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Sep 8, 2009 8:05 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Waiting game continues for McGintee

Sep 8, 2009 8:05 PM

When former East Hampton Town Budget Officer Ted Hults was arrested and charged with seven felony corruption charges last June, District Attorney Thomas Spota said that he didn’t think it would be long before charges were filed against Town Supervisor Bill McGintee as well.

It’s been nearly three months, but wasn’t until the past week, as Mr. Hults prepares for a return court date Thursday morning, that the chatter among Town Hall insiders that Mr. McGintee’s arrest was imminent reached a fever pitch. In part, that’s due to a long-held theory that the Suffolk County D.A. does not hand down political indictments after Labor Day—particularly in such a busy election year—and in part it may be due to speculation about Mr. Hults’s impending court date.

Mr. Hults has been charged with one count of defrauding the government for his confessed use of $8 million in Community Preservation Fund money to cover deficits in the town’s general fund. He was also charged with six felony counts related to falsified bond prospectuses that did not reflect the true financial state of the town. Mr. Hults said in two confessions released after his arrest in June that he took those actions with Mr. McGintee’s help and knowledge, going so far as to state that Mr. McGintee had initially suggested that he use money from the Community Preservation Fund.

The story line emerging from numerous sources who have asked not to be identified is that Mr. McGintee, who has hired the powerhouse law firm of Bracewell & Giuiliani, has likely made an agreement to be arrested quietly in the near future if he agrees to step down as supervisor.

Mr. Hults’s arrest was a highly publicized event. Officials from the District Attorney’s office who brought the former budget officer into the courtroom for his June 11 arraignment, parked across the parking lot from the town Justice Court and marched beside Mr. Hults, who was visibly upset, for several hundred feet through a swarm of photographers from local and regional newspapers, who had been given advance notice of his arraignment. Mr. McGintee was visibly shaken in Town Board meetings for several days afterward.

Mr. McGintee has repeatedly stated, as recently as this Tuesday, when this newspaper went to press, that he intends to serve out his term, which ends in December. Last week he said that he plans to deliver his 2010 budget to the Town Board on September 30.

Democratic Party Chairman Bill Taylor said this week that he has heard numerous rumors that Mr. McGintee would be arrested before Labor Day, which came and went with nary a word from the District Attorney’s office.

D.A. spokesman Bob Clifford said Tuesday that he could not comment on whether Mr. McGintee would be arrested within the month, saying only that an investigation was ongoing. He said that he has not been informed by the D.A.’s Government Corruption Bureau whether Mr. McGintee would be arrested this week, but he said he had heard rumors to that effect from reporters.

Mr. Clifford did say that the lack of any updates was not due to the fact that Mr. Hults did not hire an attorney until July 23. A number of attorneys said this summer that Mr. Hults would most likely testify against Mr. McGintee before a grand jury in exchange for clemency. Mr. Hults’s new attorney, Silvia Serpe of Manhattan, had no comment when contacted last week.

“It’s already too close to the election, but the district attorney has already done something,” said Mr. Taylor, stating that Mr. Spota had made it clear in June that Mr. McGintee would likely face charges, well before the election.

Mr. Clifford said last week that one of the members of the Government Corruption Bureau had been on vacation for part of August, which may have contributed to the delay.

Many political insiders have also questioned whether other people in Town Hall, either in the supervisor’s office or on the Town Board, might also be hit with charges, though Mr. Spota said in June that he believed Mr. Hults and Mr. McGintee acted “without the knowledge of the Town Board.”

Some expressed concern that Deputy Supervisor Pete Hammerle may be implicated, although Mr. Hammerle was not interviewed by representatives of the D.A.’s office who grilled Town Board members Brad Loewen, Pat Mansir and Julia Prince in May, not long before Mr. Hults was arrested.

Mr. Hammerle is the liaison to the town’s affordable housing project on Springs-Fireplace Road, which last fall came under scrutiny because $4.2 million earmarked for the controversial historic Town Hall project was inappropriately used to fund the housing project. Mr. Hammerle said at the time that the money had been diverted by the town’s budget office from the Town Hall project without his knowledge.

“There’s nothing there,” said Mr. Hammerle on Tuesday, adding that he has never been questioned by the District Attorney’s office. “Rumors are rumors, but I’ve heard nothing that has anything to do with me. I would be very surprised if there were any investigation into anything I’ve done and so would they,” he said of the D.A.’s office.

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its time for the whole lot of them to go. That fact that McGintee hasnt resigned is just a testamant to his ego and arrogance
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 8, 09 7:00 PM
what a mess.
By montauk resident (41), montauk on Sep 8, 09 8:41 PM
Did Mr. Hults or Mr. McGintee steal money from the town? No, they supposedly stole money from one town cubby hole to put it in another town cubby hole that was short. Yes, if true, it was wrong. Yes, if true, they should be punished. Fine them. But don't let them go to jail; one of them has been in service to the town for many many years. And the other, it appears, is going to turn against the other for leniency. Where is the pity?
By Scratch (26), Sag Harbor on Sep 8, 09 11:39 PM

The waiting game, unfortunately, is not for McGintee but for the residents of this Town. By the way - could you PLEASE report on some things that ARE going on in this Town rather than gossipping on "non-news"? For instance - NEWS TIP - some of the costs for transporting the "New Town Hall" have not been repaid to te town yet by the DeMenille's - to the tune of almost 90 Thousand Dollars. Although building is going on at the "New Town Hall Annex" that Di Sunno Architects (is this the same ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 1:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
Scratch - unless you are paying the increase on my tax bill due to the lack of fiduciary duty this elected official had to me - while I paid him with my hard-earned dollars - I have no pity. Why don't you have pity on me and send me a check? Much appreciated.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 1:11 AM
board watcher..agreed. Newsday recently printed an article listing EH town as the worst town fiscally in all of NY state. How can you screw up the budget on a town with our type of revenues. How can Hempstead, Mastic, Wyndanch or Coram be better than us. Its disgraceful?
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 9:47 AM
Sounds like the DA has a weak case. It was common knowledge Billy M assumed he could borrow from the preservation fund. He admitted it when the information came out. Maybe the DA is not so sure themselves when faced with the proposition of being embrassed by some competent counsel. Also sounds like Ted reconsidered after he lawyered up. The DA's office is a politcal office. It is not about chasing bad guys as much as it is about doing the things you need to do to move up to say AG or at least stay ...more
By jekgbs (35), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 12:08 PM
I think that this article involves criminal charges, does it not? Why am I allowed to comment here, and not some other places? Political protectionism?
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 9, 09 1:18 PM
It does seem odd there is no blogging for Ms. Kabot and her lawyers guided advice. She told the EastHampton Star she did not blow into breathalizer because she did not trust they would adminsiter the device correctly. How come the press does not even have that email and her lame accusations and denial. Something smells fishy
By jekgbs (35), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 1:45 PM
jeks.. mcgintee was told he needed to get approval before he did it by the town attorney. He disregarded her advice and did it anyway. I'm sure Billy will be driiving down to FL when this is all over with his two GVT pensions (town and police) which will provide him with a lifetime income of well over 100,000 for life. Its ironic how he will be living on our tax payers dollars while working to screw us out of more. We rip the privae industry for bonuses how about pensions for guys who dont deserve ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 3:12 PM
Your right about the town attorney approval but that only came out when they nabbed Ted. The whole case might rest on was that ever a fact or not. He said, she said. Also if they asked the town attorney it still is interpretation of the law that matters most. That is why they have appeals courts and more. But your point is well taken. I'm not sure how much pension two terms in office gets you but either way it does seem if the shortages were known in advance of the election the 100 vote difference ...more
By jekgbs (35), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 4:19 PM
The Hamptons us to be a great place to raise a family, build or grow a business. It is true that the crime was done to cover another area that was lacking but why was the other area lacking. I was brought up thinking that if you steal you lie if you lie you steal. I think it sad that becuase of a few our taxes have gone up. In today financial time it is understandable but 26% aweful aweful aweful. It time to expose the truth about everyone and everything. In regards to the Ms. Kabot, she is ...more
By hiddensecret (4), WestHampton Beach on Sep 9, 09 4:38 PM
they are all playing the waiting game until there gone poof! then all the new town board members can sit around scratching there %$#%#&.IT WASN'T ME
By asurest (117), easthampton on Sep 9, 09 6:40 PM
Bill McGintee is not taking pension from the town when he retires. Obviously a lot of you do not know what you are talking about.
By the way, I hear that Bill golfs on Tuesday mornings before work and for charitable events on occasion. Beth Young does not know what she is talking about. I saw Bill on TV at his brown bag meeting and I thought he looked great! This article is full of misinformation and Beth should not call herself a journalist.
By Joe Smith (6), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 8:13 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Joe Smith (6), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 8:15 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 8:48 PM
McGintee should resign, but as others have said, his not resigning is indicative of his ego.
By Rich Morey (378), Brooklyn on Sep 9, 09 9:58 PM
Whatever the reasons for this mess, I can speculate that Supervisor McGintee did not act with malice or dishonesty. Lack of understanding and knowledge of the rules, most likely... I know him personally and have had many conversations with him. I really like him and I hope that he will be ok.
By eastendlocal (28), southampton on Sep 9, 09 10:50 PM
jekgbs and eastendlocal - please read previous articles about this so you can have an informed comment (the articles may not have run in this paper, but they were definitely in other papers) Laura Molinari RESIGNED because she TOLD Bill McGintee what he was doing was illegal - before (in 2007) and after (in 2008) he did it. That is the basis of the charges agaisnt Ted Hults - transferring the funds when they were told it wasn't legal by theTown Attorney! Please read the articles. Additionally, ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Sep 9, 09 11:37 PM
Board Watcher my uunderstanding is Molinari resigned because of the bond papers not the preservation money. But even if that is so I also understood other towns used the money and McGintee thought he could do the same thing. Lawyers are not perfect in their assetments. However if she did advice them and they ignored her it would explain why they are in the mess they are in now. Still at the end of the day the real problem is spending and making difficult cut backs. Until that happens we can throw ...more
By jekgbs (35), East Hampton on Sep 10, 09 7:27 AM
I know Bill on a personnal level and find him to be a very nice guy. On a professional level his actions are irreprehensible. He knew about this mess before the election and he lied to our faces when Bill Wilkenson said we have a financial problem and he said no. He knew he shouldnt have transefered the money and he did it any way. He left us in a big hole that WE will have to pay our way out of. Maybe his ardent supporters can foot the bill so I can forgive all of his professional misgiving. Yeah ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 10, 09 9:49 AM
Just FYI: The updated story on Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot's DWI is now posted, and based on the input from commenters, we are allowing comments on that story, since Ms. Kabot is a public figure.

We will continue to take down comments that are inappropriate...
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (206), Hampton Bays on Sep 10, 09 10:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
Arrest this guy already...question the rest of the board and let move on without this ass #@$$!
By wolf22 (7), Montauk on Sep 10, 09 2:35 PM
Ms. Annanomous Board Watcher,

Yes, the Annex that is being built for the Town does not have a predetermined use. Yes, it is being worked on by Christopher DiSunno Architect and ARB member. I am being paid directly by Adelaide deMenil, my client whom I have been working for for years and my father before me. We worked on the buildings that were given to the town for the town hall complex on their previous site on Further Lane. I have nothing to do with the new own hall complex. Nor ...more
By C DiSunno (2), East Hampton on Sep 10, 09 4:01 PM
It is my understanding that if you run or hold an office in West Virginia you learn the codes, laws and conducts of the area you are representing. Are we not in NY shouldn't we know more.
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 11, 09 11:15 AM
Compassion should be either given to all or given to none.
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 11, 09 12:06 PM
Lets try again...very philosophical of you. Give me a break
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 11, 09 1:03 PM
No one is above the law not even those that are set by the people to keep the best interest of the people in your terms a voice. This is why I am for emperialism, why you ask Mr. Philosophical because there is so much the people can take before heads role.
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 11, 09 4:08 PM
yea right bill isn't taking a pension thats good one lots of truth in that one ha ha ha.if not maybe when he retires to florida he will work at a puff and putt.
By asurest (117), easthampton on Sep 12, 09 4:56 PM
The comingling of funds has been illegal for longer than the age of anyone currently alive. It is something that every financial officer or financially responsible elected official is familiarized with BEFORE they take office. There is no mechanism that I know of that would make it "legal" to move preservation funds to the general fund.

Note that last I saw, the money moving has left $2,000,000 unaccounted for as the NYS Auditors required. Add to this that Bill is a former career Law Enforcement ...more
By Lost Tribe (66), East Hampton on Sep 16, 09 1:41 PM