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Westchester GOP Chairman Calls For Greenburgh Probe

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.


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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