Welcome, Times Union readers. The story is now online.
A couple of points: this billing 26 hours in a 24 hour period business is the tip of the iceberg. I call the no show job scandal at the county attorney's office Sleepergate. There is a lot of evidence, beyond the invoices. (The FOIL lawsuit, the phone records, the videos, the emails, etc.).
If Tal Rappleyea were defrauding welfare of say, $1,824, he'd be in jail. The District Attorney Paul Czajka has no trouble filing charges against these guys. But what about a connected lawyer?
I met with Czajka in February. He has known about the 26 hour problem for nine months. What did he do? Rappleyea stole 100 times more than the schmoes he prosecutes routinely for welfare fraud.
The story is not about one crooked lawyer. It's about the whole Columbia County Board of Supervisors, every elected official in Columbia County, Democrat and Republican, rubber stamping a million plus dollar fraud ring lead by the de facto county administrator, Robert Fitzsimmons. Unanimous vote, the elected supervisors let the gang of crooked lawyers do whatever they want. Five no show jobs in just the county attorney office. When you have this kind of corruption at the top, how hard do you think the rest of the people are working? Or showing up?
Here is an older Times Union story about my fight with Stuyvesant.
I am a small business man still under siege from the local government because I refused to pay them more bribes and kick backs, although I did pay Tal Rappleyea $437.50 in one kick back. Rather than pay them, I FOILed their documents. I'm in court defending my business (or will be soon). They came at me harder. They tried to lock me up, hired a special prosecutor (two actually) from Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, the capital district's largest law firm to try to close down my small family dog boarding business. They spent $200,000 to close my business and lock me up. Criminal court in town on a false charge based on perjury, zoning abuse, planning abuse, sent the county sheriff to my house, they threw whatever they had at me.
Millions are being stolen in this county and, I'm sure, many counties in the state.
What do you expect? There is NO SYSTEM to enforce ethics (or even the penal code) at the local, municipal level. Comptroller: no jurisdiction.
The Attorney General thinks it's okay for local guys to steal. The Joint Commission on Ethics is a joke. The BAR association? Local oversight? Right. The comptroller?
I'm in court looking for documents. I'm in federal court (Northern District New York) to stop assessment fraud and more lawyer invoice fraud (1:11-cv-00335-GTS -RFT Pflaum v. Town of Stuyvesant).
These crooks throw away what I send them in sales taxes in five minutes. Everywhere I have looked, I found nothing but crime. New York local government is completely broken.
We need a new ethics regime in New York. Not kabuki theater. A real, effective system. It's possible. The guys in Albany, the elected officials, don't want to pass a real law. They'll authorize a commission to study the issue every once and awhile and stack the commission with cronies then ignore the conclusions of the report, but no, the senators and representatives like it the way it is. They have friends at the local level who are doing just fine as things are now.
The dog sign means you believe New York needs a real system of ethics that includes local and municipal government, that 1200 jurisdictions can not be left alone to police themselves.
Email me and I'll get you a sign. More corruption stories here.