North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
Fighting For You!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO GERMANO’S LOBBYIST


It is no coincidence that registered lobbyist Louis Cotrona would choose the Democratic Committee’s golf day fund raiser to begin his client’s smear campaign to regain what he lost through an indictment several years ago, control of the town Democratic Committee. While our committee people work hard to raise funds for the party, this lobbyist who contributes nothing to the party, works instead to damage this highly successful annual fund raiser.

Chairman Ashley noted that the Democratic Committee rejected the candidacy of this lobbyist for Town Supervisor last year when he asked for our endorsement. “We felt it would be unseemly for the party to endorse a lobbyist to run the town and it’s just as unseemly to have a lobbyist run the Democratic Party”, concluded Ashley. It’s something the State Lobbying Commission should clearly examine, a lobbyist trying to gain control of a political party to further his financial interests and those of his clients.

I have stated repeatedly that lobbyist Cotrona’s self appointed and proclaimed “non partisan” Citizen’s Club was a front for former Chairman James Germano’s drive to recapture control of the Democratic Party. The non partisan club is now fully exposed as a highly partisan mechanism manufactured to infiltrate and control the Democratic Committee with a lobbyist as its chairman and a defeated Republican Board candidate, Lou Desso, as its Vice Chairman with engineering provided by the disgraced former Democratic Chairman James Germano, (now a Conservative) who personally gathered Cotrona’s petition signatures at the doors of town residents.

There is an inescapable irony in lobbyist Cotrona complaining about dual residency arising from his 1991 lawless act of running for the East Greenbush School Board while residing in a different school district. The State Commissioner of Education removed him from the school board after issuing a stinging June 1992 decision in which Cotrona was found to have made contradictory sworn statements regarding his residency on a Federal loan application in which he applied for a loan by declaring his North Greenbush home as his primary residence. The Commissioner noted that the form contained language declaring it a “federal crime to knowingly make false statements” on the application (Fannie Mae 1003). Cotrona also made sworn statements in his petition that his separation from his wife was “temporary” while swearing on his federal loan application that he was “UNMARRIED”. His candidacy for the Democratic Committee is a stain on this party that is best described by the finding of the State Education Commissioner that “I find that he lacks credibility”. Cotrona should explain why he did not either commit fraud on his application or on his sworn statements to the State Education Department. If he fails to explain his contradictory sworn statements he and his slate should with draw from the race and his slate denounce his fraudulent acts.

North Greenbush does not need a Jack Abramoff lobbyist with Jim Germano as his client running the Democratic Party. They should stay in the Republican Party which adopted them after Germano’s indictment with Henry Zwack resulting from his efforts to corrupt the Civil Service system by exchanging political favors to get his grandson a retest for the police job he finagled for him. Nor do we need people on the Democratic Committee who support candidates who make contradictory sworn statements for profit and power.

As for my vote for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, I was in Florida at the time of this critical election and was told I could cast a vote there rather than in New York where Kerry won with double digits. As a committed Democrat, I proudly cast my vote for Kerry and think often how sad that Gore lost in 2001 by 500 votes in Florida. Especially sad in light of the price of the Bush presidency and its thousands of casualties in a manufactured war in Iraq.

Unlike Mr. Cotrona’s run for school board, the so called tax breaks we receive are legal. They are nothing more than a type of Star Program my wife is eligible for as the owner of a home in Florida where she resides most of the year and maintains legal residency. If lobbyist Cotrona wants to talk about who pays more taxes he need only look at the investment I have made with my children in North Greenbush where we have built 4 homes investing more than a million and a half dollars and paying tens of thousands of dollars in taxes which support our schools and community.

I note for the record that the State Education Commissioner’s decision documents that Cotrona admitted to transferring property to his wife when they were separated “solely for tax purposes”. He acknowledged that he did so while living apart from his wife while offering no explanation for listing his residence in Troy. Lobbyist Cotrona should recognize tax fraud when he sees it stated Ashley. He was after all a member of the New York State Tax Commission!

Ashley concluded by thanking his allies in lobbyist Cotrona’s inner circle who keep him informed of his intentions, including meetings and press conferences.