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Board Member under investigation for alleged racial slur

Dan Dustin accused of using slur against town resident

Town of Colonie Councilman Dan Dustin is under fire after being accused by a resident of Colonie of using a racial slur towards her husband on the evening of Sept. 13 at Mill Road Acres Golf Course Restaurant.

Patricia A. Halpin wrote a letter to Town Supervisor Paula Mahan, obtained by The Spotlight through a FOIL request, asking for action to be taken against Dustin after he swore at and used a racial epithet to her husband, H. Paul Thomas. According to the letter from Halpin, the incident happened after Thomas made a joke regarding Dustin's golf handicap at a members' gathering of their golf league.

Halpin stressed Dustin's position in the town and said even if he was in a social setting the comment should have not have been made.

Mr. Dustin is an elected town official, employee of yours who represents the Town of Colonie's constituents, many of whom are of various racial origins, and many of whom heard this derogatory, racial slur that evening." Halpin said in the letter, "Whether he is in 'official' capacity or not " this type of racial comment is reprehensible."

Town of Colonie Attorney Mike Magguilli said whether Dustin was acting in an official capacity at the time is not the issue, rather that he is still an elected official of the town and is considered a public person.

"This letter wasn't written to Dan Dustin, it was written to Paula Mahan asking to take action against a board member," said Magguilli. "This was not between two private people, this was between a private person and a public individual. They [Halpin] chose to bring it to a public forum, we had to take action on it. What did you want me to do, ignore it?"

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