Editor, The Spotlight:
Albany County Republican Party boss Peter Kermani tried to blackmail me. He threatened exposure of a 20-year-old criminal conviction if I did not drop my Republican Party challenge to his nominee, Fred DiMaggio, for town supervisor. I refused his intimidation. Whatever embarrassment I suffer is less important than the cause of helping the folks by reducing town government spending by at least 5 percent with no reduction in government services through innovation, efficiency and volunteerism.
Twenty years ago I sought payment for the unpaid balance of $4,272.28 for work I had done from an unscrupulous businessman who had acknowledged satisfaction by making two, $500 payments but who would over the next five months make himself judgment proof to avoid paying his bills, including $23,000 in unpaid sales tax.
The prosecutor offered only a deal, not a dismissal, even though I had shown him my actions did not meet the elements of the crimes with which he had charged me, larceny and forgery. While I had offered to repay the money taken, I declined his offer because I had only taken exactly what I had been owed and intended to defraud no one.
I chose to represent myself and chose a bench trial – both errors. Regular folks know what it means to be abused by people in positions of authority, especially in criminal court. The trial prosecutor would later serve a five-year prison sentence for stealing over $50,000 from the court’s victims’ restitution fund. Sad.
The probation officer who conducted my presentence investigation recognized the prosecutorial and judicial abuses and recommended “No probation,” something she had never done in her 16-year career and something my defense attorney had never observed in his 20-year career.
I would be pleased to share the details of this experience from my sworn affidavit and review the contents of boxes of court records with any Bethlehem voter.