When O'Rourke initially became involved with the project in November 2010, he said he immediately went to Town Attorney Mike Magguilli to make sure it was ethical to be working on a project for Nathan Bette. Magguilli then referred him to the Town's Board of Ethics, where he was cleared.
"I'm about good governance and full transparency," he said. "Nobody told me to go to the ethics board."
In September of 2010, the Colonie Planning Board unanimously voted down the conceptual plan to build a Wal-Mart at the Route 9 corridor. O'Rourke, then serving as chair of the Planning Board, was very critical of the project based on the waivers requested by Wal-Mart. Also present at the meeting was Kevin Bette, who claimed that Wal-Mart had gone back on agreements regarding the use of Auto Park Drive.
O'Rourke was brought on as a general contractor by Nathaniel Bette in November 2010 to build an addition to a home located at 10 Stafford Street, and after he completed that, he was asked to do renovations for the entire house.
Nemith said hiring contracts and putting together the Vanguard Show House project, located at 10 Stafford Road, takes month of preparation, and that O'Rourke was financially tied to the Bettes on this project before the Wal-Mart decision was made.
"They knew who the contractor was going to be months before," he said. "It's very suspect and very hard for me to believe."
O'Rourke said that the Bette project had not even come up during the Wal-Mart decision and that he didn't start work on the project until November when he was contacted by Nathaniel Bette.
"Nathaniel is not an officer of the town, and he doesn't hold any position at First Columbia," he said. "So there is no conflict of interest."
He continued to say that he found it strange he is being criticized for doing work in his hometown.