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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fraudulent Fun in Westchester, the Epicenter of New York Corruption

Trial opens in Mt. Vernon corruption case
The Journal News by Timothy O'Connor - March 4, 2009

A former Mount Vernon official illegally steered $2.3 million worth of city business and loans to her boyfriend, a federal prosecutor said yesterday. Former Planning Commissioner Constance "Gerrie" Post's efforts on behalf of Wayne Charles allowed him to reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits, the prosecutor said, part of which they intended to use to go into business together. 

"This is a case about fraud, theft and corruption," Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Dunne said during opening arguments of Post and Charles' federal trial in White Plains. "It's about two people who lied and cheated in order to enrich themselves to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars." Post, 59, and Charles, 56, had plans to buy and develop parcels of land with the ill-gotten gains, Dunne said. But defense lawyers described Post and Charles as industrious individuals who did nothing illegal. "Gerrie Post was a dedicated, hard-working public servant," said her lawyer, Andrew Rubin. "She may have ruffled some people's feathers along the way. ... But she did not engage in any scheme to defraud the city of Mount Vernon." Charles' lawyer said whatever he got from Mount Vernon he got legally, and in exchange, he was willing to take on redevelopment projects in a blighted part of the city where officials were begging for help. "The government's case ... is nonsense," lawyer Richard Ware Levitt said. "It's based on a complete misunderstanding of the transactions in question." Levitt acknowledged that Charles "doesn't dot every i, doesn't always cross every t." "But he did not intend to defraud the city of its money or property," Levitt said. "And he did not intend to defraud Mount Vernon of the honest services of Ms. Post." Post and Charles are charged with mail fraud, theft of services and conspiracy. Charles also is charged with lying to federal investigators. They were indicted a year ago by a federal grand jury.

Post is accused of arranging the extension of a computer services contract to a company called Micros Only that was controlled by Charles, a contract that cost the city more than $1 million. She also is charged with arranging a $250,000 loan from the city to Charles that was not entered on the city's books until after federal investigators asked her about it in 2005. But lawyers for Post and Charles said the city was guilty of faulty record keeping. The loan wasn't entered on the books due to sloppy bookkeeping, not because of Post's deception, Rubin said. "It wasn't her job to put something on the books," he said. "It wasn't her job to send out the bills." Neither side explicitly mentioned the romantic relationship between Post and Charles, which both acknowledged during interviews with federal authorities. But both sides did allude to a personal as well as professional relationship between the two. Rubin said they met in 1997, when city officials and business people went on a trip to China. They developed a relationship sometime later. "In the later years, the friendship became more personal," he said. "So what?" The trial is expected to last four weeks, with federal prosecutors expected to call as many as 40 witnesses to the stand.


Anonymous said...

There's no story here. Politics in Westchester is about getting as much money for yourself as you can. The Prosecutors are just pissed they didn't get a piece.

Anonymous said...

This is the tip of the iceberg of corruption in Mt Vernon and Westchester County. Somebody didn't pay someone off that's why this became public.

Anonymous said...

This is the tip of the iceberg of corruption in Mt Vernon and Westchester County. Somebody didn't pay someone off that's why this became public.

Anonymous said...

a member of my family is in the mob, he told me that the Judges, the DA, the police and most elected guys are on the payroll, everything is for sale in Westchester

Anonymous said...

True but very sad that the system can be bought... whos left to protect us ???
Any idea on Supreme Judge Tolbert?Does he fall in the same catagory

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