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Colarusso attorney says two Hudson Planning Board members have conflict

Oct 30, 2020 6:00 am
Aliya Schneider is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media John J. Privitera, attorney for A. Colarusso and Son, has accused two members of the Hudson Planning Board of bias and conflict of interest over the company’s application to make dock and road improvements at 175 South Front Street. Board members Clark Wieman and Larry Bowne denied the allegations. In a letter to the full board, Privitera called on Bowne and Wieman to recuse themselves from any further votes on the Colarusso project. In making the allegations, he cited personal and business relationships and involvement with Our Hudson Waterfront, a group opposed to the Colarusso project. The accusations followed Privitera's review of an invoice for hours billed by Planning Board attorney Victoria Polidoro to Colarusso’s escrow account, which covers expenses incurred by the city in its review of the project. He discovered the attorney was billing for time spent on conflict issues related to individual members of the board. In addition to arguing the bill was inappropriate and illegal because individual employees and board members must seek their own counsel concerning such matters, he also asked that both board members be recused from the approval process. In particular, he said Wieman’s domestic and business partner, Julie Metz, has been an active opponent of the Colarusso application, speaking out against the matter at various public hearings. Both Wieman and Metz also have been members of the Our Hudson Waterfront group, as well. Wieman impermissibly prejudged the application from the start, Privitera wrote, citing various statements made by Wieman during a number of public meetings. Privitera also noted Bowne’s history as an outspoken opponent of the application and said that activism creates a bias that requires his recusal, as well. Bowne was also a member of Our Hudson Waterfront, and spoke out frequently against the industrial use of Hudson's waterfront before he became a member of the planning board. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.