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Category Archives: Conflict of Interest

We Love Captain Weasel Whacker!!!

Republished with Permission from the Greene County Weasels site.

If you’re a weasel and you see this guy… Be afraid. Be VERY afraid!!! You can run for office but you can’t hide!

Hi, neighbors!

This is CPT Weasel Whacker. I just want to say that we’re out there whack’n those weasels, and you can bet they’re runnin’ scared.

This site was created to bring you the best quality journalistic reporting, and some well-researched opinion about our local politics and politicians. We’ll woo the wonderful and whack the weasels. Our slogan, if you haven’t noticed is:

Find’em, Expose’m, Whack’em. Integrity before Politics.

And that goes for all of us: No more alphabet soup voting for the Rs and the Ds. The Republican and the Democratic parties have degenerated and have consistently let us down. They lie to us, deceive us, take us for granted, and screw the life-blood out of us and everything we earn. They can’t come up with good, honest candidates so they give us weasels. If you don’t get weasels, they deprive you of your right to choose by not even running a candidate to oppose the other party.

Unless we do something and do something damned quick, we’ll be a dictatorship, a one-party system, a Big Brother State before you know it!

Well, neighbors, it’s time to think Declaration of Independence [Editor’s Note: … and Bill of Rights, how about that thing we call a Constitution?], and go Independent. Why do you think the Republicans and the Democrats are always coming to the Independence Party to ensure their candidate gets elected? Because they know their party [ Republican and Democrat] sheeple can’t do it alone; they need some credibility and integrity and they get that from the Independence Party.

Conservatives are half-baked Republicans; Democratic Party is a shame to their name, they’re failures and crooks like Cuomo and his Downstate Mob who elect Cuomo-the-Homo. You need to go independent of the two has-been parties: Be independent. Be an Independent!

I want to ask you to click the button to follow this blog; you’ll get email updates every time a new post goes up, and you’ll be notified when a friend or neighbor posts a comment.

You can share information or send us a tip by writing to us at captain.weasel.wacker@gmail.com. Anything you send me by email will be strictly confidential. I’ll never post any information until it’s been checked and verified. And your name or email will never be shared or made public without your written permission. You’re safe with us!

Stay tuned! We’ll be whacking another weasel shortly!

CPT Weasel Whacker


The Weasels site is really very well done; some beautiful images of Greene County. Cpt Whacker is going for the gold…or the Greene. We wish him well! We’ve added a couple of notes (in grey) and some emphasis to the original Greene County Weasels message from Captain Weasel Whacker but nothing else. He seems to be doing a great job and doesn’t need any help from us. But they do need YOUR help. Please support the Greene County Weasel Wackers and their site. Maybe we can make one county in New York a better place to live … Albany County is a lost cause! The Editor Smalbany

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2019 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2019 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Alan VanWormer, Albany, Albany County Board of Elections, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Executive, Albany County Sheriff Department, Anti-Community Activity, Athens, Brent Bogardus, Cairo, Capital District, Capital Region Independent Media, Captain Weasel Whacker, Carver Companies, Carver Laraway, Catskill, Coeymans, Columbia Greene Media, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Interest, Conservative Party, Conspiracy, Constitution, Corruption, Coxsackie, Cpt Weasel Whacker, Cuomo, Daily Mail, Daniel McCoy, David Soares, Democratic Caucus, Democratic Party Committee, Democrats, Denied Your Vote, Diana Benoit, District Attorney, Durham, Elections 2019, FBI, Freehold, George Acker, George Amedore, George Amedore, George McHugh, Government, Governor Mario Cuomo, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County Elections, Greene County Independence Party, Greene County Legislature, Greene County News, Greene County Weasels, Greene Weasel Whackers, Greeneville, Hudson Valley, Independence Party, Independence Party, Irene Beede, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, Joe Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Law Enforcement, Marie Metzler, Mark Vinciguerra, Misconduct, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Nepotism, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State, New York State Board of Elections, New York State Constitution, New York State Election Law, News Herald, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Office of the Governor, Pat Linger, Port of Coeymans, Public Corruption, Republican Caucus, Republican Party Committee, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Roundtop, Smalbany, Smalbany Articles, Times Union, Transparency, Uncontested Election, Unopposed Candidate, Windham

 

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 Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione

Greene County District Attorney Joe Stanzione (R):
“I cannot comment on the matter at this time as it could compromise a pending investigation.”

If there is an investigation, pending or in progress, don’t you think that our elected officials owe it to us to tell us Who? is being investigated and What? It’s just days before elections for chrissake! Don’t you think we should be told these things?

IT’S OUTRAGEOUS

Greene County District Attorney Put on Notice to Take Action in New Baltimore

New Baltimore Resident Confronts the Greene County District Attorney asking WHY? is the Situation in New Baltimore Allowed to Go On. Demands Action, Investigation.

On October 31, 2017, after numerous attempts to get the New Baltimore Town Board to take responsible action and to do what’s right with regard to New Baltimore taxpayers, property owners, and residents, and faced with the refusal of the New Baltimore Highway Department to correct dangerous conditions created by it, one resident confronted the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, a Republican, and demanded that Stanzione do his job and take action, at least to launch an investigation as to Why? the New Baltimore Town Board has taken no action against the New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan, and Why? instead of ensuring the rights of residents and property owners and ensuring fair play and justice, the Town Board hands matters over to its insurance company and its attorneys, forcing residents and property owners to spend thousands in court and attorney’s fees or simply to give up, when they should be getting help and relief, not to mention justice, from their elected officials. This is not democracy at work, it’s cowardice and dereliction of duty. It’s downright wrong.

The letter was cc’ed to New Baltimore Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Deputy Supervisor Jeff Ruso, Town Clerk Barbara Finke (for recording), Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, and to Town attorney Tal Rappelea and Town insurer’s attorney Crystall R. Peck, to ensure that all parties are fairly informed.

Here’s the full text of the e-mail communication to Mr Stanzione:

Dear Mr Stanzione:

I am writing to you in your official capacity as the chief law enforcement officer in the County of Greene.

It is inconceivable that you would be unaware of the situation in the Town of New Baltimore, and on that presumption, even more inconceivable that the Office of the District Attorney has not inaugurated some level of investigation into the dereliction and abuse of public office that is going on not only in the operations of the New Baltimore Town Board but most egregiously in the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department.

The specious and spurious indifference of the Town Board with regard to the abuses and incompetence, even corruption in the New Baltimore Highway department is tantamount to criminal. The Town Board, very well informed by residents of the activities of the New Baltimore Highway Department and its Superintendent Denis Jordan, have done absolutely nothing by way of response, fair play, justice, or compliance with their fiduciary duties to the taxpayers and residents of this Town.

The situation is not one of demands for special treatment or for extraordinary service, it is a situation that affects residents’ investments in their property and community, responsible stewardship of public treasure, observance of oaths of office, questions of competence, and even abuse of public office and corruption.

Much of what has been reported — please review the links below — has been in the eye of the public and is common knowledge in the Town of New Baltimore, and totally ignored by our elected officials on the Town Board.

It’s no wonder that the claim “Democracy is Dead” has become a slogan; regrettably, Justice predeceased Democracy in this town and its environs.

The real tragedy in this tragicomedy is the fact that because the Town Board refuses to do what’s right, and the Town Highway Superintendent has his way no matter what, the taxpayers and residents pay to suffer. The fact that our elected officials refuse to do their jobs, refuse to take steps to avoid the doing of injustice, are indifferent to what is going on in this town, and the deleterious consequences create an environment of distrust, anxiety, apathy and misconduct verging on criminality. Those who find it necessary to defend their interests and right, far from getting the needed and reasonable support from those entrusted with the public weal, are forced either to go into debt to defend their rights at law with representation, or, as is the case in the majority of instances, simply throw their hands into the air in despair! This is an abuse! This is not what democratic government is about…or is it?

I am putting you and your office on notice of these facts and the current situation in anticipation of your taking an interest in this case and taking action to relieve us and to see that the law is enforced and justice is done.

Let’s see if you and your office are up to the challenge.

I would appreciate a response once you have reviewed the facts in the attached links.

Yours very truly,

[redacted]

Links of interest:

[For security reasons we are not publishing the author’s name and details.]

We are watching the developments very closely and are very interested in seeing what Mr Stanzione has to say; whether he has the balls to do his job.

If you enjoyed this article, please copy and paste this link https://wp.me/p2jPFe-31V and email it to your friends, family, and contacts. Keep everyone informed.


Editor’s Update: We have received information that Mr Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney, declined to comment on the resident’s letter saying “I cannot comment on the matter at this time as it could compromise a pending investigation.” Looks like something is brewing in New Baltimore. We’ll keep readers posted as things develop.


We also have a similar letter to the Insurance Agency who handles the Town of New Baltimore’s liability insurance,  Marshall & Sterling Upstate (Leeds, NY), and the insurance brokerage they use, Trident Insurance Brokerage, Stay tuned for further developments on this issue.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Power, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Ashley Heline, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Callanan Industries, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Corruption, Daily Mail, Dangerous Conditions, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, DOT, Elected Official, Fraud, George Acker, George Amedore, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Harassment, Hazardous Conditions, Hypocrisy, Incompetence, Indifference, Intimidation, Irresponsibility, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joshua Bouchez, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misconduct, Misdemeanor, Misdemeanor, Misinformation, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Nepotism, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Official Misconduct, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Peckham Materials, Peckham Materials Corp., Peckham Road Corporation, Precision Roads and Driveways, Professional Ethics, Professional Misconduct, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, RegisterStar, Retaliation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Tal Rappelea, Thomas Rickert, Town of New Baltimore, Transparency, Trident Insurance

 

A Response to Lorin Marra. re: Office of the Albany County Coroners

We published an article “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest: The Albany County Coroners Office” on September 13, 2017, about the office of the Albany County Coroners, and how the office is obsolete, tainted, and chock full of local funeral directors. The politics of the coroners’ office is as corrupt as it can get, and is a product of the nepotism and favoritism that has plagued Albany politics from within the mayor’s office to the police department to the office of the county coroner.


In the preparation phase of the article, we did extensive research both on the history of the office of coroner in general, including scholarly articles discussing the office of the coroner, and published professional journal articles comparing and critiquing the office of the coroner and the office of medical director. In addition to our research of public information and education material and the scholarly and professional journals, we also filed demands for the production of documents and information with Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer and Green Counties for information on their respective coroners or medical examiners.

Seal of the County of Albany, NY

Overall, personal contacts with the Albany County Office of the Coroner were very open and informative. The demands served on the counties of Schenectady (medical examiner), Rensselaer (medical examiner), and Greene (coroners) under the NYS Freedom of Information Law were less than open and honest. Rensselaer is in violation of the law by not having responded at all; Schenectady and Greene county, while responding, were evasive and off base. Why all the defensiveness? They’re not so defensive when asking for funding but then, in our culture of death denial, who really keeps tabs on them anyway? WE DO!

We received an interesting comment from Lorin Marra, who is somehow associated with the Marra Funeral Home and with Paul Marra, the “owner/operator” of Mara Funeral home in Cohoes and an Albany County Coroner. When we received Lorin’s comment we were a bit taken by its defensiveness and it only later occurred to us that it’s an election year and Paul Marra is running for re-election as an Albany County Coroner. Having made that connection, it was not surprising that a Marra family member would come out and defend Paul Marra, the candidate.

But wasn’t it a bit cowardly, a clear lack of integrity for someone running for public office not to personally respond in a comment and have his daughter respond for him. Maybe Paul left his cojones in the autopsy room, at one of the allegedly “1000” autopsies he claims to have attended (but no one in official circles knows about). Did anyone see that pig flying by just now? Wanna buy a bridge?

According to Lorin Marra, pigs really do have wings!

.It should be noted that Ms Lorin Marra doesn’t comment on any of the many facts and figures given in the “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest” article but hones in only on the name “Marra,” which is mentioned in only the most neutral of terms: strictly factually. But, as we state in our response, “Where there’s smoke (or “defensiveness”) there’s gotta be fire.” What do you think?

Marra’s Campaign Sign
flanking those of opponents Simmons and Lockridge.

For those of you who have read our article “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest: The Albany County Coroners Office,” you’ll certainly have to ask yourself Why? is Lorin Marra so upset. Have we touched a nerve? The fact is, Paul Marra is barely mentioned in the article, and not negatively in any sense of the word. Maybe one of our readers can help us out with this one. We’re republishing Lorin Marra’s confused comment together with our responses. [In the following text “Ed.”: is a note inserted by the Editor]


In reply to Lorin Marra:

We have approved your rant only to illustrate the fact that where a commenter becomes as defensive as you have, there must be something going on that needs further attention. As the saying goes: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

We’d like to make it quite clear from the outset that the article is not about Paul Marra nor about the Marra Funeral Home operation; the article is about the office of the coroner both in Albany County and in general. Mr Marra is mentioned, along with others, in the article because he has voluntarily stepped forward and has received the approval and support of the Albany county Democrats and their political machine to have been elected to be an Albany County Coroner. Mr Marra, his office, his associations, and his keepers, therefore, have made Mr Marra a public figure and that visibility is open to comment. Mr Marra, his interests, his associations, his performance and all other aspects of Mr Marra are subject to comment because of his status as a public figure. Period.

Lorin Marra writes:

This article is completely false…

We Responded:

That having been said, we can respond to your diatribe by saying that the information we provided in the article came either from official sources and based on what those sources, that is, the Office of the Albany County Coroner, provided in response to our demand for documents and information under the NY Public Officers Law. If any of our information were incorrect, it is because it was provided by the custodians of that information as public officers and public employees. So let’s put that part of your comment to rest and redirect your misdirected hissy fit to the proper target: the County of Albany.

You are terribly clouded in your perspective of reality if you represent, as you in fact write in your comment, which, as written is a bit unclear, “[M]ost coroners are in fact funeral directors nor [sic] for a political agenda but…” (the rest of that sentence does not contribute to a better understanding of your rather strained thought process). We do not propose in any way that funeral directors are funeral directors for a political agenda. Where you pulled that one out of is beyond us but if you take the time to actually read the article with your eyes open, you’ll actually see what we’ve written. To deny, particularly in Albany County, that the office of the County Coroner is politically tainted is tantamount to claiming that a 3-dollar bank note is legal currency in the US. How naïve? can you possibly be or How devious? might be a better question.

Lorin Marra writes:

…a coroner does not get paid enough by the state [Ed.: Paul L Marra is an Albany County official but is civil service, and gets his check from NY state. Currently he gets $$20,836 a year.] to actually make a living off of just being a coroner. Most coroners are in fact funeral directors not for a political agenda but because they have the knowledge and experience dealing with the deceased. Marra funeral home is in fact OWNED by Paul Marra.

We Responded:

We don’t give a whit whether Paul Marra “OWNS” (your caps!) Marra Funeral Home. But that confirmation by you certainly bolsters our statements about conflicts of interest.

Lorin Marra writes:

Coroners are NOT allowed to use their position to gain business in their personal funeral homes [Ed.: “Not allowed…” is true; what you seem to glance over is that they DO abuse their positions! It’s a human weakness.] Do you realize how many calls a coroner must go on during their respective shift? If they actually claimed all those funerals [Ed.: They don’t have to claim “all” the funerals, just some.] they would be a multi-millionaire which is not the case for any coroners [Ed.: But may be true for some funeral directors.]. The funeral home business tends to be a hereditary business, most people do not wake up in the morning and decide HEY I’M GOING TO WORK WITH DEAD PEOPLE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, they [Who do?] tend to go into the business because a previous family member has and so on.

We Responded:

We agree, though, that ethically “Coroners are NOT [again your caps!] allowed to use their position to gain business in their personal funeral homes.” What we don’t quite get is your point. Whether they are “allowed” has no practical or real effect on whether they do misuse their positions. One point you seem to have missed [again!] is that they can garner political and professional capital even if they don’s use their own “personal” funeral home. Think about that for a minute and if you don’t get it, please let us know and we’ll walk you through it.

Again, we agree with you that many funeral homes may be what we properly call “family funeral homes,” or funeral homes that stay in a single family’s hands for a couple of generations. That is changing and, if you read our articles with the intent to understand what is actually written rather than what the voices in your head are telling you to see, you will find that we are ardent champions of the family-owned, local funeral home as opposed to the multi-state factory funeral service corporations. But you likely would have missed that point. [Ed.: You may want to see our articles: “Birds of a Feather? Lying down with dogs? The Politics of Funeral Corporations….” and “Bring Out Your Dead! A Monty Python Prophesy“.]

Lorin Marra writes:

The fact that coroners can’t make a living off of just being a coroner (less than $30,000 a year) should prove that this article was a waste of time.

We Responded:

You have failed to disguise your arrogance, though, when you state that “coroners can’t make a living off of just being a coroner” [Oh! Your grammar is painful!] No, I wouldn’t think that they’d be able to do anything by just “being a coronoer,” I’d expect they’d have to actually do something besides just being an anything. But the City of Albany and the County of Albany have literally dozens of “employees” and “appointees” who make good money by just “being” a something and not necessarily doing anything. Besides, many people, perhaps not in your privileged group, have to make a living and even support a family on “less than $30,000 a year”. Get a grip, Lorin, and join the real world. (Your Mercedes is showing!).

Lorin Marra writes:

Also, Paul Marra has been a coroner for 29 years and has been a board cerified medi legal death investigator for over 15 tears. He has take n charge of over 5000 death investigations and attended well over 1000 autopsies. He also has trained for over 600 hours with the State association of County Coroners. [Ed.: Lorin Marra seems to keep better records and statistics than the County of Albany. Wonder where she got her figures?]

We Responded:

Has Paul Marra actually seen what’s behind this door?

The fact that “Paul Marra has been a coroner for 29 years and has been a board-certified medi [sic] legal death investicator for over 15 years” again supports everything we have written in the article you appear to be disputing. While we are struggling to identify what a “board[-]certified medi legal [Ed.: The word Lorin is struggling to get right twice (!) is “medicolegal.” Is she really a Siena graduate?] death investigator” might be, we would like to ask the glaring question that emerges from your statement: If he has been a coroner for 29 years but certified to investigate deaths for only 15 of those 29 years, how many mistakes did he make in the 14 years when he was not “certified?” The fact that he has been a coroner for 29 years, elected every 4 years, simply proves that too little scrutiny goes into the office of coroner and further supports the fact that in Albany County, once you’re in you’re in for life.

You state that Paul Marra has “trained for over 600 with the State [A]ssociation of County Coroners.” We’re not in the least impressed by that statement. Here’s an example: In one summer, a contributor of ours trained in a major hospital for over 500 hours to earn just one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education credit towards his qualifications. I repeat, that was 500 hours in one summer for one credit! We assume that you’re referring to 600 hours for Mr Marra’s training over a number of years. That’s not impressive in the least, especially when you consider the years of training that a real medicolegal death investigator must do to qualify and then the continuing education required just to keep the pathologist’s licence! Please, don’t talk to us about Mr Marra’s paltry training record!

Lorin Marra writes:

Please do your research next time.

We Responded:

The article, dear Lorin, clearly states the facts as provided by official sources, in particular the Albany County Coroner’s Office, and information from public access sources and published articles. Our facts are true, complete and correct, which is more than we can say about your subjective and clearly biased remarks about your relative, Paul Marra.

Furthermore, the professional and scientific literature abounds with one single conspicuous observation: The office of the coroner is obsolete and, since its very beginning in the 12th century, has been political and corrupt. Nothing has changed since then. Furthermore, until very recently, with the deployment of the Electronic Death Registry system in New York State, recordkeeping documenting coroners’ activities and cases was deplorable.

Lorin Marra writes:

Also legislation has just passed that requires coroners to have more training.

We Responded:

The only legislation that we are interested in is legislation to eliminate the office of the coroner and replace it with a competitive system that would employ specially trained medicolegal personnel for death investigations. Those professional death investigators may be assisted by a subordinate assistant with appropriate training. The current coroner system is inadequate, unqualified, ignorant, and obsolete. If that’s not enough reason to eliminate it, please add to that list the fact that it is politically tainted and corrupt.

Lorin Marra writes:

Please do your research next time.

We Responded:

We did extensive research for the article and stand by our facts as written and represented. We do suggest, however, that you be tested for dyslexia as soon as possible by a qualified professional. Your reading comprehension or your cognitive processing appears to be severely impaired.


Coroner’s Office Just as Dead

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a bit of humor and entertainment. Here’s one of our favorite scenes from Monty Python’s In Search of the Holy Grail. Enjoy!

Obviously, Ms Marra was not interested in the facts and figures we very conscientiously researched and published in our article; instead, she was more interested in demonstrating her inability to read the English language. If her dyslexia is shared by Paul Marra, Albany County Coroner, it’s no wonder that their records and available information is so scanty and incomplete. The fact that Ms Marra came up with figures that the Albany County Coroner’s Office couldn’t produce does shed some light on the fact that either Ms Marra’s figures are phoney or the Albany County Coroner’s Office doesn’t want to share some embarrassing information with the public, or the information is simply unavailable because of the Albany County coroners’ poor record keeping practices. Maybe the answer is “all of the above.”

The fact is, our information is good as 24 karat gold. All of it comes from reliable sources. The fact that Albany County has poor record keeping practices and the County doesn’t consider it important enough to update their software is a problem voters might want to address. The fact that Schenectady County (medical examiner’s office) and Greene County (coroners) dragged their feet for months and only produced a fistful of information or no information at all, or just excuses made by the county attorney, is at the very least a black eye for those counties. The Rensselaer county attorney should be brought up on charges for refusing to provide any information on the Rensselaer County Medical Examiner’s office. If that’s democracy at work and freedom of information…

Make Your Vote Count!
Big Choice! They’re All Dems!!!
Be Informed!

Demand Accountability

P.s. If you’re interested in the current candidates for coroner this time around, don’t be surprised that they’re all Democrats, you can go to the Vote411 site. Click here.

Here’s some additional information on medicolegal death investigators. According to the ABMDI, The American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, FAQs page, the medicolegal death investigator doesn’t need any special training or education.

  1. What is a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    The role of the medicolegal death investigator is to investigate any death that falls under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner or coroner, including all suspicious, violent, unexplained and unexpected deaths. The medicolegal death investigator is responsible for the dead person, whereas the local law enforcement jurisdiction is responsible for the scene. The medicolegal death investigator performs scene investigations emphasizing information developed from the decedent and determines the extent to which further investigation is necessary. Medicolegal death investigators should have a combination of education and skills encompassing areas of medicine and law.
  2. Who can become a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    There are no formal requirements to become a medicolegal death investigator. Each coroner and medical examiner office has different hiring practices. A medicolegal death investigator must be knowledgeable of local, state and federal laws. In addition, a medicolegal death investigator must be the most medically knowledgeable person at the scene of the crime to determine if further investigation is necessary.
  3. Do I have to have a degree?
    There are no formal educational requirements specifically for medicolegal death investigation. Any degree program dealing with Forensic Science, Natural science, Anthropology, Nursing, or any other medically related field would be useful. There are several established training courses available throughout the country that teach the basic information needed in order to perform a thorough, competent medicolegal death investigation.
  4. How much money will I make as a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    An investigator’s salary will be determined by the jurisdiction and amount of experience the medicolegal death investigator has. Salaries and benefits vary throughout the United States.

[Source ABMDI FAQ page, http://www.abmdi.org/faq, last accessed on October 9, 2017]

Bottom Line: There are no special education requirements or degree requirements to be a so-called “medicolegal death investigator.” But the fact that “a medicolegal death investigator must be the most medically knowledgeable person at the scene of the crime” is very disturbing because most funeral directors have only a two-year degree in mortuary science, and that degree has very little to do with any “medical knowledge.” Furthermore, a degree in mortuary science or, more accurately, in funeral home operations, is not generally considered a medically related field.

Now doesn’t that information make you feel more comfortable about who is making decisions about a human being’s death at a possible crime scene?

 

Hello. County Coroner? We’ve got a body here.
[Ha, ha, ha!]

 

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2017 in Abuse of Public Office, Albany, Albany County Coroner, Albany County Coroners Office, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Executive, Albany County Supervisor, Albany Mayor, Arthur Fitch, Babcock Funeral Home, Benjamin Sturges, Bill Loetterle, Bob Freeman, Bring out your dead, Bureau of Funeral Directing, Capital District, Charles Smoot, Conflict of Interest, County & Municipal Employees, County Legislator, Dan McCoy, Daniel McCoy, Death, Death Awareness, Death care, Death Certificate, Death Education, Death Investigation, Deathcare, Democrap, Democrats, Dick Touchette, Dignity Memorial, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, F.O.I.L., Favoritism, Francis Simmons, Frank Commisso, Frank Simmons, Freedom of Information Law, Funeral, Funeral Home, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Coroner, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Sheriff, Hudson Valley, Human Service, Hypocrisy, Investigation, Jack Flynn, James Cavanaugh, Joe Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Kristin Gillibrand, Lorin Marra, Magin & Keegan Funeral Home, Marra Funeral Home, McLoughlin & Mason Funeral Home, Monitoring, Nepotism, New York State Funeral Directors Association, Newcomer Funeral Home, Newcomer Funeral Services Group, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations, Nicholas J. Facci, Nick Facci, Nick Facci Facebook, NYSDOH, NYSFDA, Office of the Professions, Paul Marra, Professional Ethics, Public Office, Rahmar Lockeridge, Ren Newcomer, Rennselaer County Attorney, Rensselaer County, Rensselaer County Medical Examiner, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Robert J. Freeman, Schenectady County, Schenectady County Medical Examiner, Service Corporation International, Shame On You, Transparency, William Loetterle

 

New Baltimore Town Highway Superintendent Harasses Local Woman; Demands Removal of Fence

For some time now we have been investigating the operations of the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department and New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan. We have requested confirming documents and information from the Town of New Baltimore on several key issues. We are reporting on one of those issues in this article. The second issue, that of Mr Denis Jordan’s use of Town of New Baltimore equipment and employees to do work on private property is also included in the following article (Denis Jordan Avoids Duties to Serve Special Friends: The Case of the Disappearing Creek).

Normally, in a small town you expect cliques to develop around political issues and local interests. At the same time, you’d expect that there’d be a certain neighborliness and concern for the community; after all, we are a community. Right? And we’re all neighbors. Right? 

Fence seen from Corner of County Rt 54 and High Mount Road.

Well, things are a bit different in the Town of New Baltimore. You see, you may be a property owner and taxpayer, but the fascists in the New Baltimore Town Administration don’t give a shite about you or your property. They’re too busy promoting their own interests, pushing outsiders to use our town facilities, doing favors for friends and supporters while the rest of the community watches as their property is damaged and the town purse is plundered. What are we getting for some of the highest taxes in the state? Abuse, Abuse, and more Abuse! And for taking care of your property? More abuse, More Abuse, and More Abuse! You might as well move to Coeymans!

Denis Jordan, the illiterate bully Superintendent of Highways in the Town of New Baltimore, can’t seem to find the time to supervise his contractors or to learn how to maintain town drainage but has plenty of time for private projects and harassing local property owners. His recent harassment of Ms Patty Hildebrandt and his defiance of the Town Board and NYS law is sending a very disturbing message out to all residents and property owners in the Town of New Baltimore.You may be next!

The backstabbing in New Baltimore is not limited to town officials and employees cutting residents’ throats, the blood flows in rivulets in Town Hall and between Town Hall and the New Baltimore Highway Department.

New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan has lost a lot of political capital and credibility in the past couple of years. During that time we have investigated and reported on a number of unethical and unlawful activities that have been going on in the Jordan Highway Department. Those abuses range from retaliation and punishing of Highway Department personnel to misuse of town employees and equipment, and noncompliance with the laws regarding proper record-keeping and contract operations.

The first item in this report concerns a local property owner, Ms Patricia “Patty” Hidebrandt, who has been selected by Denis Jordan and harassed because of a so-called privacy fence she put up. This is no ordinary property owner but one who is highly visible on Route 51, a county road, and High Mount Road, a roadway owned by the Town of New Baltimore. Ms Hildebrandt has been a New Baltimroe resident for more than 40 years and takes immaculate care of her property; she lives in a cute little house in a highly visible spot on the corner of the two roadways. Her home is picture-perfect and the grounds are always manicured and planted with seasonal flowers. The property is an example of how we’d like to see all property in New Baltimore kept.

But Denis Jordan, a Neanderthal, has some vendetta or an ax to grind with this poor woman. You see, he’s hand-picked Patty Hidebrandt out of the hundreds of other properties in New Baltimore, and has been persecuting her for months because, as Jordan alleges, she put up a fence on town property. Jordan wants her to take the fence down and has been harassing her for months.

But there’s no reason for Jordan to make such a demand. The New Baltimore Town Board even agreed that it was not a problem,and  even if the fence is on Town property it’s not in any way posing a nuisance or obstructing any Highway Department operations or plans. Jordan just wants to throw his weight around and it’s easier to bully a woman rather than go after someone else. Bully!

Denis Jordan Spells BULLY

Jordan got former code enforcement officer S. Mantor to send the property owner a letter informing her of Jordan’s claimsand telling her the fence has to be removed “from the town’s right-of-way.” Mantor never went after Ms Hildebrandt because no one really cared; only Denis Jordan cares.

Ms Hildebrandt appeared before the New Baltimore Town Board and the Board approved a temporary “license” allowing the an exception to keep the fence where it was. Jordan brought in his lacky, former New Baltimore code enforcement officer, John Cashin, live-in partner of former corrupt New Baltimore Town Supervisor Susan O’Rorke (D). Cashin decided to hit the road after his live-in partner, Susan O’Rorke, lost re-election for supervisor to Nick Dellisanti. Our guess is that Cashin couldn’t handle the honesty and integrity Dellisanti brought to New Baltimore, and so Cashin decided to join disgraced ex-judge Phil Crandall’s mob in Coeymans, where hiypocrisy and corruption still have a home and are thriving. Cashin appeared with Jordan at a Town Board meeting and spouted some unsubstantiated garbage about the Town Board not having the authority to allow the property owner to keep the fence. The Town Board responded that the matter was researched by the Town Attorney, Tal Rappelea, who wrote up the resolution. This was not good enough for Jordan, so he got his own attorney to critique Rappelea’s findings and the Board’s action.

At the June 26, 2017, public meeting of the New Baltimore Town Board, a vote was taken after Mr. Jordan brought in his own scheister attorney Meave Tooher of the Albany law firm of Tooher and Barone, who read his opinion to the Board. Jordan also told the Board he’d be having the property surveyed. Nice neighbor our Superintendent of Highways, Mr. Jordan, isn’t he? Nice guy to have to work with, too. Just ask the Town Board.

Well, at the June 26, 2017, Town Board public meeting, the Town Board carried the motion by a unanimous approval by full board, to allow the property owner, Ms Hildebrandt,  to keep the fence, saying:

“the Town Board has determined that the location of such privacy fence, notwithstanding having been constructed on town-owned land does not imperil the motoring or pedestrian traffic nor des it impede or interfere with the maintenance of said High Mount Road and…the Town Board has determined that the cost for Ms [name redacted] to remove such fence would create an unnecessary hardship on her.”

The license is temporary and the resolution states explicitly that if, in future, the town needs to use the area, Ms H. would remove the fence at her own expense. The resolution further states that Ms H. would insure the property and hold the town harmless for any claims involving the fence. Sounds pretty fair to us. But That was not enough for Jordan.

The Fence from Directly Across High Mount Road.

Denis Jordan continued his harassment and is continuing it as we write. The result: The Town Board was forced to withdraw its resolution. When the vote had to be taken but before the vote Town Board Member vanEtten stated, “I feel terrible doing this…” Deputy Supervisor Ruso abstained from the vote saying, “I’d prefer more time to consider this so in the meantime I’m going to abstain.”

Several neighbors and friends of Ms H. appeared before the Town Board at the public meeting to express their support and opposition to Mr. Jordan’s harassment, and Town Board members and town attorney Rappelea even pointed out significant errors in Jordan’s attorney’s letter, but Jordan was out for blood and wasn’t going to stop.

Jordan’s Attorney Meave Tooher of the Albany Law Firm Tooher & Barone LLP Can’t Tell A Drainage District from a Right-of-Way!

Meave Tooher, Jordan’s Attorney. Hey, girl! Who doesn’t your hair?

Nevertheless, Mr Jordan dragged his buddy ex-code officer defector John Cashin to another meeting as “concerned resident.” If Cashin had an ounce of integrity and real concern for the town or even the law, he’d find another low-life to hang out with but that’s Cashin, bald, aging, unwanted, and hooked up with another loser, Sue-Sue. Actually, two losers: Sue-Sue O’Rorke and Sue-sue! Tooher. Bla-bla-bla gibberish Cashin and Duh-duh-duh Neanderthal Jordan, so they bring in Crazy-Hair Meave Tooher, the third member of the New Baltimore Stooges. Now they have three. Put them all together, shake them up, add water and you come up with a little less than half a brain. Not bad for three shit-for-brains.

Back to being serious…. A number of residents and neighbors have appeared on Ms Hildebrandt ‘s behalf and addressed the Town Board. One resident, Ms D. Davis, who spoke from experience with Denis Jordan. Ms Davis tells the Board, “I think he’s a bully. If he doesn’t like you, he’ll make your life hell. I personally witnessed him doing favors for private residents using Town equipment…I also witnessed him…” At this point Mr Dellisanti interrupted Ms Davis with, “Dot, we’re not going to listen to this.” Normally, persons making comments during the public comment period have three (3) minutes for commenting. Ms Davis — regardless of what they’re commenting on as long as they’re orderly and civil; it’s part of the democratic process, Mr Dellisanti —  had not used her three minutes before being interrupted by Mr Dellisanti, in fact abusing her rights of free speech in public session. That was wrong. It was wrong because Ms Davis was commenting on personal experience as a witness of Mr Jordan’s unlawful conduct; her comment was not hearsay. (Editor’s Note: In fact, we are reporting on Denis Jordan’s misuse of Town equipment to make improvements on private property in our article, Denis Jordan Avoids Duties to Serve Special Friends.)

Interrupting and muzzling Ms Davis was doubly wrong because Mr Bla-bla Cashin was allowed multiple opportunities to comment, and was speculating, inaccurate, repetitive, and obviously had an agenda. We would question Mr Dellisanti on this unfair conduct in public session.

When asked directly by the Board why Mr Jordan wanted the privacy fence down, Jordan waffled. Apparently he was unable to come up with a good lie right away. First it was because he claimed it caused a problem with plowing but soon realized that that wasn’t going to hold any water; it was a bare faced lie, in fact. Just looking at the fence in the photos proves that. Jordan then decided again to lie to the Board by saying he has received complaints. When asked what kind of complaints and from whom, Jordan answered, “I’m not going to speak. I’ll have my attorney. Councilmember vanEtten persisted, “So you’re not going to tell us anything about the complaints?” and Jordan answers, “No.”


Jordan to Board

Editor’s Note: New York State Consolidated Laws, Town Law does give the Town Board certain investigational powers including subpoena power, examination of witnesses, etc. We expect that if the Town Board were to have the Town Attorney research this, Mr Jordan could be forced to keep the Town Board properly informed. Letting Jordan get away with his criminality only aggravates an already unbearable situation, undermines the Town Board’s ability to govern, and erodes trust in local government. We would recommend subpoenaing Mr Jordan to provide the information demanded by the Town Board.

Besides, since when does a Highway Superintendent defy the Town Board and bring in his own attorney to mislead the Town Board. Who’s paying for this scheister from Albany? Are we taxpayers and residents paying for Jordan’s fun and games. We’re pretty certain he’s taking the money from the public purse. Attorneys don’t work for nothing unless there’s something in it for them.


As we reported above, Jordan has been the subject of a number of investigations that adversely affect his credibility and his fitness for office. In fact, the public has shown that they don’t trust him as evidenced by the fact that he was re-elected in 2015 by a margin of only one (1) vote! There is reason to believe that his opponent would have won if there weren’t some irregularities in not counting absentee ballots. We’re also investigating that possibility.

Jordan Has a History of Abuse of Public Office…and a Shithouse Lawyer…

Nothing to worry about! Meave Tooher’s on the case…hmmm…Yup, she is. I heard a flush.

Commenting on Meave Tooher’s, Jordan’s hired-gun attorney’s, letter, Town Attorney Rappelea noted in the minutes:

“I took a look at the letter that was provided [by Jordan] and it was off baseThe case law that was cited didn’t have anything to do with fences or right-of-ways or anything of that nature. And the section of law, Section 198 of the [New York State] Town Law has to do with the creation of a special drainage district. That’s nothing to do with fencing or right-of-way licenses. But the point is that we have have this one line, one sentence in our zoning law, and we have to abide by it.”

One sentence in the 119-pages of town zoning law. Get a grip people! Rappelea caved and admitted he made a mistake. The Town Board repealed its decision granting Ms Hildebrandt the temporary “license” to keep the fence. The Board with No Balls!

So dear readers and neighbors, we have Mr. Jordan harassing a local property owner for no reason at all. But this doesn’t affect just one property owner, it affects anyone with a fence, a stone wall, anything that Mr. Jordan thinks is in his definition of right-of-way. You’re all at his mercy now!

Even if Mr. Jordan’s attorney’s are better at bullshit than law, and even if Mr Jordan’s engineering consultants hired with your tax dollars report that in New Baltimore water runs uphill! And even if Mr. Jordan’s attorney Meave Tooher of the Albany law firm of Tooher and Barone, can’t tell the difference between a fence or right-of-way and a special drainage district, Mr. Jordan does have a special talent for avoiding his duties and obligations in favor of, well, doing favors for friends. That’s the subject of the following article. Click here to read about it.


Editor’s Notes: The source of the information above is from the official minutes of the New Baltimore Town Board in public session. Other information includes documents produced by the Town of New Baltimore in response to our demand for the production of documents under the provisions of the New York Freedom of Information Law.

Denis Jordan’s wife, Diane Jordan, is currently working in the New Baltimore Town Administration as Town Tax Collector, and is running for re-election this November. Diane Jordan is also a deputy town clerk in the Town of New Baltimore town hall.

We are currently investigating Denis Jordan’s relationship with Callanan Industries,  Inc., the company who provided the paving materials for the recent paving of Hamlet streets. The were supposed to lay two (2) inches of blacktop but raised the road surface 4-8 inches, in some spots up to 12-18 inches, creating safety hazards and nuisances, reducing the road width by about 18-24 inches, and causing problems with snow removal operations, according to a New Baltimore Highway Department plow driver. That’s really magic: quote to provide 2 inches of surface and raise the road bed by 8 inches! Wow! That’s fine, though, Denis Jordan has a close relationship with his suppliers. This time to the tune of more than $180,000. And George Amadore, our NYS Senator for the 46th Senate District hands over more than $142,000 from the NYS Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) to waste on truckloads of unnecessary blacktop!!! Somebody’s making money on this deal and it isn’t the taxpayer or property owner!


 

A Toothless Town Board? New Baltimore Board Works for Hwy Super!

The list of misconduct and abuses grows and grows and grows for Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan (D). The New Baltimore Town Board just sit and stare into space, wide-eyed, clueless while Jordan makes threats, harasses residents, creates dangerous hazards, damages private property, causes lawsuits against the Town, and even threatens the Board itself. Why does this craziness continue? why hasn’t the Town Board taken action against Jordan as provided under New York State Law? Politics? Cowardice? Ignorance? Indifference? Maybe a little of each but the incompetence and stupidity is damaging the entire community!

Why doesn’t the New Baltimore Town Board read the writing on the wall?


The entire New Baltimore Town Board met in public session on September 11, 2017. Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Deputy supervisor Jeff Ruso, board members Shellie vanEtten, Chuck Irving, and Scott Brody were all present. Mr Denis Jordan, the under-fire New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, was sprawled in the last row. Four residents, three of them women, all with complaints against Jordan, were also present.

All four residents have significant claims against the Town of New Baltimore and all the claims are based on Jordan’s abuses, incompetence, and unethical practices. The four appeared at the meeting as a show of solidarity. One of them was to read a public statement into the record demanding answers to explain how Jordan has managed to keep his job while perpetrating all sorts of incompetent and crazy schemes.

We have the text of the resident’s public statement, and we’d like to share it with our readers now:


September 11, 2017

The Town Board of New Baltimore
New Baltimore Town Hall
3809 County Route 51
Hannacroix, New York 12087

Ladies, Gentlemen, Neighbors:

Subject:        Remarks addressed to the Board in Public Session.

I am here this evening to address the New Baltimore Town Board directly and to get answers to the many questions I have placed before the Town over the past year and a half regarding the lamentable performance of the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department under the authority and supervision of Mr Denis Jordan, Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent.

The Town of New Baltimore, in addition to the numerous email notifications and photographic documentation I have provided, has made at least one on site inspection visit of New Street, a roadway owned by the Town of New Baltimore, in response to the ongoing problems of runoff water drainage and the failure of the New Baltimore Highway Department to maintain gutters and storm drains. There is an at least six-year record of the incompetent installation of culverts, drains, and ditches and the resulting damage to private property in and around New Street.

In 2016, the town supervisor and deputy supervisor, as well as board member vanEtten personally visited the site of damage to private property. Mr Ruso himself discovered a culvert that was so poorly maintained that one end could not be identified. Two days after that inspection, Mr Dellisanti, Mr Ruso, Mr Jordan and Mr vanWormer were provided with a tour of the New Street and Madison Avenue East problem areas.  Shortly, thereafter, NBHD crews arrived to clear drainage ditches that had not been cleared of debris and vegetation for at least 2-3 years. They proceeded to identify the blind culvert and uncovered a drainage grate from under 2-3 inches of soil. Mr vanWormer remarked that he had no idea the drain was there, and he’d been with the department for at least 17 years. The department dug up the road, replaced the mystery culvert, installed culverts under two residential driveways, and left a so-called catchment hole and several bizarrely crafted storm drains. The runoff drainage problem was not cured.

The drainage problems were not cured and the department managed to create new hazards and aggravate the drainage situation.

In 2017, the town of New Baltimore Highway Department and its contractor Callanan, appeared unannounced and commenced paving operations in the Hamlet of New Baltimore. I personally sought out and questioned Mr vanWormer about what was planned, since residents were not provided with information, and the Town website merely stated that details would be announced; that notice still appeared even after the paving had been started and even after it had been completed.

The most recent operations of the NBHW department can be characterized best by saying it is half-assed done by halfwits! The epitome of jerry rigging.

Not only were the operations on New Street largely unsupervised by the Highway Department, upon arrival on the day New Street was done, I was practically speechless when I returned home at about 3:00 p.m. to find that the roadbed had been raised an average of 8-15 inches, a huge drop prevented one from using the front entrance to my home, another 10”curb made use of the second entrance a significant hazard. There was a raised sloped edge along the street on the East side measuring some 12-15 inches. You could not exit a car at the roadside and safely get out because of the slope and the drop-off.  The road has been substantially narrowed such that when unloading my car another car cannot safely pass by.

The highway department attempted to cure the drop-off to the residential parking areas by dropping crushed stone. That jerry rigged solution has failed because the stone is either compressing or washing away, leaving the dangerous curb exposed again. It’s incredible but the Department on the West side of New Street, right across the street and opposite the No 18 New St. parking area, deposited a blacktop ramp from the roadway onto the lawn of the Arndt property, apparently so that Ms Arndt can drive her car up onto her lawn. Even more bizarrely that ramp actually fills the drainage ditch along the West side of New Street, preventing runoff from draining along the ditch into the drains.

In another incompetent attempt to remedy the hazards caused by the deposition of untold truckloads of blacktop on New Street, the Department had to pour concrete steps supposedly to allow our entrances to be used. The concrete steps were not provided with a foundation and now vegetation is growing from under the steps. No doubt water can seep under the steps and frost will heave them. The concrete or cement mix used is obviously not the correct mix because the edges are already disintegrating, crumbling. At the top of the steps there continues to be a raised hump of approximately 6-8 inches in height, causing a significant hazard of tripping, and which will pose a particular problem in winter with ice and snow buildup. This needs to be corrected.

The Deputy [Highway] superintendent has already commented that the raised, sloped edge of the road will cause a problem when plowing in winter and will complicate snow removal.

In an apparent attempt to cure the raised edge of the roadway at the garage of No. 10, the Department dropped blacktop to form a sloped grade into the driveway. This sloped grade now forms a conspicuous channel along which runoff from the roadway is conducted into the foundations of No. 10 New Street. We continue to use sandbags there.

In short, ladies and gentlemen, not only has the Department created hazard after hazard, they have each time created a new problem.

There is no explanation why truckload upon truckload of blacktop had to be deposited on New Street to the extent of raising the road surface at least 8-10 inches above the pre-paving level! How much has that cost the taxpayers of this Town?


Editor’s Note: By any standard we consulted, the blacktop deposited by Mr Jordan’s contractors, Callanan Industries, should not have exceeded 2-2½ inches maximum. We can only speculate that the reason between 6 and 10 inches of blacktop was dumped on New Street was because Callanan Industries sells blacktop. What was in this excessive use for Mr Jordan, we might well ask?


And where was Mr Jordan when all of this was going on? Well, at 3 p.m. on the day New Street was being literally dumped on, Mr Jordan left early to attend a wake…regrettably not his own.

In the meantime, request after request after request has been brought to the Town to cure the hazards and remove the dangerous situations. The town has shown only indifference, and the incompetence and waste continues.

Rather than respond to residents’ concerns Mr Jordan prefers to harass a local woman property owner because of a privacy fence. Rather than cure the problems and remove the hazards created on New Street and elsewhere, Mr Jordan is off installing culverts on friends’ properties. I have heard of at least two such preferred operations going on in the Town over the past couple of months.

The glaring questions persist: Where is Mr Jordan getting the money to hire his own attorneys when the town has an attorney? Where is Mr Jordan getting the money to hire surveyors to continue his harassment of local property owners. Where is Mr Jordan getting the money to hire Delaware Engineering as consultants to establish that New Baltimore is the only place on Earth were water runs uphill? Where is the accountability? Where is the leadership? Where is the responsibility? Where is Mr Jordan getting the wherewithal to confront this board with his own threats of litigation? What has the board done in response to Mr Jordans now infamous refrain, “Let them sue us!”

Mr Jordan must be made accountable for the untold damage he has done as Superintendent of Highways not only in terms of incompetent roadwork, corrupt contract practices, but also to the trust and confidence of residents in this local government, a town board whose responsibility is to steward the public treasure and to act in good faith and fair play in performing their fiduciary duties to the residents of this town.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Jordan must be held accountable. Mr Jordan must GO! And he must go NOW!

Need I remind you that this is an election year, and some of you are seeking re-election.  It doesn’t look good.

I am providing a copy of these remarks for the record and ask that the Clerk conform them as part of the record of this September 11, 2017, public regular session of the New Baltimore Town Board.


 


Mr Jordan was re-elected two years ago and won by ONE vote. With the public outcries and public knowledge of Denis Jordan’s years of misconduct and incompetence, waste of taxpayer money, abuse of residents, and his alleged favors being done for “friends” of Denis Jordan by Denis Jordan using Town of New Baltimore resources. Jordan’s neglect of his duties and obligations, his ignorance and incompetence, his questionable contracting procedures, and his refusal to respond to good faith questions posed by residents has been brought to the attention of the New Baltimore Town Board for almost 10 years now, multiple notifications, hundreds of photographs and yet Jordan is still there. Granted, two of the town boards were dominated by Democraps (under supervisors David Louis and Susan O’Rorke) and they wouldn’t lift a finger against their fellow Democrap, Denis Jordan. But now we have a Republican-dominated board and still nothing!!!


Editor’s Note: We have reliable and credible information that Jordan won the last elections by one vote because the Republican and Independent election leaders did not count the absentee votes for that election!!! If that is factually true, someone’s head has to roll. So much for the democratic process and we wonder why people don’t vote.

We have personally inspected the damage and situations described in the resident’s public statement, and we can verify those facts as being true. We have F.O.I.L.ed supporting documents from the Town of New Baltimore and those documents do not paint a pretty picture of the operations of the Highway Department much less of Mr Jordan’s management skills…they’re zilch! We have also spoken to the woman being harassed by Jordan. That woman keeps her property immaculate and takes great pains to keep it beautiful; Mr Jordan made the claims, stating that he had received several complaints about her property but would not say who made the complaints. In fact, he first made the complaints and only afterwards collected any facts. Sounds like harassment, putting the cart before the horse again, Mr Jordan.


We agree with the resident’s public statement and call on the New Baltimore Town Board to commence legal proceedings to remove Denis Jordan from office, to audit his performance and his recent dealings with Callanan and their paving operations in the Hamlet of New Baltimore, and to prosecute Jordan and his accomplices if illegal activity is revealed!

We want justice and compensation for those New Baltimore residents who have been injured by Jordan and his incompetent operations!

This book should be required reading for the Town Board!

The Editor

 

Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest: The Albany County Coroners Office

From its Very Beginnings, the Office of the Coroner was Tainted by Politics, Greed and Corruption.

The office of the coroner has existed for about 800 years and began in England, in the 12th century (1194) when the office of the “crowner” was created to investigate suspected felony deaths. Then, as now, there was government interest in such deaths and it wasn’t justice or public health. You see, the coroner, if he found that the death was due to a felony, would then investigate and confiscate the felon’s property, which went to the crown. Of course the coroner would get a cut of the goods, too. So, from its very beginnings, the office of the coroner was tainted by politics, greed and corruption. Add to this toxic mix the Democrat political machine in Albany, and it can’t get much worse.


Three out of the four incumbent coroners are Guess what? funeral directors actively practicing in the Albany County region. Charles Smoot, the de rigueur token African American at the Albany County Coroner’s office, and one coroner the others would like to get rid of for a number of reasons, John Keegan, and Paul Marra are funeral directors and work as coroners. There’s a conflict of interest here because the coroner has to call a funeral director or funeral home to take custody of the body after the investigation. If you were in the business, who would you call?

Timothy Cavenaugh owes his claim to the coroner’s office to his political connections and to the fact that his father, James Cavenaugh, was Albany County Coroner before him. It appears that the Albany County coroner is not only political, it’s hereditary.

You’ve all seen the Newcomer Cryptkeeper ads on TV.

It does get worse, though, and here’s how: One of the contenders for the elected position is Frank Simmons, another funeral director, who — according to the recent Albany Times Union report —  works for Guess who? Newcomer Funerals and Cremations in Albany. Yes, that’s the same nickel-and-diming, factory funeral provider that’s part of the Newcomer Funeral Services Group, the funeral home chain that operates in some 10 states. Newcomer just opened a new location in Latham and it seems they need more bodies so why not run for coroner? Does anyone see the plan, the agenda, the potential for corruption and conflicts of interest in this coroner system as it operates in Albany County? (The Holubs dumpster-diving moghuls of the Ghettochopper, that is, Pricechopper fame have bought a share of Albany government; now it’s Newcomer Funerals and Cremations who what their share of the local action?)


Editor’s Note:

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read our articles on Newcomer Funerals and Cremations, Service Corporation International (a.k.a. Dignity Memorial), and StoneMor, please see our articles at:


In a 2010 article published in the Times Union  (Coroner saw much in his decades on job, Times Union, November 24, 2010) reported on an Albany County Coroner, Bill Loetterle (now deceased, see his obituary), in which Loetterle describes some of his experiences, and provides some insights into the operations of the coroner’s position in Albany County. He describes how in one case he was ready to call a murder, the police stepped in and overruled him calling it a suicide. Sends up red flags already. He describes serious mistakes being made in the coroner’s office like getting names wrong for the bodies in their custody. In that article, Dr Jeffrey Hubbard, a pathologist working with the Albany County Coroners Office is quoted as saying “the coroners office doesn’t have the answers and doesn’t know when they are going to come about. They are waiting for the pathologist, or pathology lab or for the police.” Makes you wonder why there’s a coroners office in the first place.

Then why have the extra level, the coroners, if they don’t have the answers and have to rely on the pathologist or the police? The County of Albany is already paying the pathologists and the police are already on the payroll. Sounds political and corrupt to us.

You might go back to Loetterle’s tale about the homicide called suicide by the police, overruling the opinion of the coroner. Do you really think that isn’t possible given the fact that the politics in Albany County run law enforcement and the coroners office? Better think again!

Former Albany County Coroner William Loetterle was a Purchasing Agent at GE

So, Loetterle (A Democrat, of course!) came on board as an appointed part-time coroner in 1979 and stayed on the job until 2010, 30 years! Loetterle worked for GE as a purchasing agent. That’s the qualification of the guy who’s going to determine the circumstances of a suspicious or unattended death, whether on the street or in the hospital, and sign the death certificate. It’s no wonder that death statistics are so screwed up!

In the TU 2010 article, though, Mr Loetterle, if you don’t believe he was part of the machine, totally unqualified and just outright ignorant, we read that in his “educated” opinion, “having coroners is better than having medical examiners because it’s much less costly for the taxpayers.” We’ve done a thorough study of the coroner and ME system and we know that that statement is categorically untrue and incorrect, as we’ll point out below.

Albany County Coroners are so good that they actually sent a woman who was still alive to the morgue!

The coroner is poorly trained and doesn’t have the necessary education to do the job

Furthermore, the office of coroner is for all practical purposes antiquated and obsolete. Moreover, it’s more costly to taxpayers because it actually duplicates effort and costs, and is actually detrimental to the public health efforts and programs at state and federal level because the coroner is poorly trained and doesn’t have the necessary education to do the job. That and the fact that it’s an elected position and only those candidates that get local political party approval get on the ballot.


Incompetence goes viral….

In a New York Times article, the writer refers to the coroners office as a “relic.” The article goes on to describe how an elderly woman was found in her apartment in an Albany complex for the elderly:

The old woman was sprawled on her living room floor, cold and motionless, and the apartment manager who found her on Wednesday was sure she was gone. Paramedics and the Albany County Coroner… found no heartbeat, no pulse, no breath or other signs of life, and the [Albany] coroner declared her officially dead.

They zipped Mildred C. Clarke, 86, into a body bag, took her to the morgue at the Albany Medical Center Hospital and left her in a room where corpses are kept at 40 degrees, pending autopsies or funerals. About 90 minutes later, the chief morgue attendant went in to transfer her to a funeral home.  (NYTimes

Albany paramedics and an Albany County coroner declare the woman dead, transfer her to Albany Medical Center, and no one there has any interest in confirming she’s dead or alive, and she gets put into a refrigerator where she stays until a morgue attendant notices the body bag moving. Something out of a horror flick? Hell, NO! It’s Albany County and Albany Medical Center at work!

Lucky she wasn’t an organ donor! But according to a NYT follow-up report Mrs Clark later died a week later at Albany Medical Center of ‘undisclosed causes,’ according to an Albany Medical Center spokesperson. (NYTimes)

William X Kienzle even includes the incident in his book, Requiem for Moses  (Kienzle, William X. Requiem for Moses. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Pub, 2013). That’s how Albany County gets on the map, we suppose.


So that brings us to another Times Union article published just recently, on May 23, 2017, entitled “Albany coroners race could have Democratic Primary. Democratic nominees face 4 others in Albany County” The reporter writes, “following a long, often contentious and disorganized Albany County Democratic Committee meeting…two incumbent coroners secured the Democratic nomination” for the coroner posts up for re-election. Four others were also endorsed by the Democrats. Can it get any more political?

Of course, the Albany County Democratic Committee chairman, Jack Flynn, would not comment on the strong interest in the coroner post but we will.

Albany County: No politics. No power. No patronage. No way!

A couple of years ago, Albany County considered changing over to the medical examiner system where a licensed and specially trained physician would do the death investigations (“Charter panel weighs coroner’s role,” Times Union, April 29, 2013). That article describes the Albany County Charter Committee as “11-member panel will tread lightly around the perception that it’s bent on curtailing anyone’s power.” Power. Not the public’s interests or welfare but power. The article is otherwise uninformative beyond confirming the corruption of the Albany Democratic machine and the infighting.

Somehow Albany has managed to misinform and keep the electorate ignorant and County Executive McCoy, Democratic Committee chairman Flynn, Majority Leader Frank Commisso (majority leader since 1993!), and certainly not the coroners or their highly-paid local pathologists or Albany Medical Center, whose facilities the Albany County Coroners Office uses for storing bodies and for forensic examinations. They all have an interest in keeping the obsolete and antiquated Albany County Coroners Office in place despite good evidence that it should be dumped and replaced by a medical examiner system. But no politics, no power, no patronage? No way!

This wouldn’t be a political position and would be governed by the professional ethics and oversight agencies that watchdog physician’s activities. But that wouldn’t be something the Albany Democrats would be interested in, would it? No politics. No power. No patrons. No way!

We should mention here that both Schenectady and Rensselaer Counties, as well as the majority of the rest of the country, especially those more advanced locales, have opted for the medical examiner system over and against the coroner system. There are many good reasons for this and we’ll be discussing them in future parts of this series of articles. The unfounded opinion of some supporters of the Albany County Coroners Office that the coroner system is less expensive to tax payers are misinformed and make no sense. The coroner system is in most studies of the system found to be incompetent, inefficient, expensive, and detrimental to the public’s health. Too many unqualified or politically ambitious people tend to seek these offices and should take their egos on a vacation. Coroners, at least the Albany County Coroners, have another agenda, as we’ll point out below.

But in the old days, local docs could be found who would sell their signature for a Tootsie Roll., and we have evidence of one physician, now deceased, who assisted the Office of the Albany County Coroner by signing death certificates for a fee-per-signature; he was actually selling his signature for a fee, and didn’t give a damn what was on the DC. His cause of death was always ASD, heart disease! If you examine the death certificates he signed you’ll find he certified almost every single death inappropriately using an abbreviation (more on this later), ASD, “arteriosclerotic disease”, making the false impression that almost every death investigated by the Office of the Coroner was due to heart disease. Think of what that could mean to national statistics on death due to heart disease if such corruption is widespread! It is. And published studies prove that fact. Scientific, peer-reviewed studies show that heart disease as a cause of death was a highly reported fake cause of death. It was over-reported by ignorant people completing death certificates with no qualifications, or who didn’t really care what the cause of death was, so cardiac death was an easy way out.  Frequently still is.

Investigating Deaths with Almost No Qualifications!

Studies also show that coroners and many physicians do not know how to properly complete a death certificate. And many physicians don’t know when they are legally authorized to sign a death certificate, frequently giving an incorrect cause of death. If physicians can make those blunders think of the damage an untrained, poorly educated coroner like Bill Loetterle, Charles Smoot and others like them can do!

The On-call coroner Frequently Doesn’t Even Go to the Scene but Completes and Signs a Death Certificate

If it works for one, it’ll work for many. This scandalous practice continues to be the case. We have received information from the Albany County Coroner’s office that when a call reporting a death is made to the Office of the Albany County Coroner, the coroner goes directly to the scene of the death, investigates, makes his report, and, depending on his findings, completes the death certificate and signs it. That’s what the coroner’s office tells us.  What we have learned from some professionals who work with the Albany County Coroner’s Office is that the on-call coroner frequently doesn’t even go to the scene but completes and signs a death certificate. Incredible? Maybe, but really quite likely knowing how Albany County operates.

Now let’s have a closer look at Albany County before we proceed with a more detailed discussion of what MEs and coroners are required to do and how it affects us as individuals, and as a state and nation. Albany has been a Democrat party stronghold literally for generations, and the Party has a stranglehold on public office. Most of the institutions in the City of Albany and Albany County are controlled by the local Democrats who have established a powerful system of patronage: If you’re not a Democrat and a log-roller, or you don’t know someone in City Hall, you simply don’t get a job or you don’t get elected. It’s a simple but corrupt system to say the least. Qualifications or credentials may play a role but it’s really who you know, not what you know. So it’s no big surprise to note that all of the Albany County Coroners, all elected officials, are all Democrats.

You may also find it interesting to know that two of the four coroners are licensed funeral directors running local funeral homes, Paul Marra of Marra Funeral Home (Cohoes), and John Keegan of Magin & Keegan Funeral Home (Albany). One of the coroners, Charles Smoot, claims to be a licensed funeral director, and if he is he must be doing behind the scenes work – so-called “trade” work — for other funeral homes; no one seems to know where he works but the Albany County Coroner’s office confirms that he is a licensed funeral director. Informants in the funeral services business in Albany tell us they never see him at any continuing education events, a requirement for funeral directors and for coroners. So Smoot, as we have mentioned, may be just a fixture in the Coroners Office, the token, but even so, he’s not popular in the Albany County Coroners Office. They’ve been trying to get rid of him for some time now, we hear. We also have information that alleged funeral director-coroner Charles Smoot has close connections with Anthony Perniciaro of the McLoughlin & Mason Funeral Home (Troy) so guess who’s likely to get Smoot’s bodies.

How Public Office is Inherited in Albany County

The fourth Albany County coroner is Timothy Cavanaugh is a good example of how positions in the Albany Democrat machine get handed out, or in Cavanaugh’s case, handed down. Timothy is the son of a former, now dead, Albany County coroner, James Cavanaugh. The Cavanaugh dynasty is an example of how public office is inherited in Albany County. The same is true of one other coroner, Paul Marra, son of former coroner John Marra, also of Marra funeral Home in Cohoes. See the patterns? We’d also like to note that Paul Marra and John Keegan are not listed as owners on their respective funeral home web pages. We find that rather questionable, since we feel that those web pages should list the owners’ names or at least let the visitor know who is running the show. Or is does this have more sinister implications related to the owner’s holding a public elected office and possible conflicts of interest. You know, of course, that the coroners have to contact a licensed funeral home to transfer and take custody of the body once the investigation is completed.

Magin & Keegan Funeral Home, Cohoes

So we found it a bit suspicious when we asked about funeral homes used by the coroners, the Albany County Coroner’s Office could provide no information on which funeral homes the coroner’s tend to use for transferring the deceased. Three coroners who are funeral directors, two of whom own funeral homes, and one of which claims to be a licensed funeral director with close connections with a Troy funeral home. Now there couldn’t be any conflict or interest or abuse of public office here, could there? Not in Albany County?

And it does get even worse…

John Keegan not only co-owns and operates Capital District Affordable Cremations LLC in Albany, New York, Anthony Pernicaro of McLoughlan and Mason Funeral Home, Troy, is also one of the co-owners. That’s the same Anthony Pernicaro and the same McLoughlan and Mason Funeral Home we connected with Albany County Coroner Charles Smoot! Insider information received from local funeral home operators indicates that the three Albany County Coroner/Funeral Directors are abusing their positions to steer business to their own funeral homes and their other businesses.

Given the importance of ethics and integrity in public office and the adverse effect on health statistics information collected by death investigators like coroners, you’d think recordkeeping would be a high-priority item on the list of coroner administrative requirements; after all, it’s the office that is required to collect information and report it on such a serious occurrence such as a death. Well, recordkeeping is not really a very high priority in the Albany County Office of Coroners.

Here are just a couple of deficiencies we found in our investigation:

First of all, we place great value on documentation and fact-finding. This requires a system and it also requires a knowledge of how information and data collection affect other departments, programs and even government agencies. Apparently, the Albany County Coroners Office got left in the 1300s, while other locales changed over to the medical examiner system or at least developed data collection forms that reflect the importance of the death investigation data collected during the coroner call.

If anything clearly demonstrates the substandard workings of the Albany County Coroners Office, it’s the form used for documenting the death investigation. Here’s an Albany County Coroners Call Sheet used to document the facts of the scene investigation. Compare it to this one from Indiana (+coroners general death investigation protocol_indiana)or even this simplified one from Cleveland (+Coroner-Call Sheet (Cleveland Ohio)). But our investigation found even more substandard practices in the Albany County Coroners Office. Here are just a few:

  • No up-to-date or upgraded software for entering and administering information collected by coroners (A key employee of the Albany coroners’ office tells us that the software they are using dates back to the 1980’s and has not been updated; the office can’t do queries or generate reports from the software. What’s up with this, Albany County?) (Per information received from the Coroners Office, “The computer system used by The Albany County Coroner’s Office is an internal spread sheet that has been created for our use. All records are also kept as paper copy within the Albany County Hall of Records.”)
  • No way to determine which coroner had which case and when (Wouldn’t that be of interest when you consider almost 1000 coroner calls in 2015 and more than 900 coroner calls in 2016?)
  • No way to report cases that were closed without autopsy and those that went to autopsy
  • No way to determine which coroner used which funeral home to transfer the body Now that’s convenient, isn’t it, considering that three of the coroners are funeral directors, two of whom own funeral homes, and one of whom allegedly has a close connection with a Troy funeral home?)
  • An unacceptable delay in getting autopsy reports: up to 90 days! When cases go to autopsy, there is a significant delay in getting the autopsy reports from the medicolegal/forensic pathologist (the Albany coroners office has four pathologists on call Drs Hubbard, Sikirica, Balasubramaniam (“Dr Bala”), and a Dr Ing, and one physician assisting the coroners, a Dr John Len). So why the delay in the autopsy reports and the consequent delay in closing the case?
  • Apparently there is no way for the coroners office to report which cases are pending closure and which are closed.
  • Cases are not tabulated by coroner; they are tabulated only as a total The Albany County Office of Coroners is unable to list dates of coroner’s calls with a corresponding coroner’s name, location, funeral home, or case closing date. We find this to be gross dereliction of responsibilities!
  • The Albany County Office of Coroners does not keep a list of funeral homes used by the coroners. We don’t wonder Why? Do you?
  • Contrary to personal informal reports we have received, and which resulted in our interest in this topic, the Albany County Office of Coroners tells us that they have received no complaints regarding the performance of their coroners. (Per the Coroner’s Office, “As stated above any complaints against The Albany County Coroners would go through The Albany County Board of Legislators. In checking with them on this matter, no complaints have been filed against this office.” Do you wonder?)

Although the coroners have no medical training, and can be elected from any status in the general public, as long as they can get on the ballot. According to statute coroners must participate in a minimal death investigation course. The Albany County Office of Coroners reports that “all” county coroners receive annual training through the

  • New York State Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (NYSACME)
  • The American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigation
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and
  • Funeral Director CEU (continuing education units).

We note that the Albany County Office of Coroners response clearly reads “[a]ll of our coroners receive yearly training through those organizations. Does “all” mean all as in every, each? If it does we have some questions. One of those questions arise because we have personal communications from funeral professionals who state that they don’t see Charles Smoot at any of the funeral director continuing education events (CEU). Where is he getting his continuing training? Who’s paying for it? The answer to the first question is: Nobody knows. The answer to the second question is: We are.

Given the inadequate documentation, and without some documentation of a coroner’s whereabouts at a particular time a coroner’s case is called in and a death investigation is supposedly being done it will be very difficult if not impossible, to defend against any claims that the coroners are not attending at the death scene but are signing death certificates without due and diligent investigation. This is a serious issue and must be responded to and dealt with. We now publicly submit this question to the Albany County Office of Coroners and demand a response.

Here’s what the Albany County Budget for 2017 lists for the Albany County Coroners Office:

 Albany County Coroners Office Personnel Count

2015 2016 2017
A 1185 Personnel Count 6 6 6
A1185 Coroner $725,824 $733,039 $733,239
2014 2015 2016
A 1185 Personnel Count 6 6 6
A1185 Coroner $693,504 $727,294 $728,729

So the budget figures don’t lie but they also don’t tell the whole story. So we filed several demands for production of documents and information under the New York State Public Officers Law or the Freedom of Information Law. All criticisms aside, we have to give credit where credit is due: The clerk / administrator and confidential secretary at the Albany County Coroners Office have been very helpful and forthcoming, and we hope honest — in providing information in response to our demands. Unfortunately, much of what they provided does not speak in favor of the coroners office:

Albany Medical Center Propaganda

In 2015, Albany Medical Center performed all of 222 autopsies for the Albany County coroners. In 2016 , Albany Medical Center again performed a majority of our 230 autopsies for Albany County. Ellis Hospital began a contract with Albany County at this time but, according to the Coroners Office “a breakdown of these numbers is not possible with out going through each case by hand.” This is the 21st century, people! Everyone has computer software for keeping these sorts of records! Why doesn’t Albany County?

Albany County does not bill for out-of-county residence. If a person dies within Albany County, Albany County picks up the cost of Coroner involvement, pursuant to New York State Law. According to a Times Union report these costs totaled nearly $113,000 from January 2012 to August 2013 (“The dead’s tab: $61,426. When a patient flown to Albany Med dies, Albany County pays for the autopsy.” Times Union, November 25, 2014). During that same period the $61,426 for 56 outside cases in 2012 accounted for about 10 percent of the coroner’s overall $603,000 2013 budget. .But they can and should bill the cost back to the county of residence.

As mentioned above, the Albany County Coroners Office uses outside pathologists: Jeffrey Hubbard MD, Michael Sikirica MD, and Nadarajah Balasubramaniam MD a.k.a. Dr Bala. We demanded information regarding the costs of pathologist services and the Coroners Office provided these figures:

Pathology rates per patient:
Autopsy 770.00
Certification of Death 75.00
Review of records/exam/Certification 360.00

 

Amounts Paid to Pathologists
Per year
2015
Dr. Hubbard $46,980.00
Forensic Medical Services
Drs Sikirica and Balasubramaniam
$138,075.00
2016
Dr. Hubbard $68,125.00
Forensic Medical Services
Drs Sikirica and Balasubramaniam
$146,725.00

Albany Medical Center Autopsy Room

In addition to the three pathologists, John Len MD is a so-called physician assisting the coroners. Len was paid $3,350.00 in 2015, and $11,285.00 in 2016 for “assisting” Albany County coroners. Len, in other words, sells his signature to certify deaths when there is no personal physician.

Albany Medical Center has been the Albany County Coroners Office’s primary autopsy and lab and facility for the years 2015 and 2016. Ellis Hospital (Schenectady) began a contract with Albany County at the end of 2016, it is on a trial basis continuing through 2017.

Amount Paid to Albany Medical Center (Autopsy Services)
2015
Albany Medical Center $198,890.94
2016
Albany Medical Center $189,532.98
Ellis Hospital $6,550.00

Additional Laboratory Testing Services: In 2015 and 2016 National Medical and Bender Laboratories were used for additional toxicology services.

2016
National Medical $7,242.00
Bender Laboratories $27,500.00
2015
National Medical $13,881.66
Bender Laboratories $1770.00

We have demanded this same information from the Schenectady and Rensselaer Medical Examiner Offices and from the Greene County Office of the Coroner. As of this writing, their responses are still outstanding. Once we receive that information, we will publish a comparison of the systems.

Literally thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of deaths in Albany County are in a limbo land thanks to the decrepit and irresponsible administration of coroner records in the Albany County Coroners Office

Whereas the New York State Department of Health (NYDOH) has implemented an Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) in a number of counties in New York State,  implementation of the system in 2017 does not alter the fact that substandard recordkeeping in the Albany County Coroners Office has prevented any attempt at quality control or even retrieval of important data for administrative, study or research purposes. This means that information on literally thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of deaths in Albany County are in a limbo land thanks to the decrepit and irresponsible administration of coroner records in the Albany County Coroners Office.

It’s too little too late for many and we really have to ask the burning question, “Who dropped the ball for so many years?”

It’s the 21st century and it was a long time in finally coming but is still not fully implemented throughout the state, New York State’s Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) in a secure web-based system for electronically registering deaths. EDRS simplifies the data collection process and enhances communication between health care providers and medical certifiers, medical examiners/coroners, funeral directors, and local registrars as they work together to register deaths. That having been said, it’s too little too late for many and we really have to ask the burning question, “Who dropped the ball for so many years?”

For now, though, Albany County Residents and our readers far and wide can draw their own conclusions about Albany County and it’s questionable rationale in keeping the obsolete, inefficient, and antiquated Albany County Coroners Office, apart from the obvious corrupt and self-serving political, power, patronage and economic interests involved.

We’d like to invite you to share your experiences of the coroner and medical examiner system with us. We’ll share them with our readers to enable them to be better informed and to improve their public health systems.

It’s time to do a forensic autopsy on Albany County and the Albany County Coroners Office!

Time to Autopsy the
Albany County Coroners Office
The Editor


Editor’s Note

The Albany Times Union reported that Mr Frank Simmons, one of the controversial candidates for Albany County Coroner, is an employee of Newcomer Funerals and Cremations: “Simmons, a funeral home director at New Comer Funerals and Cremations, intend[s] to petition to be on the ballot for the Democratic primary in September.” We have received information from a reliable source and in the funeral service business that Simmons is not employed by Newcomer but by the John J. Sandvidge Funeral Home, Troy. We are looking into this information and have notified Ms Amanda Fries, author of the Times Union article.


 

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Abuse of Public Office, Albany, Albany County Coroner, Albany County Coroners Office, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Elections, Albany County Executive, Albany County Executive, Albany County Legislature, Albany County Sheriff Department, Albany County Supervisor, Albany Police, Anthony Perniciaro, Arthur Fitch, Bill Loetterle, Bring out your dead, Bureau of Funeral Directing, Capital District, Charles Smoot, Conflict of Interest, Corruption, County Legislator, Craig D. Apple Sr., Dan McCoy, Daniel McCoy, David Soares, Death, Death Certificate, Death Investigation, Democratic Party Committee, Dignity Memorial, EDRS, Elected Official, Electronic Death Registration System, Favoritism, Frank Commisso, Frank Simmons, Freedom of Information Law, Greene County, Greene County Coroner, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Sheriff, Hudson Valley, Jack Flynn, James Cavanaugh, Jeffrey Hubbard, John Keegan, John Len, Law Enforcement, Licensed Funeral Director, Magin & Keegan Funeral Home, Marra Funeral Home, McLoughlin & Mason Funeral Home, Michael Sikirica, Nadarajah Balasubramaniam, National Funeral Directors Association, New York State, New York State Funeral Directors Association, Newcomer Funeral Home, Newcomer Funeral Services Group, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations, Nick Facci, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, P. David Soares, Paul Marra, Public Corruption, Rensselaer County Medical Examiner, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Schenectady County Medical Examiner, SCI, Service Corporation International, StoneMor, Timmothy Cavanaugh, Uncategorized, William Loetterle