Saratoga County

Milton supervisor facing questions on ethics

ulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira has been named special prosecutor in a new investigati

Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira has been named special prosecutor in a new investigation of Milton Town Supervisor Frank Thompson, whose estranged wife has been charged with grand larceny.

No charges have been brought against Frank Thompson over the alleged theft, but state police are now looking into the accuracy of information on his mandated town ethics disclosure form.

Thompson, one of the most prominent politicians in Saratoga County government, said the probe is “politically motivated.”

Thompson, a Republican seeking his fifth two-year term, is being opposed for re-election in September’s primary by Daniel Lewza, who has been endorsed by the Milton Republican Committee and who has the backing of county Republican Chairman John F. “Jasper” Nolan.

“There’s just a big push to get me out of the town of Milton,” Thompson said.

Sira was appointed special prosecutor by Saratoga County Judge Jerry J. Scarano, it was announced Monday, because District Attorney James A. Murphy III has a conflict of interest.

Thompson, 64, is vice chairman of the county Board of Supervisors and chairman of the board’s powerful Law and Finance Committee, giving him a direct say over Murphy’s budget.

In a statement, Murphy said Sira will handle the results of a state police investigation that is based on a citizen complaint regarding Thompson’s town ethics disclosure forms.

“I am not at liberty to comment on the specifics of the case in that it is a pending investigation,” Murphy said. “Further, my office must avoid the obvious conflict in this case and we will turn our file over to District Attorney Louise Sira.”

Sira is already the special prosecutor in the unrelated grand larceny case against Deborah Thompson, Frank Thompson’s estranged wife.

Thompson said his wife formerly managed a senior citizen apartment complex in Milton, and he believes that’s the basis of the ethics complaint. But he said the apartment complex has no ownership or management relationship with the town of Milton.

Deborah Thompson is charged with stealing nearly $35,000 from an elderly woman for whom she was the court-appointed financial guardian. The woman is a resident of the county’s Maplewood Manor nursing home in Ballston Spa.

State police last winter investigated whether Frank Thompson knew of Deborah Thompson’s alleged thefts, but brought no charges against him.

The larceny charge against Deborah Thompson is currently pending in Saratoga County Court.

Scarano, however, has recused himself from hearing the case because of familiarity with the situation, and this is delaying the case until another judge is appointed. It was Scarano who initially appointed Deborah Thompson to handle the elderly woman’s finances.

According to Murphy, the state Department of Taxation and Finance also is conducting an investigation into both Deborah and Frank Thompson, to determine what taxes, if any, are owed on unreported income, and whether criminal charges should be filed.

Frank Thompson reiterated Monday that he had no knowledge of the alleged thefts when he signed joint tax returns with his wife.

In his statement, Murphy said Sira would decline comment until she has reviewed the file and concluded her investigation. She could not be reached at her Johnstown office late Monday afternoon.

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