order of business when assuming office in January 2018 was to appoint Nick Dellisanti as his Deputy Supervisor. Although the fact that Dellisanti accepted the appointment doesn’t make a lot of sense, the bottom line is that we in New Baltimore have two executives, the Supervisor and his Deputy Supervisor, neither of which have been democratically elected.

But what’s worse, is that in Town Hall we have a gaggle of clowns who have no idea why they are there, and are blinded by their political ambitions and have forgotten or never knew what public service is; they are not public servants, they are interested only in cronyism and their simple-minded notions of power.

Here’s an example out of real life in New Baltimore, and an example of how Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Ruso and their respective Town Boards, appointees, and hirelings have misused taxpayers, and abused their pubic offices.

You, Mr. Linger, and you, Mr. Stanzione, have been personally informed of these situations by those affected but have done NOTHING. It’s an election year, Mr. Linger and Mr. Stanzione, so don’t you think it’s time you grunted or got off the pot? It’s an election year, Mr. Linger and Mr. Stanzione, so don’t you think you should come up with some answers and some actions? You’ve done nothing so far so now might be a great time to show some good faith, even if it is self-serving in an election year.

First of all, for almost two decades, the former New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, Mr. Denis Jordan, was given carte blanche to do what he pleased in the Town of New Baltimore, squandering countless hundreds of thousands, very likely millions of taxpayer dollars doing more damage than improvement. Why? Because he was allowed to do that by past Town administrations, both Democrat and Republican, and because he was not monitored, despite the fact he had no training or education, and was about as qualified as a cabbage to do the job. His recent resignation and the so-called investigations are in reality a smoke and mirrors game. The investigations it seems are nothing more than a pornographic dog and pony act, making fools of voters, taxpayers, and those adversely affected by Jordan’s incompetence and indifference.

Why haven’t we heard anything more about the so-called investigations? What was the outcome? You investigated a public entity and a public figure but the public has been kept in the dark. Is that your idea of good government? It appears to us that it is.

We don’t hear anything from our elected officials in Town Hall about these investigations. In fact, according to local media, New Baltimore Town Officials claimed not to be aware of any “investigations,” or not to have been informed of them. I find that very hard to believe, especially given the fact that the subject of the investigations was a New Baltimore Department head and an elected official, Mr. Denis Jordan, and the New Baltimore Town Clerk’s office was floor-to-ceiling with banker’s boxes all labeled “Highway Department,” during the investigations. But Supervisor Ruso and members of the Town Board were unaware of the investigations. Were you, Mr. Linger, or you, Mr. Stanzione, aware of the investigations? If so, why weren’t New Baltimore residents and taxpayers informed?

The incompetence and negligence of the New Baltimore Town Board under Dellisanti and Ruso, and their indifference and negligence of the damage that Denis Jordan was doing can’t be made up. It’s real, it’s ongoing, and it’s going to haunt them and you for some considerable time to come. Why? Because it’s scandalous!

In 2016, both Dellisanti and Ruso, along with sitting Town Board member Shelly van Etten, made personal inspections of the results of lack of maintenance of New Street in New Baltimore, and the damage to private property as the result of that lack of maintenance of the roadway owned by the Town of New Baltimore and for which the Town of New Baltimore and its Highway Department were legally liable for repair and maintenance. [Editor’s Note: After two years, neither Dellisanti nor Ruso, nor the Highway Department have responded with any proposal to fix the damage they caused.]

Dellisanti and Ruso, and two days later, Mr. Denis Jordan and his Deputy Mr. Scott van Wormer, again visited New Street, and for a second time Dellisanti and Ruso were apprised of the situation and the damage being done.

Dellisanti, Ruso, and Jordan managed to ignore the ongoing damage, Jordan creating new hazards and damage every time he managed to make an appearance.

Notices of Claim were served in which the Town was apprised in detail of the damage, and the associated liabilities. Dellisanti and Ruso did nothing to cure the damage or to take any responsibility; they simply handed the Notices over to their insurance company, who then handed the Notices to their attorneys.

Why is it that bad government seems to think they can avoid liability and responsibility if they hand their incompetence over to a law firm? Town law provides for remedies but the Town of New Baltimore has, and continues to avoid their responsibilities and forces taxpayers and residents into the poor house because the only possibility is court, lawsuits. But the insurance companies have much deeper pockets than residents. Why should a resident have to fight to get local government to accept responsibility for what they have done? Why should it cost local residents, hard-working honest people, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to force elected officials to do what’s right and to comply with the law.

That’s a good question for you, Mr. Stanzione. You’re the chief law enforcement official in the County of Greene, what’s your position on New Baltimore’s liabilities and failure to comply with the law?

Well, the Town of New Baltimore, and you, Mr. Linger, and you, Mr. Stanzione, have been kept updated on the ongoing damage to a private residential structure in the Hamlet of New Baltimore, which you all KNOW has sustained damage due to the failure of the Town to maintain drainage and roadways as required by the law. The structure has been subject to ongoing damage thanks to incompetent roadwork. The Town has been provided with images, videos, and ongoing updates but the Town has so far ignored everything, and has done nothing.

The Highway Department installed a deep so-called “catchment” that’s almost 2 feet deep and 30 inches across, a booby-trap, but when asked to put in a proper grate, they’ve ignored the request for nearly two years. When asked at least to mark the catchment to avoid and accident, they ignored that request, too! Don’t drive down New Street, New Baltimore at night, you’re risking your life. But you, Mr. Linger, you, Mr. Stanzione, you Mr. Dellisanti, and you Mr. Ruso, all know about this. But you have done NOTHING about it. And now Linger and Stanzione, you’re asking New Baltimore for their votes?!?

In fact, Mr. Linger, we’ve read that you were asked to share your accomplishments with a local reporting medium but you refused to respond. Does that mean you have no accomplishments or that you feel you don’t owe the voting public that information or even a response? Which is it Mr. Linger?

Well, the tax bills come out though, with clockwork regularity. A building’s collapsing because of Town negligence but the building inspector/code enforcement officer and the assessor refuse to inspect the building. The owner pays his taxes on a building that he can’t use.

When asked to inspect the site and to adjust the assessment, the New Baltimore Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, refuses and tells the owner to take it up on Grievance Day.

The owner presents the case on Grievance day to the Board of Assessment Review, a group of appointees, appointed by the Town Supervisor and approved by the Town Board. Again, facts, just the facts, images, answers were presented to the BAR, who granted 9 out of 11 requests for reduction of assessments but denied the requests made by the New Street property owner. This blog reported on that scandal.

The next step was to go before a hearing officer in a Small Claims Assessment Review proceeding (S.C.A.R.) and ask that an independent hearing officer reconsider the BAR’s determination. This was done and Sole Assessor Bennett appeared to defend his assessment, but claimed that the property was not owner-occupied, and therefore, the owner was not eligible to be heard. But the property was and is “owner-occupied” as defined by the law but the more-than-eighty year old hearing officer stopped listening early in the hearing and, despite volumes of proof, sided with Bennett, although allowing a $1,000 reduction in another affected property.

Does something sound fishy here? Well, it gets even better, because New Baltimore’s Bennett responded to the hearing officer’s question, “Why hasn’t New Baltimore condemned the structure?” Bennett replied that New Baltimore Town Hall was in “lawyer mode,” meaning that they would not respond because of liability. [Editor’s emphasis]

If that wasn’t enough, Bennett shot himself and the Town of New Baltimore in the foot a second time when he stated, and I quote from the hearing officer’s official determination:

But first, a quote from the hearing officer:

“Petitioner representative under oath states that the house is used for storage and that it is uninhabitable and unsafe to use as a residence because of structural failures and water damage. Photographs were presented to support the contention that it was uninhabitable.”  [Editor’s emphasis]

And then the hearing officer states and certifies that:

“The Assessor [Bennett] concurred that the property was uninhabitable because of structural failures. Assessor then moved to disqualify the petition on the ground that the property was not owner-occupied.” [Editor’s emphasis. “Not owner-occupied”? Is Bennett crazy or just stupid? Maybe both! He just admitted that the property was “uninhabitable because of structural failures.”]

Well, if I am reading that correctly, the hearing officer was provided with enough evidence and proof to clearly show that the property is “uninhabitable and unsafe,” and Bennett agreed that “the property was uninhabitable because of structural failures,” I am at a loss Why?  Mr. Bennett and the Town of New Baltimore have not acted in good faith and at least reduced the assessment of the property.

I am also aware that the owner/owner’s representative  has addressed numerous letters and emails to the Town Supervisor, the Town Board, the Office of the Assessor, the Building Inspector, the Highway Department asking what they are going to do, what they propose should be done. The owner/owner’s representative hasn’t received a single response from any of those offices!

Sole Assessor Gordon Bennett explained the reason for this is that Town Hall is in “lawyer mode.”  [Editor’s emphasis]

“Lawyer mode.” I wonder if you, Mr. Linger, or perhaps you, Mr. Stanzione, can explain what exactly “lawyer mode” is and whether there is a provision of Town Law that permits elected, appointed officials and public employees to ignore their responsibilities and claim “lawyer mode?” Is that something like pleading the Fifth? I’d be very grateful if you could get back to me on that one. Yeah! Fat chance? Well, if hell doesn’t freeze over in the meantime, there‎’ll be a very special place there for you, Mr. Linger and you, Mr. Stanzione, as well as Mr. Jordan, Dellisanti, Ruso, and Bennett.

Shame on you all!!! You are hypocrites all!

Even if Mr. Ruso, Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Bennet, Mr. van Wormer and the others in that den of thieves don’t have any dignity, one would hope that one of you, Mr. Linger or Mr. Stanzione, would have the decency to call New Baltimore to explain, to justify their scandalous treatment of honest taxpayers, or at least to investigate their abuses. Or is that too much to expect, to hope for?

The hypocrisy includes their treatment of veterans. I am a veteran. The property owner of the damaged property is a veteran. I know of others who have suffered at the hands of Mr. Jordan and other public officials in New Baltimore, and those residents are veterans.

I am personally disgusted and affronted by the fact that so many of our county and town officials claim to support and to honor veterans but stab them in the back when push comes to shove. Mealy-mouthed, pabulum-puking hypocrisy is what it really is. Veterans luncheons, monuments, the whole embarrassing hypocritical dog and pony display makes me physically sick.

What’s worse is when you see who’s at those events, it’s a bunch of deluded old men thinking that they are being honored – sometimes they’re even outnumbered by the politicians who all seem to crawl out of the woodwork in time for a photo op, and then exchange a few empty words before making some sort of excuse that they have to be somewhere else.

In recap, we in the town of New Baltimore, the Little North Korea, Greene County, New York, USA, the Third World of the East Coast, are sick and tired of the propaganda and election campaign rhetoric, and the abuse we receive from elected officials who, in reality, are not elected. We are sick of being ignored and subjected to retaliatory or “special” treatment by incompetent public servants, who have their own agendas once they steal our votes. We are sick and tired of public servants and elected officials who breach and violate the contract between the taxpayer and government, the contract that basically says that we’ll elect you, you’ll collect tax paid salaries and pensions, but you have to conduct our business in good faith and fair play.

You have not done that. You have violated our trust. You have violated your oaths of office. You have cheated us. We now demand justice and your heads!

I demand, and I think I can speak not only for the abused property owner on New Street, but the abused residents throughout New Baltimore, for the abused citizens, residents, tax payers and voters who have been cheated and misled by people like you, Mr. Linger, Mr. Stanzione, Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Ruso, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Jordan, Mr. vanWormer and so many parasites like you, that you make amends for your evil, your piracy, your treasons, your misconduct, your incompetence, your shameful abuse of the trust we gave you on election day.

Fix what you have allowed to happen and make those whose suffering and losses you have caused whole again.

And for those of you who were not elected, who were “declared elected,” but not by voters, you are the worst of the bunch because you have not been approved democratically to lead or to govern.

Shame on you! Shame on you all! And shame on New Baltimore for allowing this to happen at all!

Disgusted,

A Concerned Resident

The Smalbany blog has already published numerous articles on the issues presented in the resident’s letter. They are all true and factual. Supervisor Ruso, Deputy (former supervisor) Dellisanti, Sole Assessor Gordon Bennett, the New Baltimore Highway Department under Denis Jordan and Scott vanWormer,the New Baltimore Town Board are all a disgrace to any concept of decency, much less good competent government.

Veterans?!? The writer mentions an important point that we may have overlooked in the past but now have focused on: veterans and how they’re treated. And Yes! we have noticed the so-called Veterans Luncheon and the Veterans Monument at Town Hall. New Baltimore has a Veterans Committee, too. You have to wonder if that so-called committee works as well as the other New Baltimore “committees,” it’s a wonder we have any living veterans in New Baltimore. Our opinion as veterans: Keep your casseroles and mealy-mouthed speeches and give us the justice we put our lives on the line for!!!  And all you cowardly parasites who never wore a uniform in your lives, don’t give us your bullshit about how you love your veterans!!! Put your policies where you’re foul-smelling mouths are!!

By the way, Mr Linger, Mr Stanzione: Were either of you in the military? We mean other than the boy scouts, girl scouts, or National  Guard or Reserves? How about you, Mr Ruso, Mr Dellisanti: Were you ever in uniform? We mean other than Albany Girls Academy, that is.

Yes, it’s an election year and this is the time to make your voices heard, that is, if you haven’t been deprived of a voice through your vote. It’s uncanny that so many people will put up with having their rights taken away without uttering even a whimper. How can real Americans tolerate “unopposed candidates” or “uncontested elections” without screaming at the top of their voices: NO WAY!

Either do the job or get out of Town Hall! Do the job or get out of County government!

And we’d like to know more about this “lawyer mode” thing Mr Bennett has revealed; is this a new fad in Town and Village government? And what’s the deal with the Town’s refusal to respond to letters and correspondence? Too cowardly to take a position on the questions asked about how you operate the Town? Are the questions about taking responsibility and complying with the law over your heads? Yeah. We can see why you’d try to hide. Confused are you? Look, either do the job or get out of Town Hall! Do the job or get out of County government! And what about the Town of New Baltimore Town Board’s responsibilities in terms of public safety and good stewardship of public resources? Have we turned a blind eye to that, too?

You! Yeah, YOU!
Your ass is grass, dude, and our foot’s a lawnmower!

Mr Ruso, Mr Dellisanti, Mr Bennett, Mr Jordan, Mr vanWormer, Mr Linger, Mr Stanzione, and others can run but they won’t be able to hide.

Letters will be going out soon the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (and the Office of Real Property Services), the Office of the New York State Comptroller, and the Office of the New York State Attorney General, demanding investigations or at least inquiry into what’s going on in New Baltimore (and Ravena/Coeymans, too). We’re going to ask Why? Mr Patrick Linger and Mr Joseph Stanzione have dropped the ball on so many issues, Why? they’re asleep on duty. We’ll also drop Mr Cuomo cc’s of the letters to see what he has to say about his Repukelican friends in Greene County.

We will allege conspiracy to obstruct justice, to deprive citizens of their civil and protected rights, election fraud, violation of oaths of office, unlawful deprivation of rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the New York State and United States Constitution (3rd, 5th and 14th Amendments), violation of due process rights, breach of contract, among other violations and crimes, tortious negligence, unlawful eviction (constructive eviction), discriminatory practices. The list could go on but rest assured, the evidence and the proof for these allegations and others is clear, conspicuous, and incontestable. Mr Ruso, Mr Dellisanti, Mr Bennett, Mr Jordan, Mr vanWormer, Mr Linger, Mr Stanzione can run but they won’t be able to hide.

How is it possible that New Baltimore, Greene County has such a bunch of irresponsible, despicable morons running the show. How can they get away with destroying private property, avoiding any notions of fair play and good faith, and still sleep at night. Well, when you have no conscience, you can do anything and still get a good night’s sleep. new Baltimore Town hall, Mr Patrick Linger, Mr Joseph Stanzione, Mr Jeff Ruso, Mr Nick Dellisanti, Denis Jordan and Scot vanWormer are living proof of that!

New Baltimore & Greene County Elections.
What we have to choose from..
One Big Garbage Sorting Operation!

 

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Alan van Wormer, Allan Jourdin, Amedore Homes, Barbara Underwood, Bernie Jones, Beth Schnecke, Bob Ross, Chuck Irving, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Civil Rights, Code Enforcement Officer, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Conspiracy, Constitution, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., D. W. Contento, Daily Mail, Dangerous Conditions, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Democrap, Democratic Party Committee, Democrats, Denis Jordan, Department of Taxation and Finance, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Donna Degnen, Eileen Vosburgh, Eilleen Vosburgh, Elected Official, Election Fraud, Elections and Voting, FaceBook, Felony, Fraud, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Hudson Valley, Irregularities, Voting, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Faso, John Luckacovic, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Linda LeClair, Lisa Benway, Lynn Taylor, Marjorie Loux, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Veterans Committee, New York, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Protected Rights, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, Real Property Tax Law, Republican Party Committee, Retaliation, Robert van Etten, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Town of New Baltimore, Trident Insurance, VanEtten

 

Mr Sante Debacco Explains…

Mr Sante Debacco of the Village of Ravena Building Department has been very forthcoming and impressively so, with comments and responses to our articles “Is Nancy Warner Suffering PMM (Post-menopausal Mania) AGAIN?” and “Ravena Still Ignores Oaths of Office and Rights Protected by State and Federal Constitutions!!!” (called the “Hohman article” below). We have posted one of his emails and our comments in our article “Mr Sante Debacco of the Ravena Building Department Responds“, and are pleased to note that Mr Debacco AGREES with the majority of our statements. That should put to final rest any of the stupidity of doubters as to the factual basis of our articles. Here we have a long-time employee of the Village of Ravena Building Department and of the Town of Coeymans Building Department admitting in black and white that we are correct in what we had to say.

Although Mr Debacco erroneously placed his comments in response to the article primarily on Nancy Warner, he is aware of that error and explains that he intended the comments to go on the article about Mr Ron Hohman. You can read Mr Debacco’s comments in their unedited entirety in the Comments (bottom of the article) about Nancy Warner (here’s the link: Comments)

Mr Debacco’s most recent comment is most interested to our readers, because Mr Debacco explains some of the workings, if we can be so liberal to call them “workings,” that is, the operations of the Ravena Building Department, the roles of Mr Joe Burns, Mr Hohman and Mr Debacco, himself, the distinction between a State Code Enforcement Officer and a Village Code Enforcement Officer, and he confirms our statements made in the Hohman article.

We are publishing Mr Debacco’s most recent email/comment in its entirety simply because it is important for our readers, particularly our readers in the towns of Coeymans, New Baltimore, and the Village of Ravena, and any resident/property owner in the state of New York, for that matter, to know what Mr Debacco explains in his comment.

We are also publishing Mr Debacco’s statement in its entirety as well as his previous comments because it is so rare for a public employee to come forward and be so candidly honest about himself, his job, and the people he works with. That takes integrity and courage.

It’s the LAW.
Our rights are protected by the New York State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States!!!


Mr Debacco writes:

“Good Evening Editor of the Smalbany Blog,

“I would like to share some comments, or thoughts if you will, on the issue regarding the recent post about Village of Ravena Zoning Enforcement Official Ron Hohman. By the way – I am maintaining my vow not to read the blog for my own reasons, but I have no objection to you posting my comments on the blog.”

Mr Debacco had posted his previous comments on the “Is Nancy Warner Suffering PMM (Post-menopausal Mania) AGAIN?” page. That was in error but you can read all of his previous comments in the Comments section of that page.

“Mr. Hohman recently cited a property owner in the Village of Ravena a code violation regarding an unregistered vehicle, and discarded rubbish on the property. These citations were documented from the local laws and codes of the Village of Ravena. In our Building Department, Mr. Hohman is charged with the enforcement of Village of Ravena local laws. He [Mr Hohman]  is not a New York State certified code enforcement official, and cannot enforce the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code of New York State – Title 19 NYCRR. Only myself and Mr. Burns are charged with the enforcement of the State codes since we are certified by NYS as code enforcement officials. Mr. Hohman cannot issue building permits, conduct inspection of construction. He [Mr Hohman] can investigate complaints, but only complaints regarding the Village codes.” [Our emphasis]

Either Mr Debacco has knowledge of the case to which we refer in our article, “Ravena Still Ignores Oaths of Office and Rights Protected by State and Federal Constitutions!!!” or he is relying on the facts we reported in that article. The bottom line is that Mr Debacco is confirming that Mr Hohman’s authority is limited to only Village of Ravena local codes and laws.

Mr Debacco continues:

“However Mr. Hohman still must abide by protected constitutional rights of citizens. We are not allowed to enter private property without permission of the property owner. It is assumed that we can walk up to the front door of a building and knock on the door or ring a bell, but we are not allowed to walk around back per se without permission from the property owner. We are not allowed to enter into a dwelling unit without permission of the occupant of the dwelling. We can conduct legal inspections from the public right of way such as a sidewalk or street, and we can also conduct a legal inspection from a neighboring property, but the owner of that property must give us permission. The only time we can enter private property or enter someone’s dwelling unit, is during an emergency situation where the fire department or police department will allow us entry. The code enforcement official has the authority to obtain an administrative warrant to enter a property to conduct an inspection, but he/she must apply for such warrant at a local court where the property is located and must show cause.”

Again, Mr Debacco, a long-time employee of the Village of Ravena Building Department and a NYS certified code enforcement officer, confirms our statements in the Hohman article, that is, that Hohman must respect the protected rights of citizens. In other words, as we reported, no on may enter a resident’s or a citizen’s property without the citizen’s permission, or unless the official has a warrant or there is an emergency situation. Unless the official has the owner/occupant’s permission or a court order, the official cannot set foot on the property. Thank you, Mr Debacco, for confirming our report.

And again, Mr Debacco continues and confirms what we reported in the Hohlman article:

“I’m not sure what procedures Mr. Hohman followed the day of the visit to the Ravena property owner. I wasn’t around that day, and I didn’t hear anything about it at the office.

“In regards to the subjects of the violations, I cannot comment because I was not involved. I do agree with the old saying that “one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure”. The language in the codes is not really that cut and dry. Lots of room for interpretation. I don’t think that criminal charges for trespassing are warranted. In defense of Mr. Hohman, I believe there was no criminal intent on his part. I believe he was trying to his job, in the best way he thought he was able to.” [Our emphasis]

The law has no reliable way to adequately define a word like “rubbish”, as we have already stated in the Hohman article, and so that disposes of Hohman’s charge that there was anything objectionable in the resident’s yard. Hohman still has to explain how he made the observation on which he bases his charge, however. Even if he claims he did not enter the property and viewed the property from a neighboring property, he still has to prove he obtained the “neighbor’s” permission to enter their property. We don’t think That Mr Hohman is tall enough to make adequate observations over a 6 foot fence, though.

We also don’t agree that criminal intent absolves Mr Hohman from answering charges of trespass. Trespass does not require the intent to commit a crime and ignorance or over-zealousness does not absolve guilt. Think of it this way: You are driving down the road 10 miles over the posted speed limit and you are stopped by a law enforcement officer and ticketed for speeding. Your explanation is that you were not aware that you were speeding. That’s not going to save your sorry butt. You see, it is your responsibility to be in control of your vehicle and that includes knowing and obeying local laws and ordinances and state Vehicle and Traffic Laws, including speeding. It is your responsibility as an operator of a motor vehicle on pubic roadways and the excuse of not paying attention or ignorance is no defense. You will still have to face the consequences for your irresponsibility.

Same applies to Mr Hohman. He is responsible not only for knowing the Village of Ravena codes as they apply to buildings and properties in the Village, he must also be aware of the rights of residents and property owners and his limitations as a public official and employee. Whether or not he knew or did not know what he could or could not do is not a defense. He violated the law and cannot claim that his official duties protect him — they don’t — or that he was unaware of his limitations as to the rights of the public — ignorance is not a defense. So we disagree on this with Mr Debacco.

We feel that Mr Hohman has the duty, obligation and responsibility to know not only the codes but also what he can and cannot do under the law. He obviously broke the law and must now accept the consequences. The law does not apply differently to him because he is a public employee. There are not separate laws for Mr Hohman and others that apply to us common citizens. In fact, it is generally accepted that public servants must be held to a higher standard than private citizens because public servants are more visible and represent the common good. That applies equally to our judges and to our dog catchers and everyone in between. You break the law and you must be made an example. Period.

We continue to advise the property owner to file a criminal charge of trespass and violation of his protected rights under the New York State and United States constitutions. The local police chief, Coeymans Police Chief Daniel Contento must take the complaint, investigate to the extent that his own competence allows, and turn the matter over to the court for arraignment and hearing. An example must be made and other public employees put on notice.

Furthermore, given the facts and given Mr Debacco’s statements in his comments, we also feel that Mr Joseph Burns, Mr Debacco’s and Mr Hohman’s supervisor and the director of the Village of Ravena Building Department must be held accountable for Mr Hohman’s misconduct. It is Mr Burns’ responsiblility to ensure the lawful operations of his department and it is Mr Debacco’s duty and obligation to report any observed or suspected misconduct to Mr Burns so that Burns can investigate and take any necessary action. If Debacco fails to report such misconduct or his suspicion or knowledge to Burns, Debacco becomes an accessory to the misconduct and should be disciplined. Burns must keep records of all such incidents as well as any action taken by him in the case. If Burns does not keep adequate records, he becomes subject to discipline. Good recordkeeping is a requirement in public office, and the Office of the New York State Comptroller audits consistently look at the recordkeeping habits of local governments. So beware!

Watch your step, Mr Debacco; It’s a slippery slope.

“I would like to invite the editorial team to visit us some day at the Building Department offices, either in Ravena or Coeymans. Spend some time with us, spend a day or two with us. Tour our offices, perhaps do a ride-along when we go out in the field. See what we do. See what we can’t do. You will learn that we do not have an easy job. It can be stressful, controversial, and complicated. We probably are the least liked – for lack of a better term – out of any public employee. Many times I have been yelled at, scolded, given the finger, and even threatened with physical harm by the public for – what I thought – was just doing my job. And I’m only the part-timer: way down on the (Village and Town) food chain. Twice in my career I have been threatened where I had to file a “workplace violence incident report”. Maybe you are right. Maybe I really do work too much!”

It is very generous of Mr Debacco to invite us to visit the Village of Ravena Building Department and to accompany him on his rounds but truth be told we do not think that Mr Debacco has the authority to make such an invitation. That’s not to say that we are not appreciative of Mr Debacco’s generosity in extending an invitation to do so; we simply feel that you can’t invite someone into someone else’s home — that would be violating their protected rights — and Mr Debacco is only a part-time employee of the Ravena Village Department and as such, no matter how long he’s been there, does not give him the authority to invite outsiders to spend a day with the Department or to participate in a “ride-along” in the field. That would require Mr Burns’ and perhaps even higher authority’s permission. We would urge Mr Debacco to be more prudent and cautious in making such invitations.

As Mr Debacco admits in his comment his job is not the most popular one in the Village and he does admit that it can be “stressful, controversial and complicated.” But then so are many other jobs but that does not mean that you don’t have to obey the rules and the law. As we say: If it’s too hot in the kitchen, get out.”

Mr Debacco closes his comment with:

“Anyway – thank you again for your time this evening.
Sincerely,
Sante DeBacco
Sent from my iPhone”

Our recommendation to the Village of Ravena and to the Town of Coeymans is that you train your employees properly and avoid lawsuits (same would apply, Mr Jeff Ruso (R) and Mr Nick Dellisanti (R), to employees of the Town of New Baltimore). You can’t undo what has been done but you can make good faith efforts to avoid abuses in the future. (By the way, Ravena, Why? do you pay village shyster Michael Biscone, Ravena Village attorney, if the Village of Ravena continues to break the laws of the state and the nation? Paying him to park his fat arse and supply expensive lies is a bit of a waste of taxpayer dollars. Wouldn’t you agree?)

And we’d like to thank Mr Debacco sincerely for his straightforward and informative comments. We wish that other citizens and residents and ALL of our public employees — and wer’re thinking specifically of Mr Jeff Ruso, New Baltimore Town Supervisor, and his employees and elected officials; they don’t even respond to resident’s letters — would have the guts to do what Mr Debacco has done. But perhaps we are wishing too much!

From the Community!

The Editor


Editor’s Postscript

We’ve been asked to investigate two other matter in the Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans. Just to give our readers a Heads up! on what’s coming:

  1. Driving through Faith Plaza, a heavily visited strip mall with Ravena Shop’n Save and CVS Pharmacy and other heavily trafficked businesses, we have been asked to investigate why the Village of Ravena and The Town of Coeymans have not taken steps to ensure the public’s safety by citing the owner of the Plaza for the incredibly dangerous condition of the parking lot. The potholes are so many and so deep that you could lose an 18-wheeler in one of them or a small child! After a rain the potholes are filled with water any if you should drive through one, you could lose a wheel. This is a condition that has been allowed to persist literally for years and nothing has been done about it. Where are you Village of Ravena and Town of Coeymans???
  2. Heavy trucks, damaged streets and water infrastructure, hazardous curves, no traffic enforcement, and parking in Ravena is another question we’ve been asked to investigate, and one which we are currently investigating. Why are the heavy trucks going through the Village of Ravena in the first place? The Village has the power to restrict traffic and the New York State DOT would likely support the Village. So why is there all that dangerous heavy traffic? Why are certain business owners complaining about parking restrictions? Why hasn’t the Town of Coeymans and the Village of Ravena heeded the advice of a veteran professional law enforcement officer about the dangerous conditions? We will answer these questions, name names, Name to Shame, and expose the lies and half-truths about the parking situation in Ravena. One big question is who owns the parking lot across from the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Patrick in Ravena where the sign reads “Church Parking Only”? Lots of questions and we’re getting the answers.
  3. What’s the problem in the Town of New Baltimore where elected officials, including the New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and his deputy Nick Dellisanti, Sole Assessor Gordon Bennett, New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review Chairperson Donna Degnen, New Baltimore Animal Control Officer Joseph “Joe” Tanner, the New Baltimore Code Enforcement/Building Inspector currently Allan Jourdin, the Acting [Deputy] Superintendent of Highways Scott vanWormer and others have ignored and refused to answer residents’ correspondence and questions. How dare they ignore residents’ letters asking for answers to important questions!!! They have a duty and an obligation to respond, even if the truth threatens their Mickey Mouse political ambitions. 
 
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Posted by on August 19, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse of Power, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Albany, Albany County Civil Service, Albany County Civil Service Department, Albany County District Attorney, Allan Jourdin, Bill Bailey, Burning the Constitution, Capital District, Church of St Patrick, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Code Enforcement Officer, Code Violation, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Code Enforcement, Coeymans Town Board, Constitution, Crime and Punishment, Daily Mail, David Soares, Denis Jordan, Fourth Amendment, George Amedore, Government, Hal Warner, Harassment, Harold Warner, Henry Traver, Intimidation, Jeff Ruso, Joe Burns, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John Cashin, Joseph Burns, Joseph Stanzione, Lazlo Polyak, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misuse of Public Office, Moose Misuraca, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New York, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Town Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Official Misconduct, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Paul Tonko, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Protected Rights, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena, Ravena Building Inspector, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Department of Public Works, Ravena News Herald, Ravena Village Board, Ron Hohman, Sante Debacco, Scofflaw, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Selkirk, Senate District 46, Smalbany, Smalbany Articles, Sole Assessor, Stephen Prokrym, Steve Prokrym, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Thomas E. Dolan, Thomas Meacham, Tom Dolan, Tom Dolan, Tom Meacham, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Trespass, Village of Ravena, Village of Ravena Building Department, William Bailey, William Bailey, William Misuraca, William Misuraca

 

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.

 
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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

 

Smalbany Knew, the Daily News Knew, Greene County DA Stanzione Knew, but New Baltimore Supervisor Ruso Didn’t Know.

 How can New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso deny that the Town of New Baltimore forced Highway Super Jordan to resign? How can New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso say he wouldn’t know if outside authorities were investigating the New Baltimore Highway Department and Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan? How can Ruso be so ignorant of what’s going on in his town and everyone else is reporting on it, including our Smalbany blog for the past at least 4 years, the Greene County DA, the state Comptroller’s Office, the Daily News and Hudson Valley 360, just to name a few. But Ruso knows nothing?

So finally the Catskill Daily Mail picked up on the Denis Jordan scandal in New Baltimore. Congratulations, Daily Mail, it only took you about 4 years to get off your dumbasses and inform the public about what has been going on in New Baltimore for almost 20 years.

Congratulations, Daily Mail, but you fell short of any real reporting. But that’s no surprise, given the quality of the overall reporting. But then, you’re not called Hudson Valley 360 for nothing. You see, 360 means that you’ve made a totally nonsense turn only to arrive where you started from. Now does that make sense? They keep inventing themselves and are now the Hudson Valley 360. They’re not fooling anyone, really. We all know that they are not in the pubic information or the news business, they’re main focus is advertising. Just pick up one of their so-called newspapers and you won’t have any trouble seeing what we mean. In fact, Columbia-Greene Media Corp or CGM as they like to refer to themselves,  a division of Johnson Newspaper, is a full-service advertising agency and publisher of digital and print newspapers (judging from that sentence lifted from their website, their English ain’t all that great, either).

But the Catskill Daily Mail print news and Hudson Valley 360 did put out a blurb and a blurb it was, about the Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent’s so-called “voluntary” resignation. Now an involuntary resignation is when you get fired, and that’s what it’s called, “fired,” “terminated,” “pink-slipped.” So a resignation, by definition, is necessarily “voluntary,” isn’t it? Now, you may be given the opportunity to resign or be fired, in which case you have a choice and you might resign, instead of being fired. But that’s still not really what happened in New Baltimore, and we all know it, including Mr. Jeff Ruso, who knows damned well both he and his predecessor, Nick Dellisanti would have given their right arm to be rid of that incompetent dodo, Denis Jordan.

Since 2013, we’ve published at least 42 separate articles about Denis Jordan or that mention Denis Jordan in some negative context. How could you possibly not know?!?!

Smalbany Articles about Denis Jordan

And we know that Mark Vinciguerra and others at the Columbia Greene Media Corp. were well aware are what’s going on in New Baltimore because they read this blog and, to make matters even worse for Columbia Greene Media, we’ve informed them directly about the wrongdoing in New Baltimore. So, again, we have to ask, Where have you been for the past 4 years, CGM?

Columbia Greene Media is one thing. They are a private advertising and “news” reporting company and can do whatever they like.

New Baltimore Town Hall
Home of the Ho’s

But when it comes to our elected officials, that’s were the big buck stops! That’s why, when we read the blurb in the Daily Mail and on Hudson Valley 360, we almost had a fit. Here’s why…


But first a little historical — or histerical, or both — background:

In the article “New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Resigns; Department Under Investigation,” published in the Daily Mail and Hudson Valley 360 on about June 12, 2018, the author, Richard Moody, reports our illustrious New Baltimore Town Supervisor, Jeff Ruso, as having “denied that the town forced Jordan’s resignation.” What a load of steaming New Baltimore bullshit! Ruso and his predecessor, former Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, would do anything to rid themselves of that boil on their butts, Jordan. But they didn’t have the balls to do anything. We have personal knowledge that Ruso and Dellisanti were looking for any way possible to get rid of Jordan and they both knew, as did their predecessors, former New Baltimore Town Supervisors Susan O’Rorke and David Louis and their Democrap boards at the time, what was going on in the New Baltimore Highway Department under the direct supervision and authority of Democrap dodo Jordan. The problem was that Democraps take care of Democraps and most were on Jordan’s favors list. So they didn’t want to kill the goose laying their golden eggs, did they?

So the Democraps over several election cycles ran New Baltimore and Jordan remained a Democrap as long as it served him. Jordan ran successfully 4 times and has been New Baltimore Highway Superintendent for almost 20 years. How does it happen that someone with barely a high-school diploma, no education beyond high school, no training in engineering or a related field, never attended any continuing education courses in highway maintenance or related subjects, although there are quite a few very good ones like the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP), but was allowed (by voters and with little supervision by the Town Board) to run a complex department spending hundreds of thousands, millions of tax payer dollars?!? Well, it’s called local politics, the favors system, and very little county or state oversight. It’s criminal so why isn’t it covered in the local press, like any other crime or cases of corruption? Because locals like to keep their very dirty laundry hidden.

But Dellisanti and Ruso are supposed to be Republicans? Right? Correct. And they bend over willingly to get the Conservative and Independence parties to endorse them and their candidates, not that there are that many. That explains why Dellisanti and Ruso were so keen to get rid of Jordan not only because he was ignorant and incompetent, and corrupt, but because he was overconfident, thinking that he had his voter base (after all, he took the last election by one vote only. Big base, right? But then there’s the fact that absentee votes were mismanaged and no one demanded a recount.)

While the Democraps in New Baltimore are and have been corrupt and crooked writ large, the Repukelicans are hell bent on ignoring the people and taking care of their visions of “prosperity” — the problem is that they don’t have any appreciation of local culture or history, they have no intelligence or training in government, civics, economics, development, and they want to run the town like a business, which does not work.

Former supervisor Dellisanti, for example, came from downstate, around New York City. In terms of New Baltimore and its culture and lifestyles he might as well have been from Uranus. He didn’t have a clue how to deal with locals. Two terms and out he went — he “voluntarily” decided not to run again for office; after all, it’s easier to quit than to learn or to fight for what’s right.

Current Supervisor Jeff Ruso ran for Town Supervisor back in 2011 but lost to Democrap Susan O’Rorke, a real bitch and a super-disappointment, Dellisanti ran against O’Rorke in 2013 and won; he was re-elected to be Supervisor in 2015. When Dellisanti decided not to run for a third 2-year term, his deputy, town board member Jeff Ruso, who lost his bid for Supervisor in 2011, ran. Ruso ran as a Repukelican — the New Baltimore Democraps didn’t come up with a candidate, so Ruso was unopposed. When there’s only one candidate to choose from, that’s not democratic process; you can vote for yourself and be the only voter and stil win. That’s just about what happened with Ruso in 2017, when he finally was elected — no one ran against him — unopposed, the only way he could win. (We asked voters in New Baltimore to withhold their votes for unopposed candidates, not to give them any numbers; more than 33% of New Baltimore voters who went to the polls responded by not casting a vote for unopposed candidates. That was a clear message to Ruso and others running unopposed.

Back to the Jordan scandals …


What’s even worse is that New York Town Law practically handed Supervisor Dellisanti and Supervisor Ruso the very tools to have gotten rid of Jordan but they never moved an inch to do it legally. They had the power of the purse string and could have used financial strategies to get control over Jordan and stop his illegal activities. They had the power to call Jordan before the town board and have him report about what he was doing. But they didn’t. They could have called Highway Department employees before the Town Board and questioned them. But they didn’’t. They could have asked the Greene County DA to step in and help get rid of Jordan. They didn’t. They could have made a petition to the New York State courts to remove Jordan for a great many reasons. But they didn’t.

In the meantime, Jordan was having his way with taxpayer dollars and playing all sorts of favorites games while ignoring very serious problems in Town’s drainage and roadways.

Thanks to Jordan’s negligence, incompetence, indifference, and utter vindictiveness, some property owners in the Town of New Baltimore have suffered incredible losses and damage to their property and the Town of New Baltimore supervisor, who is the chief financial officer of the Town, and the New Baltimore Town Board, instead of making good and playing fair, seeing that justice is done, simply handed the problems over to their insurance company who then handed the case over to their lawyers, who did everything to deny residents and taxpayers justice! That’s our New Baltimore democracy at work. That’s what at least 4 Town Supervisors and their boards have done to residents and taxpayers in New Baltimore by not taking action against Denis Jordan.

New Baltimore Town Supervisor should hide his face in SHAME when he admits that the Town of New Baltimore is not investigating Jordan. He’s also either damned ignorant and stupid or a bare-faced liar when he claims that if outside authorities are investigating, “I would not know anything about that.” That’s simply too stupid or too crazy to believe. How on earth could outside agencies be investigating a Town of New Baltimore department and a Town of New Baltimore elected official and the Town Supervisor, Jeff Ruso, claims he knows nothing about it?!? Maybe someone should investigate Ruso for severe brain damage!

How is it that this Smalbany blog has known about these “investigations” since last year – and reported on them, although exact details were not available. How is it that the Office of the New York State Comptroller is investigating and Ruso knows nothing about it? How is it that the Columbia Greene Media Corp, the Daily Mail, Hudson Valley 360 know about the investigations but New Baltimore Town Supervisor Ruso doesn’t know anything about the investigations?

This stinks of more lies and corruption and it gets worse because Jordan is a Democrap and the New York State Comptroller’s Office is a Democrap-run office in a Democrap state administration. Greene County DA Joseph Stanzione is a Republican as is New Baltimore Town Supervisor Ruso and the majority of the board. We’d like to think that justice will be done objectively but we all know better than that.

We need to see a public outcry, a public demonstration of solidarity in New Baltimore. We need to see our neighbors in Coxsackie, Greenville, Coeymans, Catskill and Coeymans show up at the next New Baltimore Town Board meeting on July 9, 2018, at 7 p.m. to make many, many voices heard demanding fair play and justice in our towns, and a stop to the lies like those we are hearing from Jeff Ruso and others. We need honesty, integrity, fair play and justice in our towns. All American government starts in our towns and villages, our hamlets and in our families. What we allow to happen at home we soon find in the White House!

YES!!! The State Comptroller’s Office and the Greene County District Attorney did receive complaints and we know where those complaints came from. We also know that at least Nick Dellisanti and his sidekick Jeff Ruso have known for the past at least 4 years what was going on and did little or nothing. We want to see something done NOW, Mr. DiNapoli and Mr. Stanzione. Did you hear us? We said NOW!!!

P.s. Mr. Ruso and your New Baltimore Town Board, you have done a lot of damage and we’ve lost a lot of confidence in you. Payback time is just around the corner and it’s called election day and you are called past history (that’s redundant, we know, but we just wanted the Columbia Green Media Corp to know we can write like they do, too.)

Final Word from the Editor

First of all a word to all our readers who live in La-La-Land and refuse to believe the facts and truth we publish. For four (4) years now we have been disclosing the truth about what has been going on in the New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Town Hall. We’ve been telling you about what has been happening to honest, hard-working New Baltimore residents and taxpayers at the hands of our elected officials and our town employees. It took four years for the Greene County DA to wake up and do something. It took four years for the local trash media, Columbia-Green Media, the Johnson Newspaper Group, etc. to wake up and tell you all what was and is going on in our town. We’ve been on watch for you and telling you as it was and is happening. You’re welcome, I’m sure.

If you are stupid enough to believe that Supervisor Jeff Ruso, after having been in the thick of it for at least 6 years, can claim ignorance of what’s been going on, ask us. We have had personal discussions with both Ruso and his predecessor, Dellisanti. We’ve been present at meetings to assess the damage caused by Jordan and his team of Yahoos. We’ve spoken to Dellisanti and to Ruso about the work done by Jordan on private properties and both Ruso and Dellisanti admitted they knew but “couldn’t do anything about it.” That’s the truth. But it was a lie. State Town Law, and we told Dellisanti and Ruso, provided a number of ways to solve the Jordan problem; problem was that there were too many cowards in Town Hall to put the law into action.

When residents and taxpayers appealed to the Town to remedy problems in roadwork and drainage in the National Historic District — that was back in 2006!!! — nothing was done. In 2016, when Dellisanti and Ruso personally visited New Street together with Denis Jordan and his deputy Scott vanWormer to view the situation and the damage to private property resulting from Jordan’s negligence and indifference, they were made fully aware of the situation. They did nothing!

When Callanan was paving in the Hamlet and Jordan was nowhere to be found and Callanan, under the supervision of Jordan’s deputy, Scott vanWormer, were dumping tons of blacktop and creating hazards, the Town was informed and they did nothing!

When residents went through the process required by the law of serving the Town of New Baltimore and its officers and board with Notices of Claim, official notices of complaint and claim, regarding the damage done by Jordan during his time as Highway Superintendent, the Town of New Baltimore, under Dellisanti and Ruso, DID NOTHING. Well, they did something: They turned the cases over to the Town’s insurance company, the Argo Group, through the Town’s insurance agent Marshall & Sterling of Leeds, NY.

Here’s Dellisanti’s and Ruso’s idea of fair play and justice for New Baltimore taxpayers: New Baltimore insurers Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY), Trident Brokerage, and Argo Group (Bermuda) (the Town of New Baltimore is dealing with an off-shore company enjoying the tax sanctuary of Bermuda! Nice going, patriots!) are being paid to work against New Baltimore Residents and Property Owners with good faith claims for damages. The Albany law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C. have been hired by New Baltimore’s insurers and New Baltimore to make sure New Baltimore residents, property owners and tax payers don’t get justice and fair play! Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Don’t WE pay the bills in this town? If we as private citizens damage town property our sorry asses are in jail! Maybe that’s where our Town Board, our Town Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, and definitely our Town Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan, should be!

For More Information Please Read Our Articles:

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2018 in 2017 Elections, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Alan van Wormer, All the Justice You Can Buy, Allstate Insurance, Amedore Homes, Argo Group, Assessment Review, Bernie Jones, Bitter Bob (Ross), Board of Assessment Review, Bob Ross, Charles Stahlman, Chris Norris, Christopher Norris, Chuck Irving, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Conspiracy, County Legislator, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, David Louis, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Democrap, Democrats, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Donna Degnen, Eleanor Luckacovic, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, Fat Cat Antiques, Fat Cat Transport, George Acker, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Grievance Day, Hudson Valley, Independence Party, Indifference, Intimidation, Jean Horne, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Luckacovic, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Justice and Courts, Kathy Rundberg, Linda LeClair, Lisa Benway, Lisa Patierne, Lynn Taylor, Marjorie Loux, Marjorie Loux, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Meave Tooher, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Budget, New Street, New York State, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Poll Misconduct, Public Corruption, Public Safety, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, RCS Central School District, RegisterStar, Resignation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Senate District 46, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, Terry J. Wilhelm, Terry Wilhelm, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Tom Meacham, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, VanEtten, Voting Irregularities

 

Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan Forced to Resign

We pay these pompous, arrogant dumbasses’ paychecks with our tax dollars! But they sit there all in a row, staring into the papers in front of them, better than those who pay them and who put them where they are, and gaze out, through the citizens and residents sitting in front of them as if they weren’t there. Stuffed shirts, empty heads, and ignorance all in a row, deciding on your lives. And do they stick together?  like fleas on a dog’s back. Nice picture, isn’t it?


New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan has been forced to resign amid several pending investigations of Jordan’s activities as Town Superintendent of Highways and the operations of the New Baltimore Highway Department under his direct supervision. Jordan’s resignation became effective May 30, 2018.

We have reported numerous instances that point to unlawful and unethical practices by Jordan which have been known for years but only after we brought the issues into the open and public view did the Town of New Baltimore and law enforcement finally wake up and start taking action.

Jordan is not the only New Baltimore public official who should be investigated. We demanded also that former Town Supervisors and Town Board Members who were directly informed of Jordan’s operations should also be brought to justice! For the past several years we have been hounding former Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti and his deputy, Jeff Ruso, now Town Supervisor, and others to be responsible and honor their oaths of office! They failed this community and violated their oaths of office!

We have also contacted and informed Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione of Jordan’s activities and the Town’s indifference to the illegal and criminal activity going on in the New Baltimore Highway Department. Last year Stanzione refused to answer our inquiries saying only that he could not make a statement because of pending investigations. We want to see and hear what he has done to investigate the other employees and elected officials, past and present, who knew about what was going on and DID NOTHING!!!

We want to know why employees in the New Baltimore Highway Department, in particular Jordan’s deputy superintendent Scott VanWormer kept their mouths shut when Jordan was using his elected office, public property, public moneys to do favors for special parties and totally ignored other residents and taxpayers whose property was destroyed by Jordan’s indifference and negligence.

We want to know who is going to reimburse the public treasury for the money that was misspent, squandered and wasted during Jordan’s years of mismanagement, particularly in the past 2 years, when the Town Board was most intensely aware of Jordan’s operations.

We want to know who is going to answer for Jordan’s abuse of residents and taxpayers, and who is going to foot the bill for compensating the property losses and damage caused by Jordan’s negligence and incompetence.

We want answers from the Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione, former New Baltimore Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso, Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott vanWormer, Town Attorney Tal Rappelea, and others yet to be named!

Local government is a failure…

And now on the Town of New Baltimore Office of the Assessor and the Board of Assessment Review: Grievance Day is a Sham!

We  have been looking closely at the Town of New Baltimore’s weird property tax situation and have come to the conclusion that the operation of the Assessor’s Office under Gordon Bennett and the five member Board of Assessment Review (BAR), consisting of Donna Degnan (chairperson), Lynn Taylor, Bernie Jones, Ronna Smith, and Linda LeClair. Linda LeClair appears to be the only functioning brain in the lot!

Under Gordon Bennett’s oversight and Donna Degnen’s chairmanship, the BAR is an incompetent drain on the public treasury. Bennett is not an elected official, he’s a hired fixture. Degnan, too, is not elected but an appointee and the sockpuppets on the Board of Assessment Review, lard asses that they are, handed the chairmanship of the Board over to Degnan, who is a dithering wing nut!

We have examined the NY Real Property Tax Law and its provisions relating to the Assessor’s Office but more precisely those provisions that relate to the Board of Assessment Review and have found that currently too many mistakes are being made and they are not complying with the law. We have an ignorant board with very little training and they’re making a mess of assessments, especially assessments grieved by taxpayers who are not being treated as the law requires.

We intend to notify the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance of New Baltimore’s non-compliance and we intend to notify the Office of the New York State Comptroller of these deficiencies so that they can be targeted at the time of the next audit.

And the New Baltimore Town Court and Justices are soon to be pilloried by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York state committee that oversees the operation of the courts and judges and, upon complaint, reviews the court or the judge and has the power to discipline them for acting in bad faith, unethically, with malice, or in ignorance or abuse of the law. New Baltimore town justice Tom Meacham is at the top of our list.

And the incompetence and ignorance doesn’t stop at the Highway Department! The Assessor’s Office, run by Gordon Bennett, is just as bad and the Board of Assessment Review is a gang of d-bags if we ever met one. Donna Degnan chairs the Board of Assessment Review but is more of a dithering crone than a competent chairperson. Can’t even figure out what property is being discussed and then gets stuck on a thought and you can’t get her off of it. No one listens and no one hears. Read the submissions? Hell NO! Follow the discussion? Hell NO! Four morons in a row! Local government is a failure and we expect state and federal government to be any better? Wake up people!!! No one cares and the apathy is killing us! All we can get is criminals and dumbasses to run for office and, worse still, the dumbasses appoint dumber dumbasses to the local government boards and committees! 

We can agree that the whole system needs overhauling but unless people, voters, taxpayers, residents stand up and work together, we’re going to be stuck with these dumbasses, crooks, liars, and criminals, and we can only blame ourselves. We can’t do it alone. We need to join hands and stop the corruption!

Would you have the balls and the integrity to do that? Not very likely, from what we’ve observed in this cowardly community of weasels….

Of course they’re going to stick together like fleas on a dog’s back. They work in Town Hall where nobody is more than 20 feet away from anyone else. Nothing’s private. They all kiss each other’s asses and make nice-nice in the great love fest at Town Hall, while waiting for the next opportunity to stick in a knife. Most of them hate each other’s guts but they have to stick together or they’ll all end up jobless and in jail. So don’t think for a moment that you have such a great case that they won’t all get in a circle (called a circle-jerk) and make sure no one makes a peep that could incriminate anyone else. They may be incompetent, ignorant, arrogant but they are making the decisions and if you don’t like it, well, you’ll have to hire a lawyer. Would you have the balls and the integrity to do that? Not very likely, from what we’ve observed in this cowardly community of weasels. Well, that’s where the Jordan case is going to get real interesting because now we have not only a weak link but an actual break in the love chain in Town Hall. Things are a happening…let’s keep the momentum and see what’s going to happen next!

We want to see as many residents and taxpayers of the Town of New Baltimore as possible at the next (July) public meeting of the New Baltimore Town Board, and we want everyone to make a public statement about this development and what the Town of New Baltimore is going to do to make things right!

Next Regular Town Board Meeting is on July 9, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

 

 

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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.

 
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