Ballston Tempers ran high at a Tuesday, Feb. 12, meeting of the Ballston Town Board that devolved into nearly four hours of bickering and finger pointing, highlighted by the accusations of attempted bribery by a developer.
The bribe accusation was leveled by Councilwoman Mary Beth Hynes during a presentation for a proposed mixed-use development at the vacant Janet’s V Corners lot in Ballston. Before the presentation, Supervisor Patti Southworth said she would be recusing herself from voting on the project due to a prior interaction with the applicant, David Osher of Morgan Communities.
“I don’t feel I can make an impartial decision on the application,” she said.
Hynes said Southworth had told her Osher offered a bribe during a meeting between the supervisor, Planning Board Chairman Richard Doyle and Building Inspector Tom Johnson.
“You all heard the supervisor would not be voting on the proposal because of some interaction she had with you,” said Hynes to the developer. “I have heard the word ‘bribe’ thrown out there and I would like to you an opportunity to address that.”
“To be honest with you, I don’t know what you are referring to,” said Osher. “I have had no interaction of this type at all with the supervisor.”
Southworth later declined elaborate on why she recused herself beyond saying her conversation with Hynes was misinterpreted.
“I had a negative interaction with Dave (Osher) and he made an offer that I felt he crossed the line that I was not willing to have crossed,” she said. “I thought it was unacceptable. I am not willing to compromise on my integrity. I am protecting the town.
“I’m the only one that knows what my comfort zone is based on my interactions with the developer,” she continued. “He deserves to be looked at solely by what he is presenting and nothing else.”