Fulton County

Federal probe underway, housing authority board member says

Work on ex-chairman's home being questioned
Gloversville Housing Authority board chairman Michael Ponticello.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Gloversville Housing Authority board chairman Michael Ponticello.

GLOVERSVILLE — A Gloversville Housing Authority board member said a federal investigator visited the authority’s offices April 19 to inquire about allegations that authority employees worked on former board chairman Anthony Ferraro’s home last year. 

The board member made the disclosure after the issue was brought up by a tenant of the housing authority during a public comment period at Thursday’s board meeting. Bob Castiglione, a frequent critic of the board, asked about the visit by an investigator from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General.

Castiglione’s question was ignored by board chairman Michael Ponticello. 

“Anything else? You have two minutes,” Ponticello said to Castiglione, who was later told by board attorney Bryan Goldberger that board members will not engage in dialogue with the public at the meeting. 

After the meeting, board member and tenant representative Jason Sweeney confirmed that investigator from the Inspector General’s office was in Gloversville the day before. 

“I imagine because [GHA employees] were doing work on [Anthony Ferraro’s] home,” said Sweeney. He said employees of the housing authority told him the investigator came to the housing authority’s office at the Dubois Garden Apartment complex asking questions.

“They were here, and they went to Tony Ferraro’s house,” he said.

Sweeney said he didn’t know the name of the investigator.

A HUD spokesman and a spokesman for the Inspector General’s office both said they couldn’t comment on or confirm that any investigation is underway. 

Ferraro did not return a request for comment. He quit the board earlier this year, but at Thursday’s meeting, the board accepted a resignation letter from him. 

The allegations regarding Ferraro were first made late last year in a letter to the board sent by housing authority employees. The letter contained accusations of ethics violations against housing authority executive director Timothy Mattice. Among the accusations were that he directed housing authority staff to perform maintenance work on Ferraro’s private home on Housing Authority time, which Mattice has denied. 

HUD officials in Buffalo were made aware of the letter and have since asked the board for more information about the alleged ethics violations, including that Mattice hired his brother as a painter for the authority in violation of public housing regulations. Mattice has denied any wrongdoing and said during Thursday’s meeting that the Housing Authority approved the hiring of his brother pending the passage of a resolution stating the move complied with HUD rules.

HUD did not comment on the matter. 

Ponticello and Goldberger said, after the meeting, that they were unaware of any HUD investigation. Goldberger said HUD itself is still requesting information from the board but declined to get specific about what exactly the federal agency wants to know. 

A March letter from HUD to the board that was obtained by The Daily Gazette asks the board for information on work that Housing Authority employees allege was performed at Ferraro’s home on Authority time, as well as the hiring of Mattice’s brother, among other issues. 

The roughly dozen employees at the Authority have since unionized under CSEA in the wake of the fallout from their letter to the board. Several employees were placed on leave by Mattice but have been reinstated, and the board officially recognized CSEA as the collective bargaining agent for the employees at Thursday’s meeting. 

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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