Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vote No

On Tuesday, August 16, 2011 from 2-9 pm the town will hold a referendum on a bond issue for a garage project.

Stuyvesant Town Hall
5 Sunset Drive, Stuyvesant, NY 12173
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 from 2-9pm

I hope everyone takes the time to get over there and vote. If we get out and get over there, we can take a stand against out of control spending and irresponsible government.

This is an important vote. It's a vote that town board didn't want to have until I let them know they had to. Here is the audio from October 2010.

They tried to sneak this through with no vote.

They sent out a letter paid for by THE TAXPAYER trying to convince you to vote for this project. I paid for a mailing OUT OF MY OWN POCKET. Not a fair fight.

This blog post is long but you really should read the whole thing. Stick with me.

I know the argument from the other side: SAFETY. They know this project costs way too much so they can't argue on the merits of the case. They know they didn't plan in advance or consider cheaper options. They know the whole thing is going to be ugly.


Unproven assertion: It is not safe to store the salt in another town. How do we know, given that the town doesn't provide real documents showing real numbers, that there is any safety implications to this thing at all? 

SAFETY? Prove it! Put out the numbers. Put out the research. Why would safety be affected at all? We still have to bring the salt from a big pile to a small pile. When they say "safety" without proving it, it's just a scare tactic. 

Here are some of the arguments against this project.

1. Tax increase

There is no doubt that issuing an $800,000 bond will cause everyone's taxes to rise. Here is the supervisor, Valerie Bertram, answering a question by Sean Cummings about the board's planning on this issue and why the project needs to be done 100% with borrowing:

No, not "point taken." This means back to the drawing board. You just conceded you had the money in the regular budget but squandered it on whatever the board spends money on.

We don't know anything about this project: controls, audits, even what they want to do.

There is no oversight of money. No one is watching to make sure the money is well spent. Who is the watchdog? You are. Vote no.

How much of a tax increase will this turns out to be? We don't know yet. Click this link: How bad is the roof anyway? The roof isn't bad? Did you hear that?

Can you believe anything they say after that? They know the roof isn't bad. But if the sky's the limit, why not get as much as possible?

This government has to start to living within its means. The town government has few responsibilities, mostly maintaining 25 miles of road. And the town has a large budget, well over a million dollars. Everything that is not maintaining the town roads is done so badly, we would be better off if the town didn't do it at all.

And maintaining the road is done at a premium cost for a mediocre to middling result. The roads are more or less okay. At these prices, they should be paved with gold.

That 2009 GAR re-assessment was a 9% tax increase (some people paid less than before the assessment, more people paid more, so the town increased its income overall). Since then they have voted two additional tax increases, to make it 3 tax increases in 2 or 3 years.

They can't figure out how to live within a million plus budget for a town of 2000 people with 25 miles of road without borrowing money to fix the roof on the garage and buy a salt shed that is too big, too expensive?

This bond issue is a blank check to do whatever they want. And with this board, that might include almost any crazy thing.

2. Slush fund?

Next, why does the salt shed cost so much? Other places in the county have build similar structures for less than $100,000. Ned, an architect here in town, thinks the town could build a suitable structure for $80,000. Bernie Kolawski, the highway superintendent of Stuyvesant, doesn't want a $100,000 salt shed, no prefabs.

Why no prefab? The engineer said it would be ugly. But the story keeps changing. They can't keep their story straight.

Bernie said a prehab wouldn't last as long as a custom built shed. Here is the audio of the discussion from a workshop in Fall 2010

Ugly or won't last? Also, by doing pre-fab they will only be able to borrow for 15 years, instead of a longer term that would be cheaper.

This is the key point of the whole project. 

What? They changed the reason why they don't want a pre-fab? Now it won't look nice?

You can't change the reason. You have to have one good reason to make a good decision, not any old reason to make a the same bad decision.


Unproven (and suspicious) assertion number two: A prefab salt shed won't last as long as a custom built shed.

How does he know that? The shed will be ugly and useless either way: why not make the cheaper one? This custom salt shed would still be ugly.

Maybe Bernie's pals can't build a prefab? Maybe that's the whole point of this stupid project, to pass some public money to a connected construction company?

The whole thing is a ruse? A con?

Could be. Don't put it past these guys. The town government of Stuyvesant is corrupt and has done and is probably still doing shady stuff with money. Your money. When you send in your property tax check, that portion that goes to the town is mostly squandered, pilfered or wasted. It is entirely in character for this government to plot to sneak money out of the general fund and into the pockets for people they like.

How do I know the government is corrupt? I found that $10,000 went from the general fund to the pocket of the town attorney with no paperwork. When I brought this matter to the attention of the town Supervisor, Valerie Bertram, she ignored my letter. So I wrote again. Finally, I met with her. She told me nothing was wrong, not even something less than criminal that might be corrected with better billing practices. Even so, they did change the billing practices on the sly and never admitted that something fishy had been going on.

Instead of publicly or honestly finding out what happened to the money, Valerie Bertram schemed to put ME in jail for bring the problem to her attention.

Tal kept the money, by the way. He can do that.

Yes, I can prove it all.

The town assessor Howard Gleason listed a Hudson river estate as a state park so the owners would not have to pay real estate taxes. This bit of cheating costs the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars every year. Again, the supervisor told me that there was nothing wrong here.

The town illegally spent money on lawyers to protect themselves from their illegal activities with your money in a secret and illegal meeting.

Here is the complete list of wrong doing by the town.

Back to the garage project / slush fund.

3. Useless

We have no idea what will really happen if they get their hands on this money. They might do anything at all with it and you cannot trust them not to squander it all.

But let's pretend they will actually build a salt shed and fix up their garage, get a new roof, although the current roof is not leaking, make the office nicer, buy some air conditioners, insulate and do other repairs on the garage on County Route 26A and make a big salt shed at the highway department property on Sharptown road that will be ugly as hell.

Why do we need two highway department facilities? We don't.  We don't really even need  highway department facility, as the whole department should be outsourced and consolidated with other towns. Between the state, county and town vehicles coming in and out of town to do the same work, with each little town maintaining a fleet of vehicles, this has to be the dumbest possible solution to road maintenance.

But let's say we do need one highway department site, if you don't buy my outsourcing or consolidation argument. We still don't need two.

Here is the other guy's argument why we need two salt storage sites: we have to keep salt at both the garage on 26A and the Sharptown road facility because trucks won't be able to get into Sharptown road in the winter to get the salt.

Plan: big pile on Sharptown, small pile on 26A.

The big pile of salt on Sharptown road will be kept under a shed for $500,000, giver or take a $100,000. The small pile, one snow storm worth of salt, will be under a cheaper shed on 26A or maybe just out in the open. I don't know what they will do with the small pile since the town is keeping the plans secret.

If it were easier to get trucks into the Sharptown road spot, we could get rid of the salt on 26A and have only the big pile, no small pile.

If getting trucks into the Sharptown road site in the winter is not in fact difficult, we don't need the small pile. Guess what: we don't need the small pile.

Valerie Bertram, supervisor, lives near the Sharptown road site and she doesn't want extra truck traffic by her house. This story about the trucks and Sharptown road is not true. Val told them she doesn't want all those trucks driving by her house, so, they came up with the two pile plan and invented a story about trucks not being able to drive on snow...

... how are they going to plow the roads if they can't get up a moderate hill? Do we need a snowplow to plow the snow so the snowplow can get to the salt?

Unproven (and suspicious) assertion: Trucks cannot get into Sharptown road in the winter.

Shouldn't we do some kind of test to see if the trucks can make it in there? No need. Just say its true and hope no one calls you on it.

How do we know this assertion is true?

Next, if we are going to bring the salt to 26A for each storm from somewhere else anyway, why not just get salt from the county or another town that already has a salt shed? There are plenty of other sources of salt in the county.

If we have to bring the salt from Sharptown to 26A anyway, why not just bring the salt from Ghent or Kinderhook or Greenport to 26A and get rid of the whole Sharptown Road piece of this project? No big pile, only one small pile. That would save almost the entire budget for this moronic project.

If we spend 400-500,000 dollars to build a salt shed on Sharptown road just to save a few minutes of driving to another salt shed further away, the salt shed will pay for itself in only 500 years. Why, by then, the shed won't exist.

Instead of throwing $400-500,000 away to build an ugly, useless salt shed, why not outsource the big pile and keep the little pile at 26A? This assumes that trucks can't get into Sharptown Road in the winter, which is probably a lie. If trucks can get into Sharptown road, and I bet they can, get rid of the little pile on 26A and only keep salt on Sharptown Road.

Either way, you only need one pile at most. No pile would be even cheaper.

4. Sloppy.

Much of what the town proposes to borrow to fix is stuff they should have been fixing and maintaining all along. In fact, the whole project should have been paid for with money set aside over the years from the general fund.

Go back and watch that video at the beginning of this post. You heard the supervisor admit they screwed up.

The town budget appears to be 1.2 million, although the budget for this town is much harder to understand than for most towns. Really, all the town has to do is maintaing 25 miles of road: fix pot holes, plow, trim grass at the edge, etc.

In fact, about half of the 1.2 million does not go into the highway department. $600,000 for highway, another $600,000 for everything else.

What is the other 600,000 for, the money not for highway?

First, lawyers, which do more harm than good.

Second, the justice department, which we would be better off outsourcing to real judges that aren't in the club.

Third, the assessor's office, which should be a county function and is a total waste of money, as this study proved.

Fourth, salaries for board members and town clerk and zoning officer, all of whom are well paid if you break it down by the hour and none of whom are worth the money.

Fifth, actually good stuff, like parks, which is about 1% of the total.

You could cut the budget by 50% and outsource and consolidate services. This budget is largely waste, fraud, abuse and fat. But they still need more.

5. Risky.

What if we borrow for this useless project now but we need money for something important later? We'll be screwed. We might be stuck with a high interest rate, get a bad credit rating, and be left helpless when something important comes along. This stupid project may mean no beach, no bike path, no bridge, no ... who knows what.

Look at all the things the town should be preparing for: 1) the beach by the waterfall in Stuyvesant Falls is leased and when the lease is up the beach can disappear if the town cannot buy the property; 2) Hudson river access in Stuyvesant landing can disappear anytime CSX decides to close it off and the town should be prepared to offer its credit to make sure it can help stop this eventuality; 3) the bridge in Stuyvesant Falls over the falls needs paint badly and the county hasn't done it... the list is longer that this.

And think of all the GOOD things the town could do with $800,000: 1) set up a satellite college in the town hall offering residents college credit courses; 2) help contribute to a network of bike trails to make this a viable agro-tourism destination; 3) secure Hudson river and Kinderhook creek access; 4) set up an office to encourage and promote small business to help residents build wealth and create jobs; 5) no real estate taxes for farmers.

No. The town wants to do something dumb, build themselves a boondoogle.

6. Palaces.

Thinking about all the things that would help the community, why is that we are voting on a structure that no one other than employees and officers of the town will ever use? They have to build a palace for themselves?

The town clerk gets $70 an hour.
The town attorney gets $125 an hour on the books.
The zoning guy gets more than $20,000 for a part time job.

Here is more money for connected guys:

I count 16 positions in the government, not including the highway department: clerk, board (5), justice (4), assessor (2), enforcement (3), legal (1 to 10: who really knows?). The highway, with 5 more, I think, for a total of 21 positions for a town of 2000 people.

And they need another palace too? Town hall is nice. Who spends time there? Is there anything for us there? Movie night? Classes? Tutoring? Chess club? Free internet access? Free beer?

Not a damn thing for us. A hell of a lot for them. But they want more.

Come out and vote no. Don't let them get away with this.

No one is watching the store. You have to. Get out and vote.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

10th hearing last night

Let's see, 2 in criminal court, 3 in zoning, 5 in planning... and why?

Well, there is this announcement of the next hearing.

Here it is "the list." This is totally unfair. I appealed. Instead of an appeal I get this. Its unAmerican. I appealed because I didn't get due process beforehand. I have not had a fair hearing to present my side of the story despite 10 hearings that lead to almost no discussion of the law or the evidence.

I really hope Federal Court is not too slow in stopping this.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Tal Rappleyea, attorney for Stuyvesant and many other towns in the area, although apparently recused in favor of special counsel Whiteman Osterman and Hanna in cases involving me, wrote a letter to the board of supervisors and threatens to sue me for libel.

Mr. Rappleyea said, “I had hoped to not spend your time with this matter and that with the passage of time the matter would resolve itself.”

Matters of fact and law do not or should not resolve themselves in and of themselves. Basically, he hoped I would go away and everyone would forget what I said.

In this letter he responds specifically to some of the issues raise on this blog, such as the way I say "fraudulent invoice" and "took $10,000 without paperwork." After reading his letter, let me re-assert, as we seem to be doing these days around here, that both charges remain in effect. He does not provide paperwork to justify the $10,000. His story about the retainer does not hold water in about 4 ways. And documents currently linked to this blog already rebut the arguments regarding the invoice.

As to the charges he makes against me, they prove, rather that disprove, the essential argument I am making in Federal Court starting in a few weeks.

I wrote to the board of supervisors to ask for a hearing. They never responded. As Mr. Rapplyea says in his letter, he hoped the matter of whether or no Valerie Bertram should be the chair of the county ethics board would simply go away without a hearing. I argued that when I told Ms. Bertram about ethics problems in her government, she tried to put me in jail. I thought that if this were true, and it is, it might disqualify her for the position of chair of the ethics board.

I won't get into the details right now, although I wrote up an extensive and supported response to Mr. Rappleyea's letter... I guess I'll hold it. In my response, I have documents linked to support everything I say: audio, video, signed official documents.

Think about what documents Mr. Rappleyea might provide to prove his version of events. Think about what documents I might provide to prove my version of events.

Read Mr. Rappleyea's letter thinking about chronology, mine and his. Mr. Rappleyea and I explain my conflict with the town differently, the big picture.

Here is my version of the big picture: I moved to Columbia County in 2003, Stuyvesant in 2004, opened my business in 2005, and was approved for a home occupation permit to board dogs without condition or complaint unanimously in June 2009. I told the board I had been operating since 2005 without a permit, since I didn't know I needed one, and no one raised any questions about that.

In December 2009, the zoning control officer began sending me certified "notices of violation" with the word "imprisonment" highlighted in yellow highlighter on them, accusing me of loud barking noise. I was surprised and didn't know who might have complained since my facility is more than 1000 feet from then nearest neighbor or road and all my nearest neighbors wrote letters of support for the planning board in 2009.

Although I didn't think the process was fair or the charge made any sense, I tried to work with the town to resolve the problem. I told the zoning guy for the town to tell people to call me if they hear something that they think is coming from me and I promised to build more wooden fences and install steel doors and put in more air circulation.

In August 2010, the Ennis revoked my permit arbitrarily without evidence, without a hearing. When I wrote to the town clerk to ask how to appeal, I was denied the chance to appeal. After that email, I decided that the town of Stuyvesant was hopeless corrupt and have been on them like white on rice ever since. When Ennis revoked my permit I had never been to a town meeting, had never really got too deeply into town politics, other than at election time to support the people I thought best for the job, not the current government.

In short:
2005-November 2009: no problems
2009: election
2009 December - August 2010: notice of violation, trying to work with the town, spending money needlessly, calling and writing to Ennis
August 2010 to now: conflict

What is Mr. Rappleyea's chronology? Just one of many problems with his letter...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

does a cop hide his badge?

David Everett of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna has not presented a contract proving he is the legal attorney for the town of Stuyvesant.

David Everett is attempting to ruin my business and impoverish my family, deny my children the chance to go to college, effectively confiscate my property by decreasing or eliminating its value, namely my brand Glencadia Dog Camp and the real investments associated with creating the entity. He is plotting against me and has not be truthful about his actions. He is abusing his position and is collecting tax dollars to do it.

Where's the contract? He claims to be the legal attorney? Show the contract, signed on March 10. Then at least I can take the claim to represent the town more seriously.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

zoning board lawyer tricks

Well, I'm back blogging. My plan was to lay low until I get into Federal Court and keep 'em guessing but sunshine is just to valuable to hoard... the rainy day is every day. And we have a public comments hearing to plan for, so I can't really lie low.

That was quick! I'm back blogging and didn't get to take as much time off from this as I would have liked. Thanks for sticking with me and the blog and coming back.

Here we go again with more breaking news from the weirdest town in America, the world capital of tortured logic. Be sure to listen to the audio clips with this entry.

Look below for the heading "audio files."

To review, the town ordered me to close my business and throw my employees out of work and impoverish my family, destroy my investments, with no evidence and no hearing in August 2010. This attempt to confiscate my property might remind you of Communists after a revolution.

I tried to appeal and was denied. This denial was unAmerican and wrong, morally and legally. After months of torturous work, my appeal went before the zoning board. The zoning board did not have a quorum and the lawyer took the power of the board without authorization to expand the scope of my appeal.

I offered to settle the dispute and ended up before the planning board as part of bad faith negotiations. After months of pointless hearings, David R. Everett rejected the terms of the settlement because they were not based on science. He then refused to accept the results that were based on science, which proved what I had been saying all along, the charge of loud barking defies the laws of physics since sound, light and gravity all decay at the inverse of distance due to the formula for the surface area of a sphere, with the radius squared and all that, cutting science circa 100 AD.

David R. Everett makes a lot of money but doesn't do algebra. He was hired illegally following an executive session of the town board held in February. This clearly illegal session did not authorize his appointment and does not mention zoning. 

On March 10 with Valerie Bertram and David Everett spent public money in the form of a contract based on an executive session, in clear definance of New York State public officers law.

This illegal action remains a blatant violation of the law despite the re-affrimation of this illegal action at the town board meeting in July 2011.

Thus, Mr. Everett has no standing to represent the town on the zoning board of appeals or any other board.


Here is the issue of the illegal special prosecutor that comes out of this same executive session. Here is a post about some of the obvious mistakes in law and strategy that Dave David Everett has made in this process.

Despite the unanswered questions about misconduct involving the misappropriation of public money to Mr. Everett, he appeared tonight to hear my appeal, or rather distort my appeal. That's what he gets the big bucks for.

David R. Everett has no business working on this case. He is not concerned with the public interest, as the audio below demonstrate. He is wrong on the law in many cases and has no viable strategy to end this. Why should he, getting $450 an hour from the taxpayer with no oversight? He'd do well if it went on forever.

He started the meeting last night by passing out one of his secret letters.

AUDIO FILES: listen to these

Here I am talking about what the zoning board of appeals is and should be. I ask David Dave Everett.

Here I am talking about why the sound from my facility is both unmeasurably low and audible. Good discussion.

Here I am talking about the only relevant law. What is an unusual noise anyway?

Here is a good question, ignored. Public interest?

Well, they didn't just hear the evidence and vote. Instead, David R. Everett, the biggest and most expensive law firm (attorneys and lawyers) in Albany with offices in Plattsburgh gets a list together of all the things they think I might have done wrong.

You were falsely accused. You appealed. The original charge was clearly false. But we'll find another offense since that first one didn't pan out.

That's an appeal?

Dave Everett is so interested in clocking his illegal $450 an hour that he doesn't even know what the public interest is, let alone law. This process clearly violates the constitution.

In this clip, we have two issues arise. First of all, this is so crazy Kafka-esque that it's hard to believe, whether or not my house and barn are on the same lot. If they are not on the same lot, then I don't qualify as a home occupation.

Stay with me... it's a bit complicated... and very bizarre.

I divided my house and barn onto two lots at the same time by permit to operate my dog business was approved. But when I submitted an application to put my house and barn back on the same lot, my application was denied by the town.

So David R. Everett proposes to close my business and throw my children to the wolves because my house and barn are on separate lots when the town subdivided the lots in the first place, knowing full well that I had a business in the barn, and then refused to put them back together when I tried to put them back together.

Get it? The town's lawyer signed off on splitting the lots. Then the town's lawyer said they can't be split. So I tried to put them back together and the town said no.

Therefore I am in violation of the ordinance.

Here is zoning enforcement officer / building code enforcer Gerry Gerald Ennis of the town of Stuyvesant arguing that because I spent $5,000 to mitigate noise while arguing that there is no noise problem, I have shown that there is a noise problem.

He threatened to close my business on the basis of a false charge propped up by solicited manufactured complaints. So I agreed to do work I didn't think was necessary at the time. And this is all he has for proof of wrong doing?

Next, Gerry says I could have gone to court but chose to appeal to the ZBA. I'm not sure what he means but I cannot file an article 78 in state court until I have exhausted my remedies locally. Did he mean town court? Did he think I was supposed to show up in town court to contest his notice of violation without a court appearance ticket? Gerry is making up laws here and saying stuff that isn't true and doesn't make sense.

Poor, poor, Gerry Ennis, public official, poor, poor Gerry Ennis, what woe! what injustice! how unfair to poor, poor, sweet Gerry Ennis. But you can hear him whine for himself.

So I didn't get my day in court. I appealed. My appeal was turned into a witch hunt.

The public comments will be on Tuesday, August 9 at 7 PM in the Stuyvsant Town Hall.

Friday, July 15, 2011


All the blogs are going into hibernation for some time... not much longer. I'll be back.

admission of guilt? re-writing history? making up laws? ignoring chronology? what?

Here is the audio of the resolution passed by the Stuyvesant Town Board tonight authorizing  David Everett second partner and lead attorney in this case.

So here they are appointing a firm after the firm has already handled three planning board meetings, one appearance as special prosecutor, one appearance before the zoning board?

Shouldn't you approve the special counsel first, then have the special counsel write tortured secret memos explaining to the zoning board of appeals that they may not be a zoning board of appeals? The tortured secret memo already exists.

Shouldn't you approve the special prosecutor to pursue a charge he knows is false without approval of a judge before he actually writes motions? The case is already dismissed.

No, the town would say, we did approve the special counsel first in an executive session.

No, I say, you didn't. All you did, and it was illegal, was start the process of looking for a lawyer, not hiring one. And only for Planning.

Okay, town, why? Why did you hire special counsel? It can't be because I sued you. I sued you on March 28. You signed the contract on March 10.

Why? In the audio above the reason seems to be that I'm so terrible that I have all these cases and am filing all these FOILs (two FOILs!) and am so bad they have to get someone in here to put a stop to my lawlessness?

But all the charges against me are false, get dismissed, fall away, all false. You can't really blame me for having too many cases, can you?

I was charged with the same offense THREE TIMES. I know the constitution says you can't do that, but they did: planning, zoning and criminal court about the same thing: dog barking.

The charge of loud barking dogs is impossible according to the laws of physics because the site where the dogs are kept is 1000 feet away from any neighbor or road and sound tests, affirmed by the editor of the leading peer review acoustics journal in the world, says that the barking contributes ZERO decibels to the ambient noise level at 1000 feet.

That's what I did wrong? In other words, not a damn thing?

I am accused of an offense that is impossible three times. Then, because I have so many cases pending, and therefore must be a terrible menace to society, the town has to hire the most expensive law firm in Albany. But they will vote to approve the firm 4 months after the firm starts working and retroactively legalize the firm.

"Hello, Heavan, can I speak to Franz Kafka?"

"I'm sorry he's before the Stuyvesant board right now trying to find out what he did wrong."

First of all, obviously, David Everett should have to return the money he has received to date. He was working without legal authorization up this point, despite the town board trying to re-write history.

But it is still not clear that he is now legal.

At 1:20 Valerie Bertram says, "Whereas on February 10, 2011, the Town Board authorized the hiring of David R. Everett.

What? No they didn't. Read the minutes. Do you see the name of the firm in there anywhere? Zoning? Criminal court? The illegal executive session in February did not authorize the hiring of this firm. The illegal executive session authorized the supervisor to look for an attorney.

And the illegal session was illegal.

Tonight's resolution depends on the February 10, 2011 executive session due to the statement above. But that session was in violation of public officer's law, given the reason "personnel" before the executive session, and retaining special counsel without firing the old lawyer does not fall under the definition of personnel. Also, "personnel" is insufficient reason to call an executive session. Lastly the minutes of that session were never submitted and voted on in an open session and were not even written within 10 days of the end of the executive session.

So, on July 14, 2011 they passed a resolution to authorize something that has already happened without authorization based on a resolution to do something completely different that was passed during an illegal meeting.

Well, that clears things up.

Next, as 1:43 Valerie Bertram says she signed a retainer agreement withthe albany law firm on March 10. No way she can do that. She just spent money based on an executive session, an illegal one to boot.

And did she really sign a contract on March 10? Can we see it? Are there any phone records showing a pattern of phone calls? Where was it signed? Who was there?

Next, at around 2 minutes, we hear that they didn't break any laws. So why this resolution? If the executive session was legal, then you don't need a resolution in July.

Re-affirm? What kind of resolution is it that re-affirms something that never happened? The town never before voted to hire WOH, the law firm. In February they voted to look for another lawyer.

And what is this anyway, hiring a law firm to deal with one guy? Can you hire a firm to deal with one guy just because he's beating you? Some guy comes up here with no lawyer, Tal can handle them but if someone comes with some good lawyers and is clearly completely innocent, we'll go get the big guns?

That's got to be some kind of illegal. No way. Just for me?

Someone complained about dog barking? It's not even true. Therefore we have to hire the most expensive law firm in Albany?

You have to be smoking something they don't grow on this planet.

You didn't hire them because I sued you.

Then at the end they retroactively legalize the special counsel, which they claim, falsely, they already did.

I still say the special counsel is illegally representing the corrupt organization known as the government of the Town of Stuyvesant because the resolution does not acknowledge that the executive session was a screw up.

 Now the reason is not that I said that Tal helped himself to $10,000 or that I sued the town. The reason for this is just I suck?

You are not going to lawyer your way out of this one. Even Mr. Wolf won't help.

Pulp Fiction Mr. Wolf Scene - Watch more Funny Videos

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

greene columbia, columbia greene, scratch scratch

Here is the story about the DA's brother's sweatheart DWI deal.

Timothy McEachern, 46, is the brother-in-law of Columbia County District Attorney Beth Cozzolino. From the Times Union:

Her office recused itself from the case shortly after it was brought, the aide noted, asking that it be handled by a special prosecutor from the office of Greene County District Attorney Terry Wilhelm.

For two weeks, Wilhelm declined to return calls from the Times Union about the case. 
"This only points out that if you're a member of the club in Columbia County, you'll be taken care of. It's a classic example," said Gene Keeler, a former Columbia County district attorney who is seeking the office in the November election. He is running as a Democrat; both Cozzolino and Wilhelm are Republicans.

Meanwhile, Beth Cozzolino serves as special prosecutor in the Evan Spitz case in Greene County. About Spitz case. "Evan Spitz is the son of the Greene County Jail superintendent."

Maybe this is a case of you scratch my back, I scratch yours.

How about this: Columbia and Greene counties look to counties other than each other for special prosecutors. Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna seem to be available, big Albany law firm. Try them!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

petty, trivial, negligible, measly, shabby, slight, frivolous

This is a petty blog post. The piece with the neighbors is petty and there is no way to discuss it without presenting the blatant pettiness of the whole thing.

If you are new to this blog, skip this entry until you have looked at some of the stuff on this list. Did you look at it? Okay, now on to petty-land.

How many times can I say petty? trivial, insignificant, base, casual, cheap, contemptible, frivolous, inconsequent, inconsiderable, inessential, inferior, irrelevant, junior, lesser, light, little, lower, measly, minor, narrow-minded, negligible, nickel-and-dime, niggling, paltry, peanut, penny-ante, pettifogging, picayune, piddling, scratch, secondary, shabby, shallow, shoestring, slight, small, small-minded, subordinate, trifling, two-bit, unimportant

One aspect of this conflict with the town of Stuyvesant is that a tiny group of disgruntled and unhappy neighbors have obliged the zoning officer by complaining about me when invited to do so by Gerry Ennis. Most people in the neighborhood have been great and supportive... thank you.

...a reservoir of gullible people...

I haven't written too much about this small cabal riled up by the town government to offer cover for their otherwise bizarre campaign against me since the people involved seem to be lead astray rather than up to no good on their own.

I would much rather focus on the roles of the bigger fish, people with some authority, as I do here. For example, I have to talk about special prosecutors and Beth Cozzolino, not this petty stuff... but prosecutors can wait a day or so.

This post shows Gerry Ennis encouraging complaints and fingering me without investigation. The key phrase in that link is "he told me." Also, "new kennel" is interesting since I have been in operation for more than 4 years at that point. He just fingered me because he wanted to get me. Mary Kline lives 1600 feet away from my barn.

The neighbor in the video below is from a household 1000 feet away. This neighbor wrote a letter of support when I went to the planning board in 2009. Then in April 2010, her husband told me there was no problem. In March of 2011, Patty said this.

Yet the husband, Fritz, signed an affidavit that lead to a criminal charge against me in January 2011. Interesting, Fritz did not use the word "loud" in that inditement instrument.

Below we see Patty videoing my barn. I video her videoing me and then we talk. She says that the difference between the time she wrote the glowing letter in May 2009 and November 2009 is that she changed the configuration of her yard and removed plants and other junk.

So, therefore, my business should be shut down?

Why does the town encourage, invite or solicit these types of complaints? Why does the town coordinate complaints with people who are not credible?

My beef is with the town. Still, if there weren't people in the neighborhood so easily lead astray, it would be harder for this corrupt town government to operate.

The town should be interested in reducing conflict and insisting on verifiable, objective measures, not collaborating with obsessive people who's story does not make sense.

And the story obviously does not make sense.

Friday, July 8, 2011

laundry list

I started this blog on January 1, 2011. In the past seven months I have written about a number of issues relating to the government of the town of Stuyvesant and Columbia County and I wanted to clarify the list here, for the record, for anyone new to this conflict.

Stuyvesant Town Attorney helped himself to $10,000 in public money without paperwork with the approval of the supervisor. He also submitted a fraudulent invoice, and demanded payment from an applicant before the planning board in violation of policy. 

When I told the supervisor about this problem, the town hit me with a criminal citation based on a previously unknown law, a charge that defies the laws of physics.

The town assessor listed a Hudson river resort as a tax exempt state park for tax purposes.

The town board held an illegal executive session and secretly and illegally allocated money to a law firm

The zoning officer either did surveillance on my house or lied in the public record about it. 

The supervisor used her position as chair of the public safety committee in the Board of Supervisors to try to get officers to arrest Martin Roby for repeatedly FOILing to see the bank records with account numbers visible to track wire transfers between accounts, a problem in other towns

The town hired a special prosecutor without permission. 

Town board member made threats of illegal retaliation on video.

Someone did some petty weirdness.

The town board held an illegal executive session and spent money illegally on a special counsel and special prosecutor. 

The town FOIL officer ignores requests for documents and the town has no effective FOIL appeal system.  There was this.

The zoning officer revoked my business permit without evidence of a violation and without the authority to do so. Many of his statements are clearly false and indeed impossible.

The planning board, supervisor and town attorney abused a good faith offer to settle the permit dispute as a reason to attempt to revoke the permit in another way. Here is my reward for offering to settle. 

The supervisor maintains her position as chair of the county ethics board

The chairman of the county board of supervisors Roy Brown is entirely aware of all these allegations, did no independent investigation and has refused to consider a process to determine if the supervisor Bertram should retain the position as chair of the ethics board

The District Attorney Beth Cozzolino is aware of allegations of a pattern of fraud, embezzlement, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and abuse in Stuyvesant Town government.

County Attorney Robert Fitzsimmons is aware of these allegations and has suggested no action regarding Bertram's position as chair of the ethics board. The issue of government lawyers reoccurs in this case.

I am wholly innocent of all charges and there is no evidence I ever did anything wrong and yet I have spent $60,000 in legal fees and other expenses to deal with this town harassment. Here is the narrative.

Due to systematic failure in local ethics enforcement in New York State, I filed a suit in Federal Court.

And don't forget kidnapping Santa's elves.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

possible illegal misappropriation of funds, apparent violations of law by town board

This post deals with the way the Town of Stuyvesant (12173) hired Whiteman Osterman and Hanna, an Albany law firm, as special counsel, David Everett, attorney, and William Nolan, attorney in 2011. The argument below suggests that this process was illegal and that WOH should return potentially illegal payments to the taxpayers of Stuyvesant in order to avoid the impression that WOH seeks to benefit from careless spending of public money.

Here is a Q&A on open meetings:

The Law provides for closed or "executive" sessions under certain circumstances prescribed in the Law. It is noted that an executive session is not separate from an open meeting but rather is a portion of an open meeting during which the public may be excluded.

Okay, the meeting that lead to these minutes was held during a public meeting as per the law.

The Law requires that a public body take several steps to close the meeting. First, a motion must be made during an open meeting to enter into executive session; second, the motion must identify the general area or areas of the subject or subjects to be considered; and third, the motion must be carried by a majority vote of the total membership of a public body.

That happened in February 2011. They did these things.

Citing "personnel matters" is not a sufficient ground for going into an executive session.

Stop. That was the only reason cited. Valerie Bertram said, "We are going into executive session to discuss a personnel matter." The board agreed and off they went. No more information.

The motion to go into executive session should be more specific. For example, a motion could be made to enter into executive session to discuss "the employment history of a particular person." The person would not have to be identified.

No, nothing more than "personnel" was given as the reason. You would have never known they were hiring special counsel, if they did in fact hire special counsel as per minutes. And I am not convinced that this executive session and these minutes correspond correctly.

It is important to point out that a public body cannot vote to appropriate public monies during a closed session. Therefore, although most public bodies (except school boards in most instances) may vote during a properly convened executive session, any vote to expend public monies must be taken in public.

Stop. No. They hired special counsel and spent a ton of public money, maybe 5% to 10% of the total annual budget as a result of this executive session.

So was it a personnel issue anyway?

Here is the legal definition:

... the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation...

No medical issues, no issues of credit. We can forget those. Tal was not dismissed, suspended, demoted, disciplined, removed or promoted, as indicated by board members in subsequent meetings.

How about "appointment" and "employed"? Special counsel might be an "appointment" but you would have to actually appoint the special counsel by name, not create the category to be filled later. The contract would have to come first, then the appointment, not the other way around.

In the case of the criminal charges handled by Whiteman Osterman and Hanna as special prosecutor in court based on this executive session, that would only be after approval by a judge.

So here are the outstanding issues with this process:

1. The executive session in February was called and approved in a public meeting but the rationale for the meeting "personnel" was too vague to allow for the executive session.

2. The issue discussed was not in fact a personnel matter as defined by the law.

3. Money was spent as a result of this executive session, which is not allowed.

4. A special prosecutor for criminal court emerged from this executive session in violation of criminal court procedure.

5. The minutes were never entered into the public record and no vote to approve the minutes was taken in subsequent town board meetings. There is no evidence that the minutes were written within 10 days of the session and there are no dates by the signatures on the minutes linked above.

6. The minutes only notes "planning" special counsel but the firm has acted on the zoning boards and in criminal court.

7. Attorney client privilege claims have resulted from this flawed process which may shield further errors and violations.

8. The minutes authorize the supervisor to enter into a contract which would then have to be approved in public meeting and no such contract was entered into the public record.

Conclusion: Large amounts of public money have been misappropriated without legal authorization. Claims of attorney privilege have been abused by an attorney without legal standing to do so.

Remediation: Whiteman Osterman and Hanna should return all funds to the taxpayers of Stuyvesant and this process should be restarted and done over legally and publicly at the next public town board meeting. All records held as privileged should be released on the town website.

Fake response: Since I didn't get a real response, I wrote my own fake response.