Letters of proof
Go to the Thurman Informer video page for 2019. On the 2-13-2019 video click forward to time stamp 1:03:12, you will hear Cynthia Hyde claim she knows nothing about these letters.
Although this was briefly touched on in the post published only minutes before this one; this topic is important enough to warrant a dedicated post of its own. Tomorrow night, the Town will be asked to consider a resolution to accept Rainmaker's proposal to operate the Whitespace system. The givens in this situation are as follows: the Town is expecting $14,400 in revenue from Whitespace in order to break even; Rainmaker wants 50% of the subscriber fees in exchange for services; the revenues from last month, November 2018, were $175 in total; the current subscriber fee is $50 per month. The $175 dollars of revenue last month suggests at best 4 paying subscribers. For the time being, let us assume that these four subscribers represent the total number of people using the system.
Let us also assume that the Town is just looking to break even and that the subscriber fee is fixed at $50. According to the grant, the fee is supposed to be fixed at $50; however, this has been disputed. We will return to this later. Let us also assume, in the absence of a reason to think otherwise, that the Town's $14,400 revenue expectation is what the Town needs to break even in the absence of paying for an operator.
Based on the Supervisor's revenue expectations for 2019, if spread equally over each of the 12 months, the system would need to produce at least $1,200 in revenue per month. This expectation comes before figuring in Rainmaker's service fee of 50%. This requires at least 24 full time dedicated subscribers paying $50 dollars each month.
If the Town accepts Rainmaker's proposal and commits to paying him 50% of the subscriber fees, then in order to maintain the Supervisor's $14,400 revenue expectations, the system would need to generate double the supervisor's expectation. If 50% of the fees go to Rainmaker, that brings the effective rate for the Town down to $25 per month.
This would then require, keeping with our assumptions in the beginning, at minimum 48 subscribers all paying $50 dollars a month for a total of $28,800, so that the Town maintains its $14,400 expectation of revenue and satisfies Rainmaker's proposal. This means that the system would need to generate in total $2,400 per month instead of the current $175. This is assuming that the needed subscribers are on the system by the end of this month and consistently pay from January through to December of 2019.
With last month’s revenues being merely $175, without having payed for an operator, what is the basis for the Supervisor's expectation of being able to support not only the system but also Rainmaker's proposed fee? The Supervisor has not been particularly open to the idea of doing a survey of potential subscribers which would give her and the Town a better idea of whether these already very optimistic expectations could in fact be met; preferring to rely on a survey done years ago before the system fell victim to political intrigue and subject to third party competition. The Supervisor has also not had a history of being accepting of the idea that she or the Town should do any kind of advertising for the system either. What are her reasons for maintaining these expectations and how is the Town supposed to meet them?
It has already been suggested by the Supervisor that the subscriber fee could be raised to compensate. Let us then examine what this might mean for subscribers. Keeping with the assumption of only 4 current users, derived from November's revenue, then in order to support this $28,800 need; each of these four subscribers would need to individually pay at least $600 dollars each month in 2019, twelve times their current subscriber fee. $300 per month, six times the current fee, in order to maintain the Supervisor's expectations assuming Rainmaker's proposal is rejected.
The possibility of people using Whitespace without paying has also been suggested for a while now; so let us now then imagine a scenario to test out the possibility of various numbers of potential paying subscribers with a variable subscriber fee. In order to maintain the expectations and keep the fee at $50; then 48 subscribers are needed at the minimum, anything less and the fee would begin to increase. With the current presumed 4; the fee would be $600 with Rainmaker each month, $300 without Rainmaker.
Let us imagine that there are 10 people actively using the system in addition to the 4 paying users. The number 10 was chosen arbitrarily. Assuming that all 14 immediately become paying subscribers in January and stay with the system; then they could be looking at a fee of about $86 dollars a month without Rainmaker, $172 a month with Rainmaker, just for internet service.
If you accept a variable subscriber fee; then the only way to raise $14,400 in revenue and pay Rainmaker 50% of the fees, all while maintaining a $50 fee, there would need to be at minimum 48 paying subscribers at all times.If the fee remains fixed at $50, then the only way to break even would be to have 48 subscribers at all times. With at best only 4 paying subscribers as of last month and now many subscribers already having left Whitespace for competitors, what are the reasons behind these expectations of the Supervisor?
Since what potentially could be the final Town meeting for the year will be occurring tomorrow night at 6:30 pm; it may be tempting to tentatively celebrate its conclusion as marking the end of the wild ride that was 2018. As the holidays draw closer, they bring with them the possibility of a temporary reprieve from the demanding game of chess that is Town politics; albeit a reprieve overshadowed by the January 2019 organizational meeting.
In the interest of not bringing controversy to everyone's doorstep later on when it would be more preferable to be relaxing and celebrating, its better to bring up a couple of points regarding the Town budget now: the mortgage tax revenue and the Enterprise Fund revenue.
As of December 1st, the mortgage tax expired because it was not reauthorized by Albany in time. In an article published by the Post Star on November 29th, State Assemblyman Stec was reported as saying that the legislation associated with authorizing the mortgage tax will be taken up by the State legislature after the new year. The Post Star also reported that Warren County was not the only affected county. Warren County can only levy the mortgage tax if it is authorized by the State to do so since that authorization did not make it though Albany in time, the County could have to wait until sometime in the spring.
The County is expecting the legislation to make through the legislature and has incorporated $1.7 million in expected mortgage tax revenue into the 2019 budget; the Town Supervisor and Board are also expecting revenues for the upcoming year as well. This expectation aside; there are a couple of worthwhile questions that may be asked regarding mortgage tax revenue.
At least insofar as Thurman is concerned; it would not be the first time that the Town has been told by Assemblyman Stec to expect something only to have it never materialize; namely the home rule request requested by the Town back in June when the debt crisis came to a head. That brings to mind the possibility, at the very least in principle, that the Town and County may have to wait much longer than the spring for authorization to levy a mortgage tax; therefore, it is reasonable to ask how the Supervisor plans to approach the task of adjusting for the mortgage tax.
According to the Town budget; the Supervisor is expecting $15,000 in revenues in 2019 for the year, up from $8,200 this year. If the mortgage tax revenue is delayed significantly or perhaps never materializes; how will this affect the Town in 2019? Additionally; an increase of $6,800 in mortgage tax revenue is according to the budget nearly double from this year and the year before. What are the reasons that give the Town confidence in the expectation of the relatively large increase in revenue even if the mortgage tax makes it through Albany? For readers who may be interested; the mortgage tax revenues may be found listed on page 2 of the budget under State Aid; budget code A3005.
Another question worth asking about the budget pertains to the Enterprise Fund which is expected to generate $14,400 in revenues for the year 2019. This money is coming from Whitespace subscriber fees; however, the most recent numbers available show that the Enterprise Fund generated merely $175 for the month of November. If spread evenly over each of the 12 months of 2019, the Enterprise Fund would need to bring in at least $1,200 per month to meet the $14,400 expectation. What is the basis for the Supervisor's expectation of $14,400 in revenue? For readers who are interested, expected Enterprise Fund revenue can be found on page 8 of the budget associated with budget codes E2189 and E8989.4 as well as on the 2019 budget summary page.
It is no secret that Supervisor Cynthia Hyde has a deep hatred for Councilwoman Gail Seaman. This has been the case since Cynthia Hyde was the Town Clerk and Gail Seaman was then also a Council member. Only Cynthia knows the reason as to why she feels this way. To this tax payer’s eyes, it is because Gail Seaman holds Cynthia Hyde accountable to her actions. She did when she was clerk and she does now as Supervisor, rightfully so I might add. If you watch videos from years past when Cynthia Hyde was clerk, she blamed everyone and everything on someone else, she has never once taken responsibility for her own actions and still doesn’t.
Since the first day of this year when the new board members took over Cynthia Hyde as refused to work with them. Last year she wouldn’t make a move without the town board holding her hand, this year she screams at them that they are not her boss. I guess when she had a board that was more than willing to do her job for her, she was more than willing to bow down to them. When a board comes in and wants her to do her own job, then she starts kicking and screaming. She has done nothing for this town since she has been in office. The water project was pretty much done, all the new board had to do last year was complete it, which even then they managed to fulfill some political payback to their supporters. Cynthia Hyde has spent her whole time in office trying to fry Evelyn Wood and the past administration, including Gail Seaman. When asked questions by the taxpayers she sits and smirks and refuses to answer questions. Her little group of followers berate people on social media on her behalf. Cynthia Hyde screams at taxpayers at meetings and tells them to sit down and shut up. Screaming at them as to how mean and nasty they are. (This can all be seen on video)
There are new problems for this town now. The town has now defaulted on a $300,000.00 BAN payment, which Cynthia Hyde is blaming Gail Seaman and Evelyn Wood and the previous administration for, yet the only names that appear on the paperwork for such BAN is Cynthia Hyde, Kathy Templeton, Mike Eddy and Joan Harris. All certified by the town clerk Susan Staples, yet it is all the fault of the previous administration. This is all a matter of public record, the documentation has been made public, that is how this tax payer has come to this conclusion.
Glens Fall National bank has frozen $300,000 dollars in the town accounts. The Reserve “saving” account and the remainder in the Consolidated account, which the town uses to pay bills with. This fund is extremely low, yet Cynthia Hyde continues to write checks without approval claiming there is a “ton of money”. She has refused to pay this debt off as directed to do so by the board. This debt is now collecting interest at a high rate, yet Supervisor Hyde could care less.
As of late, the Whitespace internet system that the town owns has been partially down. When the subscribers contact the Supervisor about this she yells at them, she did this to two subscribers at a meeting, again it is all on video. She tells them she is not going to fix it that they can go to Gail Seaman. It has gotten so bad that a main business of the town has left Whitespace and gone back to a satellite internet because it was losing business, yet the Supervisor still could care less. It is a personal vendetta with her.
The town board passed a resolution back in June for Gail Seaman to have the keys to Whitespace so she could do what she could to get it back up and running. Cynthia Hyde refuses to give the keys to her, yet last year had no issue with Kathy Templeton having them and keeping them at her home. She had no issue with Kathy Templeton’s husband Andy, cutting off the locks then going to Curtis Lumber to buy a cutting wheel and the town paid for this. In fact, Andy Templeton signed on the town’s Curtis lumber account!! He is not a town employee and Cynthia Hyde approved this. Again, there is documentation to prove this.
When Gail Seaman called Carlson in California to speak to them to get assistance in getting Whitespace backup and running for the paying subscribers, she was told by them that they had in fact been trying to reach the Supervisor and Fred Engelmann for WEEKS! The company Spectrum Bridge is going out of business and there are critical updates that need to be done before this change, so the system does not crash. Gail Seaman was told by Carlson that there was firewall with a VPN password that Fred Engelmann needed to give them, so they could access the system to do the updates. Gail Seaman was also told, that they were told by Cynthia Hyde not to speak to her (Gail Seaman), but to only speak to the Supervisor. After months of screaming to people to go to Gail and then Gail Seaman tries to do what she can to fix it, again Cynthia Hyde blocks her. All so she can blame Gail Seaman when things go wrong. Do you see a pattern here folks?
Cynthia Hyde is the Hitler of Thurman. She is ruining this town just to try to make Evelyn Wood and Gail Seaman and the previous administration look bad. The only taxpayers she cares about are the ones that supported her in the election. These are the ones that get town jobs and new water systems.
This taxpayer is fed up with the crooked politics that is going on in Thurman’s supervisor’s office. It is time for Thurman to be dissolved, but what other town would take this town now?? Cynthia Hyde and her little group of loud mouth supporters have created a divide in this town that can never be fixed. The blame game must stop!
Thank you, Cynthia Hyde for filling our town with hate! Thank you, Cynthia Hyde for ruining our town financially!
All we can do now everyone is pray for our town.
We can not ask the new board members to fix a problem like Cynthia Hyde. She is a little Hitler, she will do what she wants no matter what. Be sure to watch social media for the backlash this blog will generate. The vial evilness that will be spewed.
Lord God, please rid our town of evil and begin to heal us.
There seem to be a lot of people that do not understand exactly what is going on with our town's finances. This blog will strictly be a timeline to try to make it a little easier to understand what is going on and why it is important to "bit the bullet" so to speak and pay the money owed to the Glens Falls National Bank.
The Town of Thurman took out a BAN for $313,000.00 last year to fund the water project, this was done through Glens Falls National Bank. This BAN matured on May 31, 2018, which means the bank was to receive the full amount of the BAN by May 31,2018. The town paid the bank a total of $20,073.80 on May 31st. :
May 31, 2018- PAID TO BANK
TOTAL PAYMENT MADE- $20,073.80
This meant that there was still $300,000.00 still due on the BAN. To pay this the town was going to take out a Serial Bond for the amount of $300,000.00 and use that to pay off the bank. The Town would then make payments on this amount for 4 years.
When May 31, 2018 came, the town Supervisor told the then town Attorney that there may be a mistake on the percentage of taxable land that Warren County owned in the town. If they own more than 30%, then the town must get permission from the NYS Comptrollers Office to get a BAN or BOND. This is what triggered NYS Assemblyman Dan Stec to help us out by presenting a bill to the Legislation. This is called a Validating Act bill, which basically says that they will still allow the town of Thurman to get a BOND and over look the mistake. This is exactly what Dan Stec did. However, the NYS Legislation sessions end on June 20th. On this date, the bill for Thurman had made it up to the Rules Committee, it needed to pass there and then go onto the floor for a vote from the Assembly. It did not make it out of the Rules committee, it never even made it to the table to be voted on in that committee. The sessions are now finished for this year, unless special sessions are called. This still may happen, however, Dan Stec can not call a session, he has no control over that. So if and when a session is called, there is still no guarantee that our bill would make it to the floor. So that got us to the position that we are in now.
On May 31, 2018 the bank statement for the town's Consolidated Fund had a balance of $260,338.50. The town's Reserve, AKA as the Savings by the Supervisor, had $109,405.13. SO Here is the timeline to date starting on May 31, 2018:
May 31, 2018- defaulted on $300,000.00 BAN payment.
June 14, 2018- Letter written by Glens Falls National Bank notifying town of default.
June 20, 2018- Legislation ended without passing Validating Act Bill for Town of Thurman
June 21, 2018- Gail Seaman met with Cynthia Hyde. Glens Falls National Bank spoke to Cynthia, then to Gail Seaman by Cynthia Hyde's request about the default and the Legislation Bill failure.
June 22,2018- Town of Thurman's Municipal Savings Money Market account was frozen, also $200,000.00 from the Town of Thurman's Consolidated bank account was frozen, the town can not touch this money for any reason other than to pay back this debt.
An account freeze is an action taken by a bank or brokerage that prevents any transactions from occurring in the account. Typically, any open transactions will be canceled, and checks presented on a frozen account will not be honored.
The bank will not hold this money indefinitely, it will at some point, if they have not already, start adding compounded interest. This will cost the town much more.
June 29, 2018- Special Meeting called by Gail Seaman and Doug Needham. Resolution was passed to just pay the bank the $300,000.00 that it is owed and try to run the town on what is left and on any future revenue's, which will not be large amounts. This is only possible with strong cut backs and positions being dissolved. Elected officials pay will be put on hold until town debts are paid.
To be clear: THE $300,000.00 DEBT WILL BE PAID USING FUNDS THAT THE BANK HAS ALREADY FROZEN ON THE TOWN'S BANK ACCOUNTS. (There are posts on social media that seem to show that people do not understand this)
We just recently learned as well that the town Supervisor DID NOT pay the Warrensburg EMS their contracted $50,000.00. This must be paid first when any revenue comes in. Town Councilwoman Gail Seaman has spoken to the Warrensburg EMS and they have promised her they will continue to answer calls. For this we are to be very grateful, since legally, the town has defaulted on the contract with them, they are under no legal obligation to make runs out here.
At the last meeting when Gail Seaman was trying to answer someone's question, Mary Eddy kept yelling out "Did they send a bill?" referring to the Warrensburg EMS. Once again, the $50,000.00 payment due to the Warrensburg EMS is a contracted amount to be paid at the beginning of the year when all other contracts are paid, no bill is needed.
The bottom line is, three of our Town Board members are doing what needs to be done so our town can begin to heal. The only thing the town Supervisor and Board member Harris did was walk out like spoiled children and refuse to work with the board once again. There can be a difference of opinion without the Supervisor resorting to personal attacks. What would be more productive and helpful, would be for Supervisor Hyde to bring her own ideas to the table and have a civilized discussion. Answer questions that are being asked and try to work for all tax payers!!
Below are documents as well as links to the New York State Assembly webpage and the Validating Act Bill. Here you can see where the process stalled.
After a deeply concerning meeting on Friday where the Supervisor sat in silence and refused to answer questions about the Town’s finances, and on the eve of the month’s regular meeting, the Supervisor has sent to some board members a spreadsheet she claims to be a print out from the Town’s accounting system. The sheet, an obvious cut & paste the create-your-own spreadsheet, is supposed to provide the Highway Department’s expense and revenue information. What it is not is an actual print out from the Town’s accounting software.
Enhanced Business Solutions was used by the town in previous years and board members and the pubic at the time were provided with monthly reports from the software making it insanely easy to obtain an actual copy of an Enhanced expense and revenue report from a previous year and compare. A photo of the spread sheet the Supervisor sent out as a report, and what an actual report looks like are attached for you to see.
More concerning that the Supervisor tried to provide the Board information that was obviously created by her office is what her report actually says. That is where the real concerns should be. Was it wrong to try to pass off a spreadsheet as an accounting system report, yes. But what is worse is that the Supervisor sent out in her own spreadsheet that there is $154,000 in tax dollars that we all paid this year missing form the highway department. The tax collector paid her the money, but according to her she did not put it in the highway. Where is it? Does anyone truly know? At this point it is hard to say.
That was the first line of her report. The second says that she received the payment from the County for the winter road maintenance and that she deposited it in the Consolidated fund. Not the Highway fund. After all the insistence last year by the Board that a separate bank account be created for the highway. -which the Supervisor opened last year – why would she take the money paid by the County to the Highway and put it in a completely different bank account. And then a month later transfer it to the highway where it should have been all along and never telling the Board about it even thought the Board is required to approve transfers. The most logical reason is that in January when she said the Town had plenty of money but that was not actually the case and the consolidated was short funds, so she used the highway money to cover the shortage until the sales tax money came in before transferring the money back.
Next, we find – or don’t find – the CHIPS money. We were all told the highway was reimbursed approximately $300,000 in CHIPS funds which should have been returned to the Highway fund. Yet nowhere on the Supervisor’s record of revenues do we see that money going into the Highway. Each year the Highway spends the money and the State reimburses them. If the money did not go back to the Highway – which – is what the Supervisor’s report says, where did it go? And how can the highway pave this year if the money isn’t in the Highway Account?
There are many, many more financial issues in the Supervisor’s spreadsheet. The highway budgeted for Social Security expenses, health care expenses, overtime and payroll, yet according to the Supervisor she is not paying them out of the Highway budget. The abstracts say these expenses are being charged to the Highway, yet this spreadsheet says the Supervisor either paid them out of a different bank account (i.e. the consolidated account, not the Highway account) or there is no indication what account she paid them out of other than her showing us she is not paying it out of the Highway account.
That means other bank accounts will be short funds. If you write a check out of one bank account but record it as an expense in a different bank account, your books will never balance. End of story. Best case scenario for the taxpayers is that the Supervisor made this spreadsheet up out of whole cloth. The worst-case scenario is that her spreadsheet is true. Because if what she sent out is true not only is she refusing to tell the Board and the public about the fees or penalties regarding the now overdue BAN, about how much the BOND payments will raise the taxes, but then we also have over $150,000 in taxes unaccounted for, $300,000 in State reimbursement who knows where, bank accounts being depleted for other funds, and books that can not balance. And all this is just the Highway Fund. What about the general fund? If ever were there a time to be honest & transparent, to make the financial information available this is the time. If the Supervisor refuses to provide any information, or to provide accurate information there is no way to know the true financial picture of the town. This isn’t Cynthia Hyde’s money. It’s our money. We work too hard to have someone drive us into bankruptcy just because they want to have some petty fight with the Board. Everyone works with people they don’t like. She needs to get over it and do her job – provide accurate information so we know what’s going on and the Board can do its job.
Image below is the report Supervisor Hyde sent to some board members.
Image below is a photo of an actual Operations report from Enhanced Business Solutions from a previous year.
Images files below are actual bank statements for the Thurman highway bank account.
Among the various motivations that Supervisor Hyde had to insist on attempting an emergency meeting on the night of May 6th, some of which are briefly discussed in “On the Matter of the Dismissal of the Town Attorney Continued”, one motivation appears to have been irresistible to her and the key figures in the political faction that she represents; Hyde and her key supporters, including Councilwoman Harris, would have the stage all to themselves. During the last couple of weeks leading up to Supervisor Hyde’s failed attempt at holding a political event on the 6th, key members of her faction had been teasing the reveal of an upcoming event on social media with phrases like “tick tock, tick tock” and “time’s up.” The events of this week appear to have revealed the nature of teased event; Supervisor Hyde’s and Councilwoman Harris’s public effort to blame former Supervisor Wood and Councilwoman Seaman for the unfolding debt crisis; despite the fact that it is Supervisor Hyde’s signature on the relevant documents, see “On the Matter of the Town’s BAN” and “Blaming Others Must Stop ~ Town of Thurman” for more details.
Based on the events that transpired at the Town Hall during the botched event, it is clear that the evening did not unfold as Supervisor Hyde and her faction anticipated. This attempt to capitalize on the absence of the rest of the Board and particularly Councilwoman Seaman is unfortunately characteristic of Supervisor Hyde’s behavior this year. In regards to Councilwoman Seaman; Supervisor Hyde’s faction have been attempting to discredit and undermine her reputation since the election when then candidates Eddy, Templeton, Harris, and their faction arranged a predatory Meet-the-Candidates debate that was structured to prevent then candidate Seaman from being able to make more than two responses for the entire debate while Eddy, Harris, and Templeton had free reign. After the election; Supervisor Hyde kept up those efforts by making monthly and lengthy statements expressing in great detail her negative views of Councilwoman Seaman; simultaneously denying Councilwoman Seaman the ability to respond.
This behavior has not been restricted to just Councilwoman Seaman; after a couple of months of devoting all of her energy into trying to control how Councilwoman Ackley and Councilman Needham vote and subsequently discovering that she can’t satisfactorily exercise that degree of control, Hyde began going after Ackley and Needham as well. The most visible instance has been the attempt that Supervisor Hyde and her key supporters made recently to publicly embarrass Councilman Needham on TV. This behavior on Supervisor Hyde’s part has grown so toxic that it has reached the point where at last month’s regular Board meeting; Councilwomen Seaman, Ackley, and Councilman Needham simply voted to adjourn the meeting and go home as opposed to sitting through yet another one of Hyde’s speeches on the evils of the this year’s Board. This behavior has culminated in Supervisor Hyde and Councilwoman Harris blaming former Supervisor Wood and Councilwoman Seaman for the current debt crisis.
The most remarkable thing is that Supervisor Hyde seems to expect Councilwomen Seaman, Ackley, and Councilman Needham to be responsive to her wishes now that she wants something from them; despite how she has treated so far. This is very reminiscent to how Hyde complained last year about former Supervisor Wood not helping her established herself in the very office that Hyde helped drive Wood from; aid that Hyde coincidentally wanted to come in the form of information that would have allowed Hyde and by extension then Council members Templeton and Eddy access to the Town’s computers under Wood’s name.
To see video footage of the meeting on June 6, 2018, please click HERE to go to the Thurman Informer town meeting video page.
On the evening of the 6th of June, Supervisor Hyde attempted to hold an emergency Town meeting despite having received numerous statements from three Board members saying that it would not be possible for them to attend; repeatedly declining to reschedule the emergency meeting for the night of the 7th at the same time. Amongst the various comments and statements that Supervisor Hyde attempted to make at the Town hall was the assertion that the offices of Assemblyman Dan Stec informed her that passing a resolution authorizing the Town to move forward on efforts to obtain special legislation from Albany to bail the Town out of the looming debt crisis had to be done that night. This assertion starkly contrasts a statement from Stec’s office given to Councilwoman Seaman wherein that office informed Mrs. Seaman that it was okay if the resolution was passed on the 7th instead of the 6th. Supervisor Hyde also asserted that the faster the resolution was approved the faster the legislature in Albany could proceed; however, Supervisor Hyde may have an additional unspoken reason that has motivated her to insist on trying to arrange a meeting on the 7th. As of June 8th, the law offices of Miller, Mannix, Schachner, and Hafner official cease representing the Town of Thurman according to the letter signed by Hafner and sent to Assemblyman Stec’s office.
Supervisor Hyde and her political allies that form the core of the faction she currently represents have kept Miller, Mannix, Schachner, and Hafner on speed dial since they came into power last year; spending many thousands of dollars having the Town’s legal counsel give advice on everything from newspaper articles, foil requests, the Jax Wax party, to drafting and revising resolutions; in addition to matters concerning the Town’s Bond resolution. The dismissal of Schachner is something that Supervisor Hyde must feel acutely; especially since she invited Schachner to appear at the Town’s organizational meeting this year to help her argue her policy stances on resolutions.
In addition to the reasons discussed previously in the piece entitled “On the Matter of the Dismissal of the Town Attorney”, the current debt crisis that looms over the Town serves as yet another reason supporting the decision to dismiss the Town’s legal counsel. Although Supervisor Hyde herself signed the paperwork wherein she certified that the State did not own enough land within the Town to require the Town to first obtain permission from the State Comptrollers before taking out the Bond Anticipation Note; the Town’s Bond counsel is also at fault.
Acting as the Bond counsel; the Town’s legal counsel issued an opinion on May 31st 2017 stating that based on the information provided to them by officials of the Town they concluded that the Town’s BAN was issued in compliance “with the Constitution and statutes of the State of New York.” In the letter issued on June 1st of this year; the law offices of Miller, Mannix, Schachner, and Hafner claimed that they had been informed by Supervisor Hyde that she did not believe that the Town was beneath the statutory threshold for State owned land within the Town. They proceeded to state that after hearing this from Supervisor Hyde, the same Supervisor who signed the Issuers Certificate certifying that the Town was below the threshold, they immediately contacted the Town Assessor and asked him to calculate the percentage of State owned land within the Town; implying that they hadn’t previously contacted the Assessor to ask for such a calculation. Why did the law offices of Miller, Mannix, Schachner, and Hafner not call the Town Assessor back in May of 2017 or prior, before issuing their opinion stating that all relevant statutes and the Constitution had been complied with? Had they done so; the current debt crisis might not be as severe as it currently is. These events and the discovery of this oversight raise an equally worrisome question about the quality of the other services rendered by the Town’s now dismissed legal counsel.
In regards to statements published in “On the Matter of the Town’s BAN”, further elaboration and corrections need to be made. It was stated within that publication that the only known statement from the Town concerning the percentage of State owned land within the Town’s boarders was less than 30% was the statement that Supervisor Hyde signed in the form of Section 10 of the Issuer’s Certificate, signed on May 31st, 2017 when Supervisor Hyde executed the Bond Anticipation Note.
This statement may be disputed due to the presence of Section 16 of the Town’s December 26th 2016 Bond Resolution wherein it is also stated that the percentage of State owned land in Town is less than 30%; however, the existence of this section in the Bond Resolution should not be understood as a statement coming from a Town official or officials and instead should be understood as a statement originating with the Town’s Bond counsel, the Law Offices of Miller, Mannix, Schachner, and Hafner; furthermore, the significance of the existence of this clause is small relative to Supervisor Hyde’s Issuer’s Certificate.
In regards to Section 16 of the Town’s Bond Resolution being more a statement of the Town’s Bond counsel; the Bond Resolution was written by the law offices of Miller, Mannix, Schachner, and Hafner and subsequently adopted in December of 2016 on their advice. Serving as Bond counsel, the Town’s legal counsel was responsible for determining whether the Town did or did not need the State Comptroller’s permission to execute the $313,000 BAN; a determination that the Town’s legal counsel appears to have made twice, once in 2016 while drafting the Bond Resolution and again in May of 2017 by issuing an opinion stating the all relevant laws were complied with, without ever contacting the appropriate Town office, the Town Assessor, to obtain the necessary information. This is made evident by the letter sent to Assemblyman Stec’s office by the law firm stating on June 1st of this year stating that upon hearing that the Town may exceed the 30% percent threshold the Town’s legal counsel immediately contacted the Assessor to determine the actual percentage of land owned by the State.
Insofar as the 2016 Town Board is concerned, the Board in 2016 adopted the Bond Resolution as written by the Town’s legal counsel on attorneys’ advice; believing that the information therein was accurate. This means two things; first, the Town’s Bond counsel failed to adequately carry out their duties as the Town’s legal counsel at least twice, once in 2016 and once more in May of 2017; second, the incorrect statement made in Section 16 of the Resolution was not very significant.
After a Bond Resolution has been passed; it may, like any other resolution, be changed or repealed up until the therein authorized debt is first incurred. After December of 2016, five months passed in 2017 wherein the problem could have been spotted and corrected had anyone on the Town Board, including the Supervisor, been double checking. After Supervisor Hyde singed the Issuer’s Certificate and executed the BAN and the Town’s Bond counsel issued an opinion stating that they checked everything for compliance, the error was locked in. The proverbial ‘buck’, 313,000 of them in fact, stops with Supervisor Hyde and the law offices of Miller, Mannix, Schachner, and Hafner. Supervisor Hyde took the last and most relevant action on the Town’s BAN by certifying that the State owned less than 30% of the land in Thurman.
Over the last couple of days; a matter of critical importance to the Town has arisen. In December of 2016, the Town Board passed a Bond resolution on the advice of the Town’s Bond counsel, who wrote the final draft of the resolution, Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hafner, LLC, authorizing a BAN and or a Bond so that the Town may finance the expensive water project; one of two Capital projects that the Town has undertaken in recent years. After the passage of the Bond resolution by majority vote; the Town issued check number 13013 for $179.28 to the Post Star and published the Estoppel notice, twenty days later after the Estoppel clause in the Bond resolution took effect; any debt incurred could no longer be challenged except on constitutional grounds. After the publication of the Estoppel notice, on the 31st of May, 2017, Supervisor Hyde took out a Bond Anticipation note for $313,000. Last month on the 31st of May, the BAN came due; however, not everything was well.
This week; a letter was released that was written by Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hafner, LLC. on the first of June and sent to Dan Stec’s office revealed that a procedural error had occurred wherein since the Town has more than 30% of its land owned by the State, it first needed to obtain permission from the State Comptroller’s office in order to incur the $313,000 debt that Supervisor Hyde took out in May of 2017. This is required by Section 104.10 of New York’s Local Finance Law, subject to the conditions specified therein. According to the letter; the Bond counsel had allegedly been told by the Town that it did not meet the 30% threshold, however, within the last few weeks the Town Assessor issued a statement certifying that the Town had in fact 37% of its land owned by the State, thereby revealing the illegality of the debt.
There’s no evidence to suggest that the law firm took any action to determine the percentage of State owned land in the Town at the time of the Bond resolutions’ passing and there is no evidence to demonstrate, other than the firm’s word, that the previous Supervisor made any such statement about the quantity of land in Town owned by the State. Contrary to Supervisor Hyde’s statement published yesterday in the Post Star’s article entitled “Technical error may mean Thurman must pay back $300,000 soon” wherein Hyde alleged that Supervisor Wood falsely informed the Bond counsel ; the only known statement from the Town prior to the Assessor’s reveal of the actual percentage came from Supervisor Hyde herself. When Hyde took out the BAN in May of last year, she signed an Issuer’s Certificate wherein in section 10 of that document, Hyde certified that the Town did not meet the 30% State owned threshold; in other words Hyde certified on May 31st, 2017 that the Town did not need the State Comptroller’s permission before taking out the BAN.
In the Post Star article; Hyde alleged that the matter originated from a false statement by her predecessor Supervisor Wood, however, the only known statement in existence on the matter came from Hyde; certified by the Town Clerk, Susan Staples. Additionally; because the old Bond counsel’s letter to Dan Stec was written on the 1
st of this month; this implies that Supervisor Hyde was aware of this issue prior to June 1st and prior to the May 31st maturation date of the BAN, but decided not to inform Councilwomen Seaman and Ackley or Councilman Needham until now. Supervisor Hyde needs to own her mistake since it is her name on the only paperwork known to exist instead of trying to blame her predecessor and rivals yet again and she needs to explain why she concealed this highly important matter.
The consequence of this issue is that the Town now has very few options concerning the debt and is in very real danger of having to repay the $313,000 in its entirety; something that the Town cannot do due to a lack of funds in the Town’s accounts. The high levels of spending engaged in by Hyde and her cohorts last year has been a constant concern of Councilwoman Seaman’s when it comes to the Town’s debt; something that the attorney’s letter confirms in no uncertain terms. It would appear that the decisions made by Hyde and her cohorts last year that have been haunting the Town have finally returned to claim their dues.