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HUD SCAM

By JILL BRYCE
Gazette Reporter

TROY - Members of the City Council are calling for Deputy Mayor James Conroy to step down or be fired after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found a conflict of interest involving a city-issued HUD grant Conroy's brother received in 1997.

"I've said publicly today that the deputy mayor should be terminated as a result of the report," said City Council member Frank LaPosta, a Conservative.

"They rolled the dice and they lost," said LaPosta.

He said several council members opposed the application by Stephen Conroy when it was initially filed several years ago.

Two separate reports, one released Friday by HUD and one released a year ago by private attorney Richard Hanft, found a conflict of interest with the grant, LaPosta said.

HUD officials could not be reached Tuesday to comment.

Mayor Mark Pattison said Tuesday he made the decision to move forward with the grant and it had been reviewed by the city's ethics board.

"I stand by Conroy. Again, I made the decision. He is a very upstanding and hardworking person," said Pattison.

"No one from HUD has accused anyone of wrongdoing," Pattison continued. "We acted in good faith, we communicated to HUD and provided them everything we thought they needed," said Pattison.

In its report, HUD ordered the city to reimburse $27,500, though it also acknowledged that Stephen Conroy had repaid the money.

HUD also nullified a conflict of interest waiver for a city-issued HUD grant that HUD had issued Stephen Conroy in 1997.

City officials were informed of the findings in a May 28, 2002, letter from HUD's Buffalo office. It said a conflict of interest existed for two other city-issued HUD grants: A $10,000 HUD grant that Mayor Mark Pattison's secretary received and a $16,600 grant to an administrative aide who is now deceased.

It's unclear what the City Council, with a 7-2 Republican majority, will do.

HUD began in 1998 to review its award of $27,000 to Stephen Conroy, brother of Deputy Mayor James Conroy.

Stephen Conroy used the money to buy his late parents' house. It was part of a trust, or estate inherited by four Conroy siblings after their father's death. Deputy Mayor James Conroy was executor of the estate and one of the four beneficiaries.

James Conroy, who ran unsuccessfully for Schenectady mayor in 1995, served on the Schenectady City Council for six years. Pattison named him deputy mayor in 1996.

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HUD officials in 1997 said in a written opinion that awarding the HUD grant to Stephen Conroy would not be a problem.

Submitted by: Werner Hetzner 

Source: Gazette Newspapers

 

 

 

 

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