Westchester GOP Chairman Calls For Greenburgh Probe

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Westchester County Republican Chairman Douglas Colety said allowing the White Plains for Obama campaign group to use Greenburgh Town Hall was "inappropriate." Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m.

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Westchester County Republican Chairman Douglas Colety is calling on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the use of Greenburgh Town Hall by an Obama campaign group.

Colety said he wants Schneiderman to conduct a full investigation to see if any laws were violated by the Greenburgh Town Board's "clearly unethical behavior."

"Taxpayers have a right to know that public facilities are not being used for partisan political campaigns and no municipal building should ever be converted into campaign headquarters for any party," Colety wrote in a press release.

Colety also encouraged concerned Westchester taxpayers to contact Schneiderman and ask for answers.

"It is critical that the Attorney General step in to answer important questions, including whether any town employees were used to keep Town Hall open for the evening phonebank and whether any laws were broken in the process," Colety wrote in the statement.

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The use of Greenburgh Town Hall by the White Plains for Obama campaign group has some local Republican leaders speaking out against what they say are ethical, if not legal, violations.

Westchester County Republican Chairman Douglas Colety said it was "completely inappropriate" for Town Supervisor Paul Feiner to allow a political group on town-owned property.

"I think the attorney general should look into it. It's inappropriate and possibly illegal," Colety said. "We need to look into it."

Feiner said he received several calls Wednesday from Republican activists disturbed that the Greenburgh Town Board, consisting of all Democrats, had allowed a group supporting Barack Obama to campaign out of the local government's property.

Arthur DeRuve, a member of the Westchester County Republican Committee, called the board's actions "an outrage."

"If he's doing something illegal it should be investigated," DeRuve said.

Greenburgh Town Attorney Tim Lewis and Deputy Town Attorney David Fried contacted the Association of Towns on Wednesday afternoon and were advised that the group's presence was not illegal, provided it paid a leasing fee. Feiner is now requesting $900 from the group for its past meetings, and an additional $100 for each future session.

Feiner said Town Hall has always been a place for the community to gather, and he didn't want to turn anyone down, no matter what they're meeting for.

"Please be advised that if the Romney campaign or any other political campaign or advocacy group wishes to use Town Hall for similar purposes they would be provided with the same opportunities and be required to pay the same rent," Feiner wrote in an email to Dorothy Jackson, co-chair of White Plains for Obama.

But Colety said Feiner should have recognized the legal implications of letting a political group campaign out of Town Hall, and, instead, his actions have caught up with him.

"After he has his hand caught in the cookie jar, then he decides to charge?" Colety said. "He absolutely should have known it was wrong."

Thomas Bock, a former Republican candidate for the state Assembly, said offering the space on a lease after the fact "doesn't make this right."

"Like that's supposed to negate everything and make it better," said Bock, who had planned to run last year against Feiner for town supervisor but pulled out. "It's a shame. It's disappointing."

Lewis, the town attorney, said he is still awaiting a response from the county Board of Elections on whether the town should let White Plains for Obama keep using Town Hall. Feiner has said, "If the state Board of Elections says this is something we shouldn't do, we won't do it."

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Comments (25)

VictoriaSA:

Yes, it does seem a little inappropriate to utilize the premises of Greenburgh to hold a political campaign without prior knowledge of the residents there. The Attorney General definitely needs to take center stage and take this matter into his hands. Perhaps a resolution could be such that the political campaign could be held but prior notification to the respective town hall authorities be given and a fee could be imposed.

tootired:

"The Town Board is expected next week to formalize a policy outlining which organizations will be required to pay to use the building. Feiner says he expects exceptions for civic and nonprofit groups."

Non-profit groups example: Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, which was founded by Karl Rove and other Republican strategists..

Beware of the NON-PROFIT.

time2move:

Will this mean the Dems will no longer be able to hold their annual convention at Town Hall? Did they ever pay Greenburgh for use of the Hall. Or was that also a political favor?
So many questions without ever getting an answer!

TheWestchesterNews:

All Politicians live free, they are non-profits.

Let's see, you have all these non-profit organizations, unions, claiming to support political candidates with all their members, rich people donating to non-profits is just a tax write off tactic, Corrupt Politicians launder money through non-profits, and the list goes on and on.

There are too many crooked hands in the taxpayers cookie jar...

~ The Westchester News

Tom Bock:

Mr Feiner posted a comment about me earlier. His statement is entirely incorrect and its no wonder the Supervisor cannot see what he did is morally, ethically, and if not legally, wrong. It IS true that I was at a meeting at Town Hall earlier this week - as a guest. I was there in the capacity of Vice-President of the Fulton Park Civic Association at the request of two Worthington Road residents. Their sole purpose was to form a civic association for their respective neighborhoods and asked for my assistance, which I was happy to provide. Again, I did NOT host this meeting and was a guest. The civic association formation was the main topic. It was not about the referendum, although it along with other topics were discussed with several other guests from other organizations also in attendance and various levels of participation.

Those people who know me, have worked with me and yes, even voted for me, know I always try to travel a moral highroad. Somewhere after Mr. Feiner’s first or second term (I helped him on his first campaign for supervisor) he missed a turn and has been on a road I choose not to travel. While I may indeed run against Mr Feiner in the future, the issue here is not about my candidacy, my assistance to and/or the formation of another civic association, any political aspirations coming to fruition or not, or my scheduling last week. Rather, it is about another illegal action in a long list of illegal actions that Mr Feiner has participated in. And, it is the subtlety of this continued behavior by Mr. Feiner and the press’ equally continued lack of investigations that allow it to continue. It has emboldening him to even greater egregious behavior, such as the Fortess Bible Discrimination verdict, the four million dollar shortage from the water department, the failed WestHelp contract, the gifts requested of developers on behalf of the Fairview Fire Department for site approvals and more. Unfortunately, his list goes on but I won’t.

halmarc45:

No Tom, you've got it wrong. If you ever become Town Supervisor and make a similar mistake, it's you the public will be criticizing. But for now, the problem is one that Feiner has to defend, whether or not it is himself or Alan Hochberg (whom I suspect) the culprit(s).

Feiner has been Town Supervisor for 20+ years. Even though I suspect he has but six months experience repeated 20 times, he has been paid for 20 years and if he hasn't a clue yet whom to turn his house keys over to, it is he who has to defend wrongful actions. You don't work for the Town; you don't decide who can hold meetings in Town Hall; you don't need to defend your being there.

You need to recognize that this is more of the same old Feiner trying to squeeze out unscathed from the train wreck he caused.

It is Feiner who needs to spend less time finding new friends among potential voters and more time learning how to be Town Supervisor and what it legally entails. He doesn't need to send Tim Lewis off to the front lines to scout out the enemy fortifications after he has left his own fortress unguarded.

Residents need to hear from him who gave permission to the Obama Dems and when did the Town Board vote to allow their tenancy?

Everything else he throws up is just smoke and mirrors.

Keep focused.

tootired:

Tom: Apparently you did not donate a fire truck, donuts or cash to repair the 9-11 memorial.

time2move:

The Associations of Towns says it's not illegal if we collect a leasing fee.
I'm a little confused, to collect a leasing fee means we have entered into a lease. I have some questions:
1. Who authorized the terms, conditions of this so called lease (Illegal) meaning Rent, insurance, location and square footage of leased space, Times of operation.
2. Who sign it?

3. Where or who did the money come from? WAS money received?

4. Where will the money go to A fund or B fund. Or will it go to Paul's bail fund?

5. How can you have a Political group go deep into the bowels of Town Hall to the cafeteria having to pass by Departments that contain sensitive information such as property and tax records. Who was supervising?

4.If they are using their personal cell phone why would they need to be in Town Hall? Who politically is gaining something from this?

5. Will the Board attempt as they always do to pass a resolution after the fact absolving them of any wrong doing?

6. Since when Paul is it known that a Civic Association formation meeting attended by CGCA and other Civic groups who are well known not to be political a political meeting?

7.Has Paul done it again made something non political political?

Can someone help me with these questions. How about you Paul?
Darn that's right you don't answer questions.What was I thinking. I must be becoming more insane than you already are Paul. How much longer can you keep up this corrupt behavior without thinking your not going to get caught. I hope it's finally catching up with you.

TheWestchesterNews:

Republican Chairman Douglas Colety is calling on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman...lol...lol

Doug can you please ask the Attorney General to look into the Westchester County Board of Elections because "Voter Fraud" is cheating taxpayers out of thousands of dollars maybe even millions, but it's a lot of money that is being spend for Election Day! Don't you realize that every Democratic Candidate is running uncontested, why is there even an Election Day in Westchester County, New York, when all the Democrats are running uncontested? I think the Republican Party sounds just as crooked as the Democrats, Independents, conservative and the Tea party, you're all one party, as in, corrupt party...lol Doug, you work at the Board of Elections, aren't you drawing a "Nice" fulltime salary off the same taxpayers, hum, tell me are you a "No show job" because the Republicans have no candidates to run against the Democrats?

We need a full investigation of the Westchester County Board of Elections fixing races, while, all these politicians are spending the taxpayers money on illegal drugs and cheating on their wives. I won't mention any one's name, but, you guys know who you are...lol

I hope the FBI investigates all of you and you all get indicted because all of you are corrupt and all of you belong in Federal jail. Not one of you are trustworthy, and all of you are disgraceful to every struggling taxpayer in Westchester County!

Taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet, the unemployed are struggling to keep their heads above the water, and all of you cheaters are cheating the taxpayers. American Greed!!! You should all watch it. It's my favorite TV show.

All of you, are members of the club, the who do you know club, the secret society, the illuminati.

The truth is this, Voters, your vote does not count, and when you get educated about the illuminati in Westchester County, you would realize that you don't count, you don't matter because when you're a nobody, nobody cares in the illuminati.

~ The Westchester News

halmarc45:

Does any of this sound like Joe McCarthy and "in this envelope" I have a list of names...
Other than looking to publicize your venture, is there any specific allegation of a crime you postulate that should send the FBI and Attorney General scurrying to investigate other than the Republican Party hasn't presented a field of candidates willing to run?

If Sherlock Holmes is making a comeback in the entertainment industry then you are must be leading its charge. Here's what you didn't write: "Elementary, Watson."
This is politics not in the extreme but by rote and the reason why some people are drawn to it -- to benefit from the system
The Board of Elections is headed by a Republican and a Democrat.
Neither deserves to be paid their salaries which are in the neighborhood of $140,000+. Yes, one job done by two persons should be one pay scale divided by 2. Perhaps it would be be more reasonable to pay them by commissions only: how many people vote; how many Democrats, how many Republicans?

The remuneration and temptation angle is one that makes a Democracy, the excuse for Politics so appealing as a career move. And the envy of those who watch from the sidelines.

But, if your other purpose in writing was seeking to draw readers away from a discussion of this most recent misuse of the public trust by Feiner & Co., were you at all concerned when addressing your comment especially for one who should appreciate mastheads. This one reads GREENBURGH Daily Voice while your topic, comment and small voice cry Westchester issues.
Healer, to thy own self return.
Hal Samis

TheWestchesterNews:

Hal,

Apparently, I know these guys a lot longer then you!

Welcome to Westchester County Politics...lol

~ The Westchester News

halmarc45:

I responded because 'knowing these guys a lot longer' is apparent to lay persons as only apparent to your personal self, like it was to McCarthy.
Who knows: maybe the FBI and the Attorney General read these comments.
What a splendid opportunity for you to get their attention by throwing out a little bait for starters Think Clara Pelitzer humping for Burger King, "where's the meat?"

TheWestchesterNews:

LOL.. Hal.. you are funny, but, I like your spirit. Here's a question that leaves Greenburgh sounding like just a lead, that will open a can of worms that this government won't have enough room to coverup.

Why do the American citizens/taxpayers in Westchester County, New York pay the highest taxes in the United States of America? Should there be an investigation about that?

~ The Westchester News

halmarc45:

For fun I'll accept your premise.
For fun I'll respond that Some of the wealthiest citizens live in Westchester and that Some of the highest incomes are earned by them.
And that often, but not all the time, those earning the highest incomes pay the highest taxes.
For fun I'll also assume that most of the wealthiest own the most expensive home.
And that often, but not all the time, the most expensive real estate yields the highest property taxes...
And you'll cite some examples to the contrary but this is only more of your need to keep the flow of comment away from the news story which hosts this opportunity for you to bloviate about what's on YOUR agenda.
Find another foil.

paulfeiner:

Thomas Bock held a meeting at Greenburgh Town Hall eaerlier this week to organize a campaign against the referendum we're scheduling in November on the Game On sports bubble. He was using town hall for a political purpose. We didn't stop him then. And, we won't stop him now from using town hall for political purposes..

halmarc45:

Is a rally necessary to incite Town Hall to publish information on the Referendum? Your constituents, Greenburgh residents and taxpayers haven't even been presented yet with the language of the Proposition much less an honest and balanced pros and cons fact sheet from the Referendum's host, you, the Town Supervisor. And by "November", you mean election day November 6, now just one 30 days hence. Clearly 'an educated public is not your best public'.
Are residents to vote on the use of the site, the proposed tenant, on whether to lease or sell the site, or on the terms of the lease?

You daily exhibit a surfeit of time to promote yourself in the media; curious isn't it how silent you have become about this "time is of the essence" matter ever since bestowing the mandatory Referendum.
"It takes a worried man to lead a worried life..."

Hal Samis

tootired:

What?What are you saying? He used town hall to conduct a meeting opposing a town issue? Was he campaigning? Are you insane? I really believe you are mentally ill.

halmarc45:

This reader's interest has been whetted by this story but like the quote "in the symphony of life, the rests are as important as the notes", the story lacks important, crucial details which might open up a much larger can of worms.

Here we see the Town Supervisor taking quick action to contain a problem. 'Ok let's charge them rent and the problem will go away.' Still Town Attorney Tim Lewis is left behind reading from the draft script and seeking Board Of Elections vetting that all's well by election law: yet this has nothing to do with whether it is in accord with Greenburgh sensibilities.
But what's missing from this "story" are these key points:

Why would Obama Dems need to meet Tuesdays together if all they are doing is working their personal cell phones?

If it has been going on for 8 weeks+, was Feiner aware of this and he did nothing until the news broke?

Who gave the Obama Dems permission? Much as I would like to pin the tail and tale on this donkey, Feiner has not specifically taken credit for this misdeed. Everyone assumes that because he is the Town Supervisor that he did. And because he has taken the position that no harm has been done because the Dems are supposed to pony up the bucks (payment supposed to have been made yesterday, was it?) the song is over. Not so fast. There are refrains yet to be sung and a "B" side yet to be played.

Refrain: When did the Town Board vote to allow this?
Refrain: Who decided and on what basis did $100 become the magic number?

Interesting and typical "here today and gone tomorrow" blips on Feiner's curriculum vitae.

But let's take a listen to the "B" side of this week's Feiner hot 100 list.

And allow me to present my theory of what this most current "blip" is all about. Since for now it can be called "fictionalized" let's work all the elements of crime reports into the lyrics: fall guy, cutouts, agent with a buried past, missing evidence, power hungry bad guy...you know these people and storyline from having read one of the earlier works in the series: The Fortress Bible Decision.

You see I have a theory that there is another yet unmentioned player at the heart of this latest fiasco. Someone with a murky past and someone who Feiner is protecting (for good reason) to the extent that he is willing to allow readers to "believe" (falling short of admitting because the lawyer in him doesn't want to admit to what may be shown to be an ethics transgression or worse) that he knew about it and allowed it. Let me spin the wheel of shame and...the pointer lands on....Alan Hochberg.

Yes Alan Hochberg, the disgraced Democrat Bronx State Assembly member (and CHAIR of the Assembly's Ethics Committee, no less) who was convicted of 3 out of 4 counts of an indictment charging him with corruption and fraud.
He was found innocent of the 4th charge of attempted grand larceny. Sentenced to and serving a year in the Big House, Hochberg was also disbarred by the State Bar Association. With little to no chance of ever again becoming an elected official, Hochberg has befriended several local Democrat politicians in an attempt to return to his former skills as a behind the scenes Power Broker. Which brings him to the doorstep of our very own Town Supervisor and, to a lesser extent, Tom Abinanti. But this is a theory concerning Town Hall only so let's look at how Hochberg has flourished there and how his "gift of gab", humbleness, servility and waxing over "distinguished citizens" has brought him thisclose to the Greenburgh throne and to recapturing a past of life at the center.
Feiner over the years has appointed Hochberg to several important committee Chairmanships. Committees whose singular purpose is to embellish a crumbling Feiner lock on the Town Supervisor position. Thus we see Hochberg after his stewardship of the Solomon Schecter School new construction which celebrated the illegal cutting down of several trees along the West Hartsdale Avenue side by paying a substantial fine to the Town, exhibiting the perfect qualifications to CHAIR the fledgling Greenburgh Access TV Committee whose membership resigned en masse after Hochberg announced that he favored an independent cable operation under the control of Feiner. This triumph led to his appointment as CHAIR of the Fire District Consolidation Commission which ended its life with a controversial and inconclusive report which accomplished nothing except waste time since the Town has no control over the Fire Districts which are independent. This kowtowing to the Feiner line brought new honor in the form of a new title, CHAIR of the Citizens Advisory Budget Commission or something similar and then once more to its successor under a new, more serious and more official sounding title which I equally stumble over. The committee/commsssions, whatever report directly to Feiner and, for the most part, their work product in neither FOILable or subject to open meeting laws.
For his loyalty, Hochberg has been given an office in Town Hall, free copying and franking privileges, phone, unlimited access to Town Departments/files and a Town business card with the title, Assistant Town Supervisor.

So much for background. It is my belief (unsubstantiated) that Hochberg, seeking to regroup within the Democratic Party, gave permission to the Obama Democrats and that Feiner, who still looks to reward Hochberg and friends for their loyalty above and beyond by getting them on the Town payroll with lucrative part-time positions (see 2012 "Supervisor's or tentative Budget, Town Supervisor Department, $45,000, $35,000 payroll lines), is protecting him by "appearing" to swallow the poison pill upon exposure but doing so in a manner so as to avoid the consequences. Feiner doesn't want his major domo to appear bruised when the 2013 tentative budget makes its appearance at the end of the month.

"it's a typical day in dog park USA" and "You Are There".
Hal Samis

tootired:

see below

OnlyInGreenburgh:

Oh and let's not forget how upstanding our town board members are....in a spirit of keeping our taxes stable they elected to not take pay increases. What they didn't tell us is that they increased their health insurance buy-outs from $5000 a year to $9000 a year, and all four take the buy-out. That's a 12% a year increase. They approved that increase under the radar. they also didn't tell us is that they are the only four part-time town employees offered health insurance and therefore eligible for the buy-out. Could they be more dishonest? There is an endless list of unethical and illegal actions going on in our town and no one seems to care. We keep voting these morally and ethically corrupt people back into office.

halmarc45:

When I saw $9000 in print appear before, I wrote a vague comment because I don't automatically respond to is what I don't know firsthand from either a reliable source or from my own research. Now that it has aired a second time, I ask of you to explain this more in detail. When did this happen? Was it done by Town Board Resolution? Is it incorrect to assume that $9000 is coverage for the entire family and, if so, do you know for a fact that all of those claiming this amount still have what qualifies under insurance coverage (ages of family members) as a "family" to be eligible for a buyout at this price.
If what you wrote is true -- in all aspects -- this is a damning piece of information and the reporter, Samantha Kramer should follow this news lead up.

Here we have the Town posturing that it is looking out for the pockets of taxpayers by seeking to have its Union employers shoulder more of the cost of their medical medical benefits while at the same time increasing the cost to taxpayers for? Town Council (4), Town Board (5) members (WHOM specifically?) for insurance coverage they don't need because they are already covered under existing plans, i.e. that of their spouse or their own retirement benefits. Kevin Morgan, shameless, is already covered by the Town as a retired Greenburgh Police Officer. What needs to be answered to cover all the bases is whether Feiner (his wife is on the State payroll) is taking the buyout OR whether his wife is qualified under her employment and, does. Either way, taxpayers are footing the bill.
AND SINCE YOU ARE A READER, MR. FEINER here's your chance to step in and clear away the smoke. As the Town's Chief Financial Officer/Town Supervisor you have the power and the information to set the record straight.
How about it?

halmarc45:

When I saw $9000 in print appear before, I wrote a vague comment because I don't automatically respond to is what I don't know firsthand from either a reliable source or from my own research. Now that it has aired a second time, I ask of you to explain this more in detail. When did this happen? Was it done by Town Board Resolution? Is it incorrect to assume that $9000 is coverage for the entire family and, if so, do you know for a fact that all of those claiming this amount still have what qualifies under insurance coverage (ages of family members) as a "family" to be eligible for a buyout at this price.
If what you wrote is true -- in all aspects -- this is a damning piece of information and the reporter, Samantha Kramer should follow this news lead up.

Here we have the Town posturing that it is looking out for the pockets of taxpayers by seeking to have its Union employers shoulder more of the cost of their medical medical benefits while at the same time increasing the cost to taxpayers for? Town Council (4), Town Board (5) members (WHOM specifically?) for insurance coverage they don't need because they are already covered under existing plans, i.e. that of their spouse or their own retirement benefits. Kevin Morgan, shameless, is already covered by the Town as a retired Greenburgh Police Officer. What needs to be answered to cover all the bases is whether Feiner (his wife is on the State payroll) is taking the buyout OR whether his wife is qualified under her employment and, does. Either way, taxpayers are footing the bill.
AND SINCE YOU ARE A READER, MR. FEINER here's your chance to step in and clear away the smoke. As the Town's Chief Financial Officer/Town Supervisor you have the power and the information to set the record straight.
How about it?

OnlyInGreenburgh:

He absolutely knew better but once again the laws that govern the rest of us have nothing to do with him. As usual, acting like a six year old, he got his hand slapped and now has to put the cookie back in the jar. Start adding up the cost of resources to respond to this....town employees using their town-paid time to try to clean up his mess. How does anyone think this man has an ounce of honesty or integrity? His assistant supervisor is a convicted felon, convicted of fraud and did time in a federal pen. He,s been given full access to town financial info and files...does the town have a crime bond to protect us? Of course not... There isn't an underwriter who would issue a bond for a convicted felon. The commissioner of the tdycc is also rumored to be a convicted felon but this we don't know for sure because the town won't release his resume to the public. So why should we expect Feiner to be honest and ethical when those he surrounds himself with are proven to be everything but.

tootired:

Carter served time in jail (article in link) had a rough life, turned it around long ago. I have less of an issue with Carter and more of an issue with sweeping everything under the rug as is continually done by Feiner when it comes to many things and most often in reference to what goes on at TDYCC. Rumor has it that the recent thefts at TDYCC involving laptops involve either a relative of Carter's or someone close to him. This is just a rumor. I suppose we will have to live with the rumors because Feiner will not disclose the truth, per usual. It's up to the public to expose criminal active that has been hushed by Paul since the media does not do it's job in reporting it. I was happy to see the 2 articles regarding the inappropriate use of town property for campaigning, used with "no fuss" for the entire time he has been in office. Tip of the iceberg.
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/15/nyregion/from-the-streets-to-the-classroom.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

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