Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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October 20, 2013

Niagara Town Board looks to ethics panel over insurance coverage issue; wants town finances checked out

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Clark, a frequent critic of Richards, agreed. 

“We’ll give them all the information we have, they’ll review it and make a decision if it’s right or wrong,” he said. 

Richards abstained from voting on the measure. Deputy Supervisor Dan Sklarski voted against it. On Thursday, Sklarski said he wasn’t given an opportunity to thoroughly review the resolution because it was submitted as a walk-on item before Tuesday’s meeting. He also questioned whether the matter should have been referred to the ethics board, saying he believes it is more of a legal question and something board members should discuss in executive session with the town’s attorney. 

“It’s not an ethical question, it’s a legal question,” he said. 

Richards pleaded not guilty earlier this month to a 28-count indictment alleging various claims of public corruption, most of which focus on the theft of town goods and services. The indictment followed more than 18 months of investigation by agents from the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the FBI. 

Richards has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the state and federal probe and his attorney, Rodney Personius, has previously said the supervisor is prepared to defend himself in court. 

In light of the indictment, Teixeira, Clark and Carpenter agreed on Tuesday to ask the New York State Attorney General’s office to provide the town board with an opinion on whether the supervisor should be required to take a leave of absence while his case plays out. The same trio of councilmen also voted to seek a formal review of the town’s books by auditors from the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office. 

“We want to know what’s going on and we want to make sure things are being done correctly,” Teixeira said of the audit request. 

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