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October 17, 2007

DiNapoli and Soares Announce Joint Probe of
Town of Colonie Work on Property Owned by Private Club

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Albany County District Attorney David Soares announced today that their offices will review the Town of Colonie’s use of town employees and equipment to fill, grade and improve property owned by a private club. At Soares’ request, DiNapoli’s office reviewed the situation and decided to conduct an audit of these activities in addition to completing another, ongoing audit of the town. DiNapoli will work with Soares, who is conducting an inquiry of the matter to determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing.

“We need to look at what occurred in Colonie and determine whether or not it was appropriate,” DiNapoli said. “An internal review by the town board concluded there was ‘no evidence of fraud or abuse,’ but our analysis indicates that an audit by my office is in fact warranted. Taking another look can’t hurt. The public wants to know and should know exactly what happened.”

“As with all cases involving public integrity, we will begin the inquiry into the Town of Colonie by gathering all relevant materials and conducting a preliminary review to determine if criminal liability can be assessed. Based on the joint findings of both my Public Integrity Unit and the Office of the Comptroller, we will take the appropriate next steps,” commented DA Soares.

According to news reports, town personnel deposited some 2,600 tons of fill on property owned by the West Albany Rod & Gun Club. The town used taxpayer-owned dump trucks to bring the fill to the club site and earth-moving equipment to grade the fill. They also improved a parking lot and driveway. Town records indicate that town workers spent nearly two weeks on the work, at times using 10 vehicles a day. The fill was from excavations done by town personnel.

Reports indicate that several town officials were members of the club when this activity took place.


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