Piece of the World Trade Center Comes to Troy, New York

September 1, 2012 at 11:30 am (James Gordon, Lansingburgh, Memorial Park, New York, September 11th, Troy)

In a city living in the shadow of Albany’s government corruption, a city which itself has dealt with a dark political landscape of voter fraud charges and allegations, and a city which has endured a scourge of recent shootings and homicides, it’s nice to see Troy, New York get a little recognition for a positive story.

The September 11th Memorial Park in Troy, more specifically, Lansingburgh, will finally be able to add a piece of the actual World Trade Center buildings to its memorial.  The piece will be installed just in time for the park’s ceremony being held on September 9th.

After a couple of years’ worth of hard work and anxiety, the Troy September 11th Memorial Committee will finally be able to add a piece of the World Trade Center buildings to its memorial just in time for its Sept. 9 ceremony.

The committee has acquired a 110 lb. steel section of the I-beam from one of the Twin Towers. Coordinating Committee Chairman Jim Gordon said that a welder is working on the piece which will be installed in the memorial on Thursday.

Gordon said it was a long and somewhat stressful wait before the committee received confirmation that it would be getting the steel. A press release was put out more than a year ago soliciting requests for the pieces of steel to be incorporated into memorials worldwide. Gordon said the committee applied right away as there were plans to build a memorial in Troy to honor the various first responders from Rensselaer County who went to ground zero.

The entire project has been funded through private donations and means.  Jim Gordon, Chairman of the Memorial Committee explained, “To date, between in-kind gifts and monetary donations, we’ve had $25,000 to $30,000 donated to us”.

The park broke ground in July of 2011, with a goal of not only honoring the memories of those who were killed on 9/11, but those heroes who responded to the emergency situation we all watched that day.  Gordon explained at the groundbreaking that, “People know the city of Troy as a patriotic city, the home of Uncle Sam.”

And now the city can be known for its dedication to the memory of that September 11th tragedy, an attack on America and an attack on freedom.

“This project, for a lot of us, is three or four years in the making,” Gordon said. “There will always be maintenance that needs to be done and all involved have worked many hours, days and nights raising money and working. Now it’s coming to an end with a very significant exclamation point with this 110 lb. piece of steel.”

And what an exclamation point it is.

Though, with the memories being provided by the park, and the sense of community pride it instills, this is by no means an end to the story.

Many thanks to all those involved in this project, and many congratulations to the people of Troy.

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Witness: Ballot Fraud Part of New York’s Political Culture

July 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm (Anthony DeFiglio, Anthony Renna, Ballot Fraud, Democrats, James Gordon, Michael LoPorto, New York, Republicans, Robert Martiniano, Troy, Voter Fraud, Working Families Party)

A Democrat candidate for City Council in 2009 took the witness stand today in the ballot fraud trial of former City Councilman, Michael LoPorto.  Robert Martiniano testified that forging absentee ballots is a tradition in upstate New York amongst both parties, but that he had no idea it was occurring to his and LoPorto’s benefit in the Working Families Party primary in 2009.

Forging absentee ballots is a tradition in the Collar City and other upstate cities, but a former Democratic candidate testified Thursday that he didn’t know it was occurring in the 2009 Working Families Party primary.

“It’s was something that was just in the culture for both major political parties,” said Robert Martiniano, who was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the City Council’s 2nd District.

Martiniano testified as a prosecution witness in the ballot-fraud trial of former City Councilman Michael LoPorto, whom he identified as a friend.

The fact that anybody could consider stealing somebody’s right to vote as ‘tradition’ notwithstanding, the statement coincides with previous statements made by Anthony Renna and Anthony DeFiglio, two Democrats who were found guilty of forgery and falsifying business records.  In January, the pair told Fox News that “voter fraud is an accepted way of winning elections, and faking absentee ballots was commonplace.”

Republicans at the time denied such accusations.  James Gordon, Chairman of the Troy Republican Committee said, having been a part of the election process for a number of years that he has, “never heard or seen anything resembling these actions.”

He added, “In fact, after the Democrats were caught in 2009 the records at the Board of Elections were searched.  More cases of fraud were found dating back to 2007 or 2008, all attributed to Democrat candidates and operatives.  Nothing from any GOP members.”

It’s unclear how Martiniano could have been aware of the ‘tradition’ of voter fraud – that it was embedded ‘in the culture’ – while simultaneously being unaware that it was used for his and LoPorto’s benefit back in 2009.

LoPorto faces 22 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument for allegedly handling ballots that he knew had been forged in a Democratic plot to steal the 2009 Working Families Party line for City Council.

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Kevin McGrath is Right About a Smear Campaign – His Own Actions Are Smearing Troy’s Reputation

April 13, 2012 at 11:47 am (Drug Deal, Felony, Free Speech, James Gordon, Kevin McGrath, Lou Rosamilia, Lynn Kopka, New York, Times Union, Troy, Voter Fraud)

Thursday’s edition of Inside Politics saw the Times Union getting up to speed on a story first published here last week, in which Troy City Council Democrats censored James Gordon for having the gall to request a review of a morally challenged convicted felon who is actively serving on the council.  Kevin McGrath, the councilman who currently serves more as a distraction and embarrassment than a viable public servant, is the man in question.

In the Times Union piece, McGrath once again brushes off valid concerns of the citizens of Troy by saying any attention being focused on him is merely “a smear campaign”.

McGrath is right.  The smear campaign has not been conducted by the GOP however, it has been waged by McGrath himself on the City of Troy.

Kevin McGrath’s moral bankrputcy has smeared the City of Troy.

When he ran for public office despite being ‘concerned’ about his history of substance abuse and ‘the fact that he is a convicted felon‘, he smeared the City of Troy.

The City of Troy and the judge in the voter fraud trial were smeared when McGrath’s testimony involved cracking a joke about his lack of drug-peddling business savvy – a comment that forced him to apologize to the judge.

The public was once again smeared when details of McGrath’s drug selling prowess were proven false – he was one of 17 arrested for an open-air drug network that operated at a profit of ‘a few million dollars’.  It was the arrest that earned him the honor of convicted felon.

The people of the City of Troy, along with the integrity of the entire local election process were smeared when McGrath was presented with a stack of forged absentee ballots that defense attorney Brian Premo alleged were handled by the Councilman himself.  While Premo had only made allegations according to the media reports, court transcripts show an exchange in which he asks McGrath if he realizes he “committed crimes in this case”.  To which McGrath responds, “I have been told, yes.”

Perhaps the ultimate smear on the City was this – when presented with forged ballots that the defense attorney said were handled by McGrath personally, he blamed the voters for any confusion about his handling of their ballots.

Indeed, McGrath has been a participant in a disgusting smear campaign – his actions have smeared the City of Troy, and its residents are left cleaning up the trail of slime left in his wake.

That said, two points regarding the Times Union piece yesterday:

First – The article states that Lynn Kopka ruled Gordon out of order for personal attacks.  The way that it is written would make the reader think that she was accurate in that assessment, which she was not.  If citizens are not allowed to cite facts – provable facts at that – when voicing concerns over a sitting Council member, then that is a major problem.  Now, any item that Kopka disagrees with can be gaveled out of order as an alleged personal attack.

Second – The last sentence reads in a manner that gives the impression that McGrath would have to have been charged in order for the Council to take action.  This too, is false.  The charter specifically cites ‘disorderly conduct and malfeasance’ as means to expel a Council member.  McGrath may yet face charges for ballots forged on the Conservative and Independent lines.  He was shown to have admitted in court that he had committed crimes.  He just recently admitted to felony drug charges.  If these things do not constitute disorderly conduct, then I am at a loss.

As for James Gordon’s right to free speech having been violated, I have contacted the Council and the Mayor’s office several times since the video of the meeting surfaced, and have yet to receive a response. 

Mayor Lou Rosamilia and Council President Lynn Kopka can only hide behind their gavels and closed doors for so long – at some point they have to address the expulsion of Kevin McGrath, or continue dodging questions about an election-rigging, convicted felon in their midst. 

I should think the former would be the easiest route.

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City Democrats Dig In Their Heels to Shield Election-Rigging, Convicted Felon

April 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm (City Council, First Amendment, Free Speech, James Gordon, Kevin McGrath, Lou Rosamilia, Lynn Kopka, New York, Troy, Voter Fraud)

Democrats in the city of Troy have already proven to have a complete disregard for the cherished right of a citizen to cast their own vote.  Now it seems they are hell-bent on stifling another fundamental American right – the right to free speech.

At a City Council meeting on Thursday night, First Amendment rights were ushered out the door when Democrat Council President, Lynn Kopka, refused to listen to an opinion that may have dissented from her own.

On the Troy City Council web page, meetings are described as being open to the public, and that citizens will have a forum “where you can address the Council members and briefly speak your mind on any topic pertinent to city government.”

Kopka herself, sports a “likes Freedom of Speech” update on her own Facebook page.

So when Troy Republican Committee Chairman, James Gordon, took to the podium to discuss a ‘topic pertinent to city government’, there should have been a minimal number of complaints.

And initially, no umbrage was taken.  When Gordon started off on an issue in which he actually praised the council – voting against pay raises – nobody spoke up.  But when he turned to the topic of a sitting councilman, who recently accepted a plea deal in the voter fraud case, may yet face future voter fraud charges, and admitted to being a convicted felon, things turned dicey.

Gordon had written a letter in which he requested that Councilman Kevin McGrath step down from his public post, in lieu of the recent embarrassing revelations.  When he started reading his request to the council, Lynn Kopka took the extraordinary step of trampling on his free speech rights, gavelling him out of order and demanding that he simply hand her the letter.

The letter, seen below, contains nothing out of the ordinary.  It gives a clear and concise argument for why McGrath should step down.  In the letter, Gordon sites specific testimony between the defense attorney and McGrath:

Question by Premo: “And you said a few minutes ago that you realize you committed crimes in this case. Is that correct?”
            Answer by McGrath: “I have been told, yes.”

This candid admission according to Gordon, “is in clear violation of the Troy City Charter due to his “disorderly conduct” as outlined in Article VII, subsection C-31.”

That portion of the charter reads:

The City Council shall determine the rules of its proceedings; may compel the attendance of any regular or regularly called special meeting of Council members absent therefrom; may declare the seat of any Council members inexcusably absent from three successive regular meetings to be vacant; and may expel a Council member for disorderly conduct or misfeasance in office. No seat shall be declared vacant and no Council member shall be expelled until the delinquent Council member has had an opportunity to be heard in his/her own defense.

Council President Lynn Kopka(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js“; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

A taxpaying citizen of the city of Troy making a formal request to remove a council member who is in violation of the city charter seems pertinent to most.  Perhaps more importantly, the concerns voiced by James Gordon are all valid concerns of many residents of Troy, as dozens of community members have contacted him personally to find out why McGrath is still allowed to serve.  There is a demand for answers here whether Kopka or McGrath want to admit it.

Video of the incident can be seen below, with the relevant portion beginning at 28:33.

As Gordon begins reading his letter, McGrath can be seen sitting to the left of the viewer’s point of view, and is seen motioning to Kopka at 30:26 to cut the speaker off.  Kopka dutifully does his bidding, and responds by interrupting Gordon saying, “Jim, I’d like to remind you there’s no personal attacks…”  Gordon responds that, “This is a statement of fact, not a personal attack.”

Facts, as they say, are stubborn things.  More stubborn however was Kopka’s insistence on cutting Gordon off.

At this point, McGrath himself added insult to injury saying, “It’s a little early for the silly season, Jim.”

After some cross-talk, Gordon asks if he can continue and again assures the Council that there are no personal attacks.  One council member is heard asking for Gordon to simply hand over the letter, assuring that the people in attendance would not hear his thoughts and concerns.

Shortly thereafter, Kopka interrupts the speech again with her gavel, and calls the statement “out of order”.  Another person is heard saying that he may have crossed legal boundaries, though it is unclear what legal boundaries can be crossed when exercising one’s right to free speech.

Kopka eventually demands the letter from Gordon and turns off his microphone.

Why any of this came as so offensive that it would have to be censored can only be understood by Kopka herself.  To the casual observer, there can be only one explanation.  Kopka and McGrath do not want the criminal history of a currently serving member and representative of the city as a matter of public record.

At the time of this printing, e-mails to the City Council and Mayor Lou Rosamilia have gone unanswered.  Fellow Councilmember Ken Zalewski however, voiced his opinion on Facebook saying, “At last night’s City Council meeting, Troy residents James Gordon and Jim de Seve were prevented from exercising their free speech rights. I disagree strongly with the Council President’s decision to gavel them out of order, and I offered my own thoughts on this subject.”

Last month, we also called on the immediate resignation of Mr. McGrath based on a newly revealed history of felony drug charges, and more importantly his latest role in the voter fraud scandal.

At the trial, Premo pressed McGrath about his criminal background. He also confronted him with a stack of absentee ballots that were not part of Smith’s case, but showed what Premo suggested were other forged ballots handled personally by McGrath.

Yet McGrath continues to make light of these incidents, calling Gordon out on initiating the ‘silly season’ for wanting to address them publicly.

McGrath for his part, has a propensity to crack jokes in the midst of very serious matters.  During the voter fraud trial, he cracked wise about his inability to turn a profit selling drugs (proven untrue), the same crime for which he had been convicted.  While most would have hung their heads in shame, McGrath laughed it off, prompting an apology from the judge in the case.

But the reality here is that the joke is squarely being played on the residents of the city of Troy.  This joke is not vaguely amusing, it is a practical joke gone horribly awry – the career of Kevin McGrath.

McGrath’s history is too checkered to ignore.  It needs to be addressed by the City Council today.  From drug deals, to plea deals, his record is a blight on Troy politics specifically, and New York politics in general.

Because of this incident, we are also calling on Council President Lynn Kopka to issue a public apology not only to James Gordon, but the entire city of Troy.  Until she takes this necessary and appropriate action, the residents of Troy will always wonder if they can trust their elected officials to hear their voice, and if they too will be censored for the simple act of speaking up.

Video streaming by Ustream

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Breaking: Democrats Preyed On Immigrants In Ballot Fraud Scandal

February 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm (Ballot, Clem Campana, Democrats, Ed McDonough, Immigrants, James Gordon, Joun Brown, Michael LoPorto, New York, Trey Smith, Troy, Voter Fraud, WFP, Working Families Party)

Let’s see…  Paying for votes?  Check.  Tricking the mentally disabled?  Check.  And now, preying on those who struggle with the English language?  Check.

Democrats in upstate New York seemingly left no stone unturned, no voter they would not swindle, in an attempt to steal past elections.

Via the Times Union:

Testimony from voters in the city ballot-fraud case revealed the tactics politicians and political operatives used and the promises they made to allegedly convince residents to sign over their voting privileges.

By ‘politicians and political operatives’ they mean ‘Democrats and Democrat operatives’.  There is after all, no other party on trial here.

Testimony also showed operatives may have targeted immigrants and other people not familiar with the English language or the U.S. election process.

Those witnesses needed a Spanish interpreter just to get through their testimony.

Maritza Berrios said she was not even registered to vote in 2009. Shown an absentee ballot with her signature, she said it was not hers.

Ana Berrios only said she signed something she was asked to sign. She said she really did not know what it was. When asked if she wrote in the required “where you will be on election day” box that she would be on vacation in Cape Cod, she replied — “I don’t even know where that is.”

Johanna Torres said she just did what she was told.

“He said sign here and I did and that was it,” Torres said.

Thus far, eight people have been charged in connection with the ballot fraud investigation, four of which have pleaded guilty, with two currently on trial.

Prior to the start of the fraud trial, special prosecutor, Trey Smith, had promised to expose the seedy underbelly of Democratic politics in the city of Troy, something other Democrats already charged in the case have referred to as ‘normal political tactics.’ 

This promise is clearly coming to fruition.

The trial involves Democrat Board of Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough, and former Councilman Michael LoPorto, who combined, face over 100 total charges that include second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and second-degree criminal possession.

Smith has claimed that Democrats ‘went for a power grab to ensure that several of its candidates, namely former Councilman John Brown, LoPorto, and former Council President Clement Campana, won the 2009 Working Families Party primary, which would help them win the general election a month later.’

James Gordon, Chairman of the Troy Republican Committee sums it up nicely…
“This was greed, ignorance, lack of ethics, and laziness. Bad people doing bad things.”

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Breaking: First Witness in New York Ballot Fraud Case Claims He Was Paid to Register

January 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm (Anthony DeFiglio, Ballot Fraud, Clement Campana, Democrats, Ed McDonough, Elections, James Gordon, Jermaine Joseph, John Brown, John Ogden, Michael LoPorto, New York, Omaira Rodriguez, Trey Smith, Troy, Voter Fraud)

The first witness called to testify in the upstate New York ballot fraud case, Jermaine Joseph, provided the expected testimony – ballots were filled out on his behalf, votes were cast across a straight Democrat party line, etc.

But an interesting caveat was also revealed, something Joseph did not provide in his grand jury testimony – He claims he was paid for his troubles.

Via the Times Union:

A former Hudson Valley Community College football player told jurors Wednesday that he was paid $10 to register to vote by a man from Troy City Hall.

Jermaine Joseph was the first witness called to testify at the trial of two Democrats accused of forging absentee ballots to hijack the 2009 Working Families Party primary.

Joseph said that he and his roommate were each given $10 by a man from Troy City Hall after they signed voter registration cards in 2009. He did not identify the man.

The Troy Record reports that the man told them to go grocery shopping.

Additionally:

Smith had Joseph read how the ballot cast in his name was filled out: It was a straight Democratic line. Democrats were running for the party nomination.

Another witness, Omaira Rodriguez, also testified, claiming that a signature and general hand-writing on an absentee ballot that she never requested, was not hers.

For more background on the case, please go here…

UPDATE:

Rodriguez said that said that “she had voted in the 2009 WFP primary but said she did not do it through an absentee ballot.”

Troy Record:

In documents presented by Matthew Hugg, an attorney assisting Smith during the trial, it showed that an application was filled out in Rodriguez’s name claiming she would be in New York City on Sept. 15, 2009. Rodriguez said she was not the one who indicated on the absentee ballot application that she would be on vacation around the time and added that she had not been to New York City since 2005.

New York State Police Investigator John Ogden was also questioned.

Ogden said he was assigned the case on Oct. 15, 2009. He went through the various leads that were developed through interviews with people involved in the alleged scheme such as Working Families Party operative Sara Couch and Democratic Party operative and former Troy Housing Authority employee Anthony DeFiglio. DeFigilio pled guilty to one felony of falsifying business records in December, 2011.

UPDATE:

Ogden says that the handwriting on the 2007/2008 applications was similar to the fraudulent 2009 applications.

In other words, local Democrats have been doing this for years.  No wonder they thought it was a ‘normal political tactic’.

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VIDEO: Opening Statement Heard in Upstate New York Voter Fraud Case

January 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm (Ballot Fraud, Bob Mirch, Brian Premo, Clement Campana, Democrats, Ed McDonough, Elections, James Gordon, John Brown, Michael LoPorto, New York, Trey Smith, Troy, Voter Fraud)

Opening statements were made by both the prosecution and the defense in a massive upstate New York voter fraud case.  Special prosecutor, Trey Smith, promises to expose the seedy underbelly of Democratic politics in the city of Troy, something other Democrats already charged in the case have referred to as ‘normal political tactics.’

The trial involves Democrat Board of Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough, and former Councilman Michael LoPorto, who combined, face over 100 total charges that include second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and second-degree criminal possession.

Smith has claimed that Democrats ‘went for a power grab to ensure that several of its candidates, namely former Councilman John Brown, LoPorto, and former Council President Clement Campana, won the 2009 Working Families Party primary, which would help them win the general election a month later.’

For his part, defense attorney Brian Premo, isn’t necessarily denying the accusations but rather, trying to place “the blame on Democratic politicians and operatives”.  He even admitted a scheme in which Brown and Campana, both aspiring mayoral candidates, concocted a story to blame the fraud on then Department of Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch, a Republican.

When the act of fraud was made public, Premo said Brown then held a meeting with members of the Working Families Party and workers from the Board of Elections at LoPorto’s Restaurant on fourth Street. There, he suggested the WFP members blame the fraud on then-Department of Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch.

In our report last week, James Gordon, Chairman of the Troy Republican Committee said, “This was greed, ignorance, lack of ethics, and laziness.  Bad people doing bad things.”

Watch the prosecution’s opening statement below…

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New York Democrats – Voter Fraud is ‘A Normal Political Tactic’

January 18, 2012 at 12:05 am (2012 Elections, Anthony DeFiglio, Anthony Renna, Carmella Mantello, Corruption, Democrats, James Gordon, New York, Troy, Voter Fraud, WFP, Working Families Party)

As the city of Troy, NY, awaits jury selection in the first trial involving two Democrats and their alleged roles in a “massive”voter fraud scheme, new details have emerged from the investigation.  Details involving two other veteran political operatives that have already pleaded guilty. 
According to a recent Fox News report, Anthony Renna, a Democrat guilty of second-degree forgery, and Anthony DeFiglio, a Democrat guilty of first-degree falsifying business records, are trying to drag all local politicians, regardless of party affiliation, down with the ship.  
Thus far, eight people have been charged in connection with the ballot fraud investigation, four of which have pleaded guilty.
Reports emerging from the investigation indicate that the Democrats are trying to implicate Republicans of the same conduct they have been charged with.  According to the state police, Renna and DeFiglio both claimed that, “voter fraud is an accepted way of winning elections, and faking absentee ballots was commonplace.”
Renna explained that the process of handing in forged ballots and fake votes ensures that “ballots are voted correctly.”  He adds, “‘Voted correctly’ is a term used for a forged application or ballot.”
DeFiglio added that such fraud is actually “an ongoing scheme and it occurs on both sides of the aisle.  What appears as a huge conspiracy to nonpolitical persons is really a normal political tactic.”
Local Republicans, presumably the party being referred to on the other side of the aisle, are vehemently denying that ballot fraud was,or is, a normal political tactic.
James Gordon, Chairman of the Troy Republican Committee said, having been a part of the election process for a number of years that he has, “never heard or seen anything resembling these actions.”
He added, “In fact, after the Democrats were caught in 2009 the records at the Board of Elections were searched.  More cases of fraud were found dating back to 2007 or 2008, all attributed to Democrat candidates and operatives.  Nothing from any GOP members.”
One particular case involved former Troy City Clerk, William McInerney, who resigned from his position after being implicated for falsifying absentee ballots dating back to 2007, the year he helped Democrats seize control of the Council.
Recent Troy Mayoral candidate and former Troy City Councilmember, Carmella Mantello, also denied that these election tactics were ever commonplace in the GOP.
“This ‘practice’ was never part of the electoral process.”
With eight Democrats facing charges in the investigation, Gordon sums up the situation by saying, “Democrats wanted to win and it appears at any cost.”
“This was greed, ignorance, lack of ethics, and laziness.  Bad people doing bad things.”
Photo Credit:  Times Union

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