Puglisi and Costello Sellout Cortlandt on Pipeline

Puglisi_Costello_Pipeline

We’ve been told she has been doing it for a long time and is very adept at it. She is a master at making certain groups think she is with them when she is really working behind their backs against their interests. This time she got caught and so did her partner on the town board.

Who are we referring to? You guessed it, Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi and her partner in the latest trickery, Debbie Costello. They have skillfully (until now) fooled the public into thinking they were ‘fighting’ the Algonquin Pipeline project in Cortlandt. They joined the anti-pipeline protesters and appeared at all the demonstrations and meetings. They made it look good all right but the whole time they were negotiating with the company behind the scenes to get a payoff. The very thing they and their protester friends have vilified other officials of doing along the pipeline route.

They knew the pipeline project was a ‘done deal’ from the start and merely played politics to protect themselves from criticism in the town. As one of our readers stated in an email, she “played us!”

So why is this coming to light now and why such a focus on it? The two reasons this has become public knowledge is because the Journal News through their “Tax Watch” column recently exposed the double dealing by Puglisi and the town board. The second reason is because Costello is now a candidate for NY State Senate. Her run for higher office will now bring a huge microscope on the Town of Cortlandt government and their record on taxes, spending, and just about everything else. Based on what we have learned so far about Puglisi, she doesn’t like ANY light being shined on her or her true record. She prefers to be the only source of information and that no questions get asked. She is not going to like the next 8-9 months with Costello running and bringing huge focus on the town.

READ JOURNAL NEWS ARTICLE HERE

David McKay Wilson, the reporter behind the Tax Watch column, is not new to reporting on Puglisi and Cortlandt. He was the one who exposed the illegal process used by Puglisi and the Town Board to sell tax foreclosure properties. This was a topic of a previous InsidePEEK post. That post generated a number of email responses to InsidePEEK with some very interesting information and candid comments. Some of which we will use later in this post.

Wilson exposed Puglisi and Costello’s ruse of fighting the pipeline and how they negotiated to obtain $2.8 million from the pipeline company. Sounds good right? Well, the amount just so happens to be the same cost of purchasing the old Con Edison property near the pipeline project. The same area the company is using as its ‘staging area’ for the pipeline equipment and storage of materials for the project. Puglisi and Costello knew all along they would need to relinquish this property. So now, the town owns unusable, very dangerous property. When that happens, as the Journal News points out, the property is removed from the tax rolls, causing the town to lose $132,000 a year in tax revenue! Every year! What the Journal News didn’t take into account is that this property is not safe as it contains a quarry that requires significant liability insurance so the town will most likely see a spike in its insurance costs.

The Journal News did correctly point out that the cost to the town for their faux fight against the pipeline company actually cost the town “more than $300,000” in legal fees. So the taxpayers of Cortlandt are getting a pipeline that was always going to be installed no matter what and are left with huge legal expenses and loss of revenue every year going forward – all to make Puglisi and Costello to look good to the “anti-pipeline activists,” who are mostly not even residents of the town.

Yes, you read that correctly, the anti-pipeline ‘organizers’ and ‘activists’ are mostly anti-fracking, anti-fossil fuel political extremists from outside Cortlandt, the area containing the pipeline and in some cases from outside the state!

Susan Van Dolsen is the main spokesperson for the “Stop the Algonquin Pipeline” group, she lives no where near Cortlandt or the pipeline and is described in a bio of her as a “grassroots organizer who has been involved with the campaign to ban fracking in New York.” She doesn’t care about Cortlandt. She just wants to stir the pot in as many places as possible because that is what she is paid to do. She, and others like her, use people all across the state and country by playing on their fears and exaggerating and outright lying to those close to these projects to try and create anxiety and activism. All for political gain.

Dolsen and her comrades are huge supporters of Democratic officials and candidates only. They protect their friends and attack their opponents – all to try to influence local elections. Dolsen’s comments in the Journal News article show it all too well. She said Puglisi “didn’t really have a choice,” really? We read every day that the pipeline can still be stopped and everyone should keep protesting, get arrested, hold demonstrations, write to officials, etc.  Now, she didn’t have a choice? What if a Republican elected official acted as Puglisi did? They would be viciously and constantly attacked. Called every name in the book and proclaimed anti everything that is mom and apple pie. How do we know this? Because in Yorktown over a year ago they leveled with the public and negotiated a deal with the pipeline company that was hugely revenue positive for the town and will give perpetual benefits going forward.

Then there is Mike Morey. Yes, he is involved too. He is behind Costello’s Senate campaign. He knows the pipeline is only a ‘political’ issue and not a safety concern. Well, he must believe that since he recently moved out of Peekskill to the Town of Cortlandt – just a stone’s throw away from the pipeline project. Yes, that is correct, he wanted out of Peekskill so badly (to keep his kids out of the schools) that he moved right next to the pipeline. More on all of this in future posts.

Puglisi described what she and the Cortlandt Town Board did was “pragmatic” and they were “at the end of the saga.” If Puglisi was truly pragmatic she would have leveled with the residents over a year ago. She knew then that the pipeline project was a fait accompli. This is a Federal Government project. They want it and need it for future energy supply. That is why the federal level elected officials were no where is sight on this issue. Schumer and Lowey love protests and press conferences. Schumer especially since he has at least one a week. This issue should have been made to order for them. They knew the fix was in and this project was going forward no matter what. Puglisi and Costello knew it too.

Now the town has an even worse revenue problem thanks to the political games of Cortlandt’s elected town board. A former town employee wrote to InsidePEEK saying that “…Linda is good at bamboozling the residents of the town, if they only knew how much.” Another Cortlandt resident wrote; “I am not surprised at any of this. Our taxes keep going up and the services we get go down.” Still another resident wrote, “The roads in the town are horrible and the taxes keep going up with no end in sight.”

Our post about Debbie Costello’s run for State Senate drew a multitude of reaction from across the area. One particular response was particularly impassioned, “Debbie has not been a good representative for our town so how can she even think about running for higher office? The email went on to say “…she had a trust problem with many people in the town, especially in the tri-village area before she got elected, it is much worse now. I’m sure Linda is not happy Debbie is running this year.”

InsidePEEK thanks everyone who has been writing in with their views, suggestions and insights. We at InsidePEEK knew something like our blog was needed but had no idea how well received it would be. Keep the feedback coming and remember that all communication and information is kept strictly confidential.

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More Peekskill Grant Corruption Exposed

Pres Co Exposed

The dark, dirty and deeply corrupt tangled web that has been exposed between the Preservation Company, Hudson River Health Care and the Peekskill Democratic Party has just reached new levels – thanks to the thorough investigative reporting by Lee Higgins of the Westchester Journal News. His latest exposé published February 21st makes the misdeeds and those connected to them even clearer.

Playing fast and loose with the rules, regulations and laws governing grants and loans doesn’t seem to be the only policies of The Preservation Company (TPC) and the Hudson River Health Care (HRHC) organizations. No, to get funding from them it seems you have to be a relative of theirs or have a direct connection to the Peekskill Democratic Party. It’s all proven very clearly through the records, or lack of them – and, incredibly, their own words.

Lynne Nayman, a long time Democratic District Leader and frequent GOP critic has admitted her involvement as an employee of both TPC and their collaborating agency, the Housing Action Council (HAC). She admittedly stated in the article she was “employed half by one agency and half by the other.” What? She admitted that she was the home-improvement coordinator and said “I just qualified people based on income and assets and qualified the properties.” Yeah, sure she did. She then amazingly stated that she “certainly didn’t know” of any conflicts. Oh really?!

Guess who received a grant – Jeannette Phillips’ own daughter Elizabeth! Guess who else? Yes, Nayman herself received a grant shortly after she left her employment at TPC. It is not in the Journal News article but InsidePEEK obtained Westchester County Clerk records that shows Nayman, under her husband’s name, received a grant from NYS Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) in 2010.

Even HRHC ‘credentialing supervisor’ Emma McKinney received AHC grant money. She received two grants totaling $40,000. The same amount as Claxton. Being an employee of HRHC disqualifies McKinney since TPC is actually a subsidiary of the HRHC. She even admits it to the JN saying “… you know, we are under the same umbrella…” She also is the perfect example of how these grants were offered to their family members, employees or ‘friends’ and associates of the Democratic Party.

Another person mentioned in the Journal News article is City of Peekskill employee Audrey Overby, life-long friend of Claxton and the Peekskill Democratic Party. Overby received at least one and according to Westchester County Clerk records maybe additional grants and loans. So, what type of employment with the City does Overby have? She just happens to be the Section 8 Administrator for the City of Peekskill! She decides who does, or doesn’t, receive Section 8 Certificates for housing. It all makes sense to us here at InsidePEEK since we have been getting comments regarding this office and program. We have been presented with allegations that unethical practices have been used when Section 8 Certificates are awarded. The claim is some who have been on ‘the list’ waiting to receive a certificate have been passed over for relatives and friends of the Democratic Party – especially during election time. InsidePEEK believes a separate and forensic investigation of the Section 8 office needs to take place. Hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later.

A Journal News Freedom of Information (FOIL) request was denied pertaining to Overby because it may “…impact an active investigation.” Really? What investigation is Overby part of? This is new information for all to digest. So then why is the illegal sharing of the confidential personnel email by McKenzie not a focus in this? InsidePEEK was correct when we stated the Peekskill Corporation Counsel was incorrect by stating the email she sent to Mike Morey was a FOIL-able document. It absolutely is not and the City Manager proved it by denying the Overby FOIL request. The McKenzie issue will most likely be, at the very least, a Westchester County Board of Ethics review since the local board is ‘conflicted out’ of reviewing local officials. InsidePEEK believes this may even be a legal issue and a formal complaint to the District Attorney and NY Attorney General Public Integrity Units, if they haven’t been made already.

As criminal charges loom over Claxton, Phillips and the TPC/HRHC it will be interesting to see additional developments from these investigations. It is obvious there is more to come and resignations ahead as well. The big question is when and if the US Attorney’s Office gets involved. This has become a very high profile and involved case of government corruption. It is very likely they already have.

READ THE JOURNAL NEWS ONLINE VERSION OF THE ARTICLE HERE

DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION OF THE JOURNAL NEWS ARTICLE HERE

Even InsidePEEK doesn’t have the words to describe what The Preservation Company put this poor Peekskill family through. Please read and watch Lee Higgins’ related article and video that is linked below. It proves that drastic law enforcement action is required immediately!

Not Much Support For Costello Senate Bid

Costello not feelin it

Looks like a Primary is brewing in the Democratic Party for the 40th NYS Senate race. A second candidate has recently announced her candidacy to run – Cortlandt Town Board member Debbie Costello. So now two Democrats have announced, Costello of Verplanck and Andrew Falk of Patterson. It will be interesting to see if anyone else plans to enter the race. It may be likely since both of these candidates have no chance of beating Murphy.

InsidePEEK gets a number of emails a day informing us about numerous stories of interest and giving some very valuable information. No story in our brief existence has generated more contact to InsidePEEK than this one. Most interesting is that we have been contacted by numerous Democrats not happy about Costello’s announcement. Why? Because she is not well liked or trusted among most Democratic circles. Plus, she has a terrible record in her short time as an elected official in Cortlandt.

First, the trust issue. We have been informed that Costello had been a life-long Republican and even worked for a time in the Pataki Administration. She was bounced around from a few positions because those working with her felt she was only out for herself and untrustworthy. She didn’t last long with the administration after that. Next, she ran for office in 2009 for Cortlandt Town Clerk, as a Republican/Conservative, and got trounced. She tried to obtain numerous jobs through the GOP but was never offered one to her liking. So she did what other rejects of the party have done, she changed affiliation to Democrat.

Two years ago Costello, just a year after switching parties, looked to run for office as a Democrat. From what we have been told by present and former members of the Cortlandt Democratic Party, she caused a huge quandary for them. The committee had a choice to make, support Costello, who recently switched parties, or another turncoat, Dominic Volpe, who switched to Democrat many years ago but was a terrible candidate and was a consistent loser of 5 elections. Tired of wasting their time with Volpe, the party chose Costello. She won. Since being involved with the Democrats for a few years she developed the same problems as before. The dems see her as opportunistic and untrustworthy, which is why many are unhappy with her running for Senate. They are also very unhappy she was so quickly endorsed by Supervisor Puglisi and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. The Cortlandt Dems who contacted us are particularly perplexed by Puglisi’s endorsement since she and Costello don’t get along ever since Puglisi discovered Costello was plotting to run for supervisor and possibly even primary her. The feeling is that Puglisi endorsed her mainly to get rid of her.

Now, for her abysmal record. Since being elected Costello has voted each year for huge tax increases for the town. InsidePEEK will look deeper into the details of these tax increases. Besides the general operating increases there are significant increases to the various taxing districts throughout the town. We have been told that Puglisi and the town board have been very skillful in confusing the tax issue by never addressing the taxing districts. There are tremendous increases over the years that are ignored. More on that when we have details to share.

Costello has also voted on a shady tax foreclosure auction in 2014 that was not held according to the laws that guide such sales. Properties were taken improperly by the town and then sold at a small fraction of their worth and only to ‘friends’ of Puglisi and board members. Once exposed that the property titles were never obtained by the town in the first place and that the sale was not properly advertised, the results of the sale had to be rescinded. She also voted to support a moratorium that has caused a serious lawsuit against the town. See our earlier post on this issue HERE

Finally, our information is that Costello has determined this to be a good year to run for this office since it is a Presidential election year and that Westchester resident Hillary Clinton will most likely be the candidate. She feels the ‘woman’ connection will help put her over the top. This may be her calculation but it is horribly flawed. As we pointed out in an earlier post, neither of Obama’s elections helped the Democratic challenger in this race. The GOP candidate won each time. There will not be anywhere near the number of Democratic voters this time around. Hillary is turning out not to be a good candidate and has lost significant support – including from women.

Costello has a tall hill to climb – lack of support on the grass roots level and a national landscape not in her favor. The Cortlandt Democratic Committee, her ‘home’ committee, is not overly enthusiastic of her candidacy and we hear that the Peekskill Democrats are looking to get behind her if nothing else but to try and deflect away from their public relations nightmare. We also hear there is huge infighting going on in the Peekskill party causing leadership changes and defections. More on that story in a future post.

InsidePEEK’s prediction has not changed, Murphy will win in November and by a significant margin. We will bring more on this developing story as it comes our way.

Claxton and McKenzie Crack Under Pressure

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It has become very apparent by their actions at the February 16th Common Council Work Session that being continually exposed and held accountable for their illegal and unethical actions has gotten the best of Drew Claxton and Vivian McKenzie.

Councilwoman Vivian McKenzie has been stung by being exposed for her unethical and possibly illegal sharing of confidential emails to her political boss and protector, Mike Morey. During the “Concerns and Issues” portion of the meeting, she took the lead in the attack against fellow council members, staff, members of the public and press. According to her, all her troubles and those of Drew Claxton are because of the GOP Council members and Mayor, whom she accuses are working closely with the City Manager, Corporation Counsel and possibly even the Chief of Police in a “cover up” of the truth. In what can only be described as unhinged behavior, McKenzie said things were being “swept under the rug.” Really?!

When scared and uncertain of the future, as Claxton and McKenzie are, various mechanisms and strategies are used for protection, including the act of accusing others of doing the very thing they are guilty of themselves. Blaming others is an act of refusing to take responsibility and trying to divert attention away. McKenzie was clearly attempting to do this. She even presented a ‘request letter’ composed by Morey, making certain demands of the City Manager, such as all contracts, payments and list of contractors used by the City. It is obvious that Morey and the Democratic members of the Council are desperate to find some diversionary issue to use to get the heat off them. This latest attempt is not a smart move for many reasons. They should remember that most of the contracts and information requested were created during the all Democrat Foster Administration. InsidePEEK has been informed that there are certain contracts and agreements in the City files that McKenzie and Claxton would not want exposed. Once again, Morey’s tactic will backfire in a big way.

So what information came to light during this heated discussion at the work session? Well, it was not what Claxton and McKenzie hoped for. Even Talbot got into the act. For someone who so far has mostly not been involved she would have been better off if she had kept quiet.

The ‘shared’ email was a major discussion topic and McKenzie was frantic to orchestrate her own ‘cover up’ of the facts. It became public knowledge and validated through questioning of the City Manager and Corporation Counsel that without a shadow of doubt Vivian McKenzie forwarded the January 22nd email regarding employee Minnerly to political operative Mike Morey (see earlier InsidePEEK post). When asked, the Corporation Counsel stated that the email was “forwarded by Vivian McKenzie to MMorey.” Case closed.

McKenzie then offered information that was previously unknown by InsidePEEK and probably everyone else – SHE was present in City Hall the very day and time she shared the email! Talk about incriminating oneself.

Here is what didn’t come out in the meeting – McKenzie also shared a second email with Morey four days later on January 26th when employee Matera was suspended. Yes, she did it twice!

McKenzie did her best to attempt to show that sharing a confidential employee email only minutes after a disciplinary action was taken against that employee was not improper in any way. She tried to declare that such an email, which also included the employees name, was not confidential. She is wrong, totally wrong. The Corporation Counsel was also incorrect by stating the email was available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Yes, it may eventually be available in the future once the charges and disciplinary action are complete, but it is NOT public information within minutes of it happening. Every employee deserves the rights and privileges of confidentiality under such circumstances. Everyone is subject to being held innocent until proven guilty.

The release of the emails also defies and violates the ‘Confidentiality Notice’ at the bottom of the email (see below). The email explicitly stated the email was confidential and was not to be shared. More evidence against McKenzie and her thirst for perceived political payback.

Confidentiality

Another important issue discussed in the meeting was the CDBG funding of $313,000 originally earmarked for The Preservation Company. The Corporation Counsel appropriately advised against following through with this contract. The Preservation Company is under investigation by NY State and may be required to forfeit their ability to operate. If the City awards the contract to them and their license to operate is not continued, then the City of Peekskill would be responsible for the funds. More on this subject in a future post.

InsidePEEK thanks our many readers and those who continue to provide us with tips and important information that make our reporting accurate and thorough.

Andrew Falk’s Ties to Sheldon Silver Exposed

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It seems that the Andrew Falk candidacy for NYS Senate against Terrence Murphy is not starting off well. In order to gain some attention Falk made a number of false statements to The Putnam Examiner newspaper attacking Murphy. The problem is, they were all easily dispelled as untruths and totally fabricated.

Before he goes public to gain attention with such outlandish and easily disprovable statements, Falk should probably hire a consultant or manager to help him develop a message. Maybe he hasn’t since he won’t have Shelly Silver’s money behind him this time. As InsidePEEK has mentioned in a previous post, Falk has run for State office before – twice. Both times for Assembly against Steve Katz.

One of Falk’s criticisms of Murphy is that he didn’t call for Skelos’ resignation when he was arrested. In fact, Murphy DID call for Skelos to resign. He also refused to sign a letter supported by 16 other Senators calling for Skelos to remain in office during his trial.

This was not a good strategy for Falk. Why? Because Falk himself refused to call on Sheldon Silver to resign when his pay-to-play and Assembly sex abuse scandals were exposed. He was given SIX opportunities throughout Silver’s scandals to call for his resignation, or at least criticize his actions. Falk refused. It was soon discovered why.

Andrew Falk received over $771,500 from the Silver controlled Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee (DACC) as reported by numerous public accounts, including Newsday – not good for Falk. He should have just spelled out his priorities as a candidate and not gone on the attack with such lies. Being labeled a hypocrite, especially on corruption, is not a good label for a candidate to have.

So where is he on major issues? InsidePEEK can only look back on his previous statements from his two Assembly campaigns and 2014 Patterson Supervisor race. He supports Common Core, calling it a “laudable goal” in 2012. He also supports the Dream Act that would give free college tuition to illegal aliens. These are both bad positions to have when running in the 40th Senate District.

Murphy has been a leader against Common Core and sponsored the ‘Common Core Parental Refusal Act’ allowing for opting out of the Common Core standardized tests. On top of that Murphy was able to bring over $23 million in additional funding for the schools in his district, restoring $2 million to the Peekskill City School District alone. These were critical funds that were eliminated in the proposed State budget. Murphy continues to be a leader in the fight against the Gap Elimination Agreement (GEA) hurting our school districts.

InsidePEEK predicted in an earlier post how difficult it would be for the Democrats to find a credible candidate to run against Murphy. Seeing how poorly Falk has fared so far only reinforces our prediction. The other possible candidate, Peekskill Councilwoman Cathy Talbot, is all but eliminated from running. She has too much baggage now with her involvement in local corruption scandals and participating in that illegal ‘Special’ Council Meeting and budget vote.

It is obvious that the DACC will not waste their funds on the 40th Senate District race this time around. They have no chance of winning, especially with such a poor candidate pool to pick from. They will find other races to spend their campaign contributions on.

McKenzie Forwarded Emails to Political Operative – Violated Employee Confidentiality

McKenzie_Morey email

More proof that the walls of the Peekskill Democratic Party machine are caving in has been exposed. It has always been known by those involved in local politics that when it comes to Peekskill’s Democratic Party political elite of the past 20 years, their preference and penchant for politics over substance and progress always comes first. Party success is all that matters. Doing the right thing does not. Too bad this mantra continues with one of the newest political figures, Vivian McKenzie.

It has come to light this week that it was Councilwoman Vivian McKenzie who violated Employee Confidentiality by forwarding confidential personnel emails that announced the suspension of two city employees. Within minutes of the emails being sent by the City Manager to certain council members, the announcement appeared as a post on a local online news site. The twist to the story is even more disturbing and is proof regarding the statement above. Yes, McKenzie forwarded the email within moments of receiving it – but it wasn’t directly to the press. No, it was to her political handler Mike Morey! Who is Mike Morey? More on him later.

The Peekskill Corporation Council recently stated publicly that the emails in question were forwarded to “a third party.” Mayor Catalina pressed her further as to who sent them and to whom. She admitted it was from McKenzie to Morey, and within minutes Morey forwarded the email to his press contact who then immediately posted the news online. Included in the posts were the the employee’s name, and in one occasion, even included a photo of the employee.

Needless to say – McKenzie is in big trouble. The City Manager has a lot to answer for too.

Why was confidential information about city employees put in writing in an email in the first place? This is not, nor should it be, standard procedure for the exact reason being discussed. It is too dangerous to put such information in an email, especially in such a volatile situation and environment. An emergency meeting of the common council as a whole should have been convened to explain the events and details of the incidents regarding the employees. InsidePEEK has learned that only the Democratic Majority of the Council knows such details. Mayor Catalina and his two GOP colleagues have still been kept in the dark of the details of the suspensions. All they have been told is that the two suspensions have NO connection to the “break-in” incident.

InsidePEEK has learned that both Claxton and McKenzie were in continuous direct contact with the City Manager while the possibility of the suspensions were being deliberated. It was Claxton and McKenzie who ordered the City Manager to send out the emails announcing the suspensions. However, the Mayor was excluded from receiving the emails. Now we know why. They wanted their political handler, Mike Morey, to begin the political spin and deflection away from Claxton’s misdeeds. We have learned that it is something he has been doing for many years.

When confronted by members of the public in the most recent Common Council meeting, McKenzie could not refute her unethical actions – further solidifying her involvement and validating what happened.

So who is Mike Morey? Why would McKenzie involve him?

Mike Morey is a well-known political operative and manipulator who presently works for the ultra liberal SDK Knickerbocker public affairs firm that represents many Democratic Party Candidates and Elected Officials. He started as the Chairman of the Peekskill Democratic Party and graduated to various positions for NY Senator Chuck Schumer before joining SDK. He continues to be the architect for the local campaigns and remains as main local Democratic Party advisor.

Why would Morey inject himself so deeply in this latest debacle created by the very people he helped get elected? Is it more than just protecting his protégés? Or is he more involved than we think? Maybe he is protecting himself for some reason? InsidePEEK has been informed he has a connection to the Fremont Street house that was purchased by Claxton. We are looking into this claim. Perhaps as the various investigations continue we will find out more of Morey’s involvement in the issues surrounding the recent scandals.

Morey has had his successes, including in Peekskill, getting candidates elected but has had a bad track record as of late. A number of his candidates of all levels have been unsuccessful. Christine Quinn for NYC Mayor and Sean Eldridge for Congress are two recent clients who have lost miserably. His personal project, Mary Foster, crashed and burned under his tutelage along with Mary Beth McGowan and Andrew Torres.

Morey bio

SDK Knickerbocker website

InsidePEEK has learned that almost immediately after the Claxton Scandal broke Morey got to work attempting to put pressure on the media to prevent further reporting and to prevent, or at the very least delay, any criminal investigations. It is his specialty as described in his SDK Bio – “He specializes in war room management, rapid response and crisis communications…” so he is in his element under these conditions. Luckily, for the sake of the public trust and for justice, he has been unsuccessful so far. Time will tell if his ineffectiveness continues.

In the meantime, the City of Peekskill has another crisis to deal with. All the diversion tactics, misinformation and outright lies disseminated by the Morey, Claxton and McKenzie political operatives through social media and public meetings are not working. A chord has been struck and the public will not stand for these deeds to be swept under the rug. The acts were too numerous, too bold and too outrageous to be ignored.

Falk First to Challenge Murphy to Senate Seat

Falk_Murphy2

The first challenger to NY State Senator Terrence Murphy in this year’s fall election has come forward. Murphy is in the second year of his first 2-year term representing New York’s 40th Senate District.

Putnam County Lawyer Andrew Falk has announced his plans to challenge Senator Murphy in November. He has a dismal track record in previous races. Falk has lost twice to NY State Assemblyman Steve Katz and, most recently, lost his bid for Patterson Supervisor in 2015.

The 40th District spans roughly from Valhalla in the southernmost portion to Beekman in the North and from the Connecticut boarder to the Hudson River. It includes Beekman and Pawling in Dutchess County; Brewster, Carmel, Patterson and Southeast in Putnam County; and Cortlandt, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Peekskill, Pound Ridge, Somers and Yorktown in Westchester County.

The Democrats have coveted this district and felt they had it in their hands two years ago when Murphy was challenged by Justin Wagner. In the previous election for the seat against incumbent Greg Ball, Wagner came close but could not pull out a victory. In 2014 Wagner and the State Democrats thought Wagner was a sure bet once Ball declared he was not running for reelection, leaving the seat open. Murphy, a Yorktown Councilman at the time, threw his hat in the ring to run for the open seat. After a 70%-30% win over former NY Assemblyman Robert Castelli in a Primary, Murphy went on to beat Wagner decisively in the General Election. It wasn’t even close. Wagner’s radical left agenda and unlikeability as a candidate was too much for him to overcome. The name recognition he gained in the previous campaign against Ball proved to not be a factor. Both the State Senate and local Democrats were stunned, especially since they poured a ton of money into the contest and had ‘professional’ political consultants heavily involved.

In the end the 40th District is a heavily Republican District and likely will remain that way. In a recent statement Falk suggested that the 40th is a “swing district” for control of the Senate. That is not the case. He did make one accurate point stating that this year is a presidential election year so Democratic voter turnout will be high. That is true. But so will the Republicans, Independents and Conservatives – voters who normally determine the outcome of this race. Plus, many voters on the Democratic side will either stay home or cross party lines due to the poor choice of candidates facing them. It has already been proven that the overwhelming majority of voters in the 40th District are not supportive of the extreme left agenda. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton represent that philosophy. Clinton would offer an interesting twist being that she resides within the 40th District, as does Governor Cuomo. It is important to point out that a huge turnout took place during President Obama’s races and both times the Republican won the 40th District race.

InsidePEEK is curious to see if Falk is the only candidate to come forward. Others have been mentioned, including Peekskill Councilwoman Cathy Talbot. It seems that the Democrats are having a hard time finding a credible candidate. So far they only have a three-time loser and someone who barely won reelection to the Peekskill Council. They are probably conceding the race and are looking to merely convince someone to keep Murphy from being unopposed. A ‘sacrificial lamb’ as it called in politics.

The Democrats look to be making the same reoccurring mistake – that Peekskill is an important component their victory. In reality Peekskill has become less and less a factor in this race. It is a very small portion of the district and even local democratic candidates barely win despite their 3-1 registration advantage. The local party is a disaster and has been controlled by people whose questionable actions and shenanigans are finally coming to light and on virtually a daily basis.

Inside PEEK believes Murphy is just too formidable a candidate, no matter who is selected to run against him. He has been in office just 14 months and has accomplished quite a bit. He has been out in front against the widespread heroin epidemic, a champion for small business owners and has been visible and active non stop throughout the district. We believe the voters of the 40th District will overwhelmingly support his reelection. InsidePEEK will continue to follow the race and bring forward any new developments as they happen.

Peekskill Email Scandal Uncovered

Claxton_Dem-email

Long before Hillary’s email issue came to light the City of Peekskill had their own email scandal by elected officials. In fact, it cost the City $1 million in a settlement plus approximately $1 million in outside attorney fees, all for a lawsuit that was brought against the City due to the secret plan by certain council members and citizens to illegally ignore the rights of the plaintiffs of the suit.

What Drew Claxton and Mary Foster didn’t realize before they erased critical emails and illegally destroyed evidence was that every email has both a sender and a receiver of the message. Just because it is deleted, it doesn’t mean the person on the other end didn’t save it. That is what did them in. Claxton and Foster thought they could hide their involvement in the illegal plan to deny the constitutional rights of the plaintiff by eliminating the evidence of communications with their political supporters living near ‘The Cove’ development project.

The problem is that the project, no matter what one’s feeling is about it, went through the proper legal process to obtain the property and all the approvals connected with its construction. Yes, the developer was caught adding additional height to the building that was not part of the approved plans. Appropriately, the City placed a Stop Work Order on the project until the situation was corrected. Once any fines and additional punitive measures were complete, the developers would have the right to complete the project – but only according to the plans previously approved by the City’s Zoning and Planning Boards. Claxton and Foster didn’t see it that way. They had promised their supporters in the neighborhood that they would stop it at all costs and turn the property into a city park. It didn’t mater that the property was legally owned by someone else and had the legal approvals for the size and scope of the project.

DMAC Adverse Decision cover

Click on image to read entire document

In the September 2012 Adverse Decision by Southern District Court of NY, both Councilwoman Drew Claxton and Mayor Mary Foster were determined to be “grossly negligent in the destruction of emails in question” and that the destroyed emails “would have been favorable to the plaintiffs case.” Meaning that Claxton and Foster obviously destroyed the emails because they knew they would help the case against the City. In fact, in one of her emails Claxton stated, “litigation could be imminent.” So she knew full well that a lawsuit was coming based on what they were perpetrating on the developer. Even more evidence she purposely deleted the emails.

Of course Claxton and Foster pleaded ignorance and that “nobody told” them to save emails. Sound familiar? The judge did not buy it one bit, stating that they both were in a “culpable state of mind” and performed a “willful destruction” of evidence. They were also admonished for using private email addresses for official government-related business. There are specific email use and retention laws and policies that must be followed by elected officials. Claxton and Foster ignored them completely.

Needless to say, the City was going to lose a very expensive lawsuit caused by Claxton and Foster’s (and the Democratic Majority on the Common Council) actions. Also, both Claxton and Foster were now facing individual charges of destroying evidence. The only way out was to offer a settlement to the Plaintiffs and hope to make a deal to not proceed with the additional charges. Luckily, the Plaintiffs wanted the nightmare created by Claxton and Foster behind them and accepted the City of Peekskill’s lucrative settlement.

Until now, the details of this episode were kept from the public. Thanks to one of our readers InsidePEEK was provided the judge’s decision (attached to this post) showing the outrageous actions by Claxton and Foster. It should have caused both of them to be unqualified to continue as elected representatives in government.

Peekskill’s Email Troubles Continue Today

There seems to be a new email controversy created by two new council members in connection to recent events.

It has been widely reported that two city employees have been recently suspended due to circumstances not yet disclosed. Disturbingly, the emails generated by the City Manager to council members announcing each suspension were shared with a press contact. Within minutes of being received both emails were forwarded to an online press outlet and immediately made public. Confidential personnel issues, including the individual’s names, were inappropriately made public. At the very least this type of breach of confidentiality of employees is unethical and may even be illegal. Regardless, the actions of those who shared the information will likely trigger another lawsuit against the city by either the union representing the employees or the employees themselves.

It should be simple to determine who forwarded the emails. If Councilwoman McKenzie or Talbot forwarded the email to the press it should be indicated on the City server system. Wait, could that be why the IT employee was suspended without reason? Could it be that the majority doesn’t want the other council members or public to know what they did?

We are all eager to know the truth.

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