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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fraud by Any Other Name

key docs waiver 209

When Town Supervisor Mark Evers signed a sworn declaration to a State agency affirming that his political benefactor John Harkin qualified for a waiver from the State Retirement system that allowed him to collect a full pension and a full salary from the town, he in effect perjured himself.

Documents submitted by Evers to the State obtained by the Pipeline show that Evers deceived State officials by falsely stating that another qualified applicant for the position who did not require a pension waiver because he was not a State retiree, "submitted his application late". Therefore, the State would conclude that the other applicant was not considered by the Town Board for appointment.

In reality, the other applicant, a certified assessor, was fully considered by the town board which is the appointing authority under Town Law. The Board did not consider his application to be late and voted 3-2 in November 2007 not to appoint the other applicant. Evers, however, failed to inform the State of this fact, instead dismissing the other applicant as a late file to clear the field for a waiver for Harkin which he was simply not entitled to.

Evers request to the NY State Civil Service Commission for a waiver include Form, CSC 20 which includes this affirmation: "I, the appointing authority, hereby affirm under penalties of perjury provided for in Section 210 of the Penal Law, that the statements made herein, (AND ON THE ATTACHED PAPERS) are true and correct and that I have determined that the retiree is duly qualified etc,…AND THAT THERE ARE NOT READILY AVAILABLE FOR RECRUITMENT NON-RETIRED PERSONS QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF SUCH POSITION. This affirmation is required under S 211 of the Retirement and Social Security Law, a waiver can only be granted if certain criteria are met and exist in the hiring process.

Well Mr. Evers, perjury is a serious offense which in this case was done to defraud the State Retirement System by improperly obtaining a financial benefit for a political supporter that he was ineligible to receive.

Above are some of the correspondence Evers submitted to the State including his signed sworn declaration which right below contains the signature of Mr. Harkin, who was also fully aware of the existence of a fellow applicant who was available for appointment and who did not require a waiver.

That brings into question issues of conspiracy to defraud the State which can only be addressed by appropriate law enforcement agencies such as the Attorney General, who has crusaded against retirement system fraud or the local District Attorney who could peruse charges including filing a false instrument and falsification of business records. Oh, did we mention the fact that Evers used the United States Mail in this caper which brings up the subject of Federal Mail Fraud.

Also provided is an email sent by the former town attorney, Joshua Sabo to the State seeking guidance as to whether the Supervisor can unilaterally make a request for a waiver without a majority of the Town Board approving that request. The email indicates that a majority of the board at that time, which is the "appointing authority", would not have approved of making such a request. Evers in essence, made the request without informing the rest of the town board. Let's face it, getting a majority of an elected board to agree to submit a false claim of this nature would not be an easy task, today or back in 2007 when the request was submitted.

Finally, there is a letter from yet another applicant to the State, Phyllis Razzano which disputes Evers assertion regarding her availability for the position and which questions the validity of Evers misusing his authority to submit documents on behalf of the town board as "appointing authority" which the town board is both unaware of and would not likely have approved.

It's just one more sad chapter in the Mark Evers saga of acting outside the law, from appointing people to town jobs without the consent of the town board to falsifying public records to rob taxpayers of their assets. Democrats are undoubtedly praying that the GOP endorses this fellow yet again giving them a plethora of issues to hammer them and their candidates with in the fall.

There is also a story exclusive to the Troy Record which you can read here. You'll get a boot out of Evers comment declaring himself a "dangerous candidate". Now there's an understatement. You can also read a post in the Times Union here.

A New Breed of Political Burglar

Move over G. Gordon Liddy, there's a new breed of burglar on the political block and they don't use duct tape!

You have to laugh at the childish and reckless stupidity demonstrated by Republicans in the Rensselaer County Legislature. Yes Mr. Desso and Mr. Fiacco, these are the folks you want to run with this year and who are helping you write your media.

After office hours, they sent two brave young women accompanied by a security guard to let themselves into the offices occupied by their political opposition. The target, the office printer. That dangerous laser technology that keeps Richard Crist, the GOP's most expensive employee, hopping with responsive press releases attacking every aspect of Democratic thought.

The ladies, acting under the orders of their elected legislative superiors, located the printer and disconnected it from the computer, then, under watchful eyes of the county executive's security detail, absconded with the printer back to their home base down the hallway.

Yes, a successful operation indeed. No messy duct tape, no fingerprints left behind, no sign of forced entry. All looked well until the police showed up to investigate the theft. The case was quickly solved as those responsible fessed up.

But what courage demonstrated by Legislative Chairman Neil Kelleher, sending those two brave female staffers into harms way to secure that nasty democratic printer. It reminds this publication of two former GOP legislators, who knowing a subpoena was being served on them at their office, hid under their desks in an effort to avoid service. It didn't work, they were served like true poodles.

We guess those Democrats will just have to use pen and paper to fax out all those missives pounding Republicans. In the mean time we have to ask whether the GOP would try the same thing at the District Attorney's Office?

Here's the Times Union story including "G. Gordon Crist's" response from the Republicans and the Troy Record's account. News CH 13 did a great job at 11PM last night as well. You can see their story in the Flash Player screen which rotates through several items including the story on the "break in". Look for a lonely printer on a desk, that's it.

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