Sunday, November 25, 2012

Czajka and Rappleyea, February, April and November 2012

I am a small business man who paid a kickback to my town's attorney. I eventually FOIL requested all of the attorney's invoices and found that the guy billed as much as 26 hours per day. And he is not alone. It's a racket at the heart of local government involving many attorneys. The 26 hours thing was front page news. There is a lot more to this than a few 26 hour days and more than just this one lawyer, Tal Rappleyea.

I went to the local DA, the local chair of the county government, the BAR association, the comptroller and the story ran on the front page of the Albany Times Union. Here is the outline of the whitewash from the bad local paper that is in the tank with the local DA.

You can't bill 26 hours per day on many occasions without there being a serious problem with your billing. Tal Rappleyea's "job" with Columbia County is obviously a complete farce. After nine years paying Rappleyea, the county is unable to produce any paperwork prepared with the services of Rappleyea. Rappleyea maintained a private office in Valatie and made called calls and sent emails from there, not from 401 State Street. The county kept no log of hours, as required by law for offsite employment.

Tal's guilty of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars and he did not do it alone. The investigation of this crime (a real investigation) will likely touch every supervisor in Columbia County and many in Greene County. Every lawyer who has worked at the County Attorney's office in the past nine years is a potential suspect.

The grand larceny at the county attorney's office is among the crimes documented on this blog involving Rappleyea. Tal Rappleyea is clearly a criminal.

I gave the Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka a couple hundred pages of documents and met with him for two hours on February 15, 2012. In our meeting in February, Czajka said his former secretary was Rappleyea's wife, Holly.

There is no information in the November 11, 2012  Times Union story that I did not already give to Czajka in February 2012. The Times Union editorial staff reviewed the evidence and ran the story on the front page.

In April 2012, Czajka granted Rappleyea prosecutorial authority in Austerlitz. Here is the quote:
During the meeting, [Austerlitz Supervisor Jeff] Braley noted that Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka has authorized town Attorney Tal Rappleyea to prosecute violations of Austerlitz town laws.
So Czajka had substantial evidence Rappleyea was a criminal in February. In April, he gave him authority to prosecute.

Czajka cannot investigate Rappleyea. Rappleyea's crimes involve the acquiescence, approval, cooperation and/or participation of the board of supervisors (CCBOS), Robert Fitzsimmons, Barret Mack, Andrew Howard, Charles Hoag, Christopher Watz, Patrick Grattan, and many more, all of whom aided abetted these felonies, which continue.

The prosecutor should be from somewhere other than Columbia or Greene counties. And the Comptroller must protect the pension system. Letting rich, well-connected lawyers steal from the pension system is not an option available to DiNapoli's office. Participating in a cover up is not an option.

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