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Category Archives: NYS Senate

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 1300s 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.

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

 

Tragedy or Failure? Watch what you do; take personal responsibility for things like this!

A truly sad event occurred in the morning hours of April 25, 2017, when a young man died as the result of an unfortunate vehicular traffic accident. The event has been called “tragic” but we’d like to call it instructive and meaningful. Logan Penzabene’s death on April 25 was not just the loss of a son, a friend, a young man whose life would have been full of promise; it was a wake-up call to every single politician, law enforcement person, and every member of this bereft community and beyond. The roadside memorials will disintegrate, the tears will dry up, the body will be buried but will the problems and failures persist?

Watch what you do; take personal responsibility for things like this!

The media reports that “The tragic crash took place in the midst of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s teen safe driving campaign, and law enforcement babbles, and as Bethlehem Police Commander Adam Hornick babbles, “It’s even more unfortunate that we had this crash urging a campaign like this where we have such a concentrated effort by law enforcement to cut down on incidents like this.” Hornick hopes others will take the crash as a reminder to drive safe on the roads. Don’t we all?

Regardless of what Gov. Mario Cuomo puts out there politically or what Hornick makes as a public statement on behalf of law enforcement, the fact remains, that many reports and complaints have been made to local law enforcement and to the New York State Police regarding the safety of vehicular traffic on Route 144, where this accident occurred, claiming the life of another young person and severely injuring another.

We made a direct complaint to New York State Police at the toll plaza 22 of the New York State Thruway…

In fact, several weeks ago, we made a direct complaint to New York State Police at the toll plaza 22 of the New York State Thruway regarding the very real and present problem of operators, including passenger vehicles and heavy commercial vehicles, running the stop signs at Rt 144. Details were provided to responding State Troopers but to date we have not been able to observe any police presence at the times we reported such activity nor at any other time.

The New York State Police seem to have plenty of money, personnel and time to escort oversized vehicles down Rt 144, even when commericial escort should be available and doing that service, but the NYS Police don’t seem to have time to enforce the vehicular laws of this state. People are endangered, injured and killed as a result. Why is that?

Know what this means?

We have repeatedly reported on the careless and dangerous operation of vehicles entering and exiting the Port of Coeymans and adjacent Coeymans Industrial Park properties but we have seen no enforcement action taken at that location. Illegal and dangerous passing by motorists when a slow-moving truck pulls out in front of them. Decoy cars parked unlawfully and dangerously on the roadside but no visible control of the heavy truck traffic. Why is that?

On Aprll 25, 2017, Logan Penzabene was killed when he crossed into the on coming lane of traffic. Why was that? What caused him to migrate into that other lane and strike the oncoming vehicle? Texting, using a phone, horsing around in the car? Didn’t take more than a second and it happened! Where are we, people? In LA-LA Land?

The Penzabene Accident Scene

On the one hand we can speak of our unrealistic notion that we are in control of events and that such things are preventable. That’s part of our LA-LA Land arrogance and is somehow believing in magic. Something that is preventable reasonbably leads to the conclusion that if it happened and was not prevented that some mistake was made, and if a mistake was made, someone obviously made it, barring any notion or proof of mechanical failure. In Logan’s case, complete failure of his steering wheel. So if the accident was due to human error, what was it?

Signs pointing in the direction of failure of programs…

While we, as human beings, are blasted into reality when such an event occurs, that reality regrettably lasts only until the memorial shrine disintegrates or a couple of days after the funeral. Then it’s back to business as usual. Here’s the stupid-rule: the more stupidity, more so-called tragedies. But the real tragedy is still the stupidity. The stupidity of educators, parents, law enforcement and policy makers. These events are not just deaths, they are evidence of failures but no one seems to think of these events as signs pointing in the direction of failure of programs. So the so-called tragedies continue.

It’s half-arsed damage control…

Quite frankly, it’s half-arsed damage control when the RCS school district plays the caring and compassionate student-centered educators by announcing that “grief counselors are being made available to students and staff in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school district. This follows the death of RCS grad, Logan Penzabene. He was killed in a car crash Tuesday in Selkirk.” Too little, too late  And if RCS Superintendent of Schools Robert Libby sent a letter home with each student in the district informing families about the fatal accident Wednesday, he’s going to have to do a hell of a lot more than just sending students home with letters. But does he have any clue what to do?

Cuomo’ s public announcement of a so-called “teen safe driving campaign” isn’t going to do it. Hornick’s wishful thinking and so-called efforts to cut down on inicidents” like the Penzabene incident isn’t going to come to any fruition. Why? Because they are smoke and mirror shows, empty!

If efforts and programs worked, why is it, as Hornick reports, that “[T]he community has already been through this; the town has,” Hornick said. “This is the second fatal in town in six months.” Second “fatal” but what about the others, the non-fatal ones. If Hornick’s efforts were as colorful as his title,  Bethlehem Police Commander, maybe we’d see some change.

In our May 3 article “Enuf already! Freaks and Scofflaws” we  reported on a local business vehicle apparently operated by an employee of Eagle Tools in West Coxsackie. That report was provided on the very day of Penzabene’s funeral, on May 3! That truck ran a stop sign, was traveling at a low speed, was crossing over into the oncoming lane numerous times, never used a turn signal. And that’s someone allegedly with a commercial driver’s license!

And what about the rest of you? You’re all just as guilty! Just open your eyes while you’re driving and observe what’s happening around you, and the hazards and dangers being created randomly by your fellow vehicle operators. Better still, just count the hazardous and dangerous habits you have behind the wheel. Precious cargo on board signs merely obstruct visibility even if you were using your rear view mirrors; programs and efforts don’t work unless the community actively commits to the program and actively participates in the efforts.

What are you doing to ensure you don’t get that knock at the door or that telephone call starting,
“I’m afraid I have some bad news…”

This is not the time to start thinking…

It would also help if law enforcement did less talking and responded more proactively to real complaints and reports of vehicular misconduct and careless operation.

Cuomo is a politician and spends most of his time in a very secure environment, most of the time in New York City. We have to live in the community. We have to use the roads. We have to try to stay alive despite the stupidity of those around us. What to we do about stupidity? Well, you could start by being less stupid yourselves.

So forget all the empty “You’re in our prayers” crapola. Forget the roadside memorials. Forget the sentimental expressions of superficial sympathy. Forget Cuomo and his idiotic empty programs. And forget law enforcement efforts that are practically non-existent if we can judge by their response to real complaints and ongoing problems. Do something that is really effective: Mind your manners!

While human compassion blots out reason in the acute moments of such loss, and loss it is in myriad ways, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Logan’s devastated family and friends, we have to look at this event as having an incredible meaning for everyone: Logan’s death has become an icon, an icon that demands that we take responsibility for our own actions and accept accountability. If Logan’s death is to have any meaning at all, it’s up to his young friends, his community, and all of us to be responsible and obey our laws, take our time, be mindful of the moment, and to realize our duties and obligations not only to ourselves but to those around us as well. Period.

Read a Related Article at No Empty Chair at the Dinner Table.

Download the final article from Spirituality & GriefcareNo Empty Chair

Thank you, Logan!
The Editor

 

Bring Out Your Dead! A Monty Python Prophesy

A Message from the Editor

We’ve been sharing some posts on the funeral business and deathcare from several other sites. While this is not the focus of this blog, we don’t mind because the posts have attracted substantial interest. This post will be the last deathcare post we will be re-publishing on this blog. If you want to continue reading about deathcare in the US, please go to the following sites and follow them. Glad you are enjoying the posts so much but we have to get back to local political and social issues.

You can visit the following blogs for posts on death, dying, funeral services, and other death-related topics:

Thanatology Café
Spirituality, Bereavement & Grief Care
Pastoral CareHomiletics & Spiritual Care
The Church, Ministry, and Pastoral Care

Happy Holidays!
The Editor


Republished with Permission from Thanatology Café.

There is a great deal to be said about our healthcare and deathcare industries in the US, they are similar in many respects and exhibit similar functional flaws in a general sense. In the humanectomized materialist consumerism driven culture in which we live, the corporations have reduced most of us to human means to a corporate end. Most of US humanity has been dehumanized to the level of mere consumers. This is not a new development, however, and can be read in many quasi-prophetic sources.

In a recent conversation with a licensed funeral director and funeral home operator, who read our article on Nicholas Facci and Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (March 26, 2017), we discussed among other things the funeral chains’ exploitation of the demise of our traditions. We continue that discussion here together with some and some interesting anecdotes about the Albany County Coroner’s office.

After that discussion, I couldn’t help but think about one of the many hysterical scenes in the Monty Python film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” or of the grim portrayal by Dr John B. Huber of the Manchurian Plague (20th c.) and the Black Plague (14th c.).

Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”

The scene takes place during the Black Plague in medieval somewhere, and opens with the sounds of strange medieval music. Discordant and sparse images. Wailings and groanings. Close up of contorted face upside down. A leg falls across it. Creaking noise. The bodies lurch away from and scene pans out to reveal they are amongst a huge pile of bodies on a swaying cart that is lumbering away from the viewer. It is pulled by a couple of ragged, dirty emaciated wretches, the cart drivers. Behind the cart walks another large man, a slightly more prosperous Porter, wearing a black hood and looking rather sinister. The Porter is carrying an emaciated old man over his shoulder who is still moving, and protests “I’m not dead!” The dialogue goes something like this:

The scene: (The Porter carrying an old man slung over his shoulder, approaches the cart and the cart driver…)
Cart Driver: Bring out your dead!
Porter: Here’s one!
Cart Driver: Ninepence.
Old man: I’m not dead!
Card Driver: What?
Porter: Nothing…Here’s your ninepence.
Cart Driver: Er…He says he’s not dead!
Porter: Yes he is.
Old Man: I’m not.
Cart Driver: He isn’t.
Porter: Well he will be soon. He’s very ill.
Old Man: I’m getting better!
Porter: No you’re not. You’ll be stone-dead in a moment.
Cart Driver: I can’t take him like that; it’s against regulations!
Old Man: I don’t want to go on the cart!
Porter: Oh don’t be such a baby.
Cart Driver: I can’t take him like that!
Old Man: I feel fine!
Porter: Oh, do us a favor…
Cart Driver: I can’t.
Porter: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won’t be long…
Cart Driver: I promised I’d be at the Robinson’s. They’ve lost nine today.
Porter: Well, when’s your next round?
Cart Driver: Thursday.
Old Man: I think I’ll go for a walk.
Porter: (To the Old Man) You’re not fooling anyone, you know! (to the Cart Driver) Look. Isn’t there something you can do?
Old Man: (Singing) I feel happy, I feel happy!
The Cart Driver looks at the Porter for a moment. Then they both do a quick furtive look up and down the street. The Cart Driver very swiftly brings up a club and hits the Old Man on the head. (Out of shot but the singing stops after a loud bonk noise.)
Porter: Ah! Thanks very much! (Handing over the ninepence) See you on Thursday!
(Tossing old man onto the bodies on the cart)
Cart Driver: That’s all right! See you on Thursday.

(View the clip on YouTube)

While transcribing the dialogue I thought to myself how prophetic this 1975 spoof was.  More than 40 years later we can watch this clip and it sends cold shivers down your spine. Back then what was morbidly hilarious has become stark reality for us today.

“Bring out your dead!” Newcomer Funerals and Cremations TV Ads.

Cryptkeeper Newcomer Ad

There you are, sitting enjoying a snack thinking “Life is good!” And Warren “Ren” Newcomer, the cadaver-like founder of the Newcomer Funeral Services Group based in Wichita, Kansas, appears on your television screen. He’s the 21st century version of the Cryptkeeper and plays the part really well. He looks like an embalming gone awry and oozes a false compassion and insincere expression that makes you want to choke on your chips. Here’s a guy who has made millions exploiting the deaths of loved ones and doing his part to destroy our death traditions while grinning like a corpse on the way to the bank.  Newcomer Funeral Services Group has two locations in the Albany, New York, area, and has a presence in some 10 states. There are other similar funeral chains, Walmart-type factory funeral companies that have bought up private funeral businesses, cemeteries and crematoriums across the country. They operate under names like Service Corporation International (SCI), Dignity Memorial™, StoneMor Partners, Precoa, and of course, Newcomer Funerals and Corpse Disposal. What their advertising and marketing messages say to us, despite the actors and the phony compassion, is what Monty Python is teaching: “Bring out your dead!” Toss them on the cart and we’ll see you on Thursday (and don’t forget your checkbook or credit card).

“I’m Not Dead!” The Office of the Albany County Coroner declares a woman dead but she revives in the morgue

In New York Times article “They Said She Was D.O.A., But Then the Body Bag Moved” (Robert D. McFadden, 11/18/94) The author reports that Albany County Coroner Philip Furie and  Paramedics allegedly “found no heartbeat, no pulse, no breath or other signs of life, and the coroner declared her officially dead.”  So they “ zipped Mildred C. Clarke,  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. “ The attendant noticed some movement in the body bag, unzipped it and found that Mildred was still breathing. She was moved to intensive care and treated but the case has never been explained. The L.A. Times reports later that “Mildred Clark, the 86-year-old woman who spent 90 minutes in a morgue cooler last week after mistakenly being declared dead, died Wednesday of undisclosed ailments, a hospital spokesman said…. Albany Medical Center Hospital spokesman Richard Puff said Clark’s family had requested that the cause of death be withheld.” Any guesses as to the cause of death?

According to the article, “Albany is the only major city in New York State that does not have a medical examiner, an official who is trained in forensic pathology, and this would be a real advantage,”  The office of the coroner is  a relic still found  in many American cities. Albany elects four coroners to declare deaths and investigate their  causes. They have no medical training but are required to attend a “death investigation course.”  The coroners are expected to evaluate crime scenes and suspicious deaths, but they have no medical training.

We’re investigating some leads relating to the performance of the Albany County Coroners, and will report on our findings in a future article. We suspect that the Albany County Coroner isn’t very popular among local funeral directors. But Hey! this is Smalbany, isn’t it? There’s a job for every misfit in the Albany Democratic Machine, isn’t there?

“Look. Isn’t there something you can do? Ah! Thanks very much! See you on Thursday.” Inconvenience of the Dying Process.

We’re so very busy and so much in a rush. Why? Because our handlers tell us we are. We’ve lost our sense for distinguishing what is nice and what is necessary. We no longer have to think. Advertisers tell us what we need. Marketers tell us what to ask for. Government tells us how to live. Churches tell us how to die. Emails tell us we need to Hurry! and to Rush! because time is running out to buy a certain something. Hell! We don’t even die in peace. Hospitals transform us into cyborgs with tubes and electrodes at every available spot, and when all else fails, they still want to provide “billable services.” Only when you have had enough watching the technology fail do you scream STOP! Even when the so-called healthcare team has the good sense to admit that they can’t do anything more, they recommend shipping what’s left of mom or dad to hospice. And so at hospice the saga continues. When death finally occurs, whether it’s helped along or drags out to the end, we are still in a hurry, still have other things to do. But yet again, the materialist consumerism we are addicted to has the solution for immediate relief of any inconvenience, even death. There are customized death packages for every budget ranging from direct burial or direct cremation to the “traditional funeral.” Just ask for the Detailed Price List required by the FTC’s Funeral Rule and prepare to be nickel-and-dimed. You have abandoned the traditional funeral home with the family funeral director and have opted for the Walmart funeral chain, the factory funeral service provider. And you deserve everything you get. Sorry but it’s true.

We’ve all read about states like Oregon and Washington that have legislated physician-assisted suicide (PAS), euthanasia in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. We all know about the hospice movement that has degenerated into another instance of corporate exploitation of death and the demise of the family. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Monty Python prophesied the hastening of death movement. True, we no longer use a club to help the dying along; we’ve become much more refined in the 21st century. We now use chemicals and drugs. Or, if we’ve made mom or dad into an ICU cyborg, we simply remove the respirator, inject some morphine and “Ah! Thanks very much. See you on Thursday” at the viewing. We’ve come a long way into our degeneration!

Get the shocking truth about Service Corporation International (SCI) here.

We really have to chuckle when we read such crapola like “Service Corporation International is dedicated to compassionately supporting families at difficult times, celebrating the significance of lives that have been lived, and preserving memories that transcend generations, with dignity and honor. (SCI site at , last accessed on April 6, 2017). If you’re ready to believe that operations like SCI or Newcomer, corporations with their eyes on the bottom line, with their programmed funeral directors and staff operating on a corporate agenda, are there to do what the family funeral home once did, you’re already brain dead. SCI is constantly being sued, settling, or paying out huge judgments resulting from their mistakes. But when you’re making billions, who cares. The living keep dying; sky’s the limit! Get on the cart.


A bit of history: In 1962, Robert L. Waltrip, a licensed funeral director who grew up in his family’s funeral business, founded Service Corpration International. SCI started out as a small network of funeral homes and cemeteries in the Houston, Texas, area.

SCI gradually increased its offshore presence, and it continued to acquire business interests in North America. Since the late 1990s the US and Canadian marketplaces a  saturated battleground of competing companies intent on buying up and exploiting the deathcare business sector. SCI, In the course of the melee, Alderwoods Group and Stewart Enterprises emerged as the three principal companies in the resulting funeral corporation industry. As of December 31, 1999, SCI owned and operated 3,823 funeral service locations, 525 cemeteries, 198 crematoria and two insurance operations located in 20 countries on five continents. In 1999, SCI introduced Dignity Memorial, the first transcontinental brand offering deathcare goods and services in North America. By consolidating its network of funeral homes and cemeteries under a single brand, SCI expected that they could create a recognizable and marketable brand image. In 2000, poor market conditions forced SCI to reevaluate operations. While foreign operations had once shown promise, nearly 70 percent of SCI’s revenue was generated by operations in the United States and Canada. The company decided to divest many of its offshore businesses, in addition to many North American funeral homes and cemeteries. The UK arm now operates as Dignity PLC.


“I don’t want to go on the cart!” How we treat our dying; how we treat ourselves.

Monty Python presents an interesting scenario at a time when Jessica Mitford was enjoying the fruits of her muckraking book, “American Way of Death,” (1963), and the funeral home chains and funeral service factory corporations were reaching their peak of exploitation when Mitford’s “American Way of Death Revisited” was poshumously published (1998). Monty Python had it right. But we all laughed our way straight to hell.

 

J.B. Huber MD: “Psychology of Grave Epidemics”
(Med. Times, 1911)

Moving from a 1975 comedy spoof we can cite a remarkable article that appeared in the December 1911 journal, Medical Times, by John B. Huber MD. Dr Huber writes about the great Manchurian Plague (1910-1900), and compares it to the Black Plague (1347-1351). I’d like to quote some passages from that 1911 medical journal article. See if you can draw any parallels with our 21st century society.

Yet business was conducted as ordinarily—by those still alive; and the stroller “viewing the manners of the town,” would hardly realize from the superficial aspect of things, that a dreadful scourge was gradually but surely destroying its people. Yet the plague had, from November last up to this New Year’s Day, done for one-fourth of the twenty thousand inhabitants of that community; and it was then expected that more than half the remainder would be doomed before the plague would expend its energies.

On this festive New Year’s Day in that Manchurian town, the mounted policeman’s horse had its tail brightly decorated with green and red streamers; a shop keeper burst merrily out upon a group in the street, scaring them with a bunch of firecrackers which he flung up into the air. A green house was decorated with bright red, gilt lettered posters, festive banners and green paper flags, all by way of celebration. Next door the yellow poster of the Sanitary Bureau was in evidence, sealing up that house, and marking it unclean; “eight dead, two dying,” are the tally with which it began the New Year. (Huber p. 353)

Sounds like our modern lifestyle: death looms around us but we just continue partying, ignoring it, until we have to go down that dark alley and have no choice but to confront the darkness, the gloom. Manchuria in the early 20th century doesn’t seem much different from Troy or Albany in the early 21st century.

“Eight dead, two dying.” Sound’s like Monty Python’s Cart Driver, “They’ve lost nine today.” Or like the handoff report in an ICU. Whether you’re tallying plague victims or scheduling body collections, or handing off your charges to the next shift, the language used tells it all: We’ve all become mere garbage bags laying about until we get collected, transported, disposed of. Don’t you think there should be more to the final chapter of a life lived, and the received legacy?

Plague: carting the dead, by Moynet
A cart with the dead.

“The carters that loaded the dead on the wagons and took them away would not walk, but sat companionably beside the corpses.”  (Huber p. 353)

And so do we in the 21st century. The 21st century carters load up the dead and take them away; the bereft sit complacently beside the corpses. One would hope that we have advanced a bit farther along than our ancestors, that we would observe the traditions handed down to us, perform the grief and mourning rituals so important to psychospiritual healing. Some of us do. Most haven’t a clue, and rely on the bean counters to guide them.

Direct Burial: Coffinless in Pits

“Nine hundred were buried coffinless in pits; above two thousand frozen corpses, in a most desolate stillness, awaited burial near the town, in a heap a quarter-mile long. Some coffins were in evidence, standing upright, without covers, the bodies erect in them; here an arm stuck upright out of its receptacle; there a naked leg protruded. Near the pile of which he was soon to become a member, was seen an outcast kneeling, worshipping, half falling in his weakness, as he bowed his head and rose again, before the grave of an ancestor.´ (Huber p. 353)

On the one hand we get a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes at one of the funeral home chains or factory-funeral homes as described by a young licensed funeral director now employed by Newcomer Funerals and Cremations. On the other hand, we are presented with a feeble suffering wretch who, despite his own suffering, has not forgotten his obligations in continuing his bonds with the dead, one of whom he shall soon be. It’s a rich, telling image; in a sense very real but very metaphorical. Once you create that image in your mind, you’ll not soon forget it.

“[T]he plague was coming to its most dreadful stage, for it was now destroying the family affections…Thus, most gruesomely, does the twentieth century repeat the fourteenth.”  (Huber p. 354)

While Dr Huber is describing a real epidemic, the Manchurian Plague of 1910-11, and describes the Black Death of the 14th century that swept away a substantial part of medieval Europe’s population, we are faced with a more insidious plague that is robbing us of our core values to family and kin, both living and dead. Huber, a medical man, calls this the “most dreadful stage” because it was destroying the core of the culture, the bonds of family. I’d guess he’d probably go further to say that the 21st century repeats both the 14th and the 20th, but that our plague is materialist consumerism promoted by greed and the catastrophe of so-called individual choice.

“Next to the fear of death was the fear of desertion.” (Huber p. 354)

Early 20th century China had very strong family ties, ties of responsibility, filial piety. This sense of duty was the basis of the veneration of ancestors, a form of continuing bond with the dead, similar to the West’s veneration of its sacred dead, the saints. Huber is describing a fear of abandonment, of “desertion” to be on a par with the fear of death. In clinical practice, whether in the nursing home or the hospital setting, or hospice, we find persons who are ready to confront death but fear doing it alone; they have a fear of desertion. We might extend that fear of desertion to the bereaved, as well, but their desertion is far more subtle than committing the dying to some remote corner of the medical ICU or to a hospice facility. The bereaved are not only saddled with their loss but also with the daunting confrontation with the corporate funeral director with his endless list of goods and services with their respective prices. All is done with the sensitivity of an embalming trocar. What ever happened to the compassionate family funeral home and its director, frequently assisted by his family.

Black-Death-Plague-Doctor-Clothing

“Who, then, would be so foolhardy as to throw good life after bad, by nursing a dying friend, when the Black Death lay per chance in his last sign, in the farewell pressure of his hand. So the nearest and dearest ties were dissolved, the calls of kindred and humanity neglected; the sick left to die and to be carted to the grave by hirelings…” (Huber p. 354)

Indeed, who today would be so traditional as to give up his or her self-time to care for a dying relative or friend, especially one who is in the disturbing phases of life’s end. Most persons are ambivalent about the whole process: On the one hand they look to the death as something unbearable in its finality; on the other hand they just want to get it over with. The death occurs and the bereaved are fed the 20th century psychological pablum that their connection with the dead person has ended, that they have to get on with a productive life. That was Freud’s teaching: You had to cut your ties with the dead. Quite the opposite of that in the East or in traditional societies, and quite a contrast to what we now teach in the 21st century. We now teach continuing bonds with the dead, a transcendence phenomenon, meaning-making, that the living’s relationship with the deceased is not only normal and healthy, it’s encouraged! We do it in the rituals of the support group or in ways like the AIDS quilt. We may do it differently than the poor wretch venerating his ancestors described by Huber but we nonetheless do it. We do it because it’s the human thing we do. But it’s also so very inconvenient for the chains and the corporations; they don’t encourage humanity, they encourage production and consumerism. Take three days and get over your grief. Back to work with you. See you on Thursday.

“Boccaccio attests vividly how the human organism in all its phases—physical, spiritual, moral, intellectual—deteriorated in stamina and in co-ordination. Compassion, courage and the nobler feelings were found in but few; whilst cowardice, selfishness and ill-will, with the baser passions in their train asserted their supremacy. In place of virtue, which had been driven from the earth, wickedness everywhere reared its rebellious standard and succeeding generations were consigned to her baneful tyranny.”  (Huber p. 354)

Boccaccio here is describing the pitiful demise of humanity in the Middle Ages. We could describe the present state of affairs without changing a word, couldn’t we? Take a moment and go to the Newcomer Funeral Service Group or their Albany/Latham websites for Newcomer Funerals and Cremations and read their ridiculous claims of what they offer the bereaved. Go to the Service Corporation International site and read about their “compassion”, their caring, their sensitivity to the needs of the bereaved. That’s worse than General Motors telling you they care about your lower back pain. Yet how many consumers actually swallow that sordid brew. These factory-funeral corporations aren’t making billions because no one’s falling for the marketing hype, the sales pitches pressuring the bereaved in their most difficult moments to sign and buy. We say look at the lawsuits and how much they’re paying out for failing the bereaved, for causing the bereaved more suffering than they had ever bargained for.

“[t]he Black Death “seemed to arise the worst passions of the human heart, and to dull the spiritual sense of the soul.” Who would think, declared Papon, “that in the midst of horrors so suitable (it would seem) for extinguishing the passions, there were two—libertinism and greed—which should be carried to so high a degree!” (Huber p. 354)

Indeed! Who ever thought that liberties, individualism, choice could lead to the present situation we find ourselves in. How is it that human beings in their worst possible moments should be exposed to the worst possible motivations and motives of modern mankind: libertarianism and greed. Those very libertarians preaching choice and liberty are deeply rooted in the horrible hypocrisy that such choice and liberty give life to. The plague that is upon us now in the 21st century is not a plague that is carried by fleas, and it’s not a plague that kills in five days. Our 21st century plague is called materialist consumerism, market economy, capitalism and it’s carried by fellow human beings, and it kills insidiously but totally in mind, body and spirit. There’s no way to discern with any certainty the extent of the infection but one thing is certain, there’s no effective vaccine, and most people would not want to undergo the cure.

One woman was married five times in one day—four of the bridegrooms having been buriers of the dead, dressed in the clothes they had stripped from the bodies of the deceased.” (Huber p. 354)

Huber describes the total depravity of the people who now have lost all sense of morality and values, and who now in a devil-may-care attitude of let’s be merry because we’re dead anyway. He describes a woman who marries five men in succession who are carried away just as quickly. She describes those who profit from the belongings and property of the dead, whom they have stripped. For all of Jessica Mitford’s muckraking, she would have had a picnic with this line, somehow drawing a connection between these “buriers of the dead” and those “dressed in clothes they had stripped from the bodies of the deceased.”

Like horrors disgraced many other communities. He: is furnished another example—such as are so deplorably frequent in history of how fanatical frenzy, associated with hatred and the play of the baser passions, will work powerfully upon nations and peoples to the utter exclusion of the restraints of reason, of law, or of any other wholesome factor. And the greater part of those who, by their education and rank, might have been assumed to raise the deterrent voice of reason, themselves led on the savage mob to murder and to plunder the Jews. (Huber p. 355)

Throughout history, Satan has always been the “other”; humankind has never really been able to see its true self, it’s never been able to accept its shadow side. Huber is describing the desperate search for a cause of the plague and, then as now, hatred and baser passions take control, and the necessary scapegoat is found. Whatever doesn’t support the new agenda has to be demonized and sent packing. The dead are not producers, the bereaved are not efficient workers. The dead are distracting the living from their production or consumption. Make the dead and dying disappear, marginalize the traditions, deny grief, exploit the bereaved, then send them back to work. The voice of reason is muted. Our institutions teaching and training the healthcare and deathcare professionals teach technology and business law, not ethics and humanities. The mortuary science programs wouldn’t want to whisper a word against the multinational funeral chains and factory funeral homes, after all they pay the bills and hire the graduates. Why cut your own throat? Why bite the hands that pad your pockets? Of course they won’t hire anyone teaching real deathcare, psychospiritual support, tradition, ritual, healing. The bereaved are, after all, consumers. And you wouldn’t want to keep them from their producing activity for any longer than necessary. Besides, there’s always another body and we have to keep turning over the visitation rooms and chapel. Headquarters wants to see numbers, you know.

That the emotions played a part regarding the plague was observed by many. Those who were terrified were more prone to contract the disease. Those who feared not and were of a cheerful, equable mind were, to the extent at least of that benign influence upon the organism, the more likely to escape. Boccaccio, in writing the Decameron, recognized that pleasant thoughts were the best preventive….Those who despaired threw away their one chance of life; those of sanguine temperament resisted well. (Huber p. 355)

It’s really ironic that I should close with this passage from Huber’s article. Not really. What Huber is saying here is that if you despair you’re lost already. If you become complacent, you’re dead in the water. Those who step up, ask the questions like: Are you part of a funeral home chain? Are you owned by a funeral service corporation? Are you still family owned? will likely come out on top. It’s not necessarily the pleasant thoughts that get you through any plague, it’s the positive, affirmative thoughts that will prevent you from being taken for a ride. It’s really very true what Huber and Boccaccio are preaching here: You have to have the courage to ask the questions, to look beyond the bells and whistles, to see through the smoke screens, and to assert what you feel you need in your bereavement, not what’s on the corporate menu. The more you do your own thinking and planning the more likely you’ll escape the snares set by the corporate funeral directors. The article may have been written in 1911, over a hundred years ago, but it still has substantial relevance today. I hope to have shown that in my analysis.

Thus are all phases of individual existence mutually and inextricably interrelated: extensive and prolonged deterioration in any one aspect is bound in time to affect perniciously the others in time; such hideous psychic phenomena as are here stated do not obtain in the beginning of any such calamity as the Black Death. But it is the circumstance (and a most pathetic one) that the exercise of the heroic virtues for any lengthy period is contingent upon the maintenance of normal living conditions in general; otherwise the psychic stamina deteriorates, manners become dissolute, morals depraved and consciences debased. (Huber p. 355)

What Dr Huber is saying in this paragraph is that life events are intimately interrelated — I understand these life events to be the basis of our traditions and rituals — and that if we allow any of those events to be exploited or to lapse into irrelevance, all others will suffer as the result. Huber’s phrase “heroic virtues” equates with human values and ethical conduct, which logically rely on “normal” living in our society. When “psychic stamina deteriorates” we have a disturbance in coping and resilience, we forget the ritual and become lost, we forget our obligations, and our whole mindset, our worldview, deteriorates. This, in the 21st century, is what happens when we fall victim to the materialist consumerism of our age and become slave consumers of the corporations and their perverse messages.

And so you have it: From none other than Monty Python’s 1975 depiction of the Black Death, and from a physician writing in 1911 about the pneumonic plague in Manchuria, China, do we have the evidence that really nothing has changed; we have learned nothing. What more can one say?

Support Your Local Funeral Home

(And don’t forget to ask for some time with
the interfaith bereavement chaplain!
(518) 479-0525 or compassionate.care.associates@gmail.com)

 

Our Editor’s Response to the Newcomer-Facci Exposé

Update

A reliable source has reported that Mr Facci has allegedly been reprimanded by his Newcomer keepers for failure to comply with Newcomer policies. Surprised? He’s also been reported by his colleagues at Newcomer Funerals and Cremations for alleged noncompliance and misconduct. Could it be his mouth? His attitude? We also hear Facci’s taken down his Facebook page. Wonder Why? Facci’s really quite unhappy, we hear, and is considering relocating to Florida. We suggest Cuba. We wonder if he’s that immature to think his reputation won’t follow him? We can’t say that we didn’t expect these developments. Facci made his bed; now he has to sleep in it. Too bad he didn’t appreciate what he had from the start.


The Editor’s Response

We recently republished an article about a recently licensed funeral director, Mr Nicholas J. Facci, and his online activities, his relationships with former mentors and associates, and his recent hire by a local chain funeral services provider, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Albany and Latham), a member of the Newcomer Funeral Services Group, a Kansas based organization with funeral homes in some 10 states. We’d like to make our own statement on that article. We’d like to respond to some of the private comments we have received in response to the article, “Birds of a Feather? Lying down with dogs? The Politics of Funeral Corporations….”


Despite the appearances and although Nick Facci is plastered all over the Internet as being associated with Riverview Funeral Home and Simple Choices Cremations, he was fired from his employment with Riverview and Simple Choices; furthermore, Facci has published numerous times on his Facebook page that he is no longer associated with Riverview or Simple Choices. He has recently been hired by the Newcomer funeral home chain, a “Walmart-type” provider, and is now working in the Albany-Latham area.


We vetted the author and verified the sources of the article. The facts were true and the majority of them came either from public sources, the Troy Record newspaper, or from Mr Facci’s own Facebook page. The facts, opinions and conclusions stated by the author were credible and truthful, and based on research of information available to anyone who is interested.

Some readers — apparently those with short attention spans — have suggested that the article is a bit long-winded. Yes. The article is a bit longer than our typical article, and while it may be a bit hard on Mr Facci, we feel that given the circumstances and Mr Facci’s conduct as well as the environment in which Mr Facci is employed, the article is important and the facts and conclusions are of significant interest to the pubic. We had and continue to have  the opportunity and the control to edit material out of the article but we chose not to do so. We continue to stand by the author and the content of the article. As for being hard on Mr Facci, Whose fault is that? The facts are the facts.

That having been said, we’d like to make some editorial remarks about some of the feedback we’ve been receiving from readers, both in the funeral services business, consumers of those services, and persons who just found the article of interest. We would like to note that we have information that Facci, Newcomer and some of the funeral directors who know Facci have been very responsive but have kept their responses pretty much under wraps. That’s how the funeral profession is, we guess. Others with personal knowledge have come forward with their information. Nothing we have received so far indicates that the article is in any way misleading or untruthful. Far from it. Most of what we have received so far actually confirms the author’s facts.

Here, in a nutshell, are our responses to the article and to our readers’ responses:

The article has been vetted and found to be substantially true in its facts. As our regular readers and followers are aware, we are very diligent in assuring that what we publish on the Smalbany blog is factually true and credible. Our community of readers and followers also know that we don’t take sides, and our sole purpose is journalistic integrity and community service. Enough said.

The author of the article was vetted and found to be reliable. The author of the article has no personal, political or economic interest in publishing the facts of the article. The author of the article is a well-known figure who has a fine reputation, is known for his defense of truth and ethics, and has excellent professional qualifications. The author is credible and the facts truthful.

Mr Facci is responsible for his conduct and his statements. The article points out a disturbing trend in the funeral services industry, how funeral director candidates are educated, trained and licensed, the importance of ethics in the funeral services profession, and the fact that poor education and immaturity can result in serious detriment to the reputation of the funeral services profession and significant injury to the customers served by unscrupulous providers. While we feel our funeral directors and family funeral homes provide a necessary and very important service to those who have lost a loved one, we have our concerns about the direction the funeral services business has been taken by the corporations and funeral home chains. We also share the author’s concerns about the quality of the people working for these funeral home chains and their motivations, and their character. These are all reasonable concerns and are presented in the article.

The article may have scared the hell out of Facci and/or Newcomer and Facci was forced to remove his Facebook posts but removing them doesn’t undo the fact that they were posted, read, and noted. Just because he removed his posts doesn’t undo the fact that he posted them in the first place. Unfortunately for Mr Facci, he can’t undo the Troy Record article and the statements he made in that article. Too bad, Mr Facci!

Unlike Facci’s former employer, we do not underestimate Facci nor are we ready to present our back to him for target practice. We are monitoring these developments closely and have our ears to the ground, so to speak.

It is all about Mr Facci, not about the author. As stated above, the article points out Mr Facci’s character and professional flaws, using Mr Facci as a so-called stereotype of a trend in the industry. The article is about Mr Facci and how he got to where he is, wherever that may be. The article is about how one immature and flawed individual can manipulate situations for his own selfish benefit, and how even veteran professionals and a large funeral home chain can be taken in by such a person.

One commenter suggested that Newcomer has a “file” on the author. Our response was: “Big deal!” If Facci or Newcomer feel that they have something interesting about the author of the article, share it! If it’s good information, we’d love to know about it. But all things considered, we can’t imagine what they could have because we’ve already checked. The so-called “file” may be printouts from anonymous Internet sites, anonymous blurbs by critics who don’t have the guts to use their real names, or sociopaths who think they have an ax to grind. No doubt, if Mr Facci had anything to do with the assembly of any file it must involve some breach of confidentiality or other unethical practice. Sorry, gentlemen and ladies, that’s not the kind of information or the sources we tend to use on this blog. Hard facts and reliable sources are what you get here. Our suggestion: Go stuff your file!

For the sake of argument, even if the author has a skeleton or two in the closet, what difference would that make. None at all. If the facts are true as presented in the article, nothing in a so-called “file” about the author can change Mr Facci’s character or conduct, nor can it justify Newcomer Funeral Services Group (Kansas) or Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Latham and Albany) in deciding to hire Facci without even checking with his former employer(s). And if Newcomer had checked with Facci’s former employer and hired him anyway, despite the facts disclosed and Facci’s unethical conduct, Shame on Newcomer! The article is about Facci and Newcomer, not about the author.

Silence is an admission of complicity. We provide ample opportunity for anyone with something to say to say it by leaving a comment. If no one comes forward with contrary facts we have to assume that they have no defense. Fair enough. After the appearance of the article, Mr Facci was very quick to clean up his Facebook posts and many of his scandalous posts disappeared (fortunately we had already collected some of them such as those exposed in the article). A number of persons who know Facci either personally or professionally have provided comments by email or by electronic message confirming the facts in the article. Other parties have contacted us with concerns that the article could be misinterpreted. Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

We are grateful for the comments about the facts. Any time we receive confirmation of facts or clarification of the facts we are very grateful because we place great value on the quality of the information we provide. Regrettably, most commenters don’t have the ability to comment, and tend to rewrite. Those comments are worthless and they don’t get published.

As for the concern that the article could be misinterpreted. Misinterpreted? How? Does it make Facci’s former employer look bad? We think not. Facci’s former employer has an outstanding reputation; even Facci made that clear in the Troy Record article, even while Facci was badmouthing Newcomer! Facci’s former employer did everything possible to teach Facci the trade and to get him through the licensing process. Even so, Facci bit the hand that literally fed him. It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that Facci’s mentor should have been able to have second guessed Facci’s devious mind. We cannot take responsibility for the state of mind of some readers. The article is pretty clear. If some bleeding heart wants to make believe that Facci’s conduct is excusable, that’s their problem. If some hard-nose wants to lynch Facci or Newcomer, while we wouldn’t go that far, we can’t control such a reaction. The article says what it says, no more no less. Repeat: Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

Again and again and again, we have stated in our articles that we don’t want to take control of minds, we only want to get them working, thinking, and learning about what’s going on in our communities. That’s all. Our readers are free to make any decision they feel is right; we just provide the facts.

Our personal take on the situation: If Mr Facci were an elected official or a municipal employee, or if Mr Facci were a doctor, a dentist, a car dealer, whatever, we’d have the same response to the conduct and character described in the article: He’s got problems. He needs to fix those problems. Anyone who knows about his problems and continues to do business with him or hires him assumes responsibility for those flaws and problems and the repercussions. The same applies to Facci. In fact, we hold Facci’s feet to the fire particularly because he is in the position he is in. Facci is responsible for what he did, said and posted. Facci was fired from his former position when his employer had had enough of Facci’s shenanigans. Facci had even prepared for that possibility and was already providing a way out for that eventuality. Newcomer chose to ignore these facts and hired Facci. Newcomer now has to deal with those facts having been made public. Either Newcomer is willing to carry Facci’s baggage for him or they can free themselves of him; it’s their choice, and Newcomer has to live with the consequences.

We have also been informed that one person who provided Facci with a letter of recommendation actually demanded that Newcomer Funeral Service Group disregard that recommendation. The person making the recommendation, upon learning of Facci’s conduct, decided to withdraw the recommendation for reasons of conscience.

Facci and Newcomer are the authors of their own crisis. To be honest while not violating a confidence, it must be said that when the article first appeared, Facci’s former employer wrote to us requesting that we remove the article. Here is a guy who has sustained considerable damage to his business done by Facci, and he’s asking that the exposé be removed. We politely declined to remove the article. But that’s how funeral directors are. They are so used to doing their jobs and remaining behind the scenes, not intruding that they tend for forgive and not to make waves. That’s why Facci is such an interesting subject because he doesn’t care as long as he comes out on top. He’s an individual that the article uses to draw attention to the way the funeral home chains and corporations are changing the politics of death and deathcare. It’s not pretty.

Facci and Newcomer are not the only players in this dirty game. Without offering any excuses for Facci’s conduct or Newcomer’s choice of employees, we cannot avoid pointing an accusing finger at the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program and the New York State Bureau of Funeral Directing, and the New York State Department of Health, all of which have their fingers in the pie. As organizations involved thickly in the training and education, the oversight, and the licensing of funeral homes and funeral directors, those organizations should be put in the spotlight. While we are informed that the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program curriculum was put on hold and substantially revamped last year, it remains to be seen whether that has any concrete effect on the quality of candidates it churns out. Is Facci a perp or a victim? Is Newcomer a perp or a victim? What is Warren “Ren” Newcomer,  and Arthur Fitch, manager of Newcomer Funerals and Cremations in Albany and Latham, doing to defuse the situation? Jury is still out on those questions.

Mr Facci and Newcomer Funerals and Cremations have another reason to be grateful. Mr Facci had to be reminded to be grateful to his former employer and mentor for the fine training and formation he received. We mentioned that  in our original article. Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor has again asked that we withdraw the article; he’d like to put the experience behind him. While we don’t agree to letting Facci or Newcomer off the hook that easily, we have considered the request, and on compassionate grounds, have complied with the request as of March 31. This is an unusual action taken only at the request of the victim of an offence, we do not routinely remove an article from public view, unless we are convinced that  the victim might benefit. While the article is no longer visible to the general public, it still exists and, if a reader makes a specific request to rcs.confidential@gmail.com for access to the article, we will provide a password for accessing the article; otherwise it will not be visible to the wider public. Mr Facci and Newcomer Funeral Services Group will continue to be monitored, if only to ensure that they do not engage in any further self-destructive behavior, however.

All that having been said, we can’t ignore such headlines as, “Funeral Chain Exploits Demise of Tradition,” which asks the question “Newcomer Family Mortuary ignored industry taboos by advertising discount funerals on television. Will competition usurp tradition in this high-growth industry?” That article was nothing less than current, relevant and prophetic article and appeared in the online magazine Inc. It’s an historic article but could have been published today.

As usual, if our readers have anything to add, comments to make, information to provide, we will be very grateful if you leave a public comment by using the comment feature on this page, or if you want to leave a more confidential message please use our email at rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

Reminder: Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor asked that the original article be withdrawn. We do not withdraw articles but in compromise and out of respect for Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor,  we have restricted access to the original article by requiring a password. Readers interested in accessing the original article may request a password by making a request to rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

Thank you all for your interest and loyalty. It’s now a time for healing.

The Editor

 

 

Local Law Enforcement Might Need Some Help with the Math: 2 + 2 = Stahlman!

UPDATE! Stay Tuned!more-details

We’ll be reporting soon on developments in the Coeymans Police Department and their criminal investigation performance over the past couple of years. This may be a decisive moment in the Coeymans PD’s future.


Property and Business Owners are the Backbone of Stability and Wealth, and Services in our Communities; They Pay the Bulk of the Taxes and the Bulk of Public Services, Including Law Enforcement. Why is it, then, that Criminals are Running Hog-wild, while Local and State Law Enforcement, and Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares (D), and Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione (R) — two elected dorks we can all regret having elected — are standing around diddling each other!?!

And the Investigation Continues ... Is there an echo in there?

There’s an Elephant in the Room!
And Local and State Law Enforcement Have their Heads Up its Ass!
And the Investigation Continues … Find anything? Is there an echo in there?

Well, sometimes local and state law enforcement need a little kick in the …. well, let’s just say a shot in the arm Their math isn’t all that good, either, so we need to give them a little help with what 2 + 2 amounts to.

In a previous article, Criminals Thumbing Their Noses to Law Enforcement? Why?, we covered quite a bit of territory in pointing out a large number of crimes committed against local businesses, and that the incidents were going cold. Coeymans Police, Greene County Sheriff’s Department (Sheriff Gregory Seeley (R)), Albany County Sheriff’s Department (Sheriff Craig Apple (D)), New York State Police, all seem to be experiencing some law enforcement impotence, investigational erectile dysfunction, they appear to have gone flaccid, soft on local crime and criminals.

So we did our own investigative reporting gig and here’s what we came up with.

In our earlier article Criminals Thumbing Their Noses to Law Enforcement? Why? we pointed the finger at a couple of local, small-change criminals, who we felt were the most likely candidates for a cuffing visit by law enforcement and a couple of years as the state’s guest in one of the correctional resorts we call prisons. Since we wrote that first article Criminals Thumbing Their Noses to Law Enforcement? Why? we’ve obtained some interesting facts that we feel should have been picked up by our best in blue, those who are there to serve and protect us, but apparently were not, because no arrests have been made.

Here’s what we have:

Zachary C. Stahlman

Zachary C. Stahlman

We noted that Why is it that two prime suspects, Zachary C. Stahlman (Glenmont) and Donald J. Howell, both with criminal records, Stahlman once being charged with misdemeanor possession of a firearm, have not gotten some real attention by local law enforcement?  Charles H. Stahlman (Zachary Stahlman’s father) 52, was charged with felony possession of a forged instrument after using forged $20 and $10 bills at an estate sale on Sunday, State Police in New Scotland. (Source: Times Union, Tuesday, November 15, 2016) Stahlman Sr runs Fat Cat Transport L.L.C. in Coeymans Hollow. Guess where? On Shady Lane. Really! (Source: http://findnycorp.com/corporation.php?id=4650392)

You’re in Good Hands with Allstate. Really?

allstate_sm

According to Zachary Stahlman’s LinkedIn site, he  is employed by Allstate Insurance Company  (click the link) as a “sales producer”; Now you really know you’re in “good hands with Allstate”. Doesn’t Allstate vet their employees? Don’t they do background checks?

We’ve established a connection between the Stahlmans and the victims of the recent crimes. Here’s how we did the math for them :

Charles H. Stahlman Z. Stahlman's father

Charles H. Stahlman
Z. Stahlman’s father

Back in November 2015, Zachary Stahlman and his father, Charles H. Stahlman,  visited a local business on US Route 9W, All Safe Storage, who had a property for lease. The Stahlmans were interested in the property for a flea market business they were starting, Fat Cat Antiques L.L.C.  According to their Internet posting, Fat Cat Antiques, L.L.C. had their Grand Opening on January, 2, 2016, at 1635 Route 9W, Selkirk, the property the Stahlmans leased in November 2015 (click here). So in November 2015, Zachary C. Stahlman, signed a lease contract and entered into a 6-month lease, which was to commence on January 1, 2016. That means there was at least one month during which Stahlman could have voiced any concerns about the premises but didn’t. The landlords were very generous to Stahlman and offered December rent-free, if Stahlman would help remove the owner’s property from the premises. Stahlman showed up for one day and then disappeared. The landlords also reduced the rent for the first six months so that Stahlman could get his business started and established. Of course, that would have meant a stable tenant, they thought. But they were in for a big surprise. No good deed goes unpunished, especially when you’re dealing with low life.

So Stahlman signs the lease, initially every page after the text “Tenant initials confirming that they have read/understood items on page.” We have a copy of the lease agreement and every page is initialed “ZS”, Zachary Stahlman. Stahlman’s father, Charles H. Stahlman, writes a check for the first and the last month’s rent, plus one month’s rent security deposit, a total of $2400.

Stahlman had to get insurance for the premises according to the lease, and he had to get utilities, etc. all in his name. In addition, he had to arrange for heating oil to heat the premises. January 1, 2016, rolls in and Stahlman still hasn’t gotten the insurance finalized and he’s working on the utilities. In the meantime, the landlord is installing a new heating system, all Stahlman has to do is get a fuel delivery. By this time Stahlman has the keys and possession of the premises.

Around January 6, 2016, without informing the landlords, Stahlman has Persico Oil nosing around the property — as it turns out, Stahlman called Persico to “inspect” — and Stahlman shows the so-called service technician, Jack Carona, the new furnace installation. The landlords note that Persico Oil and Carona are on the property and assume he’s there to make the oil delivery. But more than a month later, the landlords are made aware of a report by Carona about the new heating system on the premises. Total rubbish and totally ignorant, Carona makes an unfounded conclusion about what he saw in the few minutes he was on the premises, but never inquired with the landlords! Says a lot about the professionality of Persico Oil Company and its Loony Tune employees!

broken_lease_specialist

A Lease is a Contract

According to information we received, Stahlman’s father, Charles H. Stahlman (Glenmont), runs Fat Cat Transportation L.L.C. out of Coeymans Hollow, and Charles H. was actually starting the business, Fat Cat Antiques L.L.C., and Zachary C. Stahlman was going to run Fat Cat Antiques L.L.C. So it get fishy already at the lease signing. Now, remember, the son, Zachary C. Stahlman is signing the lease but his father, Charles H. Stahlman, is writing the check.

So Zachary C. is trying to open a flea market. Usually a flea market rents space to people who want to sell their junk, and we assume that Zachary C. was trying to get renters but wan’t all too successful. Anyway, he signs the lease contract on November 24, 2015, then he moves some of his stuff in around January 6, 2016, and then, on January 11, 2016, texts the landlord that he doesn’t want to lease the premises any more. He demands his rent and security back, and threatens the landlords in a number of text messages. He fabricates every sort of excuse and threatens the landlords with “inspections.”

Note that Stahlman unilaterally  terminates the lease on January 11th but does not return the keys; in other words, he keeps possession and continues to occupy the premises! But he demands his money back. You can’t make this crap up; all you have to do is do business in Coeymans.

So, on February 3, 2016, well after Stahlman notifies the landlords he’s terminating the lease, the landlords receive a letter from their friends in the Coeymans Building Department, from our old buddy Sandy DeBacco, you know the building inspector who works full time at the airport, and works for the Town of Coeymans, and for the Village of Ravena, the only guy we know who can be in three places at the same time and has a 36-hour day created especially for his personal use. [For more on Debacco character, just search this site!]  But all that aside, we all know about Twilight Zone Coeymans and Ravena. So, our little gremlin Zachary Stahlman breaks the lease, commits multiple breaches of contract, demands his money — actually it’s not even his money, it’s his father’s (is it real or counterfeit, we have to ask) — and makes good on his threats of  “inspections.” But that’s not all.

Stahlman doesn’t think that a lease agreement really amounts to anything and that the world is his oyster. He starts getting uppity when the landlords don’t immediately obey and hand over more than $2000 to this ignorant brat, and here’s where it starts to get really nasty.

On July 16, 2016, the first sign of craziness is when one of the landlord’s vehicles is parked in his driveway and the dealer plates are stolen. The landlord notifies the Greene County Sheriff.

Then in August 2016, the landlords are served with a summons to small claims court by Stahlman. Stahlman is bringing the landlords to court in New Baltimore. At the time the freak town justice Lee Davis is still town justice. If you’ve read anything we’ve written about Davis, he’s a real lunatic. He’s supposed to be a lawyer but has spent most of his career advocating for the rights of convicted criminals and now works for the New York State Department of Health, enforcing “discipline” on doctors. So you see, Davis has two things on his agenda: protect the criminal element and punish the professional. Just what you want in a judge, right? Read our pre-election article on Davis based on information obtained from his own brother, New Baltimore town justice Lee Davis.

car-fireThen, on September 12, 2016,  Ford Sedan set on fire on 9W Auto LLC, the landlord’s business lot..  Reported to Coeymans Police. Investigation in progress. Like so many others.

So the case is heard in September 2016. No decision is made by Davis until more than 90 days later, on December 31, 2016, the day before his term of office as town justice ends. (Thanks to our efforts, Lee Davis got the boot on election day.)  You see, we ran a couple of pieces on Davis exposing him as a real perv and screwball. Even his own brother provided information about Davis that would make your hair stand on end! So Davis lost the election. The people of New Baltimore decided they didn’t want the likes of Davis on the bench. But in the meanwhile the cowardly criminal suspects are busy at their trade. But, remember, Stahlman and the landlords are in court, but no one knows what Davis is going to decide. Could go either way and under those conditions Stahlman, Zachary C. and good ol’ Fat Cat dad, Charles H., are really getting ansy about their money, all $2400 of it. So Fat Cat dad gets all out-of-order in court and is removed from the courtroom, and spends an hour or two in the Town Hall parking lot. And guess what? The landlords leave the courtroom and they find that the dealer plates have been removed from their vehicle. Wonder who could’ve done that? Greene County Sheriff is notified.

Stahlman: “What do I owe you?”,  DeVoe: “It’s taken care of.”

This just in: We have received a report that someone present at the trial in September 27, 2016, in New Baltimore Town Court, tells us that when Zachary Stahlman asked his attorney, “What do I owe you?”, she replied, “It’s taken care of.” Well that raises some questions, indeed. How is it that attrorney Susan Hoblock deVoe, of the Latham real-estate law firm of Kerr Devoe P.C. is appearing for several hours in New Baltimore Town Court for nothing? At least Stahlman wan’t on the hook for a couple of hundred dollars in attorney’s fees.

Stahlman Attorney

Stahlman’s Attorney

Do you think that Ms Devoe is getting a little white trash delight on the side? We can’t figure out that some trailer trash, minimum wage woodchuck like Zachary Shaltman could afford a Latham attorney the likes of Susan Hoblock DeVoe! But maybe there’s something bigger here than just a couple of back-woods petty criminals with an axe to grind. Maybe Susan Hoblock DeVoe is on someone else’s payroll and taking orders from someone else, that someone else backing these attacks on All Safe Storage and 9W Auto L.L.C.  Are the local bosses trying to drive them out, away from their valuable property so that Biscone and Co. can expand their empires? Maybe this goes back to the Biscone-Conrad-Deluca landgrab schemes of several years ago. Maybe, DeVoe and her white trash clients are all in on the same conspiracy. Maybe the NYS Police should be interviewing Ms DeVoe or Mr Michael Biscone to find out why she isn’t taking the Stahlmans to the cleaners like she would anyone else. We can’t ask the Albany County Sheriff’s Department or the Coeymans Police Department, both slaves to Democrat machines,  to do that because they’re all taking orders from that Oreo, P. David Soares. The New York State Police might have more scruples and be less partial to the Albany County DA’s office.

But the Stahlmans are still out more than $2000 and they’ve a broken lease but have no decision on whether they’re getting their money back or not. By this time they’re really getting pissed. Desperate men do desperate things.

On October 3, 2016, less than a week after the court appearance and the theft of the second set of dealer plates, one of the landlords gets a text message from telephone number 207-XXXX  “To get these back you will need to send 2000 dollars in bitcoin to wallet address:  12kWJzohnx9NMUssT5 SEebrW5pb5LHs1MK   you have one week or they will be sold. Buyers are already lined up if you refuse”    Greene County Sheriff notified and provided with information. Do they note the coincidence? $2400 for the lease and $2000 for the dealer plates. Do you think the Sheriff’s Department or Coeymans got the coincidence? Apparently not.

Sheriff, DA ... What can it all mean?

Sheriff, DA, Coeymans PD …
What can it all mean?

So now we have a broken lease, a small claims action, two instances of stolen dealer plates, a text message practically putting up the culprits in neon lights, and has anyone been arrested yet? Nope.

On October 28, 2016, the owner of All Safe Storage, also the owner of 9W Auto LLC, was sitting in his office when a vehicle drove by and discharged a shotgun blast, perhaps two blasts, into the front door of the office, destroying the door and peppering the front of the building with pellets. The owner was in the office but fortunately was not injured. Yes, we reported on this drive – by shooting in our article Drive-by Shooting Arrives in RCS Coeymans Police Department, NYS Police, etc. present at the scene. Investigation etc. The case is still “open.” No suspects have been arrested. Do you really feel safe in Coeymans? Really desperate men do really desperate things.

Most recently, on Sunday, January 29, 2017, the owner of 9W Auto L.L.C. arrived on his lot to find the tires on six vehicles slashed. Coeymans police notified. Incident under investigation. Sure it is.

Law Enforcement is Cooperating on this Case

Local Law Enforcement and the New York State Police are Cooperating in the Investigations.

A couple of very obvious suspects are available, if the Coeymans Police are interested. There’s Zachary C. Stahlman who has a history of run–ins with the victims. Stahlman leased 1635 US RT 9w November 2015 with move in date of January 1, 2016.  Stahlman defaults on the lease in January and returns the keys in February.  Stahlman retaliates by bringing the landlords to small claims in New Baltimore Town Court, before failed and defeated New Baltimore Town Justice Lee Davis (D), and the case is heard by Davis on Sept. 27, 2016 for return of security/last months lease payment.  Davis loses the election and makes an 11th hour retaliation decision against the landlords. Davis’ decision dated December 31, 2016, more than 90 days later, is received by the landlords on January 6, 2017.  This is the Stahlman whose father is ejected from the courtroom for disorderly conduct. Still wondering where the dealer plates went? The case is being appealed by the landlords for obvious reasons. Former New Baltimore Town Justice Lee Davis (D) has quite a bit of baggage — his own brother turned on him — if you missed the drama, see our article, Double-Standard Davis: Asking New Baltimore for another Term as Town Justice?

New Baltimore's Two Freak Justices: Lee A. Davis about to smack down Joseph A. Farrell (in the black nightgown).

New Baltimore’s Two Freak Justices:
Lee A. Davis (defeated) about to “Biatch!” smack down
Joseph A. Farrell (shown in the black nightgown).
Davis and Farrell are two good reasons why the NYS Unified Court System should eliminate the town and village court system. Farrell has recently been taxidermized (stuffed judging by his expression) and can be seen performing his clown act in New Baltimore Town Court on alternate Tuesdays. 

It would seem that Charles H. Stahlman, Zachary C. Stahlman’s father, would be at the top of the investigators’ lists. In November 2016, Charles H. Stahlman, 52, was charged with felony possession of a forged instrument after using forged $20 and $10 bills at an estate sale on Sunday, State Police in New Scotland. (Source: Times Union, Tuesday, November 15, 2016) Stahlman Sr runs Fat Cat Transport L.L.C. in Coeymans Hollow. Guess where? On Shady Lane. Really! (Source: http://findnycorp.com/corporation.php?id=4650392) Do you think Zach was going to stock the flea market with merchandise purchased by his father, Charles H. using counterfeit $20 and $10 bills? Maybe.

Stahlman: "You DORKS!"

Stahlman: “You DORKS!”
Got change for a 20?

Here’s the clincher: Our little friend Zachary C. Stahlman has a bit of a criminal history that goes back to 2010. Here’s what we found: On August 20, 2010 state police charged Zachary C. Stahlman, then 19, of Albany with fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon: a firearm, both Class A misdemeanors. Stahlman was issued appearance tickets returnable to Greenville Town Court. Now isn’t that interesting.  (Source: Daily Mail, Greene Police Blotter, Wednesday, August 25, 2010) And again, unlicensed driving: Zachary C. Stahlman, 25, of Albany, was arrested at 11:00 a.m. Oct. 20, 2016, and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. This Stahman character has a bit of a history, doesn’t he? Wonder if the Coeymans Police or the Greene County Sheriff or anyone else picked up that little tidbits?

And another prime candidate with a big mouth is Donald J. Howell. Howell works for Capital Taxi in Albany. Howell’s wife, Miranda Cote, is allegedly an hourly employee with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (information obtained from See Through NY). The suspect signed a one – year lease with the victims for property that was to be used as a flea market at 1635 US Rt 9W. Howell stopped paying rent in December 2016, and had no insurance. In October 2016, Howell rented 1362 US Rt 9W from the victims as a residence.  Howell did not pay January rent and was given 30 day notice in December to vacate premises.   Howell was identified by local Stewart’s store staff as having announced that he was going to damage the victims’ property. When the Coeymans PD officer was investigating the crime was offered the names of the witnesses he responded that ‘he didn’t need them.’ A NYS trooper on the scene took the names. Question: What did he do with the names?

We're close to making an arrest...in the near future, sometime soon...maybe...

We’re close to making an arrest…in the near future … sometime soon … maybe …

Donald J. Howell was arrested by Cobleskill Troopers on May 15, 2014, in Troy unlawful possession of marijuana, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and a controlled substance in non-original container (Source: Daily Star, Police Blotter, June 21, 2014). that wasn’t Howell’s first brush with the law. Donald J. Howell, then 19,  and Duncan Clancy, then 16,  were charged on July 1, 2001, with an attempt at a class D felony; criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell; and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, second degree (Source: The Altamont Enterprise, Blotters and Dockets, July 19, 2001). There may be more on this druggie criminal but we’re not law enforcement and we’re not going to do their jobs for them. Did the Coeymans Police and the Greene County Sheriff miss this information, too?

We’re watching this situation very closely and we’ll keep our readers updated on the developments — when, if law enforcement can do the math: 2 +  2 = Stahlman.

Law Enforcement, District Attorneys:I don't get it. Can you explain that to me again?

Law Enforcement, District Attorneys:
I don’t get it. Can you explain that to me again?

Stupidity Does Cross Party Lines

connect-the-dotsWhen you have this much to go on how can you possibly not connect the dots? We think we really need to think about these elected officials very seriously next elections because they are flat out useless: Albany County Sheriff, Craig Apple (D): Useless; Greene County Sheriff Gregory Seeley (R): Useless;  Albany County DA P. David “The Oreo” Soares, Less than Useless; Greene County DA Joseph Stanzione, Useless. Apparently, stupidity does cross party lines.

Get The Thumb Out, Guys! The Editor

Get The Thumb Out, Guys!
The Editor

 
8 Comments

Posted by on February 5, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Accountability, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Allstate, Allstate Insurance, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Bitter Bob (Ross), Breach of Contract, Breached Contract, Broken Lease, Cairo Justice Court, Catherine Deluca, Catherine M. Deluca, Cathy Deluca, Charles H. Stahlman, Charles Stahlman, Coeymans, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Court, Coeymans Town Justice, Conspiracy, Corruption, Craig D. Apple Sr., Danielle M. Crosier, Drive-by Shooting, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Eric T. Schneiderman, Fat Cat Antiques, Fat Cat Transport, FBI, FBI Criminal Information System, George Amadore, Gerald Deluca, Greene County, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County IDA, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory Darlington, Gregory R. Seeley, Hudson Valley, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Jerry Deluca, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, John Luckacovic, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph A. Farrell Jr, Joseph Farrell, Joseph Stanzione, Judge Davis, Justice and Courts, Kerr deVoe, Kerry Thompson, Law Enforcement, Lee Davis, Lee Davis, Leland Miller, Mark Vinciguerra, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Town Court, New York, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, NFDA, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, P. David Soares, Pete Lopez, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Peter McKenna, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Public Corruption, Ravena, Ravena Building Inspector, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena News Herald, Sandy Debacco, Scott Lendin, Scott M. Lendin, Smalbany, Susan Hoblock deVoe, Tom Meacham, Town of Bethlehem, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Zach Stahlman, Zachary C. Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

Criminals Thumbing Their Noses to Law Enforcement? Why?

Over the past two years or so we’ve been very fair to local law enforcement, very gentle, and quiet but always watching. We’ve kept our ear to the ground and now it’s time to take off the gloves and ask some burning, critical questions. Why is it that two prime suspects, Zachary C. Stahlman (Glenmont) and Donald J. Howell, both with criminal records, Stahlman once being charged with misdemeanor possession of a firearm, have not gotten some real attention by local law enforcement?  Charles H. Stahlman (Zachary Stahlman’s father) 52, was charged with felony possession of a forged instrument after using forged $20 and $10 bills at an estate sale on Sunday, State Police in New Scotland. (Source: Times Union, Tuesday, November 15, 2016) Stahlman Sr runs Fat Cat Transport L.L.C. in Coeymans Hollow. Guess where? On Shady Lane. Really! (Source: http://findnycorp.com/corporation.php?id=4650392)

You’re in Good Hands with Allstate. Really?

allstate_sm[Editor’s Note: Zachary C. Stahlman recently breached a lease agreement made with a local landlord for premises for a flea market called, Guess what? Fat Cat Antiques L.L.C. Do you think he was going to stock the flea market with merchandise purchased by his father, Charles H. using counterfeit $20 and $10 bills? According to Stahlman’s LinkedIn site, he  is employed by Allstate Insurance Company  (click the link) as a “sales producer”; Now you really know you’re in “good hands with Allstate”. Doesn’t Allstate vet their employees? Don’t they do background checks? ]

It’s not ISIS or alQaeda nor the Russians nor Alexandr Putin we have to worry about, people, it’s the thug next door or the low-life you’re renting to, and law enforcement’s conspicuous inability to enforce the law and to protect our citizens — or worse still, their refusal to do so. Excuses don’t keep our residents, businesses, property safe from criminals.

Kiss ma ass, cops!

Kiss ma ass, cops!
Lendin, Stahlman, Howell

Something’s — still —  rotten in Coeymans, Albany County, and Greene County. According to information we have received on crimes being committed in the Town of Coeymans and the Town of New Baltimore are being put on the back burner. It seems local criminals are thumbing their noses to local law enforcement and getting away with everything from theft to major vandalism to driveby shootings. So our question is this:

Where is law enforcement and What is local law enforcement doing about all of this criminal activity.

Actually, it’s nothing new and has been going on for some time now.

There are several possibilities: Either law enforcement is asleep on the job and is making no effort to protect local residents and businesses from criminals, or law enforcement is unable to do their jobs. The Coeymans Police Department is small and under–equipped, thanks to Coeymans Town Supervisor Phil Crandall (D) and his harem,  but even so, can ask for assistance from the New York State Police but Coeymans has to request assistance, since the crime scene is in Coeymans’ jurisdiction. What Greene County Sheriff Gregory Seeley (R) and Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione (R) are doing is short of nothing. Seeley has a big mouth when it comes campaign time just before he’s up for election and then he’s real tough on crime. What happens after the elections is anybody’s guess but it does seem he goes a bit flaccid, a bit limp, some erectile dysfunction there, a bit soft on crime. As for Greene County DA Joe Stanzione, he’s been notified about a number of law enforcement failings and seems to have gone deaf or something. Maybe he’s brain dead but he seems to be out to lunch with Seeley when it comes to law enforcement. So what gives, Greene County media? Have you all gone Republican-soft — We thought that was a Dem thing, a Liberal thing…Right Mr Soares? — on crime? What are we financing Greene County law enforcement, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, to do? Give free rein to the crooks and criminals in Greene County? We want some answers and quick!

It’s totally ridiculous when you think that the suspects can steal NYS dealer plates from a car in the New Baltimore Town Hall parking lot right under the noses of the Greene County Sheriff’s deputies who would be in the courtroom and also have a satellite station in the New Baltimore Town Hall. You can’t make this stuff up! It’s disgusting, really.

Albany DA P. David Soares, the Oreo

Albany DA P. David Soares, the “Oreo”
Still giving CPR to the Albany Dem Machine!

As for Albany County, that cesspool has been a den of corruption and crooks since time immemorial. We all know about Albany County DA P. David Soares and his collection of morons — not servants of the people but servants of the system — in the Albany County DA’s office. Take for instance Soares’ reputation as being the worst DA in the country. The most notable thing Soares has done since he’s been in office is to play the Soul Train race ticket to get re–elected, and then Soares the Oreo turns around and screws the black community. And then there’s his little bunch of trollops like Chantelle Cleary and Carmen Warner, daughter of Nancy Warner, Ravena village trustee, and Harold “Hal” Warner, Ravena village justice, who were involved in some indecency on Facebook, had to resign from their positions in Soares’ office. Well, that’s OK since Michael Biscone collected Soares’ garbage and hired Warner. If you don’t recall the incident, see our article The Warners: A Family Tradition of Misconduct

It gets worse when we have to look back to the days of Gerald “Dirty-Hands” Deluca and Gregory “Dumplin'” Darlington when they were running the Coeymans Police Department and Ravena-Coeymans. There’s the story of Scott Lendin, who vandalized several vehicles on the 9W Auto LLC lot, and stole electronic equipment out of one of the vehicles. He had the equipment in his possession when apprehended. Lendin even allegedly announced that he “had friends in the Bethlehem Police Department,” and he obviously had friends in the Coeymans Police Department and the local courts, too. Because when he appeared before then justice Phillip Crandall, who has since been disgraced and removed from the court and banned from ever running for judicial office again — but who then ran for public office as Coeymans Town Supervisor and was elected by Coeymans voters. Well, the Coeymans Police Department either because of their “special relationships” with the local criminal element or as retaliation, dragged their feet in the Lendin investigation until Lendin was released with less than a slap on the hand. No doubt Deluca and Dardiani had colluded to screw up the investigation, and Albany DA Soares was up to his neck in corruption with Deluca and Dardiani. After all, Darlington’s wife was working in Soare’s office as a secretary at the time. Can you imagine the information that got leaked to and from the Coeymans PD from the DA’s office and back? We reported on this and much more back in . If you don’t remember, you can read our article, Exposé: The Lost Felonies, to refresh your memory.

When Deluca and Darlington were “forced” to resign from the Coeymans Police Department, and P.J. McKenna, a veteran police investigator and law enforcement professional, was hired to be Coeymans Police Chief and to reform the Coeymans Police Department, we were skeptical and still demanding that the Coeymans Police Department be eliminated outright. But we gave McKenna a decent chance and left him alone to allow him to do his thing. Was that a miscalculation on our part?

We are now asking ourselves the big question: Has anything changed? Or are the criminals still in control of the Town of Coeymans?

Well, anyone who’s been tracking the Crandall goons in Coeymans Town Hall, knows damned well that the criminals are in control of Town Hall. Anyone who thinks otherwise is probably on Crandall’s staff payroll. No money for the Coeymans Town Clerk or for the Coeymans Police Department but plenty of money for Crandall’s harem, even if they haven’t got a clue how to run a computer. Right, Nita Chmielewski?

Has the Deluca-Darlington Clown Show become the Crandall-Youmans Sitcom?

Has the Deluca-Darlington Clown Show become the Crandall-Youmans Sitcom?
(Shown left to right: Phil Crandall, Nita Chmielewski, Jim Youmans)

But back to local law enforcement… There’s something really fishy going on in our community, and it looks like the criminals are thumbing their noses to law enforcement, telling them to kiss their criminal asses. Since we published our article on the “Lost Felonies” back in March 2013, during the Deluca – Darlington clown show, we had hoped that things might have changed and that with a professional law enforcement veteran in the chief’s office, things would be getting done and done fairly and legally. We’re having our doubts, though.


sorry-no-change_smDeluca and Darlington had no qualms about doing whatever it took to keep their handlers happy and themselves in their jobs. Retaliation was the rule rather than the exception. Police abuse of power and harassment were routine. Obstruction of justice was the S.O.P. All you have to do is go back and search our articles for the horrible state of affairs in Ravena – Coeymans just two years ago. All you have to do is F.O.I.L. the list of complaints filed against the Coeymans Police Department and its officers. It’s in the public record. Our concern is that with Deluca and Darlington the law was ignored and abused — and all that with the complicity and cooperation of the local town and village courts and justices, not to mention the Albany County District Attorney, P. David Soares — , and residents were not protected from the criminals; we have new faces in the Coeymans Police Department, and while the outright public abuse has disappeared from view, little appears to have changed in terms of public safety!


Residents and Businesses are Under Attack!

But there’s still something sinister going on. Crimes are being committed and the investigations are going stale, if the crimes are investigated at all. And Coeymans Town Hall and law enforcement does nothing but point fingers. McKenna cries that Crandall is depriving the Coeymans PD of resources to which the Coeymans PD is entitled; Crandall responds that Coeymans has no money (but he keeps hiring his minions and populating his office with numerous clerks and girly friends). McKenna blubbers that he doesn’t have the staff or the equipment to properly do his job but he doesn’t ask for help from the NYS Police or the Albany County Sheriff. So the criminals party and local businesses and residents are placed at risk. Is this the “serve and protect” and the government services we expect? Drop the egos you dumbasses; residents and businesses are under attack!

There is Hard Evidence and Corroborating Evidence!

There is Hard Evidence and Corroborating Evidence!
But local law enforcement in Coeymans and Greene County have gone erectile dysfunction, soft on crime!

Make your own decisions. Here’s the timeline on several incidents that have occurred to one single business owner living in New Baltimore and owning property and doing business in the Town of Coeymans:

  • On March 2013:  Scott Lendin vandalizes several vehicles at 9W Auto LLC, steals electronic equipment from one of the vehicles, is apprehended, “has friends in the Bethlehem PD”, appears before Phil Crandall, and goes Scott [no pun intended]  free. Admittedly, that was during the Deluca – Darlington police – state regime (see below for more on this). But let’s go on….
  • On August 2015:  All copper plumbing stolen out of 2530-34  property on Rt  9W, Town of Coeymans – over $7,000 to replace and repair the damage.  Still an open case with Coeymans Police Department. Just a few feet down the road, the insurance broker’s office was burglarized. Is that still open, too?  No update from Coeymans Police Department on this case, except that it’s still “open.”
  • On July 16, 2016:  Dealer plate stolen off auto in 9W Auto owner’s driveway. Greene County Sheriffs called for investigation. No update from Greene County Sheriff’s Department.
  • On September 12, 2016:  Ford Sedan set on fire on 9W Auto lot in the Town of Coeymans.  Reported to Coeymans Police Department for investigation. No update from Coeymans Police Department. Case still “open.”
  • On September 27, 2016: NYS dealer plates stolen while victims car, again the owner of 9W Auto LLC,  is parked at the New Baltimore Town Hall while owners are in court with suspect Stahlman. During the proceedings, Stahlman’s father is thrown out of court for being disorderly, and spends a couple of hours outside; during that time he and has motive and opportunity to remove the dealer plates during the time he is outside the courtroom.  The theft is notified to the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. No update on the investigation. Case still “open.” [Editor’s Note: The Town of New Baltimore has a Greene County Sheriff’s Deparment satellite station in the town hall. It was constructed with prisoner slave labor using prisoners from the Coxsackie Corrections facility.]
  • On October 3, 2016: The owners of 9W Auto LLC receive a text from telephone number 207-5523  “To get these back you will need to send $2000 dollars to as bitcoin wallet address. The text gives the victims one week to pay the ransom or threatens that the dealer plates will be sold, stating that “buyers are already lined up if you refuse.” Greene County Sheriffs Department, Gregory Seeley (R), notified and provided with information. No update from Greene County Sheriff’s Department. What in hell is going on here? Any questions, readers? The Greene County Sheriff’s department has a text from a working telephone number, and a message demanding $2,000 for stolen dealer plates, and what doe they do with this information? Your guess is as good as ours but they’re doing obviously NOTHING!!!!
  • On October 28, 2016: the owner of All Safe Storage, also the owner of 9W Auto LLC, was sitting in his office when a vehicle drove by and discharged a shotgun blast, perhaps two blasts, into the front door of the office, destroying the door and peppering the front of the building with pellets. The owner was in the office but fortunately was not injured. Yes, we reported on this drive – by shooting in our article Drive-by Shooting Arrives in RCS  Coeymans Police Department, NYS Police, etc. present at the scene. Investigation etc. The case is still “open.” No suspects have been arrested. Do you really feel safe in Coeymans?
  • Just a couple of days ago, on Sunday, January 29, 2017, the 9w Auto LLC owner arrives at his lot and  finds tires slashed and flattened on six cars and one truck –  The business owner called 911 for Sheriff assistance. Albany County Sheriffs deputies “busy at airport” and so the Albany County Sheriff’s Department contacted Coeymans Police Department.  A single rookie patrolman appears to investigate this major crime. Chief P.J. McKenna was notified of the criminal activity.  [Editor’s Note: After we left the scene, just a short time after the Coeymans patrolman left, we drove by Mayone’s Plaza and observed two Coeymans PD cars and two Coeymans patrolmen “processing” a motorist. We have to admit, they have their priorities, don’t they?] By the way, we have learned that on January 30, 2017, almost 24 hours after having discovered the vandalism, a Coeymans Police Department detective appears on the scene to investigate.  Several thousands of dollars in damage not to mention the fact that new tires have to be purchased and time and effort expended to replace the destroyed tires. Any guesses, readers, where this one is going?

In fact, we visited the crime scene on Sunday, shortly after the Coeymans patrolman left the scene, and we were shown plenty of evidence, even footprints showing how the perps entered the property and exited it, from the neighboring restaurant parking lot! There was even  — several patches of blood in the snow. Hopefully the rookie patrolman collecting the blood didn’t screw up the evidence!. Obviously the perps cut themselves when vandalizing the cars. Wouldn’t you think that the cops would be checking out the footprints and suspects to see if they had any recent cuts? Maybe. Time will tell but judging by the past performance of our law enforcement pros; we wouldn’t put any money on this bet.

Furthermore, it’s not as if these incidents are occurring hundreds of miles apart! They’re occurring at locations just a couple of minutes away from each other; it appears obvious that the victims are being singled out by a person or persons with an ax to grind. There is obvious motive and plenty of opportunity and several suspects are known. What we don’t understand is that with evidence like that text message and the demand for $2,000 that some law enforcement agency — Coeymans Police, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, Greene County Sheriff Gregory Seeley, NYS Police — haven’t apprehended the criminals and why the perps are not in custody!!!! And where is Albany County District Attorny P. David Soares and Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione on these crimes and the failure of their law enforcement people to take some action??? These are questions we can start asking when they’re campaigning for re-election soon.

We're on the case. We're investigating.

We’re on the case. We’re investigating.
Or is law enforcement just dancing the dance?

So, readers, who are the suspects? We don’t think we’re interfering with a police investigation —  if there’s any investigation being done at all — at this late point in time, so we’re happy to share what we have found out:

A couple of very obvious suspects are available, if the Coeymans Police are interested. There’s Zachary C. Stahlman who has a history of run–ins with the victims. Stahlman leased 1635 US RT 9w November 2015 with move in date of January 1, 2016.  Stahlman defaults on the lease in January and returns the keys in February.  Stahlman retaliates by bringing the landlords to small claims in New Baltimore Town Court, before failed and defeated New Baltimore Town Justice Lee Davis (D), and the case is heard by Davis on Sept. 27, 2016 for return of security/last months lease payment.  Davis loses the election and makes an 11th hour retaliation decision against the landlords. Davis’ decision dated December 31, 2016, more than 90 days later, is received by the landlords on January 6, 2017.  This is the Stahlman whose father is ejected from the courtroom for disorderly conduct. Still wondering where the dealer plates went? The case is being appealed by the landlords for obvious reasons. Former New Baltimore Town Justice Lee Davis (D) has quite a bit of baggage — his own brother turned on him — if you missed the drama, see our article, Double-Standard Davis: Asking New Baltimore for another Term as Town Justice?

Here’s the clincher: Our little friend Zachary C. Stahlman has a bit of a criminal history that goes back to 2010. Here’s what we found: On August 20, 2010 state police charged Zachary C. Stahlman, then 19, of Albany with fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon: a firearm, both Class A misdemeanors. Stahlman was issued appearance tickets returnable to Greenville Town Court. Now isn’t that interesting.  (Source: Daily Mail, Greene Police Blotter, Wednesday, August 25, 2010) And again, unlicensed driving: Zachary C. Stahlman, 25, of Albany, was arrested at 11:00 a.m. Oct. 20, 2016, and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. This Stahman character has a bit of a history, doesn’t he? Wonder if the Coeymans Police or the Greene County Sheriff or anyone else picked up that little tidbits?

"Big Mouth" Hillman

Donald “Big Mouth” Howell

And another prime candidate with a big mouth is Donald J. Howell. Howell works for Capital Taxi in Albany. Howell’s wife, Miranda Cote, is allegedly an hourly employee with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (information obtained from See Through NY). The suspect signed a one – year lease with the victims for property that was to be used as a flea market at 1635 US Rt 9W. Howell stopped paying rent in December 2016, and had no insurance. In October 2016, Howell rented 1362 US Rt 9W from the victims as a residence.  Howell did not pay January rent and was given 30 day notice in December to vacate premises.   Howell was identified by local Stewart’s store staff as having announced that he was going to damage the victims’ property. When the Coeymans PD officer was investigating the crime was offered the names of the witnesses he responded that ‘he didn’t need them.’ A NYS trooper on the scene took the names. Question: What did he do with the names?

Donald J. Howell was arrested by Cobleskill Troopers on May 15, 2014, in Troy unlawful possession of marijuana, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and a controlled substance in non-original container (Source: Daily Star, Police Blotter, June 21, 2014). that wasn’t Howell’s first brush with the law. Donald J. Howell, then 19,  and Duncan Clancy, then 16,  were charged on July 1, 2001, with an attempt at a class D felony; criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell; and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, second degree (Source: The Altamont Enterprise, Blotters and Dockets, July 19, 2001). There may be more on this druggie criminal but we’re not law enforcement and we’re not going to do their jobs for them. Did the Coeymans Police and the Greene County Sheriff miss this information, too?

What do the witnesses have to say? Have you even interviewed them?

What do the witnesses have to say?
Have you even interviewed them?

We’re just wondering if the Stahlmans and Howells have any relationship with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department or DA Joe Stanzione’s office. Is there a connection with the Coeymans Police Department or the Albany Machine? Do ya think there might be a connection?

Property owners and business operators in the Town of Coeymans and elsewhere are the pillars of the communities; they pay the majority of taxes that go into paying pubic employees, like law enforcement, and the salaries of elected and public officials. Property and business owners pay for our schools and libraries, too. The very schools and libraries and public services that the criminals and low-life like them are benefiting from at the expense of the very property owners and business operators they are victimizing, and the police are failing to protect! You certainly don’t think that the likes of the Stahlmans, Howells and similar trash are carrying their weight in the community, do you? and the What do you think you’ll have when the criminals drive out more business from Coeymans if law enforcement continues to drag its feet in ensuring that Coeymans and our communities are safe for us all? 

So, that’s just one victim, who has been victimized multiple times in recent months. Don’t you wonder why our local news media aren’t reporting these stories? Why is this all hush – hush? What is local law enforcement doing with their time anyway? Well, we do know that they’re not at NYS Thruway Plaza 22 enforcing the stop sign laws. And we do know that they’re not controlling the meanderings of the huge vehicles traveling up and down Rt 144 and moving through Ravena. And we do know that they’re not apprehending suspects or solving any local crimes. That we do know. And what we want now is answers. Lots of answers. And they’d better be forthcoming or we’re going to come down real hard on law enforcement with some real investigative reporting, and some probing questions. And we don’t think it’s going to be pretty.

One final question: When if becomes obvious that the criminals have the upper hand and that law enforcement is incompetent, how do citizens protect themselves and their property? When they drive by shooting, do we shoot back? When they trespass and vandalize our property, do we protect ourselves and our property? Or do we call 911 and get excuses and no answers? If the police can’t enforce the law and keep us safe, what about some good old frontier justice? What do you think?

When we're no longer safe...What do we do? The Editor

When we’re no longer safe…
What do we do?

The Editor


Editor’s Postscript

It seems that local residents have short memories so we’d like to refresh your memories. Remember just a couple of years ago, the Deluca-Darlington police state persecuted the sitting president of the RCS Board of Education, who was wrongfully and falsely accused of harassing Josephine (Tracy) O’Connor, by allegedly calling her “fat.” The BoE president was arrested and arraigned, although eye witnesses reported that the accusation was totally false. See our article Congratulations!  Do you also remember that Josephine O’Connor’s father, alleged alcoholic and druggie, Joseph “Joe” Tracy accosted a local business woman at her place of business, hurling abuse and profanities, in the presence of eye witnesses, and when the woman attempted to file a complaint with the Coeymans Police Department, then part-time homey, Kerry Thompson, an employee of the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, cuddle toy of Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, refused to take the complaint! Of course, at the time Thompson was alledgedly “doing” bimbo rookie Dawn Crosier, who was later fired. Have you forgotten the harassment of local kids, the illegal searches and seizures. The false complaint made by Cathy Deluca about harassment in her illegal Ravena Health and Fitness Center and the refusal of the Coeymans Police Department to follow-up even though a tape recording was produced in evidence showing she lied to the police. Coeymans PD Jason Albert was in charge of that investigation ignored the evidence against Deluca — most likely out of fear of “Dirty-Hands” Jerry Deluca’s and Dumplin” Darlington’s bullying — and did nothing (Albert has since been promoted to ‘detective’. Does a cop apprehend another cop’s hippo wife? Well, usually only if he wants to break off a piece of that ass candy. Promotion must be the reward in the Coeymans PD for obstructing justice.)Have we forgotten the regular harassment by certain Coeymans PD employees, the disappearing complaints, the disappearing felonies? The collusion of the Coeymans and Ravena Courts with their friends and insiders in Village Hall and Town Hall? And let’s  not forget the land-grab conspiracies of Laverne “Larry” Conrad — abusing his position as Town of Coeymans Code Enforcement Officer —and Michael Biscone — in his various conflict-of-interest roles as town/village attorney and real estate attorney — and their friends at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Conrad, Biscone and others had the Coeymans Police Department snugly and cozily in their hip pockets under the honchoship of Jerry “Dirty-Hands” Deluca and his darling dumplin’  Gregory Darlington. In the meantime, Coeymans, your former dumbass fraud police chief, Gregory A. “Dumplin” Darlington is collecting more than $41,000 a year in pension benefits at your expense. And Jerry “Dirty Hands” Deluca is collecting more than $22, 000 a year in pension benefits for his abuse of Coeymans residents. Deluca and Darlington may have been forced to retire but they’re laughing all the way to the bank! The list could go on but all you have to do is search for a couple of names — you should know them — on this blog.  Are you ready to take action against the criminal takeover of your property and businesses? Our law enforcement leaders have to be made accountable to US! They have to answer at our town and village meetings! This includes our county elected Sheriffs, whom we elected to ensure enforcement of our laws and our public safety. If you agree, leave a comment!

For your information, local media, News 6, News 10, News 13, Times Useless, Columbia-Greene Media were all offered details of this story. So far no one’s published. We really matter, don’t we?

We’ve heard that an investigator employed by the Coeymans Police Department runs a side business installing surveillance cameras. It also appears that that investigator recommends his products and services to crime victims. If this is being done during or in the course of a crime scene investigation, it appears to us to be highly unethical, even a conflict of interest. We’re looking into this too. That sounds like something Josephine Bruno (a Biscone, at Prudential Real Estate) or Michael Biscone (also a Biscone) would do with Larry Conrad in their land-grabbing conspiracies. Josephine was in the Ravena Village Clerk’s office and connected with the Ravena Village hall and got insider information on properties in the area. It’s also no secret how Michael Biscone, a crooked attorney in Ravena, connived and conspired with Larry Conrad, Coeymans Code Enforcement Officer, and others, including contacts in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, to start problems for local landowners and then to pick up the property real cheap. Let’s hope the story of the Coeymans PD investigator is just a rumor. But our experience and local culture would indicate that it’s very true.

The Editor

Upcoming articles. Stay tuned!

  • An examination of local town and village courts and a critique of the justices, incompetence and corruption.
  • Follow-up on Diane Millious and her battle against the Crandall-goons to do her job and serve the community.
 
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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse of Public Office, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Allstate, Allstate Insurance, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Carmen Warner, Catherine Deluca, Catherine M. Deluca, Cathy Deluca, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Charles H. Stahlman, Charles Stahlman, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Coeymans, Coeymans Code Enforcement, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Justice, Columbia-Greene Media, Craig D. Apple Sr., Criminal Mischief, Daily Mail, Danielle Crosier, David Soares, Donald Howell, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Fat Cat Transport, George Dardiani, Gerald Deluca, Greene County, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory Darlington, Gregory R. Seeley, Gregory Teresi, Hal Warner, Harold Warner, Howell, Hudson Valley, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Jerry Deluca, Jim Youmans, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tracey, John B. Johnson, John Luckacovic, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Edward Tracey, Joseph Stanzione, Josephine O'Connor, Judge Davis, Kerry Thompson, Kevin Reilly, Larry Conrad, Laverne Conrad, Law Enforcement, Lee Davis, Leland Miller, Low life, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor Bruno, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Miranda Cote, Misdemeanor, Misuse of Public Office, Nancy Warner, Nepotism, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Republican Club, New York, New York State, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Nita Chmielewski, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, P. David Soares, Paul Courcelle, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Peter McKenna, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Professional Misconduct, Public Office, Ravena Health and Fitness Center, Ravena News Herald, RegisterStar, Ryan Johnson, Scott Lendin, Scott M. Lendin, Sean Eldridge, Selkirk, Shooting, Smalbany, Stahlman, Steven Prokrym, Times Union, Tom Dolan, Town of Bethlehem, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Tracey Traver, Trespass, Vandalism, White trash, Zachary Stahlman

 

New Baltimore Town Officials are Absolutely Useless!

There’s a Bully in the National Historic District

New Baltimore's Idea of Service to Residents

New Baltimore’s Idea of Service to Residents

New Baltimore Supervisor Dellisanti, Deputy Supervisor Jeff Ruso, and Animal Control Officer Joe Tanner Refuse to Enforce Town Laws

We’ve asked this question time and again: What exactly are they doing in New Baltimore town hall, anyway? They seem to have their own agendas because they’re certainly not doing residents any big favors! They don’t even communicate among themselves and are totally oblivious to the welfare of the community they’re supposed to have been elected or hired to serve.

You see, not only did property tax bills go out on about December 28, 2017, demanding, rather extorting money from property owners to pay for local and county government and our ineffectual school  — the RCS Central School District whose Board of Education can find almost a million dollars to redo the athletic field with dangerous astroturf but teachers complain there’s no money for books! So we now get a bill for property and school taxes, and you have to really wonder what your dollars are paying for. Here’s the answer: INCOMPETENCE!

Now, in the National Historic District, residents are exposed day-in-day-out to a local resident’s barking dog. Robert and Bonnie Krug of bank robber fame, keep a dog that they use to bully the neighborhood with its constant barking from morning to evening, Monday through Friday, with special performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Residents have attempted to approach the Krugs but Mr Krug responds only with threats. Maybe that’s why the Town officers don’t seem to be able to stop the nuissance; they’re afraid of Krug! Has he handed them one of his famous notes, too?

Flyers are now circulating in the Hamlet of New Baltimore asking residents to join together to neutralize the nuissance and to force the Town of New Baltimore to enforce its laws, and to restore peace to the National Historic District, and compel the irresponsible, inconsiderate owners of the animal to control their animal.

Click here to read the stop-the-bully-flyer

A resident has already sent a copy of another flyer directly to the New Baltimore Town Board through Nick Dellisanti, Supervisor, Jeff Ruso, Deputy Supervisor and Joe Tanner, Animal Control Officer. You can read that letter by clicking this link barking-dog-letter.

Like a school bully, one person can’t really fix the problem. It takes group action. People simply have to get involved. Like a school bully, if the people with authority, the teachers and supervisors, don’t take action, someone else has to step in. We urge New Baltimore residents in the National Historic District to take action both to send a message to the New Baltimore Town Board and to the Krugs that residents deserve a quality of life and the services from elected officials and town employees for which they are paying. It’s particularly important now that the Town is sending out their demands that property owners pay taxes.

We have to ask, For what?

It's not much to ask for, is it? Then why can't the New Baltimore Town Board provide it? The Editor

It’s not much to ask for, is it? Then why can’t the New Baltimore Town Board provide it?
The Editor