Thursday, January 23, 2014

Board Rules Feiner Guilty!

In a not-so-surprising ruling, the Town’s Ethics Board again ruled against Mr Feiner for an ethics violation for the same thing they found him guilty of twice before. Specifically, he made a post-primary fundraising letter campaign effort sent to certain residents of Irvington, Hastings and Hartsdale. This is not only a blatant violation of the Ethics Code because it was sent to residents appointed to serve on town boards, but also may have been sent to town employeesThe Town’s Ethics Code specifically prohibits elected officials from soliciting campaign contributions from persons appointed to serve on town boards and to town employees. Perhaps Mr Feiner got confused with all the mailings (read: campaigning) he’s been doing lately. This is apparently different from the other Ethics Code rule of elected officials not receiving things of value from a Town employee. An example you ask? Okay, one example might be if the Town Attorney were to say, solicit campaign ballot signatures for Town Board candidates running for office, and then swearing to the signatures’ validity as a Notary Public. That is a thing of value and prohibited by the Ethics Code. Or is it?

This is the second time in three years that Mr Feiner has been found guilty of the same offense by the Ethics Board. However, being an impotent Board under the control of the Town Board, which is ultimately under the thumb of Mr Feiner, nothing will come of this latest guilty ethics verdict. Interestingly, the last time this happened the Town Board decided to not impose any fines against Mr Feiner for his illegal behavior. It seems that they are willing to condone this behavior that is so detrimental to our Town. Since his checks and balances are ultimately controlled by him, it’s no wonder he would discriminate against the Fortress Bible Church! There, however, he could not control the outcome and it is costing the Unincorporated Town taxpayers $6,500,000 ($1M by insurance).

This time it was the Ethics Board members who received the fund raising mailing from Mr Feiner. OMG - quite the conundrum. Knowing they should at least appear to be ethically motivated, they initiated an investigation into Mr Feiner’s actions. For most people, this would be a no-brainer. But for the Ethics Board, it crosses a fine line. All Ethics Board members are selected and ratified by Mr Feiner and his Board, pledging allegiance whether overtly, openly or otherwise. Unfortunately, the impotence of the Board requires it to capitulate with every decision in Mr Feiner or the Town Board’s favor – like it or not.

ABG staffers were in attendance when the Ethics Board adjourned to executive session at its December 2 meeting to discuss the matter and then privately interview Mr Feiner. Ironically, Mr Feiner’s violation wasn’t on the agenda for that night. When pushed as to why they were adjourning to executive session, the Board’s President Jack McLaughlin stated it was to discuss personnel issues. It seems that every agency, group or Board in Greenburgh is taking greater advantage of hiding information from the public with more frequent Executive sessions. This opinion, only recently publicized, found the board accepting Mr. Feiner’s excuse that he did not knowingly solicit contributions from residents serving on town boards or from town employees. His rationale was that he  purchased the mailing list from a third party and used a different third party vendor to do the actual mailing. Sounds like a convenient excuse for this Board, but a genuine crock to us. How about the admission at the end of every ad that says this ad was approved by [candidates name].

It’s always sadly entertaining to find out what Mr Feiner is doing by way of lawsuits, guilty verdicts, Facebook posts and/or Blogs. It’s also quite pathetic. But his disheveled, shlub-like act has worn thin and is failing him more and more. Whatever he has done, legal or otherwise, will be excused by a Board he has appointed and made sure is comprised of friendly faces. On occasion, some may bluster a bit to appear impartial, but its just a ruse. Between rigged Boards, rigged referendums, rigged bids, rigged reports, rigged zoning, rigged meetings, rigged solutions and undisclosed information, Mr Feiner and his Board should be facing more court time than County DA Janet Difiore. But, as is typical, the usual suspects will be questioned and released without even a slap on the wrist. Carry on with business as usual. If and when this changes, we may begin to see A Better Greenburgh.

Below are copies of the opinion rendered and the solicitation letter from Mr Feiner:

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