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Monroe County Legislator James Sheppard Calls for State Investigation into COMIDA

By Staff

 

james_sheppard1

Monroe County Legislator James Sheppard

Democratic Monroe County Legislator James Sheppard has again called for an investigation into the County of Monroe Industrial Development Authority (COMIDA), following the recent I-Square Development controversy the organization has been facing.

COMIDA’s fourth board member resigned this week, after Monroe County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich called into question the stability of the project, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appointment of Irondequoit Town Supervisor Adam Bello to the position of Monroe County Clerk, in March.

Reilich had reportedly made the assertion based on information he received from COMIDA.

I-Square Developers Mike and Wendy Nolan then disputed the claim, and COMIDA has since rescinded the allegations, according to reports.

Sheppard had also previously called upon the county to investigate the agency, which he’s now said does not “intend to competently investigate this matter.”

Read his full statement below.

“Today, I am requesting that the New York State Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with the Office of New York State Comptroller, investigate the conduct of COMIDA, the Dinolfo Administration, and Greece Town Supervisor and Republican Chairman Bill Reilich, to ensure that the government of Monroe County is operating in an ethical and transparent manner, and that county tax dollars are not subject to political influence. I believe the following questions represent the starting point of any thorough investigation:

1. Who initiated the inquiries into I-Square compliance and why? Were proper procedures followed?

2.  If the initial inquiry came from Mr. Reilich for a partisan political attack, why did the administration apparently cooperate with this request, and which employees were involved?

3. Did the county executive, any other county employee, or COMIDA staff or board members knowingly mislead the press, and the public, about what transpired relative to the handling of the I-Square/COMIDA scandal?

4. Was the hiring of former Assistant County Executive Justin Roj by Popli Design Group, which is headed by a current COMIDA Board member, and was recently awarded a sizable county contract, a quid pro quo transaction?

5. Has the press surrounding the COMIDA controversy affected the progress of the I-Square development, and has the Nolan’s’ business been negatively impacted by this matter?

6. Have any other actions taken by the COMIDA board been in response to political pressure or influence from either the county executive’s office, or the heads of any political party?

7. Has internal information from COMIDA files been relayed to any other political operatives in Monroe County?

8. What changes or safeguards need to be implemented to stop these kinds of abuses from recurring?

9. Any other relevant questions and findings related to the Dinolfo administration’s access to COMIDA or quid-pro-quo activities.

Ensuring that our government is transparent and maintains the highest ethical and legal standards is not a liberal or conservative issue – it’s one in which we all have a stake. We owe it to the citizens of Monroe County to find the answers to these important questions. I ask that state officials intervene and provide the accountability that our citizens are entitled.”

COMIDA Board Chair Theresa Mazzullo stepped down from the position May 20.

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