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Orange County NewsFor Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek June 29, 2021 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney Hoovler responds to Orange County Democratic Caucus’ Criticism of Industrial Development Agency Case
District Attorney Hoovler responded to criticism from some Orange County Democratic politicians regarding the felony pleas entered by three former officials of the Orange County Industrial Development Agency.
District Attorney Hoovler said, “At the core of this criticism is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the crimes that were unearthed during the joint investigation conducted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Comptroller’s Office. Although we looked for instances of direct theft, the investigation revealed no such larceny, despite some critics continuing to claim otherwise. IDA funds certainly diminished and were squandered on unwise, conflicted and possibly negligent contracts and payments to Galileo, but they were not stolen. What was discovered were criminal instances of undisclosed conflicts of interests and one-sided contracts that largely benefited one corporation and its owner. However, the IDA’s Board of Directors and attorney basically knew the terms of those contracts and the IDA largely received what it had bargained for from these defendants. The plea dispositions that were reached compel each defendant to disgorge monies that they made as the result of either conflicted employment or unfair contacts that were entered into in violation of conflict-of-interest laws. The plea dispositions set the record straight on what these defendants did, to deter them, or others, from engaging in similar conflicts of interest, and as importantly make available to the IDA, over one million two hundred thousand dollars to continue its work. A forthcoming joint report of the District Attorney’s Office and Comptroller’s Office will recommend ways to prevent this from happening again.”
“The laws relating to larceny are fairly straightforward; but the laws that relate to this case are less so. To equate this conduct to a simple larceny, as some elected officials have done, is to willfully ignore the facts unearthed in the investigation, and the complexity of the conflict-of-interest laws and proof issues in this case. While it is understandable that lay persons may confuse these facts with larceny, elected officials should be more careful when making accusations, particularly when the facts have been painstakingly laid out in documents filed in court proceedings and in the press for those who choose to examine them. Those who cast doubt on whether my office conducted an impartial investigation and insinuate that my past business relationship with one of the defense attorneys has clouded my judgement, willfully ignore the fact that the New York State Comptroller’s Office performed all the auditing in the investigation, were present at virtually all the interviews, and were consulted throughout the course of the investigation. It is truly alarming to think that some elected officials would willfully misrepresent the nature of these charges, imply that these defendants are guilty of charges that have been disproven and advocate imprisonment for apparently partisan political reasons.
“Some question why incarceration was not included in these dispositions. The simple answer is that a demand for incarceration would have resulted in lengthy, complicated trials with far from certain outcomes, possibly no incarceration even after trial, and likely far less restitution to the IDA. We felt that if the defendants were to take swift responsibility for their actions, suffer disgorgement of funds related to the conflicts of interests commensurate with their guilt so that the IDA could receive monies approximating what they likely overpaid through the conflicted contracts, justice will largely have been served. Justice requires that individual defendants be treated separately according to their guilt. These dispositions ensure that the most culpable defendant pay the most money and will likely receive a sentence of five years’ probation.”
This criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.