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What you need to know for 08/23/2017

Board admonishes former Milton Supervisor Thompson

Board admonishes former Milton Supervisor Thompson

The Town Board has decided to formally admonish former Town Supervisor Frank Thompson and bar him fr

The Town Board has decided to formally admonish former Town Supervisor Frank Thompson and bar him from working for the town because he filed ethics disclosure forms that didn't list his wife's employer from 2004 to 2011.

The town Ethics Board recommended the Town Board take both actions through resolutions. The Town Board decided at a special meeting Wednesday night to act on the recommendations, which were made public Sept. 19.

The town will not, however, ask Thompson to pay the legal bills that the town incurred investigating him, current Town Supervisor Dan Lewza said Thursday. The Ethics Board had recommended that the Town Board consider doing so.

"I think the Ethics Committee did a great job, but let's move on from there," Lewza said, adding it wasn't beneficial to the town to dwell on Thompson.

Thompson's estranged wife, Deborah Thompson, worked for Belmont Management Corp. as part-time manager of a senior citizen housing complex in the town during that time, but on the original forms Thompson listed her occupation as "retired."

Falsely filling out an ethics disclosure form can result in a civil fine of up to $10,000 or a misdemeanor criminal prosecution. A special prosecutor started an investigation last year into Thompson's ethics disclosures but dropped it in October 2011 without filing any criminal charges after Thompson filed corrected statements.

In September 2011, Lewza beat Thompson in a Republican primary, and he took office in January. Thompson now works for the Saratoga County Water Authority, and said Tuesday he's very happy in his new gig and has no desire to run for elected office in Milton again or work for the town in any capacity.

"I don't want to go there anyway," he said. "That was eight years of my life wasted.

"I'd rather put a stick of dynamite in my mouth and light it" than return to work for Milton, he said.

When contacted by phone Tuesday, he said he had not heard of the Ethics Board's decision but hinted that he might file a lawsuit against the town because the board found his reports lacking after a criminal prosecutor had cleared him.

According to the decision, the Ethics Board made its ruling in May and opened a 30-day window in which Thompson could request a hearing before the board. He did not do so, according to the document.

Three members of the five-member Ethics Board investigated Thompson and made the decision: Jim Reagan, Suzanne Canell and Kevin Borowsky. Two other members recused themselves: Kevin Grupe Sr., who remains on the board, and Dave Toney, who has since resigned.

The three-pronged decision recommended that the Town Board "officially admonish and reprimand [Thompson] for his repeated failures to comply with the Ethics Code requirements"; "consider whether or not it would be appropriate and advisable" to require Thompson to pay the cost of retaining legal counsel to investigate him; and prohibit Thompson from being hired or serving on a town committee, excluding elected office.

The ethics disclosure form investigation arose from a state police investigation of Deborah Thompson. She befriended an elderly woman while working for Belmont Management Corp. and later was appointed the woman's financial guardian.

Deborah Thompson then stole more than $30,000 from the woman's accounts, she admitted in a guilty plea in August 2011 to felony third-degree grand larceny. She was sentenced in March to five years of probation and ordered to pay back the stolen amount.

Special prosecutor Louise K. Sira found last year that Frank Thompson did not have any role in the thefts.

Local property owners and developers Thomas Boghosian and Bruce Boghosian made the complaint against Thompson that spurred the Ethics Board investigation.

The brothers and Thompson had sparred at public meetings over various issues when Thompson was in office.

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