Wednesday April 10, 2013

ZEKE WRIGHT

Staff Writer

HOOSICK, N.Y. -- While the town board approved back rent and support for the Hoosick Armory Youth Center & Community Coalition (HAYC3) on Monday, residents meanwhile asked for an explanation of reports of alleged criminal mischief by the town supervisor in February and March.

Supervisor Keith Cipperly began the meeting by saying he "expected a written apology" on the front page of the Banner for a March 25 story reporting the acts of vandalism, on file with Hoosick Falls police. In those incidents which occurred Feb. 16 and March 11 -- the latter directly following that month’s board meeting -- access to the locked basement was forced open through a trapdoor.

Identified as the suspect in those incident reports, Cipperly did not respond to requests for comment last month but told the Hoosick Falls’ Eastwick Press that the lock broke accidentally in his hand. In an interview, Hoosick Falls Police Chief Robert Ashe said the matter would be monitored by police and handled between the two parties and that charges would not be filed.

Cipperly said Monday that careless reporting had depicted him as a "cat burglar." He continued to say he was "appalled, disgusted, and disappointed" in resident Jim Martinez, who provided the police reports to the Banner, for tarnishing his reputation.

During public comment, Margaret Casey asked for Cipperly’s resignation for "what looked to me like breaking and entering."

"I think the best way to get the correct story is for this board to tell this audience tonight, and the town, exactly what happened and what was the thinking," Dennis Casey said. "Because from what I hear, the action of this board, and (town attorney Joanne Monagan) if she was involved, are the exact same words you used: disgusting and appalling."

"What you did was illegal, and I can’t think of any justification for going into someone else’s area of this building," he continued.

Ellen Scott said the armory had been open to the public during numerous volunteer work days and a recent art gallery opening, and she asked board members Kevin Allard and Bruce Patire whether they’d consider it breaking and entering "if someone just jimmied the lock and looked around (their businesses) ... or would that just be considered walking in and looking around?"

Martinez said he had no personal issue with Cipperly. "Personally I hardly know Keith Cipperly. I don’t know much about him. My issue is with the supervisor and what has taken place professionally, business-wise, since his tenure has begun," he said.

After calling the town offices last month to ask when a public meeting was scheduled, Martinez said the supervisor overheard the clerk’s conversation and used the "Star 69" last-call return service to redial the number and ask Martinez whether he’d be attending that meeting.

Martinez called that a waste of town funds and an "intimidation tactic."

"That’s why I have concerns regarding how the town supervisor is running this town. Not personal concerns with Keith Cipperly," he said.

Town board member Mark Surdam said Cipperly’s prepared statement came as a surprise, and he apologized. "I’m flabbergasted," he said.

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