Loss of e-mail defended

Former Councilman Lance Gundersen inadvertently erased e-mail and police are investigating the theft
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Former Councilman Lance Gundersen inadvertently erased e-mail and police are investigating the theft of Mayor Tim Hughes’ laptop computer, the city’s lawyer stated in the latest document filed in the wrongful termination lawsuit of former city clerk Gary Margiotta.

Gloversville’s response

To read the full response by the city of Gloversville to claims made by the attorney for former city clerk Gary Margiotta, click here.

Greg T. Johnson of the Albany firm of Girvin & Ferlazzo responded June 18 to a complaint filed by Margiotta’s lawyer, Elmer Robert Keach III.

Keach asked a federal judge to sanction the city for failing to supply the e-mail of Gundersen and Hughes, who reported to police his city-owned laptop was stolen May 25 from his vehicle in the City Hall parking lot.

Johnson makes a counterclaim to the court against Keach, asserting that Keach has wrongfully insinuated that “Hughes intentionally lost evidence with respect to this proceeding, as well as a related matrimonial proceeding.” Johnson said “not only has [Hughes] lost valuable city property, but now must be subjected to the highly publicized insinuation that he falsely reported his property as stolen.”

Hughes and lawyers from Girvin & Ferlazzo have not returned phone calls seeking comment on this case.

In his filing, Johnson said efforts are continuing to be made “in good faith to reduce and/or resolve the few outstanding discovery issues.”

Johnson informed the court that much of Gundersen’s missing e-mail has already been obtained by Keach from Gundersen’s correspondents.

Johnson stated that “it’s important to note that electronic evidence at issue originated from [Gundersen’s] personal computer through [his] personal e-mail account. As an elected member of the [council], Gundersen occasionally used his personal computer and e-mail account to communicate with constituents, fellow council members and various city employees,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson said Gundersen has said he “inadvertently deleted some e-mail files from one of the three e-mail accounts he maintained during this period.”

Johnson said the deletion “was inadvertent, not intentional or malicious as [Keach] baselessly alleges.”

Johnson also said he will not agree to Keach’s demands to probe “the circumstances surrounding [former police chief John Harzinski’s] negotiated resignation [in February].”

While addressing Keach’s complaint to the court, Johnson filed a complaint of his own, alleging

Keach has violated an interim protective order issued by the court to stop the leaking of discovery documents to the media.

Johnson, who is seeking a permanent order on which both sides have already filed arguments, submitted recent articles from The Daily Gazette and the Gloversville Leader-Herald.

Categories: Schenectady County

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