North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
Fighting For You!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Town hired contractor caught installing pipe
on private property owned by Ashe's relatives.
June 16, 2005 Posted by Hello

Ashe uses public funds to improve in-laws property.

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley criticized Councilman Robert Ashe for ordering improvements to private property at taxpayer expense. “First he used town funds to give his boss’s wife a $25,000 raise and now he’s spending our tax dollars putting culvert down on the private property of his former in-laws”, stated Ashley. He even hired a private contractor to do it! The total cost could be as much as $30,000.

Ashley stated that for months plans had been drawn up to do this work and were met with warnings from the Highway Superintendent. Councilman Ashe ignored those warnings and a crew of private contractors dug the ditch and installed the pipes June 15th on Bellemead St. in Wynantskill.

This amounts to use of public funds to enrich and improve the property of a private citizen. It’s unlawful and outrageous, stated Ashley. This is especially so since it was Ashe who once criticized town officials for free a sewer hook up to a politically connected contractor. “Have you been thanked yet?” read the political mailing sent all over town by Ashe. Was it wrong then and right now because it’s a relative of Councilman Ashe, asked Ashley?

Ashley stated that Ashe has been busy trying to justify the unlawful use of public funds by claiming a former Supervisor said it was the town’s fault that this property had drainage problems. A new spin is emerging in which Ashe claims the work is part of another project involving DEC ordered improvements. This is nonsense, stated Ashley, since this property is in no way connected to the that work which was done on the other end of Main Avenue near the Post Office. Further, it is highly unlikely that a State Agency would order a municipality to spend public funds improving private property with storm drains or any other public resources.
Taxpayers should be fully reimbursed for this expense which will run into tens of thousands of dollars in labor, equipment and materials, concluded Ashley.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ashley seeks mystery documents from Ashe and Town Attorney

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is calling on Councilman Robert Ashe and his boss’s wife, the town attorney, to locate and disclose the often referred to mystery letter both have repeated cited as evidence of their understanding of the need to avoid business entanglements with the town while they hold public office.

Since being confronted with photographs now posted on our website, and published in the Advertiser, both were forced to admit that their company, Bonded Concrete had been making sales connected to water district construction. “We have since April been asking for a full accounting and disclosure of these sales of blacktop, cement, fill, etc and were met with assurances there were no business dealings involving town funds. Now we have been told by the town attorney that “it’s none of the public’s business”. “From no businesses to none of our business is quite a contradiction” stated Ashley.

Every time their ethics are questioned, they cite a “mystery letter”, they claim was filed with the town clerk when they took control of the town board. This letter is in effect, a memo of understanding detailing their intention not to do business with the town.

Ashley stated that the town clerk has conducted a search for the letter and not only does not have it, but does not remember ever seeing it. “Perhaps it went out the side door with highway department records and the my building permit”, quipped Ashley.

For the past three and a half years, Councilman Ashe and his boss’s wife repeatedly assured us they understood the need to avoid the conflicts of interest which would occur had their company been doing business and profiting off his votes and her legal advice regarding town contracts. Now they seem unwilling to produce the alleged memo of understanding detailing their intentions that no one in the public realm has apparently ever seen. And it’s no wonder since publicly they insisted they were not profiting off the town while privately they were raking in big bucks as subcontractors.

Despite FOILing the material on May 25th, the town has refused to surrender it, stated Ashley. “They are instead playing the 30 day waiting game instead of acting to produce the letter and clear the air as to their true business intentions.”

Ashley again demanded a full and complete disclosure of all sales to Bonded Concrete, Ashe’s employer and related companies in connection with water district contracts. “It must be a huge number for them to be so afraid of leveling with the public”, concluded Ashley.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Town Attorney should recuse from legal advice on concrete sales

Seeks Financial Disclosure requirement

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley has called on Town Attorney, Linda Mandell-Clemente to recuse herself from offering any position or legal advice to town board members concerning public demands that the town make a full disclosure of all sales that her husband’s company had made in connection with water district construction contracts in North Greenbush.

Ashley made the request after last week’s town board meeting in which the town attorney told the public that it was “none of their business” as to how much business her husband’s company had done on millions of dollars in water district construction in the town. Both of the companies in which her husband is a either an officer or owner or both were caught providing concrete and fill, the later in unmarked trucks, to avoid detection at the site of the new water tower.

At the board meeting Councilman Ashe, who is an employee of the Bonded Concrete division, was asked to provide a full and complete disclosure of all sales his companies have made in connection with water district construction contacts. He REFUSED, as did the town attorney who spoke as if she was representing the interests of her husbands companies in denying financial disclosure rather than the public interest in FULL DISCLOSURE of such ethically questionable business dealings.

The town attorney has in the past acted as attorney for her husband’s company and she clearly has an interest in protecting the embarrassing disclosures of the amount of money the companies have made from town contracts as a subcontractor. Therefore she should recuse herself from giving any further legal advice on the requests for a full accounting of these back door sales which both she and Councilman Ashe have repeatedly assured would not take place while they held town office.

“First it was a pledge that their companies would not benefit or do business at the expense of the town while they held office. Now the song is “it’s none of your business how much business our companies did thanks to our vote to award millions in water district contracts in the town”, stated Ashley.

Ashley also called on the town attorney to be required to file a Financial Disclosure Statement with the town. He noted that a Financial Disclosure requirement was a key component of the revised Ethics Law that Councilman Ashe had demanded back when he said he supported a new ethics law. “While these provisions were included in the revised law, Ashe and his majority have refused to act on the law and hence no one in town government is required to file these statements”, stated Ashley.

A Financial Disclosure requirement would prevent such an occurrence in North Greenbush. “Without Financial Disclosure town residents have no way of knowing whether their Town Attorney is benefiting financially in the private sector from the advice she gives in the public sector as town attorney”. “If this employee is going to be allowed to have input on public policy, we simply must be assured that her legal advice has no ulterior motive”. In this instance , there is a clear conflict of interest in offering such advice.