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Candidate alleges 'dirty deal'

At a Sunday, Sept. 13, press conference, Republican Town Supervisor candidate Mike Hoblock called on the Albany County District Attorney's office to investigate what he's calling a dirty deal involving accusations that Independence Party Chairman Ken Champagne offered his party's support in exchange for a position with the town. 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 Hoblock in which he said 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.

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-Chairman of the Independence Party Paul Caputo, and that Caputo would handle the issue accordingly.

"I thought he was talking to him along the same lines," said Hoblock.

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