The Blublax contributed to this investigation by submitted information to the New York State Comptroller’s Office. Calling them to further investigate the Village’s LWRPs, Mayor Pontieri’s triple-dipping, as well as the Fake Cops who spent $2.5 Million of our tax dollars:
State scrutinizing Patchogue’s finances
November 21, 2011 by PATRICK WHITTLE / firstname.lastname@example.org
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office is auditing Patchogue’s finances — heightening political tension that village leaders predict could reverberate through next year’s election.
DiNapoli’s audit began in July and could wrap up as soon as January, a spokesman for the comptroller said.
DiNapoli’s office declined to reveal the specifics of the audit, but Mayor Paul Pontieri Jr. said the inquiry focuses on the village’s financial practices, especially after Susan M. Roach, a village clerk for 20 years, allegedly stole nearly $193,000 from the village over a three-year period.
Roach, a Farmingville resident who was arrested in February and has pleaded not guilty, is due in court in January on grand larceny and forgery charges.
But village trustee Stephen McGiff, an opponent of Pontieri, said the audit might also shed light on what he described as Pontieri’s financial mismanagement.
“They are seeing discrepancies in the internal practices of the village under his lead,” McGiff said of state auditors.
Pontieri described the audit as routine and said the village has been complying. The village’s last state audit was in 1991, he said.
“The fact that the state audit is going on right now, to me, is a good thing,” he said.
The audit is occurring three months after a power struggle in Patchogue that came to a head when Pontieri stripped McGiff of the title of deputy mayor and handed the job to trustee Jack Krieger, an ally of Pontieri. It is also about four months until village elections, in which Pontieri and trustees McGiff, Krieger and Pontieri ally Lori Devlin will be up for re-election.
McGiff and trustee Gerard Crean have criticized Pontieri for being too cozy with developers and for orchestrating the town’s purchase of a vehicle from a relative. But Pontieri says he did nothing wrong.
McGiff and Crean have also said Pontieri was wrong to approve an interest-free $150,000 loan to Artspace, a new downtown residential development, without first getting trustee approval. Pontieri said he “probably should have” sought trustee approval, but added he believed the loan was justified.
“We’re getting the money back,” Pontieri said.
Pontieri was ousted from Patchogue First — the party that has controlled village hall since 2004 — in late July in a movement led by Crean and McGiff. Pontieri and his allies have since formed a party called Patchogue 2012, while McGiff and Crean have started the Residents First party.
Pontieri said he expects his opponents to cite the audit in their campaign to unseat him in March.
McGiff agreed. “It’s going to be a heated election,” he predicted. “I don’t think any of the parties involved have ever shied away from a fight.”