North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ashley seeks disclosure from Supervisor of Source of Legal Brief

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is calling upon the Town Supervisor to disclose from whom he obtained a copy of a legal brief prepared by former Town Attorney Linda Mandel-Clemente which he sent as an unlawful ex-parte communication to the State Court of Appeals in an effort to undermine the Town Attorney and a majority of Board members.

This brief of the prior defeated administration argued against the mandate of the recent town election and the position of a majority of Town Board members pertaining to the prior Board’s rezoning of the 4 & 43 intersection from PB to Commercial. This act also ignored a Super Majority Petition filed by town residents. This petition would have required a four fifth’s majority to rezone the area which would have prevented the proposed Van Rensselaer Square Mall from being approved.

“When Mr. Evers came before the Democratic Committee last year seeking our endorsement, he assured us that he opposed the big box retail proposed by Mr. Nigro and the controversial rezoning of the area done for his benefit”, stated Ashley. In fact, on July 26, 2005, Evers joined our slate of Board candidates in a press release supporting the Supreme Court decision declaring the rezoning to be illegal. It reads in part,

“Democratic candidates for the North Greenbush Town Board reacted to the Supreme Court decision declaring illegal their opponents re-zoning of the Rts 4 & 43 intersection to accommodate the wishes of their developer supporters as “a major victory for the people of this town and a clear setback for the development interests running this town board majority”. … They called on the majority NOT to appeal the decision and funnel more money into the pockets of the town attorney who is being paid extra for all legal work on top of her salary. “The Courts are the last protection that town residents have until the November election when voters will have an opportunity to take their government back from the developers currently running the town board majority.”

Mr. Evers’ flip-flop invites the developer to get behind the wheel of the Supervisor’s Office by using the old legal briefs and advice needed to undermine the election mandate he ran on, concluded Ashley. By attempting to submit this appellate brief, he has sold to out the developers he campaigned against by supporting the rezoning of the intersection to commercial. “He violated his word twice, once to the Democratic Committee and now again to the voters who elected him with this letter to the Court of Appeals.”

“ Democrats were astonished to learn that he was working behind the backs of both Board members and the Town’s Attorney in an attempt to have the Town’s legal position support the defeated Board’s position rather than the mandate of his own election”.

The Supervisor somehow knew that he needed to submit 25 copies of the brief to the Court of Appeals and precisely where to find a copy, stated Ashley. The question is from whom did he get this legal advice and the old brief previously submitted to the Appellate Division by the defeated administration?

Ashley concluded by stating that if the Supervisor obtained this brief and advice to send the letter to the Court of Appeals from one of the attorneys in the case, they might have violated professional ethics and standards by encouraging a ex-parte communication by a client (Evers) of an opposing attorney (Town Atty) without the attorney’s knowledge.