Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nicholas DeCicco Responds to ABG's Posts

Below is an email ABG recently received from Nicholas DeCicco and have decided to post in the effort of fair play. Our issues go deeper than DeCicco, which manifest themselves as part of Greenburgh's hand-picked appointments in various committees and boards by a contemptible Town Supervisor. 

We can certainly abide by the findings as presented by DeCicco below. DeCicco has been cleared of the charges brought against him. We have difficulty overlooking the obvious, that one of the participants in the campaign fund-raising and then the verdict, is attorney Mark Constantine, a member of the Greenburgh Ethics Board and Chuck Pateman's attorney!

We'll give DeCicco the benefit of the doubt and from this point forward ease off of him unless he takes another miss-step. It doesn't mean we'll stop watching him as well as others, but we'll put this to bed for now. 

In fact, if you read below, he says he has lots to share. Here's an open invitation: Simply, if it's about Greenburgh, you share it and we'll post it.



I don't know who you are but would appreciate it if you would actually inquire with me before writing about me.
This would go a long way to bringing some truth and accuracy to your stories as they relate to me.
The cherry-picking of facts, and misrepresentations, and conspiracy theory's (all which were summarily dismissed by the EB) sound very Bernstein-esq, but perhaps you have more of a desire for truthfulness.
Even Ella has acknowledged that Bernstein's complaint was poliitcally motivated.

Maybe you can acknowledge that the Ethics Board DISMISSED as MERITLESS the vast majority of Bernstein's complaint - everything that had to do with acting honestly and with integrity they found in my favor.
Use of term "found" "guilty" is inflammatory and not quite accurate - as I voluntarily reimbursed Pateman once I was made aware of the provision which stated that EVEN THOUGH i was recused from the DD matter the reception attending the reception was still prohibited (a rule found only in Greenburgh)
Maybe you could acknowledge Bernsteins clear political agenda in this and his financial, legal, and strategic support of Shimsky?

All your fantasies about back room deals are just that - fiction, as I have sworn to, and as the Ethics Board accepted.

Again - Come out and announce yourself... Many things you write about - most in fact - are good issues and hold our leaders accountable. I am a good honest and faithful person and believe that my input would be sought after to get accurate information out to the public.

Have lots to share -

Get back to me and lets start the dialogue.



Here is a copy of an email I sent out:

The complainant, Bob Bernstein, got decimated.
Allegation 1: I did not properly recuse myself - DISMISSED (The EB found that I did properly AND immediatly recuse myself once a conflict arose)
Allegation 2: I had an "interest" in the Deli application and did not disclose - DISMISSED (The EB found that I had NO "interest" in the Deli Delicious matter and therefor had nothing to disclosue)
Allegation 3: There was undue influence/reward - DISMISSED (The EB found there was NO undue influene, intent to influence, or reward as I immediately recused myself once a conflict arose and abided by said recusal)
Allegation 4: Accepted prohibited contribution – Uncontested & Voluntarily corrected (The EB accepted this as an honest oversight which I voluntarily corrected by reimbursing Mr. Pateman for the cost of the reception)
In typical and predictable fashion, Mr. Bernstein immediately posted a fraudulently deceptive summary of the decision on the Edgemont Community Council's Facebook page which did NOT mention all of the allegations which were dismissed, only mentions the once that was "upheld," and makes it seem like the Board "forced" me to reimburse Pateman rather than making it clear that it was done voluntarily. Bernstein also incorrectly that I wrote the Ethic's Board stating that I would not contest the charges – when in fact there was only ONE charge not contested (which I took accountability for as an honest oversight and voluntarily remedied) while all other charges which were contested by me were DISMISSED as meritless.
Throughout this entire process Mr. Bernstein has failed to disclose to the Ethics Board, or the public, the hundreds of dollars he contributed to the MaryJane Shimsky campaign (my competitor in February's election, and probable opponent in November), the countless hours of other support and advice he offered to her campaign, or the newspaper ad he openly endorsed her in. 
Mr. Bernstein's continual dishonest and misleading portrayal of the facts and findings of the Ethics Board, via to the ECC website, the ECC news letter, and other social sources, and his suppression of opposing information (by deleting my comments from the ECC page and not posting my replys), shows Mr. Bernstein lacks the integrity to tell the truth to the community and is more interested in using town resources to pursue a clear personal and political agenda.
If Mr. bernstein had made a courtesy phone call and presented his concerns to me like a professional then it all could have been resolved without the filing of an ethics complaint and attendant negativity. But Mr. Bernstein was never interested in the truth but in political rhetoric and mudslinging to the point where even ELLA PREISER, has acknowledged that Bernstein's complaint was "obviously politically motivated."


What Part of 'NO' Don't You Get?

The Proposal
The proposal for the renovations/additions to Deli Delicious, go back to at least 2009. ABG found that one of the neighborhood residents was a candidate for political office. He attended a fundraiser hosted by Chuck Pateman, in Irvington. While there, Pateman offered the use of his home and property for a fundraiser if the candidate would supply everything else, such as entertainment, food, beverages, etc. He thanked the host for his generosity and later exited the event.

The following day, this same candidate received a telephone call from Pateman. After some brief pleasantries, Pateman asked the candidate if he could help persuade the neighborhood to get on board and go along with Tartaglione’s deli expansion? This candidate explained he was reasonably sure that not only could he not change his neighbor’s minds, but also offered that Tartaglione should have reached out to the neighborhood to make his case before proceeding. Tartaglione had not. The candidate also explained how Supervisor Feiner, his feckless Town Board and another property’s petitioner, Westhab, had assaulted and “dumped on” the neighborhood by forcing an oversized homeless shelter be built. 

Lifelong neighbors told an ABG staffer that Feiner had said some twenty years earlier that if the homeless population were ever removed, he would support a senior citizen living facility. Numerous conversations confirmed this information, just not Feiner. In the beginning, he claimed he didn’t remember saying this. Then he claimed he never said it and went so far as to threaten the neighborhood by saying the County under the Spano administration, would build their own facility on the property and supercede local zoning laws if this project didn't proceed. This was simply not true. In fact, then County Executive Spano was questioned by residents and so outraged by Feiner, he sent the area residents a letter saying as much and that Feiner was lying. Tartaglione, Pateman and Constantine pushed on.

Ethics and The Vote
There were not enough votes in a straw vote by the Zoning Board, to show the zoning variance petition had legs. County Legislator hopeful, Nicholas DeCicco, a member of the Greenburgh Zoning Board, voted in favor of the Deli Delicious zoning variance request. Chuck Pateman held a fund raising event for DeCicco at his Irvington home. Robert Bernstein, an Edgemont resident and attorney who has sued the Town before, lodged an ethics complaint against DeCicco for voting on an active case while accepting campaign donations from the applicant. There would be a hearing. DeCicco asked for a continuance, as he would be away. It was granted. However, while he was away, DeCicco pled guilty of unethical conduct as a Board member and returned the money given to him by Pateman. He should have recused himself (Webster’s definition: to remove oneself from participation to avoid a conflict of interest) in the very beginning and this would never have been an issue during his failed County Legislative race against Mary Jane Shimsky or even now if he contemplates other political aspirations. He claims he did recuse himself and is currently still a member of the Zoning Board. There’s an ethics conundrum for you: should a Board member who pleads guilty of an ethics violation still be allowed to sit on the Board. We think not.

It's Official
The Zoning Board voted at a regular meeting on the Tartaglione petition and this time officially voted against Tartaglione’s petition. When Pateman asked for permission to address the Board, the President told him, “Absolutely not. There is nothing to add.” As sore losers go, Tartaglione stormed out of the hearing and the following day had put plywood across the windows and spray painted the word “closed” on them. He also hung signs, which ABG maintains is in violation of the Town’s signage regulations. Yet the Town, with Feiner’s blessing, is ignoring this. Although, about two years ago Feiner had his building department go after a neighbor for code and building violations. This neighbor was leading the fight against the Westhab proposal. When the case got to court, it was dismissed. Feiner’s intimidation tactic didn’t work this time. Ask any Greenburgh employee about Feiner and intimidation. They'll probably remain mum unless they know they can trust you. It speaks volumes.

Article 78
Now Tartaglione, surely under the intimate hand-holding of Pateman and Constantine, has filed an Article 78 with the Supreme Court, ProSe. Pateman’s lawyer, Ethics Board member Mark Constantine, must be the engine behind this move. Tartaglione doesn’t exhibit the necessary intelligence to even know what ProSe or for that matter, what Latin is, let along file the requisite paperwork required in Supreme Court. ABG also wonders if non-practicing attorney Paul Feiner isn’t also offering input to this motley crew. Note: An Article 78 of the New York State CPLR provides a mechanism for actions, or inactions, of a government agency or official to be challenged in court. There are three basic forms of relief one can seek in an Article 78. 1) A Writ of Mandamus to compel a government agency or official to do something they are required by law to do; 2) A Writ of Prohibition seeks to force or compel a government agency or official to refrain from doing something it should not do; or 3) A Mandamus of Review is utilized where on seeks the reversal of a public agency or official’s decision. We haven’t been able to get more information yet as to the specifics of the appeal, but if Tartaglione in fact filed this, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it written in crayon.

Just Go
This is what is very wrong with politics in general and Greenburgh politics specifically. After twenty years of iron-fisted political intimidation, deals, arm bending, coercion, control and out and out lies, Feiner has turned into what the average citizen fears – a corrupted, conscious-less politician bastardizing our government from the top down for his own interests. Please keep in mind that the Town has mostly good, dedicated employees working for us. Unfortunately, Feiner and his play-along-to-get-along Stepford Board overshadow these same good employees. It’s time for Paul to go.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Guilty! DeCicco Returns Contributions

The Greenburgh Ethics Board, a tainted Feiner appointed group patterned after the three monkeys "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" mantra, found Nicholas DeCicco guilty of an ethics violation. As a Zoning Board member, DeCicco accepted campaign contributions from a business with an active petition under review with the Zoning Board, from which DeCicco claimed to have recused himself. You'll recall from an earlier blog we discussed DeCicco's failed election campaign against Mary Jane Shimsky. ABG was actually disappointed with both candidates lack of knowledge of the issues as well as a lack of vision for the district, but preferred DeCicco over Shimsky. Vacating the same district assembly seat was Feiner cohort, confidant, and conniver, Thomas Abinanti; whose claim to fame, like Feiner, is using the press for reelection publicity over substance.

DeCicco was accused of violating the Greenburgh Ethics code after Chuck Pateman, the "representative" for Ernest Tartaglione's Deli Delicious, held a fund raiser for DeCicco in February at his Irvington, NY estate on Mountain Road. ABG feels a bit of compassion for DeCicco as he came into the politcal game as a neophyte, and didn't know who the players really were. We supposed that the Republican Chairman, Douglas Colety probably set these wheels in motion for DeCicco after Pateman approached Colety and offered a tit-for-tat deal. "You get me zoning approval and I'll make sure little Nicky gets a few bucks." He then turned to his attorney and consigliere Constantine, snapped his fingers and said, "Make it happen." "Yes, m-lord."

How does this impact this current election? It doesn't really, just DeCicco. He stated an interest in running for County Legislator again, against Shimsky. ABG believes that is where he should focus his efforts. Any attempt to run for a seat in Greenburgh will be futile. Voters forget and Greenburgh voters will forget too. Nick, skip this year's Greenburgh election and try next time and you'll have a shot. Robert Bernstein, the Edgemont Community Council President was asked to withdraw his complaint and he refused. So this issue for DeCicco won't easily fade away. Pateman, who still represents Tartaglione, can now take the cash DeCicco has returned and use it to pay for the Article 78 he just filed with the Supreme Count to try to get Deli Delicious' zoning variance.
 Obviously Tartaglione's supposed financial woes and cause for the deli's closure, is nothing more than the ploy we've maintained all along. His "unemployed" workers still show up for work every day albeit behind plywood doors and windows. His truck, his car and occasionally other people's cars, park in the lot daily behind the blocked entrance. Business as usual - just not as an open deli. It's all a scam and Paul Feiner is complicit with this scam!

  ** As an aside, an ABG staffer, who was leaving work at Staples at about 9PM or so on a week night and saw Tartagliones brother or son and another male dumping a piano onto the Westhab property adjacent to the deli property.** 

The Ethics Board will continue hearing the case against Zoning Board member Jordan Glass, which will be the subject of further discussion at its June meeting. The Town had decided not to pay for an attorney for DeCicco, and have decided the same thing for Glass. So while both conspirators plotted, possibly for their own gains by using their seats on the Zoning Board, even with Supervisor Feiner's ineptitude everywhere, justice seems to have partially prevailed. Now, if we could just get Pateman, Constantine, DeCicco, Glass and Feiner to just remove Tartaglione's piano from the Westhab property, everyone will be able to move on.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Driving Around Westchester, Using My Cell Phone

Recently, the Town Supervisor stated at a Board meeting and posted the following, “Frequently, when I am driving around Westchester County and using my cell phone, my phone doesn't work.  There are many areas around the county that are not covered by cell phone service. I think I'm in a third world country - my phone dies on me during the middle of telephone conversations.”

His admission of guilt as it relates to using a cell phone while driving, is indicative of the poor leadership he’s exhibited for years.  ABG is hoping our new Police Chief, Joseph DeCarlo, will have a chat with the supervisor about following the traffic laws for cell phone usage while on the roads. Otherwise, we hope he gets pulled over by a police officer from a non-Greenburgh area and ticketed. Why non-Greenburgh? He won’t be able to intimidate his way out of a ticket with job loss threats to our officers.

He made another ridiculous statement, and again we quote, “In the event of a terrorist attack or emergency evacuation, cell phone coverage could be important for families and law enforcement officials.  Cell service provides a link to family members and to public safety officials.” Perhaps. ABG spoke to numerous first responders, both career and volunteer and asked how many calls they make during their average emergency and how many they made on September 11, 2001. They said they rarely if ever make cell calls when at a call – they’re usually pretty busy. On 9-11, many that were on duty called home to ensure the safety of their loved ones, but if they didn’t get them on the line, they continued doing what needed to be done. One responder we spoke with said he couldn’t get phone service anyway as the cell towers were down. Another said he was able to use his direct-connect feature to raise his wife. Once he was sure they were safe, he made no more calls.

Once again, this seems to be one of those manufactured issues that our Supervisor is so good creating. It’s something he doesn’t control, has no say in, and yet the media will entertain his blather on this in article after article. Would cell coverage in an emergency be a good thing? Probably. But it’s also why the localities’ Police, Fire, EMS and various highway and road crews have radios with specific frequencies.

Our final quote, as unbelievable as this seems, is this, “I think that Westchester County should conduct an annual inventory of areas around the county that do not have cell service (by carrier) and that the county should publicize the areas that lack coverage.  This should be coordinated with the local police force and be incorporated into emergency preparation plans.” ABG’s guess is Feiner endorses this as the County has so much extra personnel, time and money to waste on frivolous Feiner fishing expeditions. Yes, we’re being facetious. We also know that our police department has better things to do than worry about cell phone coverage. Feiner can never seem to focus on real issues affecting Greenburgh taxpayers.

It’s time for The Paul to go. He’s stopped doing what’s good for the residents quite some time ago. He's committed and focused on fast tracking projects for developers and keeps fostering absurd ideas such as this. We look forward to a change this November.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Anything To Do in Greenburgh?

ABG finds it interesting that there is so much, yet so little, to do in the Town of Greenburgh. It's not that you can't find something to keep you busy. Quite the contrary. If you are into physicality as a “time-killer”, then the Theodore Young Community Center might be for you. Out for a stroll, there are numerous parks and fields to visit. In fact, the park behind the Nissan dealer on Rt.119 across from KMart, off Yellowstone Avenue has a great track. Added entertainment can be found when the little leaguers are practicing.

But what does Greenburgh, the Town proper, actually offer to it's overtaxed residents? The Supervisor posts events on his blog each week. But he’s actually only copying from someone else. In school, we teach this as cheating. We would think the Supervisor would have his finger on the pulse of Greenburgh, where, in reality, he has his finger on Greenburgh’s jugular, choking the life out it. While the Villages are part of the Town and technically “count”, we feel they should be considered to be on the outside as they have their own Mayors, Managers, and/or Village Boards. His list, as copied from the www.RiverTownsGuide.com, has nothing that is actually for residents of the Town. Why not?

Every day when ABG scans the Journal News newsletter, we specifically look to see what is going on in Greenburgh. The only events we ever see taking place are held at the Greenburgh Library or the Greenburgh Nature Center. Once the summer arrives, weather permitting, the Town Recreation Department will show recently released movies at Veteran Park, and we applaud that. Is this all we have to offer? We certainly hope to be proven wrong.

Please post a comment with your suggestions of things to do in Greenburgh. There is no wrong answer as long as it's in Greenburgh and not a Village. We wait with genuine enthusiasm for your suggestions.