[UPDATE] Colonie: County Waste likely didn't act alone

Supervisor Paula Mahan said town employees might have been aware of County Waste's fraudulent dumping activity at the Colonie Town Landfill that resulted in the trash hauler paying a settlement of close to $1 million.

We don't believe County Waste could have done this without someone, or people, at the landfill knowing about this, Mahan said early Tuesday, Feb. 23.

She said the Town Board was scheduled to meet in executive session later Tuesday, after The Spotlight's press deadine, to discuss "personnel issues" related to County Waste.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, Feb. 22, that the Clifton Park-based company understated the amount of waste it put in the town's landfill, and ignored regulations that required it to have a special permit for "putrid waste" at its Clifton Park-based transfer station.

County Waste submitted vouchers that under-reported the amount of waste it brought to the town landfill, located in Cohoes.

"We are grateful for the hard work and tremendous effort spent by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and his staff investigating the improper practices taking place at the Colonie Landfill, and residents can be assured that in moving forward the Town of Colonie will not tolerate such practices in the future," said Mahan in a statement released Monday, Feb. 22.

The waste hauler is under contract through 2010, and they will likely continue to provide services through the remainder of their contract, Mahan said.

County Waste will pay $986,186 to the town, the state and a whistleblower who helped with the investigation. It is the first settlement of a "non-Medicaid-related False Claims Act case," according to Cuomo's office.

Of that, $736,186 is in response to the incorrect weight slips, $250,000 to New York state in fines and penalties and $163,651 to the whistleblower.

Mahan said the settlement is reasonable for the time period in question, 2002-2006, and that obviously the settlement only pertains to what was able to be proven. Claims made by the whistleblower that there was more than $15 million in wrongdoing did not seem "practical," she said

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