The Kangaroo Court and the Cabal
Richard J. Garfunkel
July 5, 2006
Last night a privileged few of had the dubious pleasure of attending the latest chapter of the Greenburgh Town Board’s ongoing Star Chamber event. For all of you that have heard the term but do not know its derivation, a Star Chamber was a royal court that began in England in the Middle Ages; cases were heard there without juries. Usually it was known for their tyrannical judgments. The name came from the stars that were painted on the ceiling of the Court.
Of course this most recent addition of the Board’s and the CABAL’s latest witch-hunt put Judge Thomas Facelle on the Board’s hot seat last night. Judge Facelle, a man with impeccable credentials, 50+ years as a lawyer and a judge, 23 years in the Westchester County’s District Attorney’s office and a retired Brigadier General in the US Army’s Judge Advocate General’s law division, has been the Chairperson of the Greenburgh Ethic’s Board for twelve years.
Of course Judge Facelle was dragged in front of this rump session of the Town Board as a way of embarrassing him and the Supervisor. While the Supervisor was away this session was scheduled and the CABAL (the group of Feiner haters) had plans to turn this into one of their three ring circuses. But unfortunately for them, things turned out differently. Judge Facelle systematically reviewed the history of this so-called cover up regarding these unsubstantiated ethics violation by the Supervisor. It seems that Supervisor Feiner asked the Ethics Board to review a campaign contribution made to him. But, at the same time, Ed Kraus, and others decided to file charges against the Supervisor with the District Attorney’s office. Judge Facelle addressed this issue brilliantly. Because charges with the DA were filed against the Supervisor, he (Facelle) and his Board prudently decided to await the decision of the DA’s office. Of course the DA’s office not only quashed and dismissed these spurious charges and claims, but in their own inefficient way never advised or notified Supervisor Feiner, Judge Facelle or the Supervisor’s attackers. Therefore this specious case and its dismissal, promulgated by Bob Bernstein, Ed Krauss and other groups, had been in limbo since November of 2004. When Judge Facelle finally heard of the dismissal, in the past few days, he now was at liberty to consult the other members of the Ethics Board about reviewing these charges. Judge Facelle handled himself brilliantly under a withering but futile attack by Councilperson Bass who attempted to charge him with prejudging the case. Judge Facelle answered all of the questions posed to him by Councilpersons Bass and Sheehan who seemed astonished by the strength, authority and legitimacy of Judge Facelle’s position. Judge Facelle then presented to the Board a package that reflected the timeline of this so-called case and the relevant documentation that supported his testimony.
Of course many of the same characters that hate the Supervisor were there. These are the same people who wish to constantly wish subvert the will of the electorate by smear, innuendo and baseless charges.
After the Judge’s bravura performance in front of the Board, Mr. Ed Kraus demanded that he be allowed to speak several times. But the Supervisor asked the Board their opinion on this matter. Supervisor Feiner stated that if one person wished to talk all should have that right. Of course, Judge Facelle already had stated that he and his Board would entertain the charges of the complainants, assuming they had merit, allow them to attend their hearing, when it was held, and only allow relevant and pertinent evidence to be submitted, not political hyperbole and diatribes.
Councilperson Barnes wisely agreed with the position of closing the hearings to other interested parties and Bass and Sheehan grudgingly had to go along with Supervisor Feiner, Councilperson Juettner and Barnes.
Since Councilperson Bass wants the Ethics Board to look into Supervisor Feiner’s campaign contributions, I think that the Ethics Board should look into his. Council Bass publicly opposed renting space at the Town Board to the Westchester Federal credit Union or to any other organization. He received a contribution from the Credit Union, did not recuse himself and changed his mind.—voting to rent space at this location. Why did Bass change his mind? Was he influenced by the contribution? Shouldn’t he request the Ethics Board to review his action? Councilperson Bass also accepted contributions from those who actively the proposed legislation to tighten our tree code. The tree legislation that has been recommended by the Conservation Advisory Commission has gone nowhere. Did these contributions influence Councilperson Bass’s decision to delay a vote on this important issue?
Over the last number of years this CABAL of haters, have been attacking Supervisor with all sorts of charges. Many of these people have created a career of such actions. I say to them “get a life!” I have known the Supervisor for 35 years or so. I therefore volunteered a few years ago to help Supervisor Feiner set the record straight. Supervisor Feiner does not have a political organization, he does not have a patronage system, but he does have friends in this community that respect his hard work, dedication and honesty and excellent grasp of public policy. Supervisor Feiner has been in the public sector for over 25 years as an elected official and has been an activist for way over 35 years. His public record is second to none. His accomplishments are well known and respected, his honesty and commitment to people is legendary, but his small core of haters is relentless. I ask his supporters to rise up and to show their support for him and their indignation at his vicious opponents.