Desicion and Order 2 10 2010
While the brothers Jeff and Al Spain may try to claim membership in the Democratic Party, most Democrats find it hard to accept the notion that these GOP loyalists have any more credibility to represent the Democratic Party than say Attila the Hun has as a representative of a Human Rights Commission.
For months now, Jeff Spain has been a defendant in a civil case brought in the City of Rensselaer by the North Greenbush Democratic Committee. The suit seeks recovery of thousands of dollars in party funds that Jeff Spain disbursed to various charities after he lost control of the committee in September 2008. Immediately after he lost control he was notified by letter that he would be expected to turn over all remaining party funds in the committee accounts as of Primary Day 2008 and that he would be held accountable for any funds disbursed without the consent of the committee.
Spain called on his election attorney who resides in Albany County to defend him in court. That attorney was appointed to a town job in our courts by Spain's big brother Al and his majority on the town board. Did we mention that this attorney is also on the payroll of the NY State Senate? That means that Spain's attorney was "double dipping" before Lou Desso had the opportunity, some two years before!
This is the attorney that brother Al and his majority jumped through hoops for, changing a town law so they could legally appoint him back to the town job they had illegally appointed him to just two years earlier. Anything for a friend, so long as he provides a little payback by representing Councilman Spain's brother, presumably free of charge, in the little civil suit that may cost him close to $4,000 in party reimbursements.
On Tuesday, May 4th, Jeff Spain had his day in court. He was represented by yet another prominent Republican election lawyer who stood in for original attorney who was denied another postponement claiming his big job at he dysfunctional NY State Senate made it impossible to be present at the trial that day.
During the trial, Spain tried to claim he had no fiduciary responsibility to protect the party funds he controlled, that it was perfectly all right to give it all away after he was warned by mail by the new committee majority that he would be held responsible if he did anything to liquidate those funds. A motion to dismiss the case by his attorney was turned down so now its in the hands of a judge who is likely to issue a decision in 30 days. Perhaps the most ironic moment came from Spain's testimony when asked by his lawyer why he raised those funds in the first place. His response, "to elect Democrats to office". If the judge had only known that Spain endorsed the GOP slate in 2007, including Lou Desso, he too might have had a laugh. Instead, the only conclusion that he could logically draw from that answer was equally damaging. He did not raise those funds or solicit the donations in order to give them away to charities.
We'll keep you informed on the outcome. Oh and Al, maybe you should get Jeff's attorney a third political job so Lou Desso doesn't look so bad?