Independence Party probes charges

A subcommittee made up of three senior-level Independence Party members will be looking into the allegations that Colonie Independence Party Chairman Ken Champagne offered his party's support in exchange for a town position.

The Independence Party has formed a review committee to investigate the serious allegations that were first reported by The Spotlight, said Paul Caputo, Albany County Independence Party chairman and vice chairman of the state Independence Party, on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

In an article first published on Friday, Sept. 11, on www.spotlightnews.com, Champagne was quoted as saying, "What I told [Mike] 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," and "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."

While Caputo did not have a definite timeline of when the review committee would begin and end their investigation, he said it would most likely begin shortly.

Caputo said that at this time, the party will not be calling for the removal of Champagne from his position unless the committee recommends it.

"We believe Mr. Champagne deserves his right of due process. Any removal from the committee and town chairmanship at this time may taint the findings of this committee," Caputo said.

In addition to the committee's investigation, Hoblock called on District Attorney David Soares to investigate the allegations during a press conference he held at Colonie Republican headquarters on Wolf Road on Sunday, Sept. 13. On Wednesday, Hoblock said he sent a letter to Soares to follow up on his request on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

"We're calling for an investigation because there may have been a criminal offense. That's not for me to decide, obviously, that's up to a grand jury to decide," Hoblock said.

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