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Hoblock calls on Soares to investigate 'dirty deal' in endorsement-for-jobs scandal

Colonie Republican Town Supervisor candidate Mike Hoblock held a press conference Sunday, Sept. 13 to urge Albany County District Attorney David Soares to investigate allegations that Colonie Independence Party Chairman Ken Champagne offered his party's support in exchange for a town position.

During the press conference, held at the Colonie Republican Headquarters on Wolf Road, Hoblock told the press A very serious issue has come to light. He was accompanied by Republican Town Board candidates Dan Dustin and Peter Crouse, as well as Colonie Receiver of Taxes Michele Zilgme, who is also running in the upcoming election.

The Spotlight published a story Friday, Sept. 11 about the allegations. In it, Champagne is quoted as saying "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." (See Colonie Indy Chair waffles on endorsement, denies brokering for job.)

The Independence Party endorsed current Town Supervisor Paula Mahan, as per Champagne's recommendations, in June.

Mahan said Thursday, Sept. 10 that these allegations were "absolutely not true" and that "It's unfortunate that people spread those types of rumors."

Hoblock said it was this story that prompted his request of Soares, as well as several other actions of Mahan. These actions include calling on Mahan to rescind any and all applications for employment Champagne has with the town, as well as for her to withdraw from her Independence Party endorsement.

Hoblock said he also wished for Mahan "to make clear that she should not hire Champagne if elected."

Throughout the press conference, Hoblock repeated the illegality of these allegations and said that "It now appears clear that the Independence Party support may have been paid for by taxpayer money."

Hoblock said Champagne had attempted to have a conversation with him about jobs, and that he told Champagne, "Ken, we better stop this conversation right now," warning Champagne that for having this conversation, he could be indicted by a grand jury. When asked why he was not alarmed when this conversation occurred prior to the endorsement, Hoblock said he had assumed Champagne was also having this type of conversation with Albany County Independence Party Chairman and New York State Vice-Chair of the Independence Party Paul Caputo, and that Caputo would handle the issue accordingly.

Caputo said Sunday, "At no time did we ever have any idea, as a party, any of this was going on."

Caputo said the party has begun an investigation into these allegations and that members of the party as far as Essex County have expressed their distress with this situation.

Neither Champagne nor Mahan were immediately available for comment.

For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, Sept. 16 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.""

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