Expiration of TRITEC Site Plan

This past Monday evening the Mayor and Tritec proposed extending its expired site plan for 291 rental apartments.

This past Monday evening the Mayor and Tritec proposed extending its expired site plan for 291 rental apartments. Given the fact that Tritec has contributed heavily to the Mayor’s campaign, I advised the Mayor and his board members who are running for re-election that, as a matter of law, they were not able to vote on the site plan extension. 

We know from records that Patchogue 2012 have filed with Village Hall for this election cycle alone, that Tritec and its affiliates have contributed at least $3,000.00 to the campaign for re-election of Mayor Pontieri, Trustees Krieger and Devlin. This figure does not include substantial and numerous in kind contributions for paid advertisements to the Long Island advance made by Tritec in furtherance of their campaign for re-election.

Section 40-5 of the Patchogue Village Code states clearly that “No Village officer shall take any action on a matter before the Village when that officer has received a material benefit in the previous 24 months having an aggregate value in excess of $1,000.00  See Patchogue Village Code 40-5(2)(f).  Furthermore, Section 40-12 of the Patchogue Village Code clearly states that “Any applicant who makes a submission to the Village shall disclose, in writing, as part of the submission: (1) The name of any Village officer or employee to whom the applicant has made one or more campaign contributions totaling $100 or more within the previous 24 months.  This submission is to be filed with the Village Clerk and maintained pursuant to § 40-11. No such submission has been made by Tritec to the Village Clerk.

The law provides that any contract entered into where there is a conflict of interest is null, void and wholly unenforceable (General Municipal Law, § 804). In addition, any municipal officer or employee who willfully and knowingly violates any such provision is guilty of a misdemeanor (General Municipal Law, § 805).

The vote for the extension was tabled because Tritec failed to file the disclosure of its financial contributions to the Mayor’s campaign with the Village Clerk. Residents should know that we will continue to fight on their behalf.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Bogack March 14, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Steve. Thanks for clairfiying this issue. I was in the audience Monday night and I was a little confused about why the vote had to be tabled. Now I know why. I hope that one result of this campaign will be more openess acoss the board. It would be good if village law also required public posting of all campaign contributions on line. Every interested person and voter could then know who was contrbuting. All could know whether financial disclosure reports were being filed on time as well. I do not think that a financial contribuion is a conflict of interest per se but they do represent some form of influence on a candidate whether you or the Mayor or anyone else who is getting such a contribution. Knowing what was being contributed could help keep everyone one honest. I am glad to note too that once you raised this issue that the Mayor, on reflection, agreed that tabling was the best option and that the rest of the Board agreed as well. These days better safe than sorry is a good motto to guide us all.
Gerald Rothaus March 15, 2012 at 01:22 AM
John, I must say that requiring a public official to recuse his or herself in such a case is an essential component to preventing corruption. The Mayor and his running mates should never be allowed to vote on issues concerning Tritec under penalty of law. This concept should be expanded right up to the white house!!! A financial contribuion is absolutely a conflict of interest. Period.
betsy smith March 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM
A financial contribution is absolutely a conflict of interest.
John Bogack March 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Financial contributions are legal under the law folks. Bribes are not legal. If financial contributions were not legal they would not be recorded. They are recorded because they are legal. There are limits set on the amounts that can be contributed. If the receipt of a financial contribution was illegal then every candidate running for office in this election would have committed a crime. They did not because such contributions, when limited as per law, when reported as per the law are legal. It is then up to the public to decide just what influence those contributions may have on their elected officials. I would like to see a system of public financing. No contributions needed, candidates agree to finance their campaigns within set limits of expenditures. That kind of system absolutely strikes at the potential for the kind of conflict of interest everyone of us ought to be concerned about.
PatchogueLifetime March 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM
You guys should look at contributions to your State and Federal reps -- 100% of them take contributions from contractors working on State jobs, unions getting work from the contractors and on and on.. John is absolutely right - until we have an entirely different system of campaign financing, it's pointless to claim that financial contributions present a conflict of interest. It's fully legal as it stands right now.
Jo Miller March 15, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Not intended to comment about the matter before the board, but a reminder that Just because someting is legal does necessarily make it right
Jo Miller March 15, 2012 at 02:40 PM
correction does not necessarily make it right
Frank Finnamore March 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Campaign contributions by businesses, developers, lobbyists do in fact have a direct relationship with elected officials. If it didn't why would they contribute? Tritec contributed thousands in cash, in kind services and Ads for the re-elected of Pontieri and that fact should be public record as required by Patchogue Village Law 40-12. Tritec's sub contractors and firms that they do business with actually contributed enormous amounts of money for this election.
John Bogack March 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Frank I dont have an issue with the sentiment that you are expressing. But I do have a question about the facts. Your claims may be true, or not. It would be great public service if all of us could see what every candidate has been reporting for the record about their contributions. That would be a fair too since maybe it's not just one side that has been benefiting from contributions. In the absence of facts it is a little hard to really figure out just what is going on for sure. Patchogue Village is lucky to have the Patch, and the Advance as media outlets. But their one great drawback, and this applies to both of them, is the absence of any independent investigative reporting. I would love to see either one of them report out the actual filing reports. It would be a public service of the highest kind. If that is not in the cards then I go back to what I advocated earlier. Modern technology allows this information to be posted online. After this campaign over let's all start to demand more information be posted that anyone can access. Democracy depends on honesty to work as we all want it to. Posting this information I think would help quite a lot to make sure that we do get an honest government whatever party is in charge.
Judy Pepenella March 15, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I agree that campaign finances issues are an issue! I am very uncomfortable with donations from ANYONE needing the passage of legislation in any office. And yes this happens at all levels of government from our Village, Town, State up to the Federal government. Yes, a donation can be made to any candidate from anyone. BUT when you are donating large sums of money, (in excess of $1000 as is stated in our Village laws) then you are stepping over the line. My statement to everyone is FOLLOW THE MONEY. If you were to know who has donated to your elected officials...you would not want any part of either individual. Again, this goes on at all levels of government and lobbyists are paid quite well to get their candidate, legislation and/or views heard. That is why We the Residents of Patchouge MUST be on hand to stand up and say NO MORE. One Law for All...I think this issues MUST be resolved. Judy
Mary Kassner March 15, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I have copies of all the filings and you can show you them if you like. I can also provide them to Michael if he is inclined to post them. Anyone can FOIL them from Village Hall for a nominal fee as well. Richard Evans’ filing is particularly disturbing considering he shows no contributions at all (from himself or otherwise) and he does not report what he has spent on his elaborate and aggressive online marketing campaign. When you review the Patchogue 2012 filings please be aware that some business are listed under names of affiliates or sister companies (for example, Tritec would be listed as Downtown Redevelopment and Lombardi’s is under another name as well).
JoJoCfe March 15, 2012 at 06:00 PM
So Judy, Who are you going to vote for? Where is the money coming from for Residents First campaign? If you knew "who has donated to your elected officials...you would not want any part of either individual."
Judy Pepenella March 15, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Hi JoJoCfe, No need to attack my statement as it is NOT for or against any particular candidate. My post refers to the rule of law and following said laws. I believe everyone should look at the voting record, the donation record and all available information about the person they are going to vote for before committing their decision to ballot. In addition, meeting, talking with and hearing your candidates (both sides) would mean we have educated voters. Morally and ethically speaking, no one's vote should be up for sale. Maybe you would feel better if I said this instead: If you knew who donated to your elected officials AND/OR candidates, you would not want any part of either individual? Judy
Jennifer Cipolla March 16, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Stephen.. just wanted to say thank you for keeping you reyes open for us!
Fugu Maki March 16, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Thank goodness someone on the board KNOWS the law and has the courage to say no to the Mayor surrounded by yes men and woman. Residents First, not more residents.
Richard Kemp March 20, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I really do not think that you know what the meaning of CONFLICT OF INTEREST MEANS anyway,based upon your past comments when YOU were a member of the PATCHOGUE VILLAGE BOARD OF ETHICS..........
Richard Kemp March 20, 2012 at 12:51 AM
John: Campaign contributions are just a slick way of obtaining favorable treatment. Lets put it where it is at. I really was not surprised by Egan's Remarks in the L.I.Advance that a contribution of $3000 divided amongst 4 candidates comes to $750 per candidate and as such does not have to be filed under the $1000 Law But what about the $100 Law ?? Egan states in the L.I.Advance that now all that Tri-Tec has to do is file their contributions...... BUT it is kind of late now and that is all after the fact..............
Richard Kemp March 20, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Laureen: I can agree with you regarding the minutes of The Board of Trustees,they are flawed with all kinds of ERRORS BIG TIME, Our Clerk would sign her name to anything. and it seems not ONE OF OUR TRUSTEES takes the time to actually scan the minutes before they vote to adopt the minutes. Once the minutes are published they are supposed to stand the test of if someone looks at the minute ledger book 50 or 75 years later are the minutes true and accurate, This is where our OFFICIALS and our CLERK are all missing the boat.
Lee March 20, 2012 at 02:18 AM
The expiration of the Tritec site plan and the election of Residents First will save our village from 291 apartments on the Four Corner. Thank goodness for Steve!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something