Dan Ashley of the North Greenbush Democratic Committee disclosed today that Supervisor Mark Evers, in violation of town laws, has illegally given Casale Excavating a check for more than $82,000 without town board approval. He stated his belief that Evers hand delivered a check sometime after the December 14th 2006 Town Board meeting which had NO payments for Casale authorized. “I believe he deliberately waited to cut the check until after the Board meeting to circumvent the no vote that would certainly have occurred”, stated Ashley.
It is also noteworthy that at the December 14th meeting, the Board voted 3-2 to request an audit and investigation of the previous payments made in the 6.4 million dollar contract. To date that contract has exceeded the stipulated bid by $722,000.00 with only $13,000 in approved change orders. The Town Supervisor voted NO to the audit request.
Ashley has written to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and other law enforcement officials requesting their review of the illegal disbursement, made to this politically connected contractor. A principal in the contractor’s company is the Town Conservative Party Chairman who plays a key role in political endorsements, including Town Supervisor in this years election. The Chairman, Michael Casale and his brothers are paid $1,500 a week from this contract. The town employee who has approved nearly all of the “Applications for Payment” is now a member of the Conservative Committee. Supervisor Evers is a Conservative seeking “their” endorsement in this year’s election and it is my opinion the Supervisor misused his office to make the illegal payment to curry favor with the contractor in the political endorsement for Supervisor, stated Ashley.
Ashley stated his belief that the $82,000 payment by the Supervisor not only violated Town Laws requiring Town Board approval prior to payment, but numerous sections of the Penal Law which could result in a criminal prosecution of the Town Supervisor. Such a unilateral payment is a direct violation of Town Law S118 & 119 which in part states “no claims shall be paid unless an authorized voucher in form prescribed by the town board or town comptroller shall be presented to the town board and shall be audited and approved”.
Ashley noted the Supervisor voted against an audit by the State Comptroller on December 14, 2006 and then, sometime after that meeting, he believes Mr. Evers had the $82,000 check printed and personally gave it to the contractor. In addition, the Town Attorney strongly advised the Board to approve no further payments until the contract had been reviewed and a recommendation made. That recommendation came in the form of a formal Town Board request to the State Comptroller to both audit and investigate the payments made to the contractor.
Ashley has forwarded this information to the State Comptroller’s Office which has agreed to audit and investigate the payments, the Attorney General and the Rensselaer County District Attorney.