Dear Mr. Linger:
Dear Mr. Stanzione:
You have failed us miserably. You have betrayed the trust we invested in you when we stood behind you and elected you to public office. You have violated your oaths of office. You have shown yourselves to be unfit for public office.
I am writing to you regarding a state of affairs in the Town of New Baltimore, County of Greene, which has been ignored by the incumbent Republican Town Supervisors over three terms: Nick Dellisanti during his two terms in office, and Jeff Ruso, the current Town Supervisor.
We cite here as well the state of affairs that has been going on for almost two decades in the New Baltimore Highway Department under former Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, and which is continuing under the acting Highway Superintendent Scott vanWormer, and will likely continue under the next Highway Superintendent Alan vanWormer, Scott vanWormer’s brother, who is running for that office unopposed and who will be “declared elected,” under New York State ElectionLaw.
Residents and voters, at least those of us who have not been so discouraged by the state of affairs in New Baltimore, and who still go to the polls – for all the good it does and what little difference it makes. New Baltimore voters have for several years now been deprived of their right to choose their elected officials because the Greene County and New Baltimore political party committees are unable to run candidates, and we voters are being force-fed candidates running unopposed; we are being denied our vote. We do not have “elections” in New Baltimore; we may go to the polls but we have a choice of ONE. That’s not democracy.
Business as usual in Greene County and New Baltimore.
Former Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti chose not to run for office in 2017; instead, his deputy Jeff Ruso (R) ran unopposed and was “declared elected” though not elected, in fact more than a third of those going to the polls abstained from casting a vote for Ruso. But Ruso’s first order of business when assuming office in January 2018 was to appoint Nick Dellisanti as his Deputy Supervisor. Although the fact that Dellisanti accepted the appointment doesn’t make a lot of sense, the bottom line is that we in New Baltimore have two executives, the Supervisor and his Deputy Supervisor, neither of which have been democratically elected.
But what’s worse, is that in Town Hall we have a gaggle of clowns who have no idea why they are there, and are blinded by their political ambitions and have forgotten or never knew what public service is; they are not public servants, they are interested only in cronyism and their simple-minded notions of power.
Here’s an example out of real life in New Baltimore, and an example of how Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Ruso and their respective Town Boards, appointees, and hirelings have misused taxpayers, and abused their pubic offices.
You, Mr. Linger, and you, Mr. Stanzione, have been personally informed of these situations by those affected but have done NOTHING. It’s an election year, Mr. Linger and Mr. Stanzione, so don’t you think it’s time you grunted or got off the pot? It’s an election year, Mr. Linger and Mr. Stanzione, so don’t you think you should come up with some answers and some actions? You’ve done nothing so far so now might be a great time to show some good faith, even if it is self-serving in an election year.
First of all, for almost two decades, the former New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, Mr. Denis Jordan, was given carte blanche to do what he pleased in the Town of New Baltimore, squandering countless hundreds of thousands, very likely millions of taxpayer dollars doing more damage than improvement. Why? Because he was allowed to do that by past Town administrations, both Democrat and Republican, and because he was not monitored, despite the fact he had no training or education, and was about as qualified as a cabbage to do the job. His recent resignation and the so-called investigations are in reality a smoke and mirrors game. The investigations it seems are nothing more than a pornographic dog and pony act, making fools of voters, taxpayers, and those adversely affected by Jordan’s incompetence and indifference.
Why haven’t we heard anything more about the so-called investigations? What was the outcome? You investigated a public entity and a public figure but the public has been kept in the dark. Is that your idea of good government? It appears to us that it is.
We don’t hear anything from our elected officials in Town Hall about these investigations. In fact, according to local media, New Baltimore Town Officials claimed not to be aware of any “investigations,” or not to have been informed of them. I find that very hard to believe, especially given the fact that the subject of the investigations was a New Baltimore Department head and an elected official, Mr. Denis Jordan, and the New Baltimore Town Clerk’s office was floor-to-ceiling with banker’s boxes all labeled “Highway Department,” during the investigations. But Supervisor Ruso and members of the Town Board were unaware of the investigations. Were you, Mr. Linger, or you, Mr. Stanzione, aware of the investigations? If so, why weren’t New Baltimore residents and taxpayers informed?
The incompetence and negligence of the New Baltimore Town Board under Dellisanti and Ruso, and their indifference and negligence of the damage that Denis Jordan was doing can’t be made up. It’s real, it’s ongoing, and it’s going to haunt them and you for some considerable time to come. Why? Because it’s scandalous!
In 2016, both Dellisanti and Ruso, along with sitting Town Board member Shelly van Etten, made personal inspections of the results of lack of maintenance of New Street in New Baltimore, and the damage to private property as the result of that lack of maintenance of the roadway owned by the Town of New Baltimore and for which the Town of New Baltimore and its Highway Department were legally liable for repair and maintenance. [Editor’s Note: After two years, neither Dellisanti nor Ruso, nor the Highway Department have responded with any proposal to fix the damage they caused.]
Dellisanti and Ruso, and two days later, Mr. Denis Jordan and his Deputy Mr. Scott van Wormer, again visited New Street, and for a second time Dellisanti and Ruso were apprised of the situation and the damage being done.
Dellisanti, Ruso, and Jordan managed to ignore the ongoing damage, Jordan creating new hazards and damage every time he managed to make an appearance.
Notices of Claim were served in which the Town was apprised in detail of the damage, and the associated liabilities. Dellisanti and Ruso did nothing to cure the damage or to take any responsibility; they simply handed the Notices over to their insurance company, who then handed the Notices to their attorneys.
Why is it that bad government seems to think they can avoid liability and responsibility if they hand their incompetence over to a law firm? Town law provides for remedies but the Town of New Baltimore has, and continues to avoid their responsibilities and forces taxpayers and residents into the poor house because the only possibility is court, lawsuits. But the insurance companies have much deeper pockets than residents. Why should a resident have to fight to get local government to accept responsibility for what they have done? Why should it cost local residents, hard-working honest people, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to force elected officials to do what’s right and to comply with the law.
That’s a good question for you, Mr. Stanzione. You’re the chief law enforcement official in the County of Greene, what’s your position on New Baltimore’s liabilities and failure to comply with the law?
Well, the Town of New Baltimore, and you, Mr. Linger, and you, Mr. Stanzione, have been kept updated on the ongoing damage to a private residential structure in the Hamlet of New Baltimore, which you all KNOW has sustained damage due to the failure of the Town to maintain drainage and roadways as required by the law. The structure has been subject to ongoing damage thanks to incompetent roadwork. The Town has been provided with images, videos, and ongoing updates but the Town has so far ignored everything, and has done nothing.
The Highway Department installed a deep so-called “catchment” that’s almost 2 feet deep and 30 inches across, a booby-trap, but when asked to put in a proper grate, they’ve ignored the request for nearly two years. When asked at least to mark the catchment to avoid and accident, they ignored that request, too! Don’t drive down New Street, New Baltimore at night, you’re risking your life. But you, Mr. Linger, you, Mr. Stanzione, you Mr. Dellisanti, and you Mr. Ruso, all know about this. But you have done NOTHING about it. And now Linger and Stanzione, you’re asking New Baltimore for their votes?!?
In fact, Mr. Linger, we’ve read that you were asked to share your accomplishments with a local reporting medium but you refused to respond. Does that mean you have no accomplishments or that you feel you don’t owe the voting public that information or even a response? Which is it Mr. Linger?
Well, the tax bills come out though, with clockwork regularity. A building’s collapsing because of Town negligence but the building inspector/code enforcement officer and the assessor refuse to inspect the building. The owner pays his taxes on a building that he can’t use.
When asked to inspect the site and to adjust the assessment, the New Baltimore Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, refuses and tells the owner to take it up on Grievance Day.
The owner presents the case on Grievance day to the Board of Assessment Review, a group of appointees, appointed by the Town Supervisor and approved by the Town Board. Again, facts, just the facts, images, answers were presented to the BAR, who granted 9 out of 11 requests for reduction of assessments but denied the requests made by the New Street property owner. This blog reported on that scandal.
The next step was to go before a hearing officer in a Small Claims Assessment Review proceeding (S.C.A.R.) and ask that an independent hearing officer reconsider the BAR’s determination. This was done and Sole Assessor Bennett appeared to defend his assessment, but claimed that the property was not owner-occupied, and therefore, the owner was not eligible to be heard. But the property was and is “owner-occupied” as defined by the law but the more-than-eighty year old hearing officer stopped listening early in the hearing and, despite volumes of proof, sided with Bennett, although allowing a $1,000 reduction in another affected property.
Does something sound fishy here? Well, it gets even better, because New Baltimore’s Bennett responded to the hearing officer’s question, “Why hasn’t New Baltimore condemned the structure?” Bennett replied that New Baltimore Town Hall was in “lawyer mode,” meaning that they would not respond because of liability. [Editor’s emphasis]
If that wasn’t enough, Bennett shot himself and the Town of New Baltimore in the foot a second time when he stated, and I quote from the hearing officer’s official determination:
But first, a quote from the hearing officer:
“Petitioner representative under oath states that the house is used for storage and that it is uninhabitable and unsafe to use as a residence because of structural failures and water damage. Photographs were presented to support the contention that it was uninhabitable.” [Editor’s emphasis]
And then the hearing officer states and certifies that:
“The Assessor [Bennett] concurred that the property was uninhabitable because of structural failures. Assessor then moved to disqualify the petition on the ground that the property was not owner-occupied.” [Editor’s emphasis. “Not owner-occupied”? Is Bennett crazy or just stupid? Maybe both! He just admitted that the property was “uninhabitable because of structural failures.”]
Well, if I am reading that correctly, the hearing officer was provided with enough evidence and proof to clearly show that the property is “uninhabitable and unsafe,” and Bennett agreed that “the property was uninhabitable because of structural failures,” I am at a loss Why? Mr. Bennett and the Town of New Baltimore have not acted in good faith and at least reduced the assessment of the property.
I am also aware that the owner/owner’s representative has addressed numerous letters and emails to the Town Supervisor, the Town Board, the Office of the Assessor, the Building Inspector, the Highway Department asking what they are going to do, what they propose should be done. The owner/owner’s representative hasn’t received a single response from any of those offices!
Sole Assessor Gordon Bennett explained the reason for this is that Town Hall is in “lawyer mode.” [Editor’s emphasis]
“Lawyer mode.” I wonder if you, Mr. Linger, or perhaps you, Mr. Stanzione, can explain what exactly “lawyer mode” is and whether there is a provision of Town Law that permits elected, appointed officials and public employees to ignore their responsibilities and claim “lawyer mode?” Is that something like pleading the Fifth? I’d be very grateful if you could get back to me on that one. Yeah! Fat chance? Well, if hell doesn’t freeze over in the meantime, there’ll be a very special place there for you, Mr. Linger and you, Mr. Stanzione, as well as Mr. Jordan, Dellisanti, Ruso, and Bennett.
Shame on you all!!! You are hypocrites all!
Even if Mr. Ruso, Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Bennet, Mr. van Wormer and the others in that den of thieves don’t have any dignity, one would hope that one of you, Mr. Linger or Mr. Stanzione, would have the decency to call New Baltimore to explain, to justify their scandalous treatment of honest taxpayers, or at least to investigate their abuses. Or is that too much to expect, to hope for?
The hypocrisy includes their treatment of veterans. I am a veteran. The property owner of the damaged property is a veteran. I know of others who have suffered at the hands of Mr. Jordan and other public officials in New Baltimore, and those residents are veterans.
I am personally disgusted and affronted by the fact that so many of our county and town officials claim to support and to honor veterans but stab them in the back when push comes to shove. Mealy-mouthed, pabulum-puking hypocrisy is what it really is. Veterans luncheons, monuments, the whole embarrassing hypocritical dog and pony display makes me physically sick.
What’s worse is when you see who’s at those events, it’s a bunch of deluded old men thinking that they are being honored – sometimes they’re even outnumbered by the politicians who all seem to crawl out of the woodwork in time for a photo op, and then exchange a few empty words before making some sort of excuse that they have to be somewhere else.
In recap, we in the town of New Baltimore, the Little North Korea, Greene County, New York, USA, the Third World of the East Coast, are sick and tired of the propaganda and election campaign rhetoric, and the abuse we receive from elected officials who, in reality, are not elected. We are sick of being ignored and subjected to retaliatory or “special” treatment by incompetent public servants, who have their own agendas once they steal our votes. We are sick and tired of public servants and elected officials who breach and violate the contract between the taxpayer and government, the contract that basically says that we’ll elect you, you’ll collect tax paid salaries and pensions, but you have to conduct our business in good faith and fair play.
You have not done that. You have violated our trust. You have violated your oaths of office. You have cheated us. We now demand justice and your heads!
I demand, and I think I can speak not only for the abused property owner on New Street, but the abused residents throughout New Baltimore, for the abused citizens, residents, tax payers and voters who have been cheated and misled by people like you, Mr. Linger, Mr. Stanzione, Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Ruso, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Jordan, Mr. vanWormer and so many parasites like you, that you make amends for your evil, your piracy, your treasons, your misconduct, your incompetence, your shameful abuse of the trust we gave you on election day.
Fix what you have allowed to happen and make those whose suffering and losses you have caused whole again.
And for those of you who were not elected, who were “declared elected,” but not by voters, you are the worst of the bunch because you have not been approved democratically to lead or to govern.
Shame on you! Shame on you all! And shame on New Baltimore for allowing this to happen at all!
A Concerned Resident