Hoosick Falls Police Chief latest public official to be pulled into expanding ballot fraud probe
Kenneth C. Crowe II is reporting for the Times Union Hoosick Falls Village Police Chief Bob Ashe is the latest public official to be interviewed by state investigators over the expanding ballot fraud probe in Rensselaer County. Republican Ashe was suspended with pay December 17, after he was questioned by state police investigators. GOP officials said Ashe was involved in the collection of absentee ballots cast in the November local elections. The GOP swept many local contests. When contacted, Ashe referred questions to his attorney, but called the actions of state police investigators “politics at its finest.” Attorney Brian Premo said, “My client is not concerned about anything. It will work itself out." Ashe is the brother of Troy City Council member Kim Ashe-McPherson. He has been lobbying County Executive Steve McLaughlin and Rich Crist, the county's director of operations, for their support to run for sheriff. Following a special meeting of the Hoosick Falls Village Board on December 16 about Ashe, the board released a brief statement from Mayor Robert Allen the following morning. “Today, Chief Robert Ashe was suspended with pay due to an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the New York State Police. Officer Bernard Davock has been appointed as officer in charge." Allen later said in an interview that because Ashe's suspension was a personnel matter, he could say nothing more. Rensselaer Mayor Mike Stammel was interviewed last week about absentee ballots in that city, and troopers seized his cell phone, as well. The probe now underway began over complaints about ballots cast in Rensselaer and has grown to include an examination of ballot records at the county Board of Elections. Read the full story in the Times Union.