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Chatham village board hears from the public about ongoing investigation

Jan 18, 2019 3:15 pm
Emilia Teasdale is reporting for The Columbia Paper the Chatham Village Board held its first regular meeting of the new year this week, as well as the first meeting after the Jan. 8 raid by the state Comptroller’s Office, the state Department of Taxation and Finance, and the state police, of village offices. Authorities seized village computers and files as part of an ongoing investigation, initiated after it was discovered the village did not pay federal or state payroll taxes for a number of years. Approximately 35 residents attended the board meeting this week, asking questions about village accounting among other topics. Mayor Tom Curran told the audience, “We can talk about that to some degree but it’s in the hands of the state now.” Village attorney Ken Dow reviewed a general timeline of events, and said that while the village worked with the Comptroller’s Office and the state taxation department on the problem, the decision to seize village computers and files was not shared with village officials ahead of time. That same day, investigators also went to the home of former Village Treasurer Barbara Henry. Henry has confirmed that police took her cellphone and computer. The payroll taxes owed to both the IRS and the state have now been paid, but penalties are still owed. Residents at the meeting questioned the accounting firm used by the village, whether or not insurance would cover the penalties from the state and federal government, and how much recent events would cost the village in legal fees and overtime. Near the conclusion of the meeting, resident Melanie Hoops said she had not heard an apology from board members. No one has expressed “any kind of remorse or accountability,” she said. “Ultimately we are responsible,” said Curran. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.
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