EXCLUSIVE: Colonie Indy chair waffles on endorsement, denies brokering for town job

Amid allegations that he offered his party's support in exchange for a position with the town, Colonie Independence Party Chairman Ken Champagne is adamant there was no wrongdoing.

In the Colonie town supervisor race, the Albany County Independence Party endorsed incumbent Democrat Paula Mahan, per Champagne's recommendations. The party makes its endorsements countywide in June based on recommendations from town Independence chairs, as well as interviews with the candidates.

Prior to the endorsement, Champagne said he had a conversation with Republican Town Supervisor candidate Michael Hoblock in which he told him he was being considered for a position with the town as highway superintendent.

"What I told Hoblock was that I may be getting considered for a position with the town, and if that happens, of course it may affect my decision," Champagne said Thursday, Sept. 10. "If I was given a job before the endorsement came out, I don't think anyone would believe me if I said I wasn't influenced by that."

According to Hoblock, Champagne approached him about a few jobs, and Hoblock warned Champagne that such conversations could be illegal. However, Hoblock said Champagne never explicitly offered him his support in exchange for a job.

"He talked about jobs, and I remember, specifically, saying, 'Ken, we can't talk about these things, you could be indicted by a grand jury,'" Hoblock said.

On Friday, Sept. 11, Champagne said he would have withdrawn from supporting any candidate if he were to get a position with the town.

"We have to be cautious of our conflicts of interest," he said, adding he has always being consistent in withdrawing from contests in which he has a conflict of interest.

Mahan said she did not offer Champagne a position with the town in exchange for his support.

"That is absolutely not true," she said. "And it's unfortunate that people spread those types of rumors."

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