Monday, June 25, 2007

RESPONSE TO SHEEHANS SMEARS RE: WESTHELP FUNDS

Two years ago Francis Sheehan indulged in character assassination for which he was criticized by the Fair Elections Campaign Committee. He is doing it again and you can expect more of the same.
Today, Francis Sheehan, a councilman, sent out an e mail on the glist that is not true. I know that it is campaign season but that doesn't excuse Mr. Sheehan's smear about the WESTHELP funds. He says that $1,448,000 is in the bank to be used by me for "flexible purposes." A falsehood is the nicest way I can describe the statement.
The $1,448,000 includes the money originally scheduled for the civic associations which was never paid to them. The Town Board, NOT ONLY ME, had held the money back in the fund balance because we thought that we could use it for a WESTHELP related purpose, like extra police protection, but the Board decided to add it to the regular budget. The balance of the $1,448,000 had been held in the fund balance to be paid to the Valhalla School district and the Fire Department. The Town Board knew about these funds. Until late last year when the State Comptroller said that the grant to Valhalla was illegal unless the contract was renegotiated we all assumed that these funds would be disbursed to the Valhalla School district as planned. The amount for the Fire District was also expected to be disbursed to the Fire District. We learned that the funds can't be given to the school district, unless the contract is re-negotiated. We are still investigating whether the Fire District serves a town wide purpose and if they do then they are entitled to that money.
I urged that these funds be placed in the A budget because that is what the State Comptroller said was necessary. But, the Town Council wouldn't agree. Only last Tuesday at the work session the Council wanted to put this money into the B budget despite the State Comptroller's opinion. That is when I said that I would direct the Comptroller to put the money into the A budget and I did exactly that. The difference between us is that I wanted to put it into the A budget, where the law requires it, and Sheehan and others wanted to put it into the B budget, in violation of the law.
Why is Sheehan now complaining and saying that the funds should go into the A budget? Probably he has been told by someone (maybe our outside auditors, that this is where the funds have to go. So rather than admit that he was wrong in the first place he writes with self righteousness and adopts the very position I urged only last Tuesday.

53 comments:

Feiner explanation doesn't add up said...

Feiner's explanation doesn't add up, and raises even more questions.

He says that the $1,448,000 includes money "originally scheduled for the civic associations which was never paid to them."

However, there was only one civic association slated to get any money -- the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association -- and according to Feiner last fall, the amount never paid was $500,000.

But the $500,000 assumes $100,000 was set aside for each of five years, when the Valhalla schools and the Fairview FD were only paid for three years. The $500,000 figure seems phony.

Feiner doesn't repeat that $500,000 figure -- perhaps because he knows it's false -- but says the balance of the $1,448,000 consists of the $650,000 that would have been paid last year to the Valhalla schools and the $100,000 that would have been paid last year to the Fairview FD.

But assuming all of that is true (and it's not because the $500,000 figure is false), that only adds up to $1,250,000.

Where's the rest of the money Feiner? As the town's chief financial officer, it is your job to account for it.

Feiner also insists that the $1,448,000 was "in the fund balance." If it's in the "fund balance," it's either in the A fund or the B fund. But Sheehan says it's not in either fund, and there's nothing in the town's financial statements (all of which are online) which would reveal the existence of this money.

The English translation of that is that it's all OFF-THE-BOOKS.

If Feiner wants to be believed, he should come prepared to show the public where in the town's financial statements anyone can find any of this money.

Finally, Feiner insists that Sheehan and others were really trying to shift the money from off-the-books to the B fund, which benefits only the unincorporated area.

That's just not credible. It's also contradicted by the audiotape.

Feiner had for years placed $380,000 of the town's $1.2 million in WestHELP revenues in the B budget -- concealing the rest -- and the state comptroller was explicit in his findings earlier this year that all $1.2 million were town-wide revenues that belonged in the A budget.

The town council -- not Feiner --corrected Feiner's 2007 budget to make that change to put all $1.2 million in the A budget.

Feiner's got no proof to the contrary but asks that we take his word for it. However, as the state comptroller demonstrated earlier this year when it found that Feiner had no documentation to support his rationale for the $6.5 million Valhalla gift, no one should take Feiner's word on anything anymore.

herb Rosenberg said...

The writer, and it is hard to believe that it isn't Bernstein, or a Bernstein acolyte, builds sand castles and calls them condos. He should get the facts and do the arithmetic instead of throwing stink bombs.

He should also learn something about budgeting and accounting. The fund balance (and each of the A and B budgets have one) contain funds not appropriated to any purpose. It holds excess funds or anything that the Comptroller/Town Board decides to put there until it is appropriated via the A and B budgets. That is the place where the Comptroller stored the WerstHELP rent receipts until such time as they are approriated, i.e., spent. He bypassed the normal A and B budgets this way. That is still where those funds are and the writer (Bernstein?) should really stop showing his lack of knowledge and his obsession.

By the way, there were two civic associations. I have the files. I wonder why the writer makes such an issue of it unless he must nitpick everything, even when he is dead wrong.

Instead of inventing figures and then saying that they don't add up, he would be better advised to actually ask the Comptroller what the figures are. He might be stunned to find out that Feiner is correct. Just maybe.

The writer's (Bernstein's?) latest mantra is "off the books" which is added to his prior mantra "slush fund." I would expect that on Wednesday th Comptroller would be asked for details, and I would hope that the Board will let people ask him questions -- though such a procedure would be an innovation for this Board.

The answers to this posting will surely be to call me a Feiner-lover, pro-village advocate, and such other names. So let me say that I have not only criticized Feiner for his handling of these funds but was the first one to point out the accounting issues. The big difference is that I also criticize the Council, whereas the writer (Bernstein?) seeks to whitewash them and the Comptroller and Bennet Kielson

Way to go Paul said...

Paul,

Good for you! You finally started to fight back against Sheehan. I urge you to call for an investigation of Sheehan and Kaminer regarding the Valhalla School Superintendant. Sheehan controls Greenburgh for now but his position is very precarious. An official investigation where Gil Kaminer is placed under oath will spell the end for Sir Francis. Unless of course Young Kaminer is willing to commit perjury for his benefactor.

Paul, Gil confessed in front of witnesses! Just get an official investigation going and Sheehan is doomed. No one will allow someone who has violated a citizen's First Amendment rights to stay as a Town Councilman.

Paul, this is your chance to act boldly. Take it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. This might be your only chance to expose Sheehan for what he is.

Anonymous said...

I believe the two civic associations were the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association and the Knollwood Manor Civic Association. Sounds to me like different pockets in the same pair of pants. Not even the Parkway Homes Civic Association (also Valhalla) was cut in for a slice.

Anonymous said...

"Paul, this is your chance to act boldly."

I hope he does, though there's unprofessional conduct on his end that will be exposed, as well.

Anonymous said...

Now is the time to get even wih the big liar Sheehan. It's payback time. You know what they say about ---it's a bitch.

Paul Act Boldly said...

Dear 5:24

Paul has no worries on the Kaminer/Superintendant Affair. That was Mr. Sheehan's baby all the way. Sheehan knows he is in dire shape. That is why he is unloading on Paul now. Francis knows any official investigation will cook him. That is why he is so desparate. He has to eliminate Feiner at all costs so there will be no one on the Board who will stand up for the women who was abused by a Town Employee at the behest of Sir Francis.

Anonymous said...

That's right. The Entire Board was silent when the women from the VSD complained. SHAMEFUL! Two women on the Board and they didn't have the gfuts to stand up against The Bully? How did we wind up with so many empty suits on our Board?

Feiner explanation raises more questions said...

Rosenberg just doesn't get it.

To start off, he insists that there were "two civic associations" -- not one.

"I have the files," he says.

So how come his SCOBA report reports that there was only one civic association that was to get the money? Regardless, one or two, it would be illegal either way, but is Rosenberg trying to explain away the financial discrepancies by saying Feiner was illegally holding back $100,000 a year for two associations instead of just one? That's some defense.

Rosenberg next insists -- like Feiner -- that the $1,448,000 was "in the fund balance." However, saying so does not make it so.

There are two principal fund balances in the town's financial statements -- one for the entire town, known as the "general fund," and one for the town outside villages, or "B" fund. There are also smaller fund balances for districts and other special purposes not applicable here.

So in which fund balance will we find the money?

Rosenberg isn't saying because he can't prove it's in either fund balance. He's just taking Feiner's word or someone else's word that it's in there somewhere.

According to the 2005 financial statements, which are online, there is no evidence that the $1.4 million is in either the general fund or the B fund.

The B fund merits scrutiny, however.

The total annual amount received for "rent," and credited that year to the B fund, was $647,000 -- a figure which we know is wrong because the annual WestHELP rent was $1.2 million.

There is also no evidence in the financial statements for the B fund of any disbursements to either the Valhalla schools or the Fairview Fire District.

There is, however, an entry under the B fund for "deferred revenues."

Rosenberg has suggested that this is where he was told the "off-budget" amounts were recorded. However, there is nothing in the financial statement that says this is the case.

The "deferred revenue" number for 2005 is $2,091,693 and the number for 2004 is $767,683.

If Valhalla received $650,000 in 2006, there would be a balance left over in the "deferred revenue" account of $1.4 million which is what Feiner says is in the account.

According to the state comptroller's report, Valhalla received one check from the town in 2006 in the amount of $617,301. If that number is subtracted from the $2,091,693, the result is $1,474,392, which is close to the $1,448,000, but leaves about $26,000 unaccounted for.

If that is in fact where the town parked the money, then Feiner owes the town a complete accounting of every penny in WestHELP money the town received and where it went.

Here's why: The town first started receiving annual WestHELP rent of $1,222,844 beginning in September 2001. As of September 2007 -- six years later -- that would have amounted to $7,337,064.

Howeever, according to the state comptroller, there were only three disbursements made to Valhalla schools totaling $1.8 million. At most the Fairview Fire District got another $300,000.

That leaves millions of dollars unaccounted for.

How and where the rest of the money went is anybody's guess.

But town taxpayers are owed more than anybody's guess. It's Feiner's job as the town's chief financial officer to make sure every penny is accounted for.

Herb Rosenberg said...

Bernstein, get a life.

I'm looking forward to getting the financial picture from the Comptroller, and he will be questioned. Your agenda-drive speculations mean nothing.

Anonymous said...

Berstein ,your hatred of Feiner is getting to be an obsession with you. I think it's about time that you go for some medical help. You have divided Your area of Edgemont to a point that they do not want you to represent them anymore,whether in print or at town hall meetings. How about retiring and give everyone a break in Greenburgh.Stick to your own law business,by the way you are backing the wrong candidates,you'll be sold down the river as they have done to others.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein, how come you do not question the comptroller with all these accusations that you are making on Feiner. If anything the comptroller should have all the answers, whether they are in favor of Feiner or against.

Feiner's numbers don't add up said...

If Feiner is taking the position that he parked the "off-budget" WestHELP revenues as "deferred revenues" in the town's financial statements, he'd better be prepared to explain each of those entries in the last five years.

Why? Because the amounts listed, starting in 2001, do not appear to bear any relationship to the WestHELP revenues, off-book or otherwise.

For example, in 2001, the Town would have received WestHELP rent for the months of October through December. The rent was around $100,000 per month. Yet the "deferred revenue" for that year was $880,248. What are we make of that?

In 2002, the Town got a full year of WestHELP rent of $1.2 million, and paid nothing to Valhalla or Fairview because those gifts weren't agreed to until March 2004.

So how much is in the "deferred revenue" account for 2002? $737,134. Nor is any explanation given for why the "deferred revenue" account was reduced from $880,248 to $737,134. It gets fishier and fishier.

In 2003, another year in which the town received rent of $1.2 million, but paid nothing to Valhalla or Fairview, the "deferred revenue" number is $812,520.

In 2004, when payments were made to Valhalla and to Fairview, the "deferred revenue" number was $767,689. No explanation is given as to why or where this number came from.

In 2005, the number climbs to $2,091,693. Why this happened is, of course, anybody's guess.

One possibility is that when Heslop was hired in June 2004, he not only found out about the off-budget money, but he knew it was also off-the-books.

However, with the state comptroller's office looking into the accounting, he knew that he'd better put as much off-the-books money as he could into the town's financial statements.

If he didn't do that, he'd be involved in a fraud. But that doesn't explain what happened to this money before Heslop was hired.

All we know is that Heslop's two immediate predecessors quit abruptly, with one, Ms. Berg, making extremely critical remarks in The New York Times about Feiner's lousy management skills.

If Feiner doesn't come clean quickly with a thorough accounting of the WestHELP revenues, the Town Council should demand it and if that doesn't work, they should request the assistance of the state comptroller's office.

No one in public office should be allowed to get away with this.

Anonymous said...

Rosenberg, why are you assuming all of these posts critical of Feiner come from Bernstein? There are plenty of us out there who don't like what we're seeing and your constant attempt to smear Bernstein doesn't make Feiner's explanations sit any better with us.

Knock it off and try at least to pretend you are non-partisan. You've got little enough credibility as it is.

herb Rosenberg said...

I do not assume that all the posting critical of Feiner come from Bernstein. But his writings are easily recognizable. And you will note that I have not always said that it is Bernstein.

With all the wishful drivel being posted it is useful to actually go back to documents. Last fall Norah McAvoy wrote an article in the Journal News and in it she said that she placed the WestHELP moneys into a deferred revenue account. Early this year Heslop confirmed it. Any more questions?

If you think that I should be non-partisan about the damage that Bernstein has wreaked on the town you are barking up the wrong tree. If I lived in the unincorporated area I would have the same negative views of him that I do as a village resident. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Paul-

Thank you for finally getting angry. It is about time.

You have been suffering the haters for way too long.

Their self-serving interests are damaging this town. People think the Town Board is a joke and an embarrasment.

They condone threatening women by town employees, they don't remember what they voted for yesterday, Dakfur (what have you done Steve, to make a difference?), they sleep at the dais, they watch Young Kaminer wisper sweet nothings in the ear of Sir FRANCIS LIKE THEY DON'T MATTER TOO, they are rude and condesending to the public at Town Bored meetings, they have and will throw anyone and anything under the bus to advance their own political careers, they browbeat Lawyer Tim to produce manufactured "findings" and then dis-own the factual pieces that they don't like, or better yet that Bobby B. doesn't like.

Intregrity is very much missing from the people who are sitting to the left and right of you.

If Greenburgh ever finds a Supervisor that will care as much as you do, I assure you, it won't be spelled "BERGER". And heaven help this community, if Sir Francis ascends to the throne. He might as well tell the Controller to send the W-2 to Bobby B. because that is who will be Supervisor in deed.

Paul, its time to take off the gloves. Being the gentleman will not let this community understand the danger they are in at this point with the deficient elected officials.

If they have higher political asperations, please have them leave sooner. They are are hurting my town and I'm not happy about it.

Anonymous said...

Bet ya that some of the council members will start distancing themselves from Sheehan. He's an angry man.

Anonymous said...

What is incredible in all of this is that there still has been no accounting for the funds. Not from Greenburgh and not from Valhalla. Even when Valhalla was receiving the money it never gave an accounting to its residents. Valhalla is being audited by the state comptroller and it is hard to imagine that they will get a clean bill of health just based on the citations in the Greenburgh audit. When the auditors get into the actual approvals, payments and policies it will get ugly.

Jim Lasser said...

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?

Anonymous said...

Paul,thank you for waking up. Now let's hope the residents understand what has been going on since Sheehan was elected. He has put Edgemont in his back pocket,without realizing that he will be sitting on them pretty soon. Because he is a back stabber.Your whole town board tells the civic assoc. what's going on and being the idiots that they are advise them. Ths is not the Democratic way of living. If Edgemont lays down the laws of the land that is 100 percent wrong.Greenburgh is a large town, and to be ruled by a few is wrong. Sheehan cannot wait for the comptrollers full reports to come to light. I do hope after the final report Sheehan will be looking out instead of in. He should remember good deeds are rewarded, but bad deeds have to pay the penalty. His case is unique, since he thinks that he is beyond approach,well he is wrong. WAKE UP EDGEMONT. Paul remember this civic assoc. does not,represent the whole town of Greenburgh

Anonymous said...

Sheehan wants to understand what he wants to. He cannot understand the budget system. He feeds Bob Bernstein and Bob in return repeats what Sheehan says, The same goes for Bass.Let's face it we do have a problem that I'm sure will be solved by Th New York State Comptroller. What happens next Sheehan. To whom will you turn to, Just remember Heaven is above your head.Sheehan seems to forget that he too voted to release the funds to Valhalla a few meetings ago. Who does he think he's kidding.

Rosenberg's smears don't help said...

Rosenberg's smearing of Bernstein is very much like Feiner's own smearing of Bernstein. Totally unwarranted.

Bernstein had to bring a lawsuit to discover that the town was planning to charge the cost of Taxter Ridge to the town's unincorporated area. That was information people in the unincorporated area needed to know.

Bernstein then fought and won the right for unincorporated area residents of Greenburgh to bring suit against Feiner when Feiner acts illegally. Feiner took the position that unincorporated area residents had no legal standing to bring such suits. A unanimous four-judge panel of the Appellate Division ruled in Bernstein's favor.

Bernstein then won the Taxter Ridge case, establishing the principal that town parks open to all town residents should be paid for by all town residents.

In September 2004, Bernstein brought to the town's attention the fact that Feiner had taken tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from developers with applications pending before the town. Those applications only affect the rights of people in the unincorporated area.

Bernstein insisted on a full ethics probe and three years later, it's finally happening, and what do you know, Feiner's not cooperating.

Bernstein also stepped in when one of Feiner's $1,000 contributors was able to cut down trees in Edgemont without waiting for the town board to decide the community's appeal of the developer's tree permit.

Bernstein wrote the law that said it was illegal for a developer to disturb the property while a tree permit appeal is pending, and gave the town the right to withhold building permits and certificates of occupancy to developers, like Feiner's contributor, who do just that. Even Feiner supported Bernstein's law.

And what has Rosenberg done for Greenburgh?

He opposes village residents paying for town parks open to all residents town-wide, tried unsuccessfully to intervene in the Taxter appeal, and has been working with the town's legal department opposing Bernstein in court.

Rosenberg's also taken the position that the town has no legal authority to permit any of its parks to be open town-wide, even if it's in the town's best interests to do so -- thereby killing the Tennis Bubble deal.

Rosenberg also refused to let any unincorporated area civic association heads serve on his SCOBA committee on the ground that they, unlike him, would be "biased" -- thereby singlehandedly destroying whatever credibility the SCOBA report might have had.

Rosenberg last year admitted lying to the town council about his having received confidential information from Feiner.

Rosenberg is now scrambling to defend Feiner's accounting for the WestHELP money. He's convinced that even though the money was never put in into the town's annual budgets, the money can still all be accounted for somewhere in some "deferred revenue" account.

But his own SCOBA report says the WestHELP revenue started coming in at $100,000 a month beginning in September 2001 and the state comptroller says none of that money was disbursed to Valhalla until 2004. That's a lot of money to account for.

I can just imagine what Bernstein would say about that.

Anonymous said...

Bernsteins law reads DO NOT STEP ON EDGEMONTERS FEET.nothing else matters .Yes he did fight the Taxter Ridge matter but that was because it would take more money from his pocket. Who pushed for more open space,Edgemont. Who reported about tree cutting in their area, and who still harps on the fact that a contribution was made to Feiner. Let's face it it's the same story going on for years. Bernstein please change your comments, it's starting to sound like a broken record.Has your,friend Bass returned his contribution, I don't think so. If Feiner was your bosom pal would you persue the matter for this many years, no, I don't think so.Are you thinking to run for office when you leave your job, please think again

Anonymous said...

Steve Bass, who received a campaign contribution from Bob Bernstein has blocked approval of a tree law that the Conservation Advisory Council wants.

Anonymous said...

Bass isn't blocking a tree law that the CAC wants. The CAC faced stiff opposition to its proposal from the community each and every time it's been presented.

Bass wants a tree law that will pass.

Some residents want the town to require tree permits and the right of neighborhood appeal each and every time anyone in Greenburgh who owns property wants to take down a tree that's more than six inches in diameter.

Others object to that on the ground that it's too intrusive and doesn't respect the rights of private property owners to take care of their property as they see fit.

Bass, to his credit, formed a task force earlier this year that's been meeting regularly in an attempt to reach a compromise everyone can live with.

Campaign contributions don't seem to have played any role in this whatsoever. Some of Bass's contributors are on one side of the fence and others, including CAC members who've given to Bass's campaign, are on the other.

One good thing that's emerged, however, was the new Con Ed law, which originated several months ago with a discussion at a meeting
of Bass' task force. People on both sides of the tree law debate worked together to fashion a tree law that iz both fair and enforceable.

Anonymous said...

Are all comments on this blog written by about 4 people?

Anonymous said...

No, but many of them are written by the would-be mayor of Edgemont.

Anonymous said...

Hartsdale FD and Greenville do not do Town wide services. Fairview ahs a saftey house that go to schools all over town ,even the villages also they run a child car seat program for residents throughout the town which the other do not.

Anonymous said...

You're saying that Bass wants a strong tree law,because his best friends in Edgemont lost out with one developer, and they don't want to loose again. He's not thinking of the whole town of Greenburgh.He seems to be working in favor of all his friends in the rich part of town ,.those who will contribute mega bucks to his campaign.

hal samis said...

Remember that campaign coffers need not be raised for or spent on current campaigns for current offices. Candidates can use these funds for future runs at even higher offices.

Mr. Bass does not need money to run for Town Council. He needs it for some race in the future. Time flies, so would-be contributors would do well to wait and see what prize Mr. Bass has his eye on.

Anonymous said...

Bass cannot make a move in the legislature .The only position that he is eyeing is town supervisor. He will try to be a candidate,in the near future. he could try but that doesn't mean he will win.

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows that Berger is planning to warm the seat for her friend Steve Bass. She won't win, but it would be fun watching Bass and Sheehan fighting out which one will take over after Berger becomes a judge.

Anonymous said...

Fairview should get the monies after reading the breakdown of the tax roll.The only thing the town needs a breakdown of how the funds are spent. The breakdown should be ivestigated by some one other than town hall members.

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!

Feiner and the missing millions said...

Having reviewed the publically available annual financial statement of the Town of Greenburgh, this is what disturbingly appears:

Starting in September 2001, the Town received $100,000 a month in rent from Westchester County for the leasing by the County from the Town of the WestHelp facility. The Town received $1.2 million in 2002 and 2003 for a total of approximately $2.7 million for the period ending December 2003. No moneys were distributed under the WestHelp "contract" from the Town to anyone until 2004. In 2004, the Town continued to receive $100,000 a month from the County. So far, Feiner, the Town's Chief Financial officer, has only been able to account for $1.4 million out of the $2.7 million. (the 2004 to date funds appear to be fully accounted for).

So what happened to the missing $1.3 million?

Mr. Feiner?
Mr. Rosenberg?
Mr. Kolesar?
Mr. Samis?
or perhaps we should have Janet Difore ask the question??

Anonymous said...

To 10:07 AM
Try Difiore's public integrity office. Having no accounting for six years and millions apparently missing certainly should get their attention.

Anonymous said...

Every penny in the WESTHELP partnership has been fully accounted for and deposited in town funds. STOP THE LIES!

Anonymous said...

Dear Feiner and the missing millions,

Success. I've found the money and won't you be surprised. I'd tell you, but I don't know how or where to reach you. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 3:59

Send the information to Bernstein, who is making all those wild charges.

By the way, is the missing millions really zero?

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Feiner's now admitting that he disbursed $75,000 from his $500,000 slush fund for "neighborhood purposes."

Hopefully when he accounts for all the WestHELP money, he'll come clean on that too and tell us what exactly he spent the money on -- and whether that's all the money he "disbursed" for "neighborhood purposes."

Why is accounting for these funds so hard?

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymice 4:22 PM,

Let's consider the implications of your posting and they may be serious.

First, just because you state a "rumor" doesn't make it true. What are the facts?

Let's suppose for reasonable discussion purposes that indeed $75,000 has been disbursed. Who authorized it? Who cut the check? Who signed the check? Did anyone at any point of time qusestion whether these disbursements were in the approved budget? If they were then the Town Council had approved them by approving the budget. If they weren't, why didn't the Town Comptroller thow out a RED FLAG? If he did and there was a budget modification, I assume that it was approved by at least a majority of the Town Council? At what meeting(s) was (were) these disbursements approved?

Let's get some answers!!!

PS I'm doing this posting because the audio for the Town Council meeting still isn't on.

Anonymous said...

Both Feiner and Rosenberg said disbursements were made for "neighborhood purposes."

Rosenberg was quite specific. He wrote an e-mail, copy to Kolesar and a cast of thousands, which said the amount Feiner paid out for "neighborhood purposes" was $75,000.

Nobody knows what this money was used to pay for, who got paid, for what, and how much.

Assuming Feiner and Rosenberg are right, there would never be any audit trail on this spending because the way Feiner set it up, the money was never placed in any town budget.

If it had been in a town budget, and if it had been paid to the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association as intended, such distribution would be illegal and unconstitutional.

Therefore, Feiner said he didn't want the money in the budget because that way he'd have "flexibilility" when it came to spending it.

Feiner claims the town board went along with this idea, but the town council says that's nonsense and they've challenged him to produce any board resolution or the minutes or videotape of any meeting or the audiotape of any work session at which the Town Board approved, much less discussed, placing any town revenues outside of the town budget.

Anonymous said...

Francis Sheehan's character: Two years ago I wrote this letter to Ms. Suzanne Berger, the Chairperson of the Greenburgh Democrats. At that time she was recommending Sheehan for the Greenburgh Town Board. I and others questioned the propriety of his designation. Subsequently, he won the campaign with a last minute smear of his opponents. What else is new?

April, 27, 2005

Dear Ms. Berger,

Your view and perspective of the situation Wednesday night is different than mine. Whether Supervisor Feiner has the right to appoint a Deputy Supervisor is a matter of law. The fact that the Board wishes to limit his right to choose a person for that position is an essential part of the issue. The replacing of Ms. Barnes or all the other Board members has little or nothing to do with being racist, anti-women or anything else. That is the great stretch of imagination. The situation that I cited was witnessed by a number of people. You say that you investigated the situation. In a conversation over heard by myself and others, Ms. Thelma Washington objected to being interrupted by Mr. Don Siegel. In front of myself and others, Mr. Sheehan said to Mr. Siegel and Ms. Washington, and I paraphrase, "We know how they treat your people!" Would you infer anything but his attempt to paint a "broad brush" slur at Siegel and his "associates?" When Sheehan was challenged, in front of many people, he attempted to slough off his remark and to get Siegel to engage in a verbal slugfest. Siegel did not take Sheehan's bait! That is the issue! Supervisor Feiner is seeking a ruling from the Town Counsel over this issue, and I am sure that he will be supported. But no matter how his authority is to be judged, Francis Sheehan hurled a racist charge against Don Siegel and his associates. He attempted to inflame the passions of race with the lowest of form of collective guilt. If you feel that this is an alleged incident, you have been lied to. If you think that this has anything to do with the actions of the Supervisor, vis-a-vis the Board, you are sadly mistaken and misinformed. If you think that this charge will go away, you are sadly misinformed. If you think that this will not "dog" Mr. Sheehan, you are sadly misinformed. If you think that you as the leader can continue to "brush off" or obfuscate this issue you are sadly misinformed. Mr. Sheehan made that racially inflammatory statement, plain and simple. It was not in the "heat of anything." He attempted to take advantage of the moment regarding the conversation between Mr. Siegel and Ms. Washington. He abused any concept of decency, and no person seeking public office can say to anyone that "we know what they think of your people!" By the way, what does that really mean? Does that mean that "they" meaning Don Siegel, myself, Jason Gooljar, Paul Feiner all have "secret" racist thoughts about "her" people? Please wake up and understand the gravity of that foolish, insulting and disgraceful statement.

Again if you wish to ignore this issue, because you think it will go away, you are mistaken The Board has made an issue over their prerogative regarding oversight. The Supervisor has a much different view from them over his legal and Constitutional role. This will be tested legally and at the polls. But the issue of Francis Sheehan's remarks cannot be clouded over by this governmental conflict. His remarks have nothing to do with that issue or the two schools of thought. The conversation between Don Siegel, Thelma Washington and others is and was a separate issue. Mr. Sheehan's remark was an attempt to exploit, in the lowest way, the issue of race and to inflame passions.

With regard to my position as Deputy Supervisor, the appointment was made many, many months ago, probably 15 months or so It wasn't challenged by the Board then and the subject of my work regarding "liaisons" has never been a subject of the Board's concerns. If the Board wished to question my legitimacy in that role they have had the right to do so at any time.The other night Supervisor Feiner stated that he had the right, under law, to appoint one Deputy Supervisor, and since the Board made an issue over his right to appoint "his" Dep uties, he executed that right.The Supervisor has had Deputy Supervisors for 14 years! In all those years, has there ever been a challenge to his legitimate authority to appoint Deputy Supervisors? I don't think so!

Regards,

Richard J. Garfunkel

PS: The Fair Campaign Practice Board ruled against him and Diane Juettner and who was their lawyer? Suzanne Berger!

Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee
c/o League of Women Voters of Westchester
Room 12B, 200 Hamilton Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 949-0507 / fax: (914) 997-9354
________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 4, 2005 CONTACT: Stephanie Sarnoff, Chair
276-0760 day
722-1304

The Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Committee (FCPC) met on September 29, 2005 to hear post-election complaints filed by Kevin Morgan and Allegra Dengler against Francis Sheehan and Diana Juettner, all having been Democratic candidates in the September 13th primary election for two open seats on the Greenburgh Town Council. The complaints stemmed from alleged misrepresentations in the campaign literature distributed by Mr. Sheehan and Ms. Juettner.

COMPLAINT:
Mr. Morgan and Mrs. Dengler complain that their positions on Choice were falsely described in the literature distributed by Mr. Sheehan and Mrs. Juettner.

FINDING: UNFAIR
While the Committee is not in a position to decide the definition of �pro choice,� there is no evidence that Mr. Morgan said that he favors restrictions on a woman�s right to choose. The inference that Ms. Dengler is not �100% Pro-Choice� is based solely on a private conversation and not backed by other evidence.

COMPLAINT:
Mr. Morgan and Mrs. Dengler complain that their positions on Indian Point were falsely described in the literature distributed by Mr. Sheehan and Mrs. Juettner.

FINDING: NO FINDING
The allegations made in the campaign literature fall within the realm of normal political discourse.

COMPLAINT:
Mr. Morgan and Mrs. Dengler complain that Mr. Sheehan and Mrs. Juettner�s campaign literature is false when stating: �As a Planning Board member he (Mr. Morgan) initiated the vote to waive a public hearing on a final subdivision and voted to allow the subdivision. His company then purchased the land he voted to subdivide, and is now developing it.�

FINDING: UNFAIR
The statement is misleading because the implication is that he had an interest or knew he was going to acquire an interest in the subdivision at the time he was voting on the issue, when in fact he did not acquire the property until a year later when it came on the market.


If a candidate or campaign wishes to quote from this Finding, the Committee requires that the Finding be quoted in its entirety. The Committee regards selective quotation of its Findings as a violation of fair campaign process.

The purpose of the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee is to promote a climate in which candidates conduct honest and fair campaigns. The Committee encourages candidates to conduct campaigns openly and fairly, to discuss issues, to refrain from dishonest and defamatory attacks, and not to use campaign materials that distort the facts.
The Committee does not sit as a censor or political discussion nor as a body to enforce election law or make legal decisions. Its task is to accept written complaints about alleged unfair campaign practices and to determine whether the action complained about is indeed unfair. Among other things, the Committee will consider to be unfair any campaign practice that is a misstatement of a material fact or that misleads the public.
The Committee has no power to compel anyone to stop doing what it has found it be unfair. If the Committee acts on a complaint, it will release its findings to inform the public. The Committee may choose not to consider a complaint; in that case, a hearing is not held and the parties to the complaint are so notified.

Statement of Principles of the Committee, as stated in its Manual, available at www.WATPA.ORG. The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee believes that candidates should conduct their campaigns in accordance with the following principles:
� The candidate will conduct a campaign for public office openly and fairly. The candidate will discuss the issues and participate in fair debate with respect to his/her views and qualifications.
� The candidate will neither engage in nor be involved with unfair or misleading attacks upon the character of an opponent, nor will the candidate engage in invasions of personal privacy unrelated to fitness for office.
� The candidate will not participate in or condone any appeal to prejudice.
� The candidate will neither use nor be involved with the use of any campaign material or advertisements that misrepresents or distorts the facts.
� The candidate will clearly identify by name the source of all advertisements and campaign literature published and distributed.
� The candidate will not abuse the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee process in order to obtain political advantage.

The candidate will publicly repudiate materials or actions from any individual or group that would violate this Statement of Principles.

Members of the Committee: Stephanie Sarnoff, Chair; Milton Hoffman, Vice Chair;
Susan Schwarz (& Interim Coordinator); Susan Pace Guma; Ruth Hinerfeld; Barbara Jaffe; Burton M. Leiser; Robert E. Peterson; Ernest Prince; Evelyn Stock

Anonymous said...

The Journal News
Letter to the Editor:

In your June 12, 2007, letters to the editor section, we saw two contrasting views regarding the WestHELP conflict that is affecting the taxpayers and the citizens of the Mayfair-Knollwood neighborhood of Greenburgh. The head of the local civic association has articulated the duplicity of the Greenburgh Town Board, who in its arrogance and self-serving ambition to run Greenburgh through its venal and legislative “dictatorship” has punished the children of Greenburgh, who attend the Valhalla schools. In contrast we were exposed to a wanton political attack on Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner by one of his opponent’s political hack friends. This is nothing new from Feiner’s challengers, who impugn his honesty and well-known integrity at every opportunity. But their baseless canards have been proven wrong time and again. Two years ago, his opponent defended two Board members in front of the Fair Campaign Practice Board and lost! Then it was an 11th hour smear that smacked of McCarthyism. When will the “boss” of the town Democratic Party resign?

Richard J. Garfunkel

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 6/27/2007 1:26 PM:
Where can we find this accounting for every penny of the WestHelp rents?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know, is the bank account(s) that contained the Westhelp monies FOILable?

Anonymous said...

All gov't document are foilable with rare exception. Bank statements are never an exception. Be specific as to what you are asking for. A town bank statement will not show the source of the funds. You might ask for copies all checks received pursuant to the lease and copies of bank statements showing those deposits.

Anonymous said...

thank you

who do I send foil to

i also want copies of all checks and transfers out of the account

Michael Kolesar said...

To the various new auditors:

If you really want to "follow the money", may I suggest that you start by FOILing the County to ascertain how the money was directed to the Town of Greenburgh. If by check, the check would have had to be endorsed and would show exactly which Town bank account the funds were deposited into. If a wire transfer, the wire transfer will show the same information, that is which bank account received the money. That's step 1.

Now, if the funds were deposited into a general Town bank account following the trail will become more difficult, but not impossible. But if it went into a general Town bank account, how were the financial statement balances at any fiscal year end tied into the actual bank account balance? How did the auditors determine that nothing was amiss?

I could go on, but Bennett Kielson should have the answers. This isn't rocket science.

Anonymous said...

Go to the Town's website. On the left there is a link to Documents and Forms, click it. Then using the drop down menu (Jump to Section) select Town Clerk. The first link will give you a pdf form that you can fill out by hand and send to the Town Clerk, that is usually easiest. There is also an online form if you have Word, that you can fill out on screen, but you still have to print it, sign it and send it to the Town Clerk. The Town Clerk is the record access officer. You can fax or mail it the request to her attention.

Anonymous said...

Eddie Mae Barnes, Steve Bass, Diana Juettner voted for the budget and approved all expenditures dealing with WESTHELP

Anonymous said...

sheehan also voted a few months back to release the funds to Valhalla.Bass,Barnes and Juettner voted on the original resolution Sheehan voted later on.So one can see that Feiner did not undertake the releasing of these funds by himself/

Anonymous said...

And just what were the expenditures dealing with Westhelp? If someone could answer that question, we would be 1/3 of the way to an accounting. Receipts, expenditures, balance. It is really simple and strangely odd that we can't get an accounting.