Monday, June 25, 2007

GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY( week of June 25) -PLEASE COMMENT ON TOWN ISSUES

Please feel free to comment on town issues. The Town Board will be meeting this Wednesday night at 7:15 PM.
***UPDATE ON E HARTSDALE AVE FLOODING--AND STUDY OF CAUSES OF FLOODING
***UPDATE ON LIBRARY CONSTRUCTION
***UPDATE AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMMITTEE-- WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH WATERWHEEL PROPERTY IN ARDLEY? WILL TOWN WORK WITH VILLAGE AND TURN PROPERTY INTO AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS?

109 comments:

Feiner's $1.4 Million "slush fund" said...

It now turns out the Feiner kept a $1.4 million "slush fund" from the WestHELP money and won't come clean about it.

This is shocking news. Feiner had previously said only $500,000 was kept off the books so that he as supervisor could have "flexibility" in deciding how it should be spent.

Now it turns out the amount was nearly triple that amount.

The following statement was just issued by Councilman Sheehan:

I am calling on Supervisor Feiner, the town’s Chief Financial Officer, to make a clear, unambiguous statement that all unspent WestHELP monies that were deposited in one of the town's bank accounts but not accounted for in the totals of either the General (A) Fund or the Town Outside (B) Fund be moved to the General (A) Fund and properly credited in the budget. That amount is $1,448,349.11.

Normally, when the books are closed out each year, any unspent monies are added to one of the town’s fund balances, which are printed in a year-end budget that is widely distributed to the public. With the WestHELP money, however, I have learned that the rent money received but not spent remained in one of the town's bank accounts but was not added to fund balance totals. In a November 10, 2006, article in The Journal News, Supervisor Feiner is reported as saying that he didn't include $500,000 of the funds in the budget because he wanted to retain flexibility on how the money is spent. The amount that currently has this "flexibility" is $1,448,349.11. Such flexibility with taxpayers' money must end. That amount needs to be moved to the General (A) Fund immediately, and normal year-end accounting measures followed.

The Town Comptroller has been relentless in stating how troubled he is in how the WestHELP money has been handled, following a practice that pre-dated his being hired in June 2004. At last Tuesday’s work session, the Town Comptroller specifically asked for direction. After "directing" the Town Comptroller to move WestHELP money to the General (A) Fund, unless overruled by the Town Board, the Supervisor would not disclose to the Town Council (Eddie Mae Barnes, Steve Bass, Diana Juettner and Francis Sheehan) and the public present how much he wanted transferred or where the money was currently located. Even though numerous questions were asked at the audiotaped meeting, the Supervisor said he did not have to answer, but would answer in a "carefully worded written opinion" to the Town Comptroller, an "opinion that is thought out." The written opinion that followed was neither carefully worded nor thought out. It required a series of follow-up emails from the Supervisor labeled "clarification." They too were neither carefully worded nor thought out because they had conflicting directives, resulting in the Town Comptroller and the Town Attorney seeking further clarification. In the most recent email, the Supervisor still wasn't certain of the amount to be shifted.

It is time for Supervisor Feiner, as Chief Financial Officer, to put this highly unusual accounting procedure to an end by ensuring a full accounting for the $1,448,349.11 that is in a bank account but is not part of any fund balance total, and by adding that amount to the General (A) Fund budget total, consistent with the NYS Comptroller's Report of Examination 2006M-156. Such a clear directive, if given, would allow our Town Comptroller to properly close the books and disclose all money in the town's bank accounts.

Francis Sheehan, Councilman
Town of Greenburgh

Comptroller speak up said...

Sheehan doesn't say that the money was off the books, he says that it wasn't in the A or B budget. That doesn't mean that it was off the books.

If it was really in the bank and not in the fund balance then the Comptroller and the outside auditors should be fired today. But I think that it is likely that the funds were in the fund balance and Sheehan is spreading false information.

This is something which the Comptroller and the outside auditors better clear up at Wednesday's Board meeting.

feiner needs to come clean said...

The preceding Feiner message is bureaucratic gobbledegook.

We know from Feiner's own admission that $500,000 of the $1.4 million was off-the-books.

Sheehan now tell us that it was $1.4 million -- not $500,000 that wasn't in either the A or B fund balances, which means the rest of it was off-the-books too.

Feiner once again refuses to take responsibility for any of this, blaming the town comptroller or the town's outside auditor -- everyone but himself.

But the fact of the matter is that Feiner was the one who decided that all but $380,000 of the $1.2 million annual WestHELP revenues would be kept off-the-books every year so that he'd have "flexibility" in deciding how that balance should be spent.

Those Feiner defenders who say these funds are recorded in the town's financial statements had better come to the Town Board meeting on Wednesday evening armed with copies of the financial statements marked to show where any of this is disclosed.

Anonymous said...

A better idea would be for Sheehan to show that these funds were off the books, that is not recorded on the balance sheet.

If they weren't recorded on the balance sheet the Comptroller can't have a valid explanation. So I think he wil show that these funds were on the books, just not in the A and B budget.

My guess is that all but the $500,000 was for the Valhalla school and the Fire District which until recently were expected to be disbursed to them, until the State Comptroller threw this into doubt. That's no slush fund.

Anonymous said...

Where are Sheehan's comments concerning his ordering of Gil Kaminer to threaten the Valhalla School Superintendent? Sheehan's statements concerning Feiner need to be taken with a grain of salt. Francis has lost all of his credability. He has turned on those who helped him and everyone realizes that his power has gone to his head.

Feiner must come clean said...

Anon at 1:55 needs to do some better arithmetic.

Even if the slush fund originally had $500,000 in it representing the amounts that were to have been paid illegally to the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association, add in the $650,000 that would have been paid last year to the Valhalla schools, and another $100,000 that would have been paid to the Fairview FD, and you only get $1,250,000 -- not the $1,448,349.11 that Sheehan says is in the off-books bank account.

What's really fishy is that the $500,000 is itself a fishy number. It assumes five payments of $100,000 a year. The problem is that there were only three years of distributions to Valhalla and three years of distributions to the Fire District.

Meanwhile, the Town's been getting $1.2 million a year in WestHELP revenues since 2002. That's $4.8 million in total -- and Feiner kept most of that off-the-books.

So the questions keep growing: where did the money go? How was it spent? How is it that there is now only $1.4 million left over?

Feiner owes the town an explanation for this bizarre behavior.

It's no excuse to blame the town comptroller who inherited the situation, arrived in June 2004 with the state investigation already in progress, and told the state comptroller everything he knew.

Depending on what the outside auditor knew or should have known at the time, it may also no excuse to blame the town's outside auditor for not detecting Feiner's financial shenanigans.

hal samis said...

Residents coming to the Town Board meeting this Wednesday will also be asking the Town Council where Town Comptroller Heslop has stored:

*the Credit Union rent (and its "additional rent" items, electric, maintenance etc) projected as 2007 rental income

*the "actual" mortgage tax received as opposed to "estimated", for years 2006, 2005, 2004. This too would allow the books of these prior years "to be properly closed out".

*the $309,000 in 2007 which is not going toward Library building maintenance.

But of course this is small potatoes when compared with the allegations of a missing $1.45 million. It is long overdue for the Town Supervisor to stop covering up and protecting the Town employees who actually performed these dirty deeds. How any of these misappropriations could have occurred without the active participation of the Town Comptroller and his staff (deciding where, making the deposits, erasing the trail, etc.) is beyond me. That the allegations are quite definite in saying that this was clearly a no-no, what legitimate Town Comptroller would allow these misdeeds to occur on his watch?

I am shocked that Mr. Sheehan has joined with the Supervisor in covering up for this Town employee. Loyalty is nice, but while on one hand Mr. Sheehan acts so concerned about what transpired, on the other hand it raises many questions about the integrity of the Town's accounting systems and whether or not they have been compromised -- things to which he turns a blind eye.

What makes this different from the greak Email investigation to determine whether the Town's Email system had been compromised. Feiner admitted he mailed information to get an outside opinion -- even before the investigation started.

In this new round, we know that the actual misplacement of the monies was done by the Town Comptroller and his staff.

Two years or so ago, the Clerk at the Greenburgh Court was accused of maintaining a "sloppy desk". I guess neatness doesn't count in the Town Comptroller's office either.

Since Mr. Sheehan is concerned about housekeeping, he should be looking where the dust is swept. Mr. Sheehan, try the corner office on the second floor front. We need a broom being put to good use there. Even if you have to use some of the library's building maintenance line.

Perhaps Mr. Heslop and Co. can do as well as the former Comptrollers, the Assessor, the Town Attorney and the Town Engineers have done when they found their talents were better utiilized elsewhere.

But, if I were Mr. Feiner and Mr. Sheehan, I would stop protecting the Town Comptroller, his ship is taking on water with every new press release.

Anonymous said...

It is really amazing to read the Bernstein stuff. The financial professionals -- the Comptroller who runs the booksand the outside auditors who audit and certify the town's financiial statements are excused, but Feiner who, like the Town Council, depends on these financial professionals, is the guilty party.

Alice in Wonderland makes total sense compared to this crowd.

Anonymous said...

How come Sheehan is coming alive on this blog. Who is he trying to hang other than the damage he is trying to cause Feiner. Sheehan you should have come up to the plate some time ago. The auditors will know what steps have to be taken next. I do hope you do go down for all the lies that you have told the public up to now, Be prepared. You have been throwing mud at Feiner too long. One who laughs last ,laughs best.

feiner is corrupt said...

True of false?
Feiner took campaign money from the town's auditors - true and disgusting

feiner is guilty said...

Feiner's idea of damage control is to blame town staff. That's vintage Feiner, never taking responsibility for his own actions. Instead, he continues to pose as the "put-upon gadfly."

But not only does the buck stop with Feiner, all the evidence points to him as the culprit.

Feiner is on record in a November 2006 Journal News interview as saying he wanted the money off-book so that he would have more "flexibility" in deciding how to spend it. He knew that if the money were on the books, his giving it to the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association, as he had promised, would be illegal.

Heslop is on record as having inherited the mess in June 2004, when he took the town job, at which time he learned the state comptroller was investigating the matter. He told the state comptroller everything he knew.

Heslop's predecessor, Ms. Berg, quit after just seven months on the job.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ms. Berg said the reason she left was that she could no longer tolerate Mr. Feiner's failures as a manager.

The supervisor, she said, is erratic, unprofessional and too willing to dismiss his staff's well-thought-out plans in favor of half-baked ideas that might please constituents or make headlines. "He was a public servant for himself," said Ms. Berg, who now doubles as Eastchester comptroller and president of the New York State Government Finance Officers' Association.

The prior town comptroller, Ms. McAvoy, quit at around the time the off-the-books account was apparently being set up. She's on record as having put the WestHELP money in a temporary account awaiting further instruction.

However, rumor has it she was also the one who went to the state comptroller and blew the whistle on Feiner's financial wrongdoing, which is what led to the state investigation in the first place.

And Ms. McAvoy's deputy, who served as acting comptroller until Heslop joined in June 2004, quit too.

Feiner may try to blame town staff, but the evidence is mounting that he alone is responsible for what happened.

Michael Kolesar said...

I wholeheartly agree that the Town needs a clean sweep, and that includes the "independent' auditors.

By the way, Mr. Bass has also accepted campaign money from them, so it's not "just" the Supervisor.

What the Town needs is an Audit Committee, much like a public corporation has an audit committee. The qualifications would match the SEC's requirements. The Audit Committee should be made up of 5 individuals, 2 from unincorporated Greenburgh, 2 from the Villages, and one non-resident professional, who has a professional practice in the Town. This Committee would be charged with the oversight of the external auditors and the selection process, since it appears that for their meager ($500 or so in campaign contributions) they received a three year "dea" worth about $250,000-$300,000.

The Audit Committee would and should press for action addressing the weak internal controls that are and have been well documented.

The incumbent Town Controiller lacks the necessary personal integerity, and financial skills to discharge the responsibilities. He is not a CPA. Never was.

Let us assume that he "inherited" this sad state of affairs. Why did he stay? Why didn't he go public? Why didn't the 2005 Town financial statements contain any red flags about contingencies, i.e SCOBA had been released with MAJOR questions yet not one word in the footnotes about a pending audit by the State Comptroller's Office, if you accept that he didn't know what the correct accounting was. Unacceptable !!!!

In the 2007 budget, he accepts at best sloppy work regarding the allocation of costs to the Library, when the Library is going to be operating at 20% (?) of normal. How can this be? It can't be.

Just three votes.

Anonymous said...

So "rumor has it." That is Bernstein starting another rumor. How about facts rather than invented rumors and smear. That is too much to expect from Bernstein. No matter what the facts are he continues to repeat his false smears over and over.

Anonymous said...

Kolesar, who is a certified public accounting, put it exactly right. The Comptroller has the responsibility to flag questionable transactions and it doesn't do any good for the usual critics to try to excuse the Comptroller. In a normal situation a Comptroller who did what our Comptroller did would be marched out of the office.

kolesar should know better said...

Kolesar should know better.

The town comptroller discovered the first day on the job in June 2004 that the town was being investigated by the state comptroller. He then told the state comptroller everything he knew (which wasn't much) and awaited further instruction.

Should Heslop have blown the whistle? Apparently, that whistle had already been blown.

Should Heslop have nevertheless insisted, before the state's investigation was completed, that the accounting be changed. Perhaps.

But having been candid with the state comptroller about the deplorable state in which he found things, it was not unreasonable for him to wait to see what the state comptroller would say the town should do.

In the fall of 2006, the state comptroller concluded that the town's accounting for the WestHELP revenues was wrong in several respects. It was wrong of Feiner to record only $380,000 of the town's $1.2 million in annual WestHELP revenue; it was wrong of Feiner to include that $380,000 in the town's B budget; and it was wrong for Feiner to have kept the balance of what was not recorded "off-the-books."

Once Heslop had the state comptroller's findings, it was reasonable for him to recommend that Feiner's draft town budget be corrected, which he did, and the town council corrected it.

But part of correcting the books includes not just correcting the budget, but also the town's financial statements. Heslop had apparently been asking Feiner for months to give him instructions on what to do. Not having heard from Feiner, Heslop evidently went to the town council and the town council stepped in to help.

And for this, people who should know better,like Kolesar, fault only Heslop, not Feiner. That's pathetic.

True of False (2) said...

Feiner took money from Westhelp?
True.

Anonymous said...

Norah McAvoy and Al Regula were, and possibly still are, quite an item. Could it be that Norah was trying to divert attention from her man (see Garbage scandal as well as present day library scandal involving $300,000 in maintenance funds for a library that does not exist)? Oh what a tangled web we weave!!!!! Was it not Al who got to choose his friend to "investigate" the Garbage Scandal? People in glass houses.......

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Amonymice (aka Bob B),

Why don't you have the guts to put your name on your postings, but it is perfectly acceptable to "attack" everybody else? Can't stand the "heat" and public review?

Now to your comments -

You write "Heslop has been asking Feiner for months to give him instructions what to do." If that is true (and just because you write it doesn't make it true), that's pathetic. Here's the chief accounting position in the Town and he doesn't know what is right? He should resign, if the job is beyond his capabilities.

Of course, you don't mention the failure to include any footnote about any uncertainties in the 2005 Town financial statements. Why don't you address that one?

My public record about the Supervisor is quite clear. Even you Bob B can't chage that. No excuses. What about Mr. Bass taking money from the Town's auditors and then voting them a three year deal? Any conflict here? Was any disclosure made? Of course not, because I as luck would have it was there at Town Hall the night this deal was approved.

Bob B you going to have to do better. And please, if you want to continue to hide behind "Anonymous", we don't need your "headlines".

Anonymous said...

Kolesar is sure quick on the trigger when it comes to assigning blame to Heslop, but seems to have no problem giving Feiner a pass.

That's pathetic coming from an accounting professional but understandable coming from someone who might want the job himself.

Doesn't Kolesar realize that Heslop reports to Feiner? That Feiner is his boss, just as he was Ann Marie Berg's boss and Norah McAvoy's boss.

And what makes Feiner the boss? Town Law 52 states that the "supervisor shall be the chief executive officer of a suburban town and head of the administrative branch of town government."

The law says that the supervisor -- not the comptroller -- "shall be responsible for the proper administration of town affairs."

So, against that background,Helsop wrote memos explaining the accounting situation, made recommendations, and asked for direction on what the town wanted to do.

We know at least one of those memos involved allocations of the A and B budgets that were recommended by the state comptroller.

Months went by with no action taken because Heslop recommended shifting a number of items from the B budget to the A budget, which upset certain village poobahs who, at the same time, were demanding that the WestHELP fund balance be shifted immediately to the A fund.

Feiner sided with the villages (which should gladden Kolesar's heart) and didn't want any changes made that would result in money being shifting to the B fund (even though the state comptroller recommended it). The town council meanwhile wanted all the recommendations implemented.

Sure sounds like someone here ought to be fired, but that person isn't Heslop, who tried to do the right thing, but got caught up in the dysfunctional paralyzing polarization that Feiner specializes in.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymous (aka Bob B),

Still afraid to identify yourself?

My personal experience involves being the chief accounting officer for a public company where the CEO wanted to "cook the books". I would have none of it. I documented his actions, reported them to the audit committee and resigned. The Company restated their financial statements. I was right, but "lost" my job. I can and have and still do look myself in the mirror knowing that I did the right thing for the shareholders and the public. You, Mr. Anonymous haven't walked in my shoes and not withstanding the Supervisor's role, Mr. Heslop doesn't understannd as Ms. Berg did that professionalism and integrity and accountability to those who pay your salary, i.e.. the taxpayers comes first. If Mr. Heslop knew how to handle this, he should have consulted the other Board members for support to "do the right" thing. He didn't because he doesn't have the training, background and like you, Mr. Anonyous, the guts.

Keep on hiding. At least no "headline" on this posting.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan won his election by making up statements about his opponents--statements that were found to be untrue by the non partisan fair campaign committee.

Anonymous said...

Michael Kolesar, it doesn't sound like you could have been Paul Feiner's accountant.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymous 7:45 AM,

You are absolutely correct. I have and will continue to do the right thing and I don't take "orders" or direction from non-accountants. The current Board, with no disrespect intended, are all in over their heads on this WESTHELP accounting matter. None of them have a financial / accounting background. Not unusual for individuals in elected government service. One of them didn't understand what the meaning of a fund balance is and another had no idea what an audit is or how it is conducted. (Those comments are based on my first hand observation of comments made by the individuials at either a work session or public meeting.) The problem here is that Bennett Kielson has been the Town's auditors for many, many years and if they failed to catch this and correct it, they have a big problem, maybe even bigger than Mr. Heslop. Were they (Bennett Kielson) "working" with the Supervisor to hide this? What a great investigation that would be. I'd love to take that one on.


By the way, at one level, Mr. Heslop is I believe a decent person. He's just in over his head as well.

Jim Lasser said...

I posted this earlier in another section, but in thinking about it, this comment is probably more appropriate here.

Assume that along with all of the other praiseworthy things it does (and there is a long list of excellent accomplishments), the Fairview Fire District performs a town-wide function. Don't exactly the same rules apply to the Hartsdale Fire District and the Greenville Fire District? Shouldn't they also receive significant grants from the Town for their town-wide services?
Will the local law we are told is "under development" recognize the contributions to the Town's quality of life made by the other fire districts in the unincorporated area?

Herb Rosenberg said...

Jim Lasser's point has been made before but it bears repeating.

The grant to the Fairview Fire District had nothing to do with Fairview Fire Disrict performing a town-wide function. The grant was made as part of a package of sweeteners to the Mayfair Knollwood area because of the extension of the WestHELP presence.

There are two reasons why the grant to the Fire District should not be continued. The first is that it is illegal and any suggestion that it performs a town-wide function is a fiction. The second is, as Jim Lasser points out, that the Fairview Fire District is no different that any other fire district. None should be subsidized by the town since each one taxes the residents it covers.

Anonymous said...

Rosenberg got it almost right.

A grant of town revenues to a fire district might be legal if the money was being used for a town purpose and all residents of the town were benefitting from the grant.

Giving a grant to a fire district for fire district purposes, i.e., the kind of things that taxpayers in fire districts normally pay the fire district for, is NOT a town purpose -- just as giving a grant to a school district to support school district expenses is NOT a town purpose.

Anonymous said...

I am against allowing the Waterwheel property for low-cost housing for volunteer firmen. If low-cost housing, it should be a lottery among all town residents, with an income limitiation.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 11:45 AM, and let's not forget Valhalla used the money for cruises, opera tickets, ivy league summer camps and grand canyon trips. All illegal expenditures of taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

The people who benefitted from the westhelp money spent on cruises,opera tickets, camp and trips should be ordered to pay back this money to the town.If anyone else did something like this it would be called fraud, and out right thievery.This should be investigated by the district attorney's office,since it is a crime.

Anonymous said...

Westhelp pays no taxes,westhelp is a burden on the Fairview Fd I do not know how many calls they respond to there every year, but i know it's alot and it cost money for fuel and personel/equipment. Greenburgh police do not respond there county police do. Transcare ambulance responds there not Greenburgh. Why should'nt there be some kind of compensation? plus fairview goes all over the town even every village educating the kids of those towns with a SAFETY TRAILER and also they run a car seat program free of charge for residents.including the villages, another thing, the Fairview fire district has 47% of there district tax free.
Town Hall,police Hq's, Youth center,the waste of money new Library, WCC,20 churches, Hebrew Home, BOCES,New York school for the Deaf, Baily school, 7-8 half way homes for handicap people ,all of these proprtirs are tax free. and there are alot more properties that I know I'm forgetting

Anonymous said...

Fire protection districts and school districts are the same thing in this situation in that they have no relation to the town. If the county wants to give them money, fine, but the town should not be involved in matters of finance with either entities.

(Honestly I think it's a crazy set-up we have around here. One town, one school district, one fire department, etc. like a normal municipality would be more sensible and efficient, but unfortunately we still choose to operate with eighteenth century organizational structures. Therefore, the town has an obligation to sever - and never create - financial arrangements with fire and school districts.)

hal samis said...

A Fable for our harsh times.

Once upon a time there was a magical place called Greenville and within its borders was a tiny feifdom called Mount Michelle.

One day the King of Greenville, King Pol, out of a sense of noblesse oblige, decided to reward Mount Michelle's School District with some of the spoils of the recent strife with the neigboring Duchy headed by the evil Grand Duke, Spano. King Pol agreed to make of gift of some of this booty, not only because Mount Michelle was bereft of open space and under siege from the tribe of Bronx who wanted to set their tents up and live peacefully along the trail known as Central Avenue, but also because it was rumored on the blog that the Grand Vizier of the powerful tribe of to the north was expected to hold a State visit soon; thusly the King of Greenville threw in some hasty language to make it appear that there was some forethought and criteria that had to be met before the money could be spent. This would make the gifting legal and serve an unenforceable purpose but some nitpickers thought it would also cause the King of Greenville and his merry men to be able to exert a large degree of control over how the Mount Michelle School District spent this money. This was done because, as it had been passed through local lore and on the blog, many years ago the good King of Greenville had made a similar gift to the Vanna White School District and they had squandered their money on all sorts of things too hideous to mention. Not wanting to see a replay of this, the King of Greenville was naturally anxious to spare his subjects the pain that this would cause.

So he declared that: hereafter, before any School District can spend one nickel, I and my most trusted Councilors must approve any purchase by the School District.

Not on your life said the friends and neighbors of Mount Michelle. Good King, as you know, the laws of our fair State say that there must be a separation of power between you who govern the Kindgom of Greenville and we, the residents of Mount Michelle, who sit on the Board Ye Olde School. We can't have the Kingdom's officials use money, even when a gift, to determine the policies or dictate how our schools are to be run. So spake the most distinguished knight of Mount Michelle, Sir Birdseed. And if you persist, I shall tell the Grand Vizier on his next visit.

And because he did not want to cause more problems with the good folkes of Mount Michelle, or to tear Greenville apart, the kindly King of Greenville, King Pol decreed that hereafter no King shall come between a School District and its right to spend as it pleases. From this day forth, all gifts shall have no strings attached. And when this was reported in the local news weekly, the citizens rejoiced and cheered so loudly that the citizens of Vanna White heard their cheers and it soon came to pass that they too were freed from the shackles of Greenville due diligence.

And everyone lived happily ever after.

Moral of this tale?
All problems become crystal clear and resolvable when they happen under the umbrellas of Mount Michelle.

Anonymous said...

qestion for the Town board. Is it possible to use the westhelp money on a new building inspector and code enforcement inspectors who actually do something? Please look at the over crowding in single family homes and the houses on Prospect Ave, who store thier garbage at the curb 7 days a week against town code. It is a big eye sore. I've mentioned it to Gabe the garbage inspector but as always,nothing gets done.could we use it to stop the people from stealing the shopping carts? I know it's been taled about but nothing ever gets done around here!

Anonymous said...

Does the town own a street sweeper? I've never seen one in action in my neighborhood, but maybe in some other sections of Greenburgh? There are some pretty filthy shoulders and intersections that get worse and worse each year.

Feiner - Where is the $1.3 million? said...

It has just been posted that at least $1.3 million dollars are unaccounted for in connection with the WestHelp money the town received from the County. Attempts to blame Mr. Heslop for this are laughable as the missing money was received by the Town in 2001-2003 -before Mr. Heslop arrived. The Town's Chief Financial Officer is Paul Feiner. Mr. Supervisor - where is the money?

clock is ticking on Feiner and his supporters said...

The clock is ticking on Feiner, Rosenberg and Samis. When can we expect an answer to where the $1.3 million is? Heslop is the wrong answer.

hal samis said...

Is it really getting the answer you want or are you just looking to whip Feiner? And its nice that Ms Berger has people to do her job for her. Conveniently, the bloggers who attack Feiner are also the same people who support Berger.

If you want the answer, what's wrong with asking Jim Heslop, the Town Comptroller? Isn't it his full time responsibility to know the answer. Probably Feiner should know, certainly by now, too but if his explanation doesn't satisfy you, then ask the Comptroller.

The reason the Town's operating functions are handled by different departments is to have "experts" in their field administer their field. Logically, the oversight of the Town's income and expense items, recording and disbursing them, is the bailiwick of the Town Comptroller. Overseeing this position is the Town's Chief Financial Officer (Feiner) but a CFO is not a hands on position.

Pretend you're in the Army and you're being told to follow the chain of command. If you don't get a satisfactory answer from the Town Comptroller, then bug the CFO.
But start with square one.

Lets Get Financials Right said...

The answer is simple. Feiner should immediately send a letter to his controller and copy the auditors. The Town financial statements need to be restated back to 2003 (or whatever). All Westhelp monies need to be correctly reported. And this should be done within 60 days. It is not difficult, there are only a few entries (Mike K. -- you do remember what an entry is). Then we can see how much money was received and how much was spent.

memo to mr samis said...

Feiner is doing a good job whipping himself over the missing millions. Clock is still ticking.

samis cant defend feiner this time said...

As Reagan might have quipped - there you again Hal - defending or excusing Feiner's defalcations time and time again. Among other duties, a CFO is responsible for financial planning and record-keeping, as well as financial reporting to higher management. Higher management means the taxpayers (which you are admittedly not one as you have announced at many town board meetings). Seems Feiner's press release machine is on the fritz on the missing millions. Where happened to the money mr open government.

hal samis said...

The simple answer for simple people is not to belabor Feiner's name and advance the token the number shown on the rolled dice.

If you want the answer to your questions, go to Town Comptroller Heslop. If Heslop doesn't have the answer (it his job and he should) then knock on Feiner's door.

If the Town Comptroller doesn't know where the Town's money is, then we need a new Comptroller.

Simple is as simple does.

Anonymous said...

sorry, charlie. There's no missing funds. spread the lies, keep repeating it, hope people believe it. If funds were missing the state auditors (who have had access to town records) would have taken action.

Charley finds Feiner in deep trouble said...

millions of dollars illegally given to valhalla are missing from greenburgh

Feiner cannot account for $1.3 million (out of the $2.7 million) the town got in years 2001-2003 from the county for rent of WestHelp

Even Karl Rove Samis acknowledges that either Heslop or Feiner have to explain where the money is or went.

Big Money is missing. Thats the truth. The lie is that the State looked at his. They never did.

Michael Kolesar said...

Anybody care to ask Bennett Kielson, after all they supposedly performed an audit of all of the years in question? What do their files show or say? Could be very interesting !

Anonymous said...

For better or for worse, the only Greenburgh residents who care about these issues are the posters on this board. I have lived in Hartsdale for 4 years and have never heard anyone in my neighborhood discuss Greenburgh politics. For the same time period, I've ridden Metronorth every morning and evening from the Hartsdale station and never, not once, heard a local political discussion. When I mention local issues, no one has any idea what I'm talking about. I dare anyone to go down to the Metronorth station and poll riders to see if two people can name a town board member other than Feiner. Just an observation.

Michael Kolesar said...

Town issues - the audio isn't working on the broadcast of the Town Council meeting. Who's responsible for checking this out before the meeting begins? They are not doing their job.

The call in number isn't working. Same question. Why? Why?

Its Feiner's Job said...

To either answer these questions, or demand answers.

hal samis said...

Feiner Blog Exclusive!!!

Greenburgh Current Events Quiz
(with a nod to 4:55)
Rate Francis Sheehan's 23 minutes at bat.
A) Boring
B) Very Boring

Compared with Feiner citing the number of bond rating increases since he has been Supervisor, pick the number of times Sheehan mentioned the $ .11 number
A) 2x
B) 3x
C) 8x
D) count me out, I fell asleep

How many times did Sheehan remind the audience how late they stayed up to work on the ethics law before they quit for the night
A) 3x
B) 4x
C) never mentioned

The Town Comptroller is named
A) Joe Heslop
B) Jim Hessler
C) Bennett Kolesar
D) Nora Marie Berger
E) can't fool me, we don't have one

WESTHELP refers to
A) What snow angels do in summer
B) Bush plan to aid California fire victims
C) another name for summer interns
D) Westchester County library system support when your library shuts down

Facing the dais, from the left, what is seating order (don't include Kaminer resting at Sheehan's legs)
Who signs for Fed Ex deliveries before 12:00?
A) Town Clerk
B) Town Comptroller
C) Building Inspector
D) Chief Financial Officer

Darfur is
A) a street in Mayfair/Knollwood
B) far away
C) two more votes for Mr. Bass
D) a new Condominium on Central Ave

The 9/11 Memorial Wall is
A) an atrocity
B) too near
C) a place for Kodak moments

Taxter Ridge is being renamed as
A) the house that Bob billed
B) Gordon Park
C) the forest you can't see for the taxes

Which does not belong in the group
A) Fairview
B) Broadview
C) Liberal view
D) Edgemont view

Which salary is too high (before benefits)
A) Town Comptroller $131,127
B) Commission of Public Works $133,900
C) Town Council Aide $51,500
D) Town Clerk $73,686 (part time)
E) Town Attorney $125,560
F) Chief of Police $136,813
G) Town Supervisor $127,618
H) Senior Messenger $54,620
I) Library Director $117,465 (2006)
K) Bookmobile Driver $44,332 (daily driving 10 miles)
L) Bookmobile Driver $36,849 (part time)
M) Town Council $28,332 (part time)
N) all of the above

VSD refers to
A) a venereal disease
B) letters on an eye chart
C) a type of flat panel tv monitor

The good news is that we had a
Grand Prize Winner ($10,000) in our first quiz.
The bad news is that there were 22,147 winning entries with the name Anonymous. Contest Rules forbid us from awarding the prize in the event of a tie.

waterwheel update? said...

as there was no audio last night - what if anything did ms barnes say about the waterwheel property?

Anonymous said...

Well we finally saw this person Berger. Could someone tell me what her questions were about. She made no sense at all. It looks like someone gave her the stupid questions to ask, she looked like a fool because the comptroller had already given the breakdown of the Westhelp money on the inquiry made by Bass and guess who Yes Sheehan.And another thing Bernstein he had better stick to law ,he too did not pay attention tothe comptrollers report. Is he also saying that he does not know how to give money reports. Each one has their own forte. comptroller with money Feiner with governing And the board well that's another question. Bernstein enough is enough. You have upset the people in your own district enough.Your tunes are running out of steam. The audience here at the meetings and those watching on tv, cannot understand what makes you tick. COOL IT MAN. You need a good vacation.If you don't like this comptrollers answers go back to the one before Heslop ,maybe you will get an answer, but to call Feiner a thief is very wrong coming from a lawyer first and then a Democratic leader. this is not the true democratic way of life.Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan, you should have asked Heslop the question concernig westhelp fund, this way you wouldn't look like the bully that you are. Bass also chimed in. Oh how both of you want to hang Feiner.By the way Feiner was proven not guilty by Heslop's report. You seem to forget who is the financial person in charge of money. At last night's meeting you looked like an imbicile. Since when did you become the judge and jury,to comdemn anyone. Herb R. told you what a big mistake you made in going after Feiner once again. Smarten up, it's latter than you think. Your friend Berger did not make a good impression neither, she was coached with the wrong question to be asked .Too bad,all inall she does not look or talk like a person who could run a town.The Democratic pary should have picked someone who looks, acts and talks like a good candidate,not a smuck.

Anonymous said...

Since there was no sound being broadcast at last night's town board meeting, Anon at 10:18 and 10:30 must have gotten a rather emotionally-charged report of last night's town board meeting from Feiner himself.

None of the things that Anon reports actually happened at the meeting.

Feiner made a statement in which he said every penny of the WestHELP money had been accounted for. He then specifically denied keeping a slush fund, but admitted using some of the money that was set aside illegally for the Mayfair Knollwood civic association for "neighborhood purposes" -- but he refused to answer any questions about it.

Rosenberg also said Feiner had used some of the money for "neighborhood purposes" -- but then said he might have been mistaken about that. He then criticized Feiner and the town council for not addressing the accounting mess when he said it was first brought to their attention.

For his part, Heslop said he didn't have any records of any money for the civic association being spent for "neighborhood purposes."

Berger said the entire controversy could have been avoided if Feiner, as chief financial officer, had released last week a full accounting of the WestHELP money so that the public could see for itself that the money's all been accounted for.

No accounting in writing from Feiner or Heslop was distributed even as of last night.

Sheehan said Feiner had misled the community by attacking him and others for raising questions about the accounting for the WestHELP money, and for suggesting, falsely, that he and others on the town council were seeking to have the unspent WestHELP money placed in the town's B budget.

Heslop said Sheehan's account of what had occurred at the meeting was correct.

Ella Preiser presented Feiner with a transcript of the work session which also supported Sheehan's account of the meeting. She demanded an apology from Feiner for impugning her integrity. None was given.

Bernstein said it sounded to him like money may have been spent for "neighborhood purposes" because Feiner and Rosenberg both said it had, and called on Heslop to review the bank accounts where the money had been deposited to make sure all disbursements that may have been made prior to Heslop being hired in June 2004 had been properly accounted for.

Bernstein also called for a full accounting of the WestHELP money to be made public.

Anonymous said...

Gee how convenient for Feiner that the sound wasnt working. This is why we need written transcipts. Can someone please post -- how we can read or listen to what happened at meeting?

Anonymous said...

Those at the meeting were told the sound was being recorded on the tape and would be heard when the meeting is re-broadcast.

Hopefully, the meeting will be shown again and again and again. Greenburgh residents really need to see this for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Feiner:

I understand that having WiFi is an excellent idea to improve the quality of life on E Hartsdale Ave. I think that you ignore more basic problems, however. For instance, the minidriveway area between the stores and 177 East Hartsdale Ave is an eyesore with cartons, garbage cans and strewed litter. Also, something should be done about the noise of garbage trucks on the street before 7:00am. Thanks.

is feiner a thief? pay the $ back said...

Feiner says he spent $75,000 of taxpayer money for his self selected neighborhood purposes. unless he can show this expense was authorized by the town board, he should repay the money to the town immediately. then the town board should decide whether the matter should be referred to the district attorney's office.

Anonymous said...

Heslop says he would never let Feiner spend any of that slush fund money while he was comptroller, unless Feiner first came to him with a town board resolution allowing the money to be spent, which Heslop says never happened.

Since both Feiner and Rosenberg said yesterday that money was indeed spent for "neighborhood purposes" -- that means if Feiner spent the money, he must have done witihout town board approval and before Heslop was hired in June 2004.

The only way to know how much Feiner spent and for what is to have a full accounting of all the WestHELP money.

Herb Rosenberg said...

Feiner told me that $75,000 was spent for neighborhood purposes because the figure for neighborhood purposes which he was given as now on the town's financial records -- $425,000 -- when deducted fromm the $500,000 he (and the rerst of us) were told wass the civic association money that had been set aside for neighborhood purposes, came to the $75,000 figure It was an error, albeit an understandable error. Jim Heslop corrected it by explaining the evolution of that $500,000 in a way that I don't quite understand (I probably would if I could see it done on paper), but said that none of that money was actually spent.

Of course Bernstein (who said it yesterday at the meeting) and the few bloggers (of whom Bernstein is clearly the role model) are now using that corrected error as a basis for spinning a new web of conspiracy. How predictable! How dishonest!

But as with so many of Bernstein's tactics, this will not run out. Facts never disturb him.

Anonymous said...

Rosenberg's personal attacks on Bernstein don't seem to shed much light on the money that Feiner said last night he spent for "neighborhood purposes."

Feiner either spent the money for "neighborhood purposes" or he didn't, and the man said last night unequivocally that he did.

Bernstein didn't make him say it.
Feiner said it all by himself.

It's hard to believe Feiner would have read a prepared written statement saying he had spent the money if he had not in fact done so.

Bernstein said last night he still had questions about the accounting. Sounds like Rosenberg still has questions too.

So why then does Rosenberg accuse Bernstein of dishonesty?

Those at the meeting last night say Rosenberg started screaming and heckling from his seat, hurling invective at town council members, and then apologized for his bad behavior when he got to the podium. He had a similar outburst of uncontrollable behavior last fall.

This Rosenberg sure sounds like quite the whacko. Hopefully cooler heads in town will prevail.

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting article that came across the AP wire on May 20, 1985:

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. An acting village justice was charged with third-degree assault after he allegedly hit a woman during a dispute over a dog, Dobbs Ferry police said Monday.

Officer J. Lewis said Herbert Rosenberg, 54, was freed on an appearance ticket Sunday evening.

According to the woman, Renee Aronson, Sunday evening's incident was the culmination of a dispute that had its roots in a 1983 court incident that led to her suing the village for false arrest and settling out of court for $2,500.

Miss Aronson said she was visiting a friend near Rosenberg's home on Atilda Avenue when she saw Rosenberg's dog running without a leash.

After she notified police, Rosenberg hit her on the head, she said.

Rosenberg said his side of the story would come out in court but that Miss Aronson's account was false "from beginning to end."

yada yada yada

Herb Rosenberg said...

I was really sure that, given the character assassination that marks the behavior of the group which I need not identify more, that someone would dig out this old story of a fraudulent charge. it is almost too much to expect that the person who publishes such incomplete stuff containing slimy information, would sign his name, but this mob never owns up to their slanders.

Since this is on the blog I'll fill you in.

A sociopathic neighbor who hated authority figures (I was then a judge so I was a prize for her), who also had a criminal record, accused me of assaulting her. Because she was bleeding in her ear the police accepted her accusation. At the trial it came out that she and her partner had cut her ear for the purpose of making the charge. The jury was out only a few minutes before returning a not guilty verdict and blasting the authorities for accepting her charge. I was then awarded $300,000 for malicious prosecution, and I collected it, I am happy to say. I have been informed by the police that she has since gone on to a further career in jail in a foreign country.

It is a sad but accurate commentary that this group of haters have no sense of decency about anything. It would be novel if they actually argued aboiut facts and law rather than what they always do, which is to insult, distort and divert.

Now I ask you, who among the group has access to Lexis research that would dig up such stuff. I know and you know.

Anonymous said...

The press had a slightly different report on the outcome.

From The Telegraph on December 19, 1985:

HER PET GOT HIS GOAT...

NEW YORK: A judge was found innocent today of punching a beautician who named her pet goat after him.

A jury took just seven minutes to clear Judge Herbert Rosenberg of assaulting Miss Renee Aronson, 36.

The two had been feuding for six years after two dogs owned by Miss Aronson's boyfriend attacked the judge and his wife.

The judge tried to have the two dogs destroyed.

Miss Aronson countered by buying a pet goat and placing a sign around its neck saying: ""My name is Herbert _ please don't feed me."

Miss Aronson claimed the judge had become so angry that he had punched her in the face.

Judge Rosenberg said he simply pushed her out of his way.

-----

That certainly clears that up.

Herb Rosenberg said...

To anonymous at 4:50, who will never has the guts to identify himself as the slanderer he is, you can visit Miss Aronson in Turkey, where she is serving a long jail sentence, and get more of her fantasies. It will give substance to your empty arguments on town-village matters.

hal samis said...

Those, who are politicians, run and accept public office fully aware that they will be subjected to personal attacks, often viscious. At the same time just because the attack may be viewed as personal does not mean that it is less illuminating or meaningful or irrelevant to the Public which is solicited to tender its vote. Or that the "attack" does not coexist with the facts.

Candidates and incumbents are encircled by both defenders and attackers, either category composed of mostly civilians whose intensity of belief varies.

As does their methodology and actions in support of their candidates.

I am not saying that it is wrong to display passion in seeking to
promote your vision or belief. What I am saying is that there is a line over which it is just unconscionable to cross.

Not often does this fervor descend to the level of attack of such an intimately personnal level as was written today to discredit Mr. Rosenberg, from every angle just a citizen with a viewpoint. From the limited information that was posted, what was there in the article's contents that lessened or otherwise diminished any opinions expressed by Mr. Rosenberg, even those which would appear to defend Mr. Feiner. Thus the conclusion is that lacking a suitable rejoinder to what Mr. Rosenberg says or writes, the only alternative was to attack the messenger.

Mr. Rosenberg is neither a candidate for office nor an incumbent. He is merely a citizen, a resident and a voter.

I don't have the time or the inclination now to visit moral bankruptcy, lacking a rational persuasive argument, etc. but I shall merely remind bloggers of what another judge said on national television many years ago.
"Have you no sense of decency?"
This was spoken in circumstances and intent not so different from what was appeared today.

Fortunately for Mr. Rosenbert he was able to defend himself with an explanation, also public, that was conveniently omitted by the anonymous poster.

Greenburgh is going through a contested election year. However, the point that I wish to leave in your minds is that I just don't see that our little local elections for a town supervisor, two members of the town council and a town clerk are matters of such consequence that they need invoke the "ends justify the means" conundrum.

Just leave the civilians out of it.
They/we/I of both sides are not being paid for our efforts and we derive no tangible benefits.

The above applies to all sides.

But maybe not as earnestly to those who go by the name "Anonymous".

Perhaps Mr. Feiner can direct his web master to print the Anonymous tag in yellow.

Herb Rosenberg said...

I much appreciate Hal Samis' posting because it says much about the scumminess of the group, headed by the wannabe mayor of Edgemont, who outdo the dirty tricksters who have attacked candidates on the state and national level with lies, distortions, efforts to divert from issues of importance, etc.

But Hal is wrong in one respect. I didn't defend myself. I need no defense. I was, in 1985, merely one example of the risk people take when they are willing to serve the public -- that is, the reality that public service opens people up to the machinations of those who have learned that such attacks thrill news media, and the more ridiculous the stories the more the media eat them up.

What this posting by the cowardly person, whom I shall refer to as B, shows is that he has no integrity, morality or sense of justice or decency. An acquittal, especially an acquittal after seven minutes, is supposed to say something about the nature of the charge -- even without the fact that the court awarded me $300,000 for the blatant malicious prosecution. But more important, what the hell does it have to do with anything that is happening in the town of Greenburgh, or the issues of village-town budgeting. Dragging this out shows the bankruptcy of B's fundamental argument -- he cannot win on the merits so he must try to divert with this garbage.

If B had any sense of decency he would apologize. But since he doesn't have any sense of decency, prepare for more of his garbage.

Anonymous said...

There've been an awful lot of personal attacks today, but Samis' over-the-top plea for restraint sure took a lot of chutzpah coming as it does from a guy who specializes in personally attacking not just elected officials, but town employees, community volunteers, and any resident who publicly or privately disagrees with him about anything.

But Samis doth protest too much.

It all began at 2:41, when Rosenberg attacked Bernstein, a private citizen like Rosenberg is a private citizen, for "spinning a new web of conspiracy" and for being "dishonest." Not very nice and totally unnecessary.

Anon at 3:30 wrote that Rosenberg's personal attacks don't shed much light on the issue at hand. That sounds reasonable.

Anon at 3:45 posted a 1985 article about Rosenberg having been arrested while a judge in Dobbs Ferry. Posting a 22-year old article on a blog is not a personal attack.

Readers can draw their own conclusion about what it means, if it means anything at all.

Rosenberg responded at 4:20 with a colorful account of how he beat the rap. Fair enough, that's his right.

Anon at 4:50 then posted a newspaper account that had a somewhat different take on what happened. Readers can draw their own conclusion about whether posting a 22-year old published article is a personal attack.

Rosenberg responded at 5:15 by saying whoever posted the article was a "slanderer." He then insisted that the lady who had accused him of assault in 1985 was actually serving a long jail sentence in Turkey. Now that last comment actually is slander.

Personal attacks demean whoever is speaking, whether it's Rosenberg, Samis, Feiner, or even Garfunkel, Feiner's campaign manager, who began the day by launching personal attacks against several community residents who've been critical of Feiner, such as Ella Preiser, Ed Krauss and Bernstein.

Samis, of course, had nothing critical to say about that.

Anonymous said...

This is McCarthyism at its worst. If Bob Bernstein is not behind it then he should publicly denounce such tactics.

hal samis said...

6:01:
Samis did not include the posting by Richard Garfunkle on another topic (ethics board) because frankly I forgot about it already having read it in at the beginning of my day. And my reaction to this page's topic came immediately after reading it. I write often but my union stresses that we don't cross blog topic lines.

But I don't quarrel with your desire to include that post in your soap opera. What you didn't mention since you were there too, but perhaps in the AM like me, was that some "anonymous blogger" also went to the files and alleged incidents about Garfunkle from what might have occurred (I have no clue) in White Plains perhaps 20 years ago. This, true or false, apparently follows the law of character assassination to go deep on the research and look for dirt. Information, which if true, would certainly keep Rosenberg or Garfunkle out of the White House but not disqualify them (or me) from living in Greenburgh and making comments about current events.
And what did Garfunkle in his posting do other than his customary all-out support for Feiner? He complained about residents Preiser, Krauss and Bernstein and called them members of a cabal that attacks Feiner. That is not the equivalent of trotting someone's arrest record from 1985 which turns out to bogus. Nor did this anonymous blogger share the second clipping about Herb until he thought it necessary and even then it was off base. Has anyone ever read anywhere a newspaper article that had a mistake, especially on the local news level which often write news from press releases, both Paul's and Bob's.

And the blogger is quite correct that I do criticize others and frequently -- in fact I made a bet with someone that Bob would have had all my blog comments scanned and a listing of the "offending quotes" would be on the blog by midnight. We'll see, there's time yet.

But I don't go into people's personal history, I don't go back over 20 years and the people who are not candidates are people who are Town employees and I attack/criticize their "professionalism" with references to their success or failure in doing their job; the so-called community volunteers are people who have to do with spending the town's money, seeking law changes which affect not just themselves but others -- people who aggressively market themselves as leaders just to lobby for privileges and favors which are not in the best interest of all. They have no protection from anyone when they thrust themselves into the limelight public meeting after public meeting with advocacy roles. They have their right to speak and I have mine. However, to question their motives, to question their research results, to question their conclusions and to disagree is not a personal attack. Since readers have been instructed to reread this topic, see if the story about Mr. Rosenberg has any relevance to comments made recently? As for "any resident who publicly or privately disagrees with him (Samis)", what does that mean? They can disagree but I make personal attacks? I appreciate the assumption that I can monitor resident's private disagreement but I'll return that prize because I don't know what is said in private -- only that which occurs in public.

While I'm in the return lane, I'll also return your wordsmithing:

over-the-top
chutzpah

specializes in personally attacking

posting a 22 year old article on the blog is not a personal attack
(even when the poster has another article with a different conclusion?)

Is Rosenberg's statement that the woman is serving jail time in Turkey false? Does the blogger dispute this? If the blogger can prove that this statement is false, then shame on Herb and perhaps it is slander or libel. But I'll wait for the poster to first refute the statement before I go along with his conclusion.

As bloggers are wont to say, let's go to the videotape and scroll up and see how my tally compares with the tally by anonymous. Garfunkle's posting is the first under the ethics board topic and you can see whether, for all his faults, if Garfunkle made a "personal attack" against those named residents.

And when I am complaining about UNTRUE stories from 20 years ago, why I did not point to Garfunkle prose as an example? Because I had already forgotten about it and it turns out that it isn't. And while you're on "ethics", scroll down from Garfunkle and see if the same heavy hand at the keyboard didn't try and do the same thing to Garfunkle.

Let's stay with disputes and refutation and, attack -- at least that which is on point. On the other hand if there are NAZI war criminals hiding in Greenburgh, especially those who are foolish enough to appear at Town Meetings, then let's expose them at once, whatever you've got, even older than 20 years. However, I don't think that looking under Rosenberg, Garfunkle or even Samis will be your most fruitful search result, even if you click on "get lucky".

Anonymous said...

Feiner attacked Ella Preiser on this blog and on the town-wide e-mail earlier this week.

He impugned her integrity in an effort to discredit her should she produce a transcript of last week's town board work session, which she produced last night, that showed Feiner was lying when he personally attacked Francis Sheehan.

Feiner attacks private citizens like Preiser and Bernstein and anyone else who do a good job of criticizing him at town board meetings, and in letters to the editor.

He's been doing this personal attack thing for years and it's always the same thing.

Rather than address the criticism, or even reach out to his critics, as The New York Times once suggested he do, Feiner always thinks its better politically to attack the resident personally in the hope that he or she won't be listened to the next time he or she speaks.

I admire people like Preiser and Bernstein. I just don't know how they stand it.

Anonymous said...

"I admire people like Preiser and Bernstein. I just don't know how they stand it."


Isn't it bad manners to write anomomously that you admire yourself?

PS- And we don't mean Ella.

Anonymous said...

Whomever is bringing up fact that happened 20 and 30 years ago to a judge or friend should get a life. This 2007, who cares what happened such a long tine ago. One person received money for the wrong that he was accused of. It seems that Bernstein has run out of resources.He should pay attention to his work and forget about politics,cause he aint going nowhere. He has damaged the Edgemont community too too much. THe people in that area are hated with a passion, because of his forked tongue. Come foward abd tell the people that you want Bass to have this position and Sheehan to have another position, You're not working behind closed doors. We know what you're up to but without thinking you're making things worse than what they are.Your fighing has become a broken record and I think it should stop. If I lived in edgemont I would vote you off of whatever board that you were on. As someone wrote before your hatred of Paul Feiner has become an obsession that should be controlled by receiving medical help.This situation is not normal behavior for anyone.

Anonymous said...

Why are Feiner and his supporters so obsessed with attacking Bernstein all the time? Is he aware that he's being attacked like this?

Anonymous said...

I think after Feiner had one of his campaign staff write to every members of Bernsteins law firm he is well aware.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Feiner supporter,but I do detest the fact that Bernstein says that he represents me because I live in his area. He seems to be attacking the supervisor, on grounds that seem to be a payoff. Those are dangerous accusations especially coming from a so called lawyer. Is he looking for a political position of some sort at town hall.My guess is that he has friends at town hall that will give him and his associates what they will be asking for in the future. Just remember he does not represent all of us.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4:24 reports that Bernstein is attacking Feiner "on grounds that seem to be a payoff."

Wow. Anyone know where I might be able to read more about what Bernstein is saying? This is the first I've heard about that.

I know the town's ethics committee is looking into Feiner's having solicited tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers with applications pending before the town -- but those complaints against Feiner have come from a lot of people in town, not just Bernstein.

Anon at 4:24 is either talking about something else, or this is just some story that Feiner's people are making up to give them yet another reason to attack Bernstein personally again.

Anonymous said...

Whether funds were solicited or a payoff being made in my neck of the woods it's the same. Those that said Feiner took these campaign funds,returned them some favors. They even said he is living in a complex because he did a favor for the developer. Almost all the accusations have been proven wrong.Feiner is not the type of a person to do what people are saying .So far nothing has been charged against him. A few people would like to see some wrong doing but they have come up empty handed.

Anonymous said...

If you read the comments on the blog you will see that all the complaints are coming from one area. The chosen group of the town council.If you attend the meetings you can see who these people are,and how they come up with all these ideas that should be taken up by the ethics committee. If there was any wrong doing the crimes would be investigated,by the local authorities,.

Anonymous said...

The town's ethics code makes it unlawful for an elected town official to solicit political contributions from persons with applications pending before the town.

Therefore, if Feiner solicited tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers with applications pending before the town, which is what he's accused of having done, he's violated the town's ethics code -- it's as simple as that.

Contrary to what some commenters assume or may have been told, the Ethics Board does not have to show that Feiner agreed to do anything in return for the money.

If there's any evidence that he did agree to do something in return, that would be evidence of criminal bribery, which is a matter for the Westchester DA's office to investigate.

The Ethics Code also requires public officials to cooperate in any investigation of ethics code violation being made by the Ethics Code.

Therefore, Feiner's stonewalling the Ethics Board by refusing to answer their questions is a separate violation of the ethics code.

hal samis said...

There seems to be some confusion as to what country Greenburgh is located in. Some months ago, the Town Board made the mistake that Greenburgh was down the road from Darfur.

Please accept my assurances that, in fact, Greenburgh is still part of the United States. Please accept my assurances that as hard as some residents would try to suspend heeding some documents, like the Constitution, that those guarantees contained therein are still alive and well and celebrated in those parts of unincorporated outside of Edgemont.

Now I'm not saying and neither do I know what Mr. Feiner's position is and I don't even care. He's on "trial" on the blog just as I am however I'm at risk only for speaking my mind by providing the Edgemont/Town Council invisibles with my name.

What I write and how I respond is generally when I see ridiculous positions epoused on this blog.
Possibly the authors don't understand what they write but after so many months of their being conistently wrong I find it hard to excuse even their most obvious misunderstandings.

Such an example is presented in the anonymous post at 10:52. Not being present or reading the minutes I wonder how the Ethics Board would treat this situation if Feiner had elected to substitute stonewalling with the Fifth Amendment. Would the Ethics Board and Robby insist that such a choice would be in violation of the Ethics Code and thus the Greenburgh Ethics Code would supercede the protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution? Does the Ethics Code strip away those rights just because the subject is a public official?
Just wondering.

I'm sure I'll get the blog version of the Robby B Law School of the Internet shortly. The only problem is that you can't tell from the blog posting, whether or not the ink has dried on the laws that Robby creates solely for his tutorial.

And while I'm going to get a lecture, perhaps I could also sign up for the Francis Sheehan 20 gig version of what constitutes "soliciting" a contribution? Does it mean something different from accepting a contribution. While accepting a contribution may yield the "appearance of impropriety" I am only asking if the spadework has been done to conclude that soliciting and accepting are one and the same. Is there any distinction supported by case law?
Just a question.

Finally, it is written on the blog that the Ethics Code says that it does not have to be proven that anything untoward was done with these contributions and if so there are other enforcement remedies available.

My question concerns whether the Ethics Code has the right by itself to overturn the "innocent until proven guilty" doctrine by assuming that soliciting and or accepting a contribution is evidence of breaking any law other than a local code (Ethics Law) which I am suggesting is also in violation of an individual's civil rights. Just because the Town's Ethics Code may dfeine it as so doesn't necessarily mean it is sustainable if the language and intent conflicts with the laws of a higher authority.

A few years ago a fellow named
Bernstein objected to how the Town interpreted its taxing powers and look what happened next.

After we get past the "protecting his friend Feiner", "clock cleaning" and "Samis doesn't get it" would anyone care to address this as a serious point?

Feiner's problem with the truth said...

It seems quite naive for anyone to believe that Feiner received 1000s of dollars from developers and their proxies with applications pending before various town boards and gave them nothing in return. Feiner took campaign money from the Town's auditors and WestHelp. Now we learn Feiner kept off the books monies (derived from the WestHelp funds the town received from the County) which he now admits using for his own self selected neighborhood purposes. This was all somehow overlooked by the Town's auditors. And Feiner is still calling on the Town to "honor" a promise to the Valhalla School District even after the State Comptroller found the promise was both illegal and made only after Feiner as supervisor told lie after lie as to why the money was needed. As Ms Berger implied asked, why is it so difficult for Mr. Feiner to tell the truth about so many things?

Anonymous said...

Why is it so difficult for Bernstein and his cronies to ever tell the truth about anything without twisting it.

Anonymous said...

Mrs.Berger is repeating the same words of Sheehan and Bernstein. If she cannot speak without being coached by these two idiots ,she does not deserve the democratic nomination. She does not know didely squat about greenburgh ,and she is running for town supervisor. Help us.

Anonymous said...

The Bernstein squad is running out of ammuniton to use against Feiner. When they start digging up newspaper articles about a judge that happened decades ago ,one can see that they have no new lies to be told.

Anonymous said...

A public official who attends a fundraiser in his or her honor, and "accepts" thousands of dollars in contributions from developers and others with applications pending before that public official or before the board or committee on which he or she sits, is guilty of "soliciting" such contributions.

The most famous application of that principle was in the case of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

House of Representative ethics rules forbid house members from "soliciting" contributions from individuals or corporations with legislation pending before that member's committee.

DeLay attended a fundraiser in his honor and "accepted" thousands of dollars from lobbyists in the oil industry when an oil bill was pending before his committee.

A bipartisan House Ethics committee ruled unaninmously that such "acceptance" was, under those circumstances, a "solicitation."

The same is true here in Greenburgh when Feiner attended a fundraiser in his honor and "accepted" thousands of dollars from developers with applications pending before the town.

Samis does a real service to the community in allowing this to be brought out. He knows all about it because he's well aware that a detailed explanation, complete with legal citations, was presented on this subject to the Ethics Committee in 2004, and is posted online for all to see on the grassroots for greenburgh site.

Anonymous said...

If this money was gotten by Feiner did he use it for himself,or did he help in the elections of someone on the town board. I do not think he spent the money on himself and further more I do not think that he influenced the zoning and planning boards with their decisions.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say if it were not an election year would we be hearing all this BS> since all of it are lies,.I could see what will happen when we get close to the primary and then the election. Paul you had better come up with some good gosip because all your enemies will be runing out of lies.

hal samis said...

Dear anonymous at 9:19,

Thank you for recognizing my community service. It is always nice to be acknowledged but I must be honest that I cannot accept this without being honest about the circumstances.

You see I all I was doing was just raising some questions seeking answers and posting some of my thoughts. I did so without the benefit of what you say appears on the Grassroots site. I know the site exists; I have gone there but I have not downloaded or opened anything other than the newpaper published postings. And regarding community service, GforG would still be viewed as such if it were
more consistent in adding new postings.

So the truth is that I had not seen it despite your assurance that it is there which I don't doubt. However, there is some danger is assuming that if it is posted, it will be read. "Samis knows" is most accurately stated when made by Samis or, even if delivered as a question.
i.e. Does Samis know....

But thanks for the information which I assume is not the final word and that there is also case law which disputes it. But don't worry about that because this is an argument that I will will be using at another time and another place.

hal samis said...

Dear 9:19,

Sorry to bother you again but I forgot to ask one question because I like to anticipate what others may question when I speak or write.

You cited the Ethics language of the House of Representatives. Does it follow that the Ethics laws in Greenburgh in 2004 were the same as in the House?

If Feiner or anyone else on the Town Board were instead serving in the House, then I agree that they would suffer the consequences from their actions violating "House" rules.

But since I don't have the Greenburgh Ethics Laws and the House of Representatives Ethics laws to compare, do you represent that what is a "crime" in the House is also a "crime" in Greenburgh?

I wouldn't want to make a mistake by failing to ask the obvious.

Thanking you in advance for your reply.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Samis that he can't look up the answers to his own questions? Has he so alienated the town's library staff with his smears on Feiner's behalf that they won't help him do any research? If so, he should try the White Plains library. They don't know him as well there.

hal samis said...

Actually I think we both know the answer without going to the Library (the staff in Greenburgh is and always has been quite helpful); however I already know where to find answers.

The House of Representatives story was just a device to deflect readers from the truth. When you need an answer but the factual answer doesn't work for you, the next best thing is to find someplace the answer you need will work. It is a variation on the "straw man" argument fallacy.

The issue remains that Feiner, or any member of the Town government, will be judged by the ethics laws of Greenburgh. The House of Representatives ethics laws are peculiar only to the House (governing just its own members); they are not the law of land in the way that the Federal government passes laws which supercede all State or local governments.

The House ethics laws may be the same as Greenburgh's, portions may mirror Greenburgh's, however the ethics laws of the House do not govern Greenburgh or even the United States Senate. The only ethics laws that concern Greenburgh are those that apply in Greenburgh and these are the local laws that existed at the time of the alleged violation.

And as has been pointed out correctly, criminal violations of law are not the business of the Ethics Board. Ethics violations are neither the concern of the Police nor the Courts.

And deflecting attention is just one of the many of tricks that we see employed on this blog. Famous, pompous lawyer is very clever in applying bait and switch as it applies to interpetations of local law. Especially to an otherwise uninformed public. There are many bloggers who should be conducting their own research, not just depending on famous lawyer to tell them how to think.

"House built on a weak foundation will not stand, oh no".

Anonymous said...

Samis, in your blog you referred to Bernstein as 'famous pompous lawyer' but a few sentences later you referred to him only as 'famous lawyer'. Did you forget the word 'pompous' the second time or were you just being nice. You were certianly being nice when you only said that he uses bait and switch tactics.

Anonymous said...

Why the continued smears against Bernstein?

Don't Feiner's people have better things to do with their time? Don't they trust the ethics board to be fair and impartial? Don't they realize that the current chairman of the ethics board is a former Feiner contributor?

The provisions in the House Ethics Code against "soliciting" contributions are virtually identical to the provisions against "soliciting" contributions in the Greenburgh Ethics Code.

That is why when a bipartisan panel of the House Ethics Code unanimously held a few years ago that the ban against "soliciting" contributions applies to "accepting" contributions made at fundraisers held for a public official by people with a particular interest in a matter pending before that public official, that ruling bears close examination in Greenburgh to see if the circumstances are similar.

The Ethics Board could rule that no, the circumstances are not similar, and that Feiner's having attended a fundraiser in his honor where he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from developers with applications pending before the town was not a "solicitation" within the meaning of Greenburgh's code, and was therefore not prohibited under the town's ethics code, or it could rule that yes, the circumstances are close enough to cross the line to make what Feiner did a violation of the ethics code.

If it was a violation, the ethics board can suggest remedies, such as returning the money or recommending that Feiner recuse himself from matters involving these contributors that may still be pending before the town.

Before we can even get there, however, Feiner would have to cooperate with the ethics board's investigation, which so far he is not doing. That by itself is its own violation of the ethics code.

Anonymous said...

The owners of the Dromore Road property are appealing the Town's decision re zoning. Regardless of what you feel re Towns decision, does anyone know if the developers attorneys have contributed to Feiner's campaign.

(And no, I'm not Bob Bernstein. But I am from Edgemont, and my last name ends in a vowel, so I guess I am part of the Edgemont mafia).

Anonymous said...

Don't know who's currently representing the owners of Dromore, but the original lawyer representing them was the same lawyer that put together that March 2004 fundraiser for Feiner where tens of thousands of dollars were contributed by developers with applications pending before the town.

hal samis said...

If the House version is virtually identical to Greenburgh, then why is the Ethics Board and the Town Board rewriting Greenburgh. Why not quote the Greenburgh laws which concern our elected officials, not what the House is doing when they clean house.

The only way to "win" this argument is to post side by side the House version vs the Greenburgh version, both version in their entirety.

And what does the Dromore purchase have to do with anything? Has the owner gotten any breaks?

I asked before, how have those who have contributed to Feiner's campaign benefitted? What has Feiner, that's Feiner spelled
F E I N E R done for them?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the contributors are hoping that the entire Feiner slate gets elected. Like you say, it only takes 3 votes. If the Feiner slate were to be elected, the contributions might be worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

If Feiner's slate gets elected, you can count on the town board giving away that $6.5 million in town revenue to the Valhalla schools.

Rumor has it that the Valhalla school district has already submitted its wish list to Greenburgh as if the state comptroller had never found the grant to be illegal and as if the town board (sans Feiner) had never voted to cancel the grant.

Why do this? Because Feiner expects to win, because one of Feiner's running mates is a member of the Valhalla School Board, and because Feiner expects that as soon as he's got the majority of votes on the town council, he'll give that money away in a heartbeat, regardless of what the law requires and regardless of the interests of everyone else in Greenburgh, including in the villages.

And bother to account for any of the money that's come in, or the money Feiner admits spending on "neighborhood purposes"?

If Feiner and his slate is elected, you can forget about that.

Anonymous said...

"...as if the state comptroller had never found the grant to be illegal ..."

NEWS FLASH: The state controller's OFFICE is not a JUDICIAL body.

Now scurry back to your RUMORS!

Anonymous said...

There the Bernstein groupies go again. More rumors that they created. And they continue to flog the idea that Feiner spent $75,000 for neighborhood purposes. I watched the last Town Board meeting on TV tonight and the Comptroller said that no money was spent, that saying it was a mistake. But right away Berger started tslking about an accounting for the $75,000 that the Comptroller had just said hadn't been spent, and Bernstein followed with the same statement. Bloggers are now asking for an accounting for the $75,000 that hasn't been spent. They will continue asking the same question because they want to confuse. They know that their question has no meaning except to confuse.

Any wonder that I refuse to believe anything this group says.

Anonymous said...

Let me understand this. The VSD indemnifies the town for the Westhelp grant, guaranteeing all monies and legal costs. A grant that is illegal and for which neither the town nor the school district has accounted. (If any party real1y thought that the Comptroller had no authority to rule on the legality of the grant, they would have taken everyone to court. After all it is not their money. Why not sue?) Then a member of the VSD school board seeks a paying position in the town of Greenburgh, with the backing of Feiner? And that position will control FOIL access to town records? If you think we have a problem now with an unresponsive Town Clerk, see what happens when you have one with a vested interest in slowing open government and hiding documents. Do you think Ms. Beville is going to seperate her interests as a VSD BOE member awaiting a $6.5 million gift from her duty as the Town Clerk sworn to make all documents available to the public?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what Heslop says, Feiner would never had read from a written statement on tv last week that he spent money on "neighborhood purposes" if it wasn't true.

Feiner at least was careful to say the amount he spent wasn't $75,000 as Rosenberg had suggested. Feiner just wasn't saying how much it was.

That's why we need an accounting of what Feiner did with the money. The fact that Heslop has no record of what Feiner spent the money on should be cause for alarm, not cause for comfort.

Anonymous said...

See what I mean? 8:27 keeps flogging a dead horse.

Anonymous said...

I too saw the Board meeting on TV and I heard what Anon at 11:56 heard, that the neighborhood money had not been spent. I also heard the Comptroller say that everything from the Westhelp money that had evr been spent was spent with the approval of the entire Board.

When bloggers keep saying that they want an explanation of how $75,000 was spent bu Paul Feiner they are purposely lying.

Anonymous said...

Feiner said at the meeting that money for "neighborhood purposes" had been spent -- he just didn't say how much.

If Feiner had never spent the money, he would never have said at the meeting in a prepared statement that he did.

hal samis said...

Dear 6:48,

Then, as per your new focus, there are no irregularities arising out of the tens of thousands of dollars.

It looks like it was all hyperbole with the intention of making Feiner look like he had sold out Greeenburgh to serve the needs of the developer/contributors.

So the next stage is to say that if Feiner gets "his slate" then he will let developers write their own ticket.

Thus unable to prove any malfeasance from the 2004 contributions that get reported repeatedly on this blog, now the game plan is to be concerned about what may happen in 2008. You'll probably want to add the interest earned on the money by then.

So, if I proposed that Edgemont give up either Bass or Barnes and let Feiner have one of his "mates" and thus retaining only 2 votes, you'll be happy? Which one should get the ax?

Anonymous said...

Samis doesn't seem to understand the difference between bribery, on one hand, which is a criminal offense, and, on the other, violating the town's ethics laws, which requires only that the actions in question -- in this case soliciting tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from developers with applications pending before the town -- create an appearance of impropriety.

Samis is blurring the distinction between the two because he's got nothing to say in defense of what Feiner did.

Anonymous said...

Hope that the Ethics Board will also review the campaign contributions Steve Bass took from applicants who wanted something from the town.

Anonymous said...

If the Ethics Bd is non political they will rule on the Bass campaign contributions.

Anonymous said...

It's important for the Ethics Board to make clear that Bass did nothing wrong and that, in returning the $100 contribution that's in question, he went out of his way to avoid even the appearance of impropriety his having accepted that contribution might create.

By contrast, Feiner solicited tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from developers with applications pending before the town, refused to recuse himself from those applications, and refused to return any of the money he received.

In fact, he's using the money to bankroll his running mates this year, as he did two years ago,in the hope of getting a majority on the town board who will back up his efforts to shut down the Ethics Board's investigation.

Yes, it's important to contrast what Bass did with what Feiner has done and continues to do.

One sets an example for the community; the other thumbs his nose at the community.