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What you need to know for 12/15/2017

Town of Milton supervisor files claim

Town of Milton supervisor files claim

Cites breach of confidentiality agreement

MILTON -- Town Supervisor Daniel Lewza filed a claim on Oct. 13 alleging damages of $340,000 in lost income, embarrassment and mental distress caused by the breach of a confidentiality agreement related to a sexual harassment settlement.

The Times-Union first reported in August that an undisclosed sum was paid to Theresa Wilson, a former town official, after she filed a sexual harassment complaint against Lewza.

Lewza's notice of claim, which preserves his right to file a lawsuit against a government entity, was filed by Latham-based Attorney Kevin Luibrand. It states Town Board members entered into a confidentiality agreement following an October 2016 Town Board meeting, the purpose of which was to resolve allegations made by Wilson against Lewza.

Barbara Kerr, who is running Nov. 7 for Milton town supervisor, was named in Lewza's claim as the person who broke the confidentiality agreement "multiple times prior to Aug. 13, 2017." The claim also alleges she did so "for personal gain ... with the intention to cause harm to (Lewza) knowing that (Lewza) could not, without breaching the agreement, detail to anyone the agreement provisions or terms thereof because of the confidentiality clause in the agreement, which forbids disclosure of the agreement contents."

Kerr said she did not breach the confidentiality agreement, despite voting "no" on the agreement at the October 2016 Town Board meeting.

"I never did it," she said. "I've never spoken about what was in the agreement, even though I did vote against it in an open session, and he wasn't happy with me when I voted 'no,' but that was my choice."

Lewza announced in the spring that he would not seek re-election to a fourth two-year term on Nov. 7. Attempts to reach Lewza directly on Friday were unsuccessful. Luibrand would not comment for this story and said Lewza would also not comment.

While Lewza will step down at the end of the year, Kerr said the notice of claim shows he isn't looking out for the best interests of the town, and she suggested he should leave the post earlier.

"With about a month or so left to go, does it make sense (for Lewza to step down early)?" she said. "There are maybe two or three more meetings, so I guess I can survive."

Kerr added, "I think we'll have more peace and quiet when this is over."

Todd Kerner, chairman of the Saratoga County Democratic Committee, said Milton residents are "tired of the lack of transparency from both the supervisor and Town Board."

"Voters will have an opportunity to put a stop to this misinformation on Tuesday with Democratic candidates who are committed to being open and responsive to town residents," he said. "They look forward to bringing pride back to the town of Milton."

Town Attorney James Craig did not return calls for comment Friday.

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