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Category Archives: Michael J. Biscone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bare Bones Provided to the Town of Coeymans Assessor.

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

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

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

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

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

Ignorance is no excuse
Village and Town are Accessories.


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

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

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

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

Saudi SABIC

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

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


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

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

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

 

Mr Sante Debacco Explains…

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mr Debacco writes:

“Good Evening Editor of the Smalbany Blog,

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

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

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

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

Mr Debacco continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Debacco closes his comment with:

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

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

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

From the Community!

The Editor


Editor’s Postscript

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

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

 

Three Articles on New Baltimore Scandals: Pick One or Read All.

First of all: Were you aware of these little tidbits?

At the January 1, 2018, Organizational Town Board Meeting:

Mr. Jeff Ruso appointed former New BaltimoreTown Supervisor, Nick Dellisanti, to be his deputy supervisor. Dellisanti showed his true colors when he refused to appoint non-party campaign workers to key town positions when he took office; his damning response was, “Republicans appoint Republicans.” Seems that New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso takes it a step further, since Ruso was Dellisanti’s deputy supervisor, “Cronies appoint cronies.” The net effect is that Dellisanti, although he had all sorts of excuses why he didn’t want to run again in 2017, got himself appointed to act as supervisor.  Ruso runs unopposed in New Baltimore and gets “elected” to be Town Supervisor and then he selects Dellisanti to be his deputy. Clever little trick, doncha think? Don’t they call that a dictatorship elsewhere? Single party system, unopposed (s)elections. Padding the panel.

Two famous political cronies.

But what really reveals Ruso’s attitude towards his unopposed election to be supervisor are his own words on appointing Dellisanti: “Now the appointment is mine entirely as Town Supervisor,” but Ruso did have the decency to ask the Town Board to ratify his appointment by Resolution. His motion was seconded by his constant sidekick Shelly vanEtten, whose husband also serves on the Planning Board as chairman, and somehow got on the Town Agriculture Committee, indirectly pulls strings on Town committees through his wife, Shelly van Etten, a sitting Town Board Member.

The shyster factor was also confirmed with the re-appointment of Tal Rappelea to be Town Attorney. Rappelea will receive more than $800/month as Town Attorney, generally sitting for about an half-hour next to Ruso or Dellisanti once a month at the regular Town Board meeting, if he even shows up.

There’s much more that our readers should be aware of and can be found in the minutes of that meeting at Organizational Meeting 2018 of January 1, 2018 .

This article is actually three component articles. Click on the links below to read the different sections. You won’t regret it.

Editor’s Sidebar: Town of Coeymans. We’ve received reports of a fatal pick-up truck — motorcycle accident that occurred during the evening hours of Saturday, July 28, 2018, on Route 143 in the Town of Coeymans. The operator of the motorcycle, a 20-year old man was killed; the operator of the pick-up truck was allegedly Ravena resident Travis Hagen. Strangely nothing has appeared in the local media about the accident. We have contacted the Coeymans Police for confirmation facts but have not received a response. A reader has informed us that he, too contacted the Coeymans Police acting chief, Daniel Contento, and was told only that there was an accident and the police investigated and reported it to the DMV. Is this a cover up to protect a prominent Ravena family? Doesn’t the young man’s life mean anything or do we just sweep the whole thing under the carpet? We need to start asking questions. The 20-year old man is not just another raccoon, Mr Contento!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, Alan van Wormer, Animal Control Officer, Assessment, Assessment Review, Board of Assessment Review, Broken Lease, Burning the Constitution, Charles Stahlman, CHIPS, Civil Right Violation, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Conspiracy, Constitution, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Donna Degnen, Elections and Voting, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Court, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Grievance Day, Harassment, Hazardous Conditions, Hudson Valley, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Law Enforcement, Lawsuit, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Meprision of Felony, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democratic Committee, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Court, New York, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Police, New York State Police, New York State Supreme Court, New York State Town Law, New York State Unified Court System, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, RCS Central School District, Ronna Smith, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Stahlman, Tal Rappelea, Terry J. Wilhelm, Terry Wilhelm, Tom Meacham, Town and Village Courts, Town and Village Judge, Town Justice, Town Law, Town of Bethlehem, Town of New Baltimore, VanEtten, Zach Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

*****

 

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

We’ve just been informed that Zachary Stahlman and Charles “Chuck” Stahlman’s continuing harassment of a local business has been rejected by the Greene County Court. Shyster loser Brendan Baynes (Brendan Baynes Law Firm), representing the Stahlmans in their bid to continue harassing a local business, and his motion to reargue the case, claiming that the Greene County Court and County Judge Terry J Wilhelm didn’t understand the facts or the law, got kicked out, as we predicted. For background on the Stahlmans and Baynes, see our article, “Shyster Meets Psycho: Brendan Baynes and Zachary Stahlman a.k.a. Fat Cat Antiques“. Their attempt failed miserably, of course.

In a Decision & Order dated July 2, 2108, Greene County Court Judge Terry J. Wilhelm denied Stahlman’s motion for reargument, which was stupidly filed by local shyster Brendan Baynes of the Baynes Law Firm of Ravena, NY (we’ve already commented on the fact that Baynes’ law firm isn’t in Ravena, his P.O. box might be, but his office is in what appears to be a chicken coop on US Rt 9W in Greene County; it’s not even in Albany County!). If Baynes doesn’t even know where his office is located do you want to trust him with your legal work? But that says a lot about the Stahlmans.

The whole fiasco started in New Baltimore Town Court when former one-term town justice Lee Davis, a New York State Health Department attorney, no less, couldn’t interpret the terms of a commercial lease correctly, and started the ball rolling in a cascade of confusion worthy of the antics of a group of circus clowns. One of the biggest clowns, local attorney Brendan Baynes of Ravena, New York, jumped into the act to demonstrate how incompetent a New York attorney can be. The Stahlmans got what they deserved. Losers!

Our investigations as reported in our article, “Are Charles H. “Chuck” Stahlman and Son, Zachary Stahlman a Bit too Cozy with New York State Police?” received a very prompt and concerned response from the New York State Police Internal Investigations and the Station Commander at the New Scotland State Police, who flatly denied any connection with the Stahlmans, except that they were the ones who arrested Charles “Chuck” Stahlman for passing fake money, but once the case went to Albany  County DA P. David Soares, that’s where the NYSP connection ended. In fact, Charles Stahlman has a date in court in September. We’ll be watching what Albany County DA Soares does to botch up the case, which he no doubt will do.

The State Police also sent Chuck Stahlman and wifely Stahlman packing when they cried harassment when legally served with court papers. The Stahlmans are displaying a “We Support the Bethlehem Police” poster on their property on US Route 9W. Yeah, we bet they do!  Too bad for the bad-news boys in Stahlmanville.

The only remaining question we have at this point is whether Albany County District Attorney David P. Soares will screw up the case when Chuck Stahlman has to appear in September on the charges of


AND AGAIN IN NEW BALTIMORE TOWN COURT…

We’ve been looking at elected officials’ and public servants’ oaths of office and find that just about every one of our local elected officials and public servants have sworn an oath they cannot possibly uphold. They just won’t admit that they are ignorant and incompetent. They don’t know their jobs, take the public’s money and are, well, thieves!

THE NEW BALTIMORE TOWN COURT or THE CENTER FOR BACKWATER INJUSTICE

In a recent letter to New Baltimore Town Justice Thomas Meacham, a resident demands to know why a complaint made with the Town of New Baltimore Animal Control Officer (ACO), Joseph “Joe” Tanner, was dismissed without notification of the parties, including, at least according the Mr. Tanner, the Animal Control Officer. The letter (June 6, 2018) reads in part:

“Mr. Tanner informs me that the complaint was “discarded” by you. Mr. Tanner further reports that he had discussed the case with you and was surprised that you had discarded it.

“My question to you is on what grounds and authority did you discard/dismiss the case without having consulted with me or without a hearing.”

Meacham responds on July 5, 2018, by sending a so-called Decision, without even so much as a note, dated September 26, 2017 (!!!) which reads:

“On 9/26/17 the hearing was held at the Town of New Baltimore Courthouse in Greene County, NY. Neither the Animal control officer (ACo) or the complainant were present in the court at the hearing.”

Overlooking the horrible grammar in this official court document, there are some very significant problems in how this case was handled. The Complainant, upon receiving Meacham’s response, addressed a letter to “his honor” in which the Complainant pulls no punches:

“While the document mailing postmarked July 5, 2018, indicates a decision of the court dated September 26, 2017, it gives no further statement as to why the apparent Decision of September 26, 2017, was sent out on July 5, 2018, and only after I demanded information from the Court as to the status of the complaint. If one does the math, that is fully 10 months after the fact; by any standard, even if one applies the standards of a Town or Village court and the competence of a Town or Village “justice,” such an untimely notification is unacceptable.

“But the untimely notification is not the sole unacceptable observation to be made on hand of the Court’s apparent response.

*****

“The document indicates that the “[d]efendants were arraigned on 8/29/17.” Presumably, that date notation is intended to mean August 29, 2017.

“The fact that I made the complaint by me The “personally with Mr. Joseph Tanner on or about Tuesday, July 11, 2017, immediately following a so-called “trial” in the matter of Thompson v. Krug [sic, recte “People v. Krug”], a dog nuisance case, which you sua sponte dismissed after coaxing the complainant telling him you were going to dismiss the case even without hearing the facts or witnesses who were waiting to be heard. This fact raises the question as to why it no less than took 7 weeks for the New Baltimore Town Court to “arraign” the defendants on a dog nuisance violation?

*****

“The Decision document also states that a “hearing was held at the Town of New Baltimore Courthouse” on 9/26/2017 (September 26, 2017), and that “[neither] the Animal Control Officer (ACO) [Mr. Joseph Tanner] or [sic] the complainant were present in the court at the hearing.”

“In other words, Sir, in the case of People v. Krug, while mis-captioning the matter before the court, you unilaterally eliminated the People from the matter.

*****

“First of all, in an animal nuisance complaint, it is the Animal Control Officer (ACO) who prosecutes the complaint before the court; it is the Animal Control Officer who is the prosecutor. The court cannot “hear” a case in which the prosecutor is not present; the Court cannot entertain an ex parte hearing. A hearing, sir, involves the parties, not a single party but all of the parties! Mr. Tanner is the New Baltimore Animal Control Officer and in the subject matter he is the prosecutor and the representative of the People of New Baltimore. How do you presume to abrogate to yourself the prerogatives of the executive branch (enforcement and prosecution) from your position in the judiciary?!? How do you presume to disregard the doctrine of separation of powers in violation of the New York State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States, both of which you swore in a solemn oath of office to support?

*****

“I am at a loss, as would anyone who is even remotely familiar with the administration of justice, how it would be possible for both the prosecutor and the chief Complainant to be absent from a hearing without red flags going up everywhere. Didn’t it occur to you that something was awry when the prosecutor and the chief Complainant were not present at the hearing?

*****

“According to the document you provided as a Decision, you arrogantly proceeded with a so-called “hearing,” heard the defendant(s) without the benefit of the prosecutor or this Complainant, and dismissed the case.

“Your questionable conduct in this one case raises a plethora of questions as to your competence as a member of the judiciary, not only in terms of an understanding of your role but questions even your appreciation of the implications of your oath of office and your knowledge of procedures. Given these primary questions and the secondary issues and questions that arise therefrom, it would appear that you are in violation of a number of regular and ethical rules.

“Your conduct of this matter may subject you to discipline, and given the circumstances, I shall immediately file a complaint with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, demanding that you be at least censured if not removed from the bench.

“Before this matter becomes any more embarrassing to the Town of New Baltimore or to the New York State Unified Court System, you may wisely and prudently consider resigning with immediate effect.”

The Complainant’s letter was sent on or about July 30, 2018, and copied to the New Baltimore Town Clerk, the New Baltimore Justice Court Clerk, Town Justice Joseph Farrell Jr, and mailed to Mr. Meacham.

We have demanded insight into the Court records in this case and have been informed that they will be made available for inspection on August 20, 2018, at the New Baltimore Town Hall. We’ll have our representative there to inspect those records and recommend further action.

All of our public servants have to swear an oath of office in which they swear to support the New York State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States of America. That’s the joke of the century.

Not a single one of the officials we have examined has any idea of either of the Constitutions and they are continuously violating the highest laws of the state of New York and of the United States, their Constitutions. Our public servants have no clue about the constitutions they swear to support and they’re violating our rights on a day-to-day basis.

The voters of New Baltimore elected a dolt to be a town justice, Thomas Meacham, who has no clue of what it means to be a member of the judiciary nor any idea of any boundaries set by the separation of powers in the three branches of government.

Meacham not only is ignorant of any constitutional provisions of separation of powers, he seems to make his own rules of procedure as he moves blindly along violating the public’s rights and traumatizing the people’s trust in an unbiased and non-partisan judiciary, something that is alien to New Baltimore and most towns and villages that are plagued with the antiquated and incompetent system of town and village justices, who are not educated in the law and are required to have only a high school education or equivalent to be voted into the court system!

We have been studying the Town and Village Court System of the New York State Unified Court System and have found that it is the source of problems for almost 100 years. The fundamental problem is that local communities elect local residents to be local judges, called town or village justices (formerly “justices of the peace”), most of whom have absolutely no training in law or anything close to it. The only requirement to be one of these dolts is the equivalence of a high school graduation and the necessary votes, that is, one more than your opponent!! There have been attempts to eliminate the town and village court system but communities don’t like interference from above and legislators are not all too eager to risk pissing off voters by doing something that might be right or necessary. Perish the thought!

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

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

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

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

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

*****

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, All the Justice You Can Buy, Baynes Law Firm, Bob Krug, Bonnie Krug, Brendan Baynes, Burning the Constitution, Capital District, Charles H. Stahlman, Charles Stahlman, Chuck Stahlman, Civil Lawsuit, Civil Rights, Constitution, Corrupt Judge, Corrupt Justice, County Legislator, Criminal Judge, Crystal R. Peck Esq., David Soares, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Democrap, Democrats, Fat Cat Antiques, Fat Cat Transport, Felony, Fraud, Glenmont, Government, Greene County, Greene County Court, Greene County District Attorney, Harry Davis, Hudson Valley, Intimidation, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, Joseph Tanner, Judge Davis, Judicial Ethics, Judicial Misconduct, Justice and Courts, Kangaroo Court, Law, Law Enforcement, Lee Davis, Lee Davis, Leland Miller, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New Baltimore Town Court, New York, New York State, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Constitution, New York State Police, New York State Police, New York State Unified Court System, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, P. David Soares, Public Corruption, Robert Krug, Tainted Judge, Terry J. Wilhelm, Terry Wilhelm, Thomas Meacham, Tom Meacham, Town and Village Courts, Town and Village Judge, Town Justice, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, Zach Stahlman, Zachary C. Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

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

Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and his New Baltimore Town Board have voted to send Acting Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program Summer Highway School, a 2½-day program of workshops and kibitzing, all expenses paid, in Ithaca, New York. Seems to us to be a bit stupid, since Scott van Wormer is only Acting Highway Superintendent until the November elections when the new Superintendent will be elected. Once the new Super is elected, van Wormer will return to his old job, that of a highway department laborer. So we have to ask the question, “What on earth was Ruso and his simian Town Board thinking when they decided to send van Wormer to training for Highway Superintendents?” 

New Baltimore Town Board Hard at Work.

The Town Board Approves the Deputy Highway Superintendent’s Attendance at Training … 20 years too late!

For the past several years we have been monitoring the New Baltimore Highway Department and its operations. We’ve investigated attendance at training and education events and found that no one, not even former Highway Superintendent, employed by the Town of New Baltimore for at least 20 years, ever attended any highway-related training at all! Upon repeated demands for the production of documents and records under the New York State Freedom of Information Law that would show or document attendance at job-related training and education, the Town of New Baltimore was unable to produce a single document showing that any employee of the Highway Department ever attended training for the duties and responsibilities of the Highway Department. Yet they were being handed a million dollar budget every year and were receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money from the likes of George Amedore, NYS senator, representing the district in which the Town of New Baltimore is situated.

In fact, George Amedore recently informed the Town that they were to receive several hundreds of thousands of dollars more in highway funds — even with the New Baltimore Highway Department, former Superintendent Denis Jordan, and the Town of New Baltimore under investigation for possible misuse and maloperation! Government at work!

“Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.”

Ironically, at the same regular Town Board Meeting of May 14, 2018, the very meeting at which former New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan submitted his resignation and at which the Board accepted his resignation, the Board approved funding to send Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott vanWormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program at Ithaca, New York.

The May 14, 2018, resolution reads:

WHEREAS, the Association of Towns of the State of New York and Cornell Local Roads Program will be holding their 2018 Highway School from June 4-6, 2018 at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

RESOLVED, the Town Board of the Town of New Baltimore approves the attendance of Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott VanWormer and the Registration Fee, overnight accommodations, tolls, and meals for said training.

In the past, no employee, not even the New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, attended any training related to maintenance and repair of roadways and roadway installations! We have the ruin and damage to show that fact beyond any doubt!

We’ve been watching the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department for years and have demanded documents and information about training received by at least the Superintendent or the Deputy Superintendent. Given the problems over the past almost 20 years involving the New Baltimore Highway Department, it should come as no surprise that the Town could not produce a single document showing any training received by Mr. Jordan or his deputy. Now the Town is approving funding — but not informing us about how much – to send Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer, to train at the Cornell program in Ithaca, New York. (Editor’s Note:  We now have a F.O.I.L. demand out to find out exactly what it cost the Town to send van Wormer to the event.)

The Cornell Local Roads Program changes each season so we don’t know whether Mr. van Wormer will attend a conference dealing with grades of gravel or how to grade a roadway. Apparently the Town of New Baltimore expects Mr. van Wormer to absorb everything during the 2 ½ day conference and come back a transformed entity, a 100% competent Highway Superintendent. [1] NOT!!!

But the Town Board is missing some very important assumptions about Mr. vanWormer … Just like they claim they missed some very important facts about Mr. Denis Jordan, too. And they’re missing functioning brains, too!

Not completely brainless but pretty close!

So we did some fact-finding and can tell you that the 2 1/2-day course of meetings includes the following topics (source: Cornell Local Roads Program, Highway School, 2018 )

2018 Highway School Topics

  • Recycled Asphalt Pavement
  • Preparing for Emergencies
  • What New & Used Superintendents Need to Know.
  • Highway Signs
  • Selecting the Right Repair for Your Pavement
  • When to Replace or Repair Equipment
  • Asset Management Basics
  • Legal Panel
  • Stormwater Management
  • Shared Services Roundtable

The problem we have with this little nugget is that Scott van Wormer is the current Acting (Deputy) Superintendent and is in that capacity only until the November elections, when the actual new superintendent will be elected. We know of one candidate who has been out getting signatures to get on the ballot: Alan vanWormer, Scott vanWormer’s brother.

Readers will recall that Alan vanWormer was removed as Deputy Superintendent by Denis Jordan when van Wormer announced he was going to run against Jordan for the position of New Baltimore Highway Super, and Jordan proceeded to remove Alan as deputy and then appoint Alan’s own brother, Scott van Wormer, to be Deputy Superintendent. Scott vanWormer is now acting Highway Superintendent and was sent to the Ithaca course at taxpayer expense.

This raises the question of: If Alan van Wormer gets on the ballot, which he likely will, and runs for Highway Superintendent, which he will, what happens to Scott van Wormer? We certainly can’t have a highway superintendent’s brother acting as deputy highway superintendent, can we? Well, in New Baltimore and in Coeymans anything is possible. It is, after all, next to Albany county, the incest capital of New York.

So, we are questioning the logic and reasoning, if any there was, of spending all that money to send the current deputy highway superintendent all the way to Ithaca to attend a highway school intended for highway superintendents, if, in November, just a couple of months away, Scott vanWormer will be resuming his position as a mere laborer in the New Baltimore Highway Department?!?

We’d like to ask Mr. Ruso and his Board of Bozos how they can justify sending Scott vanWormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program highway school when it would have made more sense to wait to send the new Highway Super to Itaca next year to the highway school and at least start a new tradition of training New Baltimore’s Highway Superintendents on a regular basis?

What do you think, readers? Don’t you think we should expect our local officials to use what pea-brains they have to more responsibly spend our tax dollars?

Millions Spent by Untrained Highway Department Employees: The Results.


[1] We noted some interesting connections involved in the Highway School; it’s not as non-special interest as we might have thought; sounds like a trade-show or political convention to us!

“The Highway School features short sessions of general interest in the mornings and 24-28 afternoon workshops lasting 75 minutes each. A partnership with statewide vendors supports the Pothole Picnic on the first day. Over 700 participants, the majority being local highway and public works officials, attend the Highway School every year.

“The Association of Towns of the State of New York co-sponsors the Highway School, and handles all of the registrations.”(Highway School, http://www.clrp.cornell.edu/trainingevents/highwayschool.html, last accessed July 30, 2018)


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

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

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

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

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

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Alan van Wormer, Amedore Homes, Callanan Industries, CHIPS, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Cornell Local Roads Program, Crystal R. Peck Esq., David Louis, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Department of Taxation and Finance, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, DOT, DOT, Greene County, Greene County Court, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Independence Party, Highway School, Independence Party, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Meave Tooher, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New York, New York State, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Peckham Materials, Peckham Materials Corp., Peckham Road Corporation, Public Safety, Rob van Etten, Robert van Etten, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Sole Assessor, Tooher & Barone, VanEtten

 

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Here are some excerpts from the Letter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They’re Running for Election and the Petitions are Circulating

Please sign my petition…give me your vote!

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

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

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

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


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