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May 13, 2009 11:21 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Kabot says party leaders pressuring her to keep lid on financial woes

May 13, 2009 11:21 AM

Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot said she is carrying a heavy burden in trying to manage the town’s growing financial crises while also seeking to secure her party’s nomination for reelection—a bid that is anything but certain.

Rumors that the GOP nod will not go Ms. Kabot’s way have only grown in the last week after Jim Malone, chairman of the town’s Conservative Party, threw his hat into the supervisor’s race and interviewed with Republican Party officials last week in an effort to pull the GOP nomination from under Ms. Kabot’s feet.

Mr. Malone, an attorney who formerly worked on Wall Street and a current Suffolk County deputy clerk, said he received an enthusiastic response from his screening with the GOP last week. “We had a good exchange of ideas,” Mr. Malone said. “It was nice to see folks have energy again.”

GOP leaders are expected to decide on a nominee this Monday night at the party’s nominating convention.

At the same time, Ms. Kabot said she has dealt with criticism from some GOP leaders, who have pressured her to keep a lid on the town’s financial woes as going public with them damages the party.

“Both orally and in writing, some, but not all, party leaders and former elected officials have discouraged me from going to the press,” Ms. Kabot said, adding that some of those sentiments were conveyed to her when she screened with the party on April 15. “Some have told me that my comment to The Southampton Press should be ‘no comment,’” the supervisor said. “But I’m not going to stay silent, we’re talking about taxpayer dollars.”

But Marcus Stinchi, chairman of the Southampton GOP, said the supervisor’s comments were inaccurate and insulting. “I have never told her that she should keep her mouth shut,” Mr. Stinchi said. “What I have said is that she should wait until she has all the facts. There is no point going to the press on a daily basis when all the facts are not in.”

Mr. Stinchi said he would like to see the supervisor and the full Town Board deal with the town’s financial troubles swiftly and get them resolved.

Recent revelations of incomplete direct appropriation transfers of millions of dollars of surplus funds between 2003 and 2007 and problems with the town’s capital program have weakened Ms. Kabot politically, she said.

But while the supervisor acknowledged that she must share some of the blame for the town’s financial condition—because she served on the Town Board during those troublesome years—she pointed out that she was not the chief financial officer or the comptroller then. Now that she is supervisor, she said she is determined to fix the problems and will fight for her party’s nomination if she does not receive it at Monday’s convention. “I will take my case to the rank and file, to the people, just like I did in 2007,” Ms. Kabot said. “And I will win.”

With Democrats on a roll nationally and locally, Mr. Malone said the GOP is on the mend and needs to return to its fundamental principles. “The party needs to run on smaller government, less taxes, and core values,” he said. The former public defender said his legal experience and, in particular, his financial background, provided him the know-how to deal with the fiscal challenges in Town Hall. “Why is no one taking responsibility? When Anna Throne-Holst asks a specific financial question and isn’t given an answer, that’s just wholly unacceptable,” he said. “No one cares how it happened, but someone has to take responsibility for a new future. Linda is a good person, but we need fresh eyes.”

While Mr. Stinchi said no decision would be made on a nominee until the convention this Monday, the party chairman said Mr. Malone was a “highly attractive and qualified candidate” who in his tenure in the county clerk’s office has cut positions and brought in more revenue. “He’s shown fiscal responsibility,” Mr. Stinchi said.

In Ms. Kabot’s view, however, the GOP’s best chances in November are for it to remain united. She said she approached Mr. Malone last month to run for a seat on the Town Board. “I wanted to strengthen the ticket,” Ms. Kabot said, adding she suggested a “dream ticket” comprised of herself, Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi, who is also up for reelection, and Mr. Malone.

The supervisor also said that, in her opinion, it wasn’t a good idea to nominate a party leader for elective office. Ms. Kabot added that another primary challenge, like the one she waged against former Supervisor Patrick Heaney in 2007, would only weaken the party and enhance Democratic chances to win a majority on the Town Board, including the supervisor’s seat.

Gordon Herr, chairman of the Southampton Democratic Committee, agreed. “I think a Republican primary helps us. It doesn’t hurt. And while it certainly changes the dynamic of the race, it doesn’t change our plans,” he said. “I feel very confident about our chances. We have a strong slate of candidates and we are going to do what we have to do no matter what.”

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Unbelievable-Linda has tried to blame everyone for the past two months and now she wants us to believe people are suggesting she shut up. Linda does not get the message-her time is over. She had her chance being top dog and she blew it. Monday is the end for Linda Kabot. The reason Democrats will win in November is because she mismanaged town hall. She has always first lied about things since July 1995 when she first made news.

A sad pathic human being-we should all pray for her.
By Lefty46 (56), Westhampton on May 13, 09 3:38 PM
Kabot : You damaged our town by caving in to commercial interests on CR 39. You lost my vote.
By deKooning (106), southampton on May 13, 09 4:08 PM
She has a responsibility to come forward and own up to past Republican mistakes. As for "waiting for al lthe facts" - come on guys, Skip screwed up and she's taking the heat. Frankly, I give her credit to making the whole financial fiasco public - seems the previous administration knew for years, it was no accounting mistake - it was intentional.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on May 13, 09 4:22 PM
Linda, You have made so many enemies. Your bossy know it all attitude, has finely caught up with you. You can blame Skip all you want. You tried to upstage him at every board meeting . Blame yourself. Did you think trying to get all our Policemen fired was a great idea?? Shame on you. Your toast next election.
By bayview (160), Southampton on May 13, 09 5:29 PM
Or, it could be entirely possible that she had an inkling of what was going on and was told by those in charge at the time while she was a Town Board Member perhaps things like "Mind your own business" or "You don't know anything about finances"....I know, I've seen it done in public government agencies.
By cat (18), Riverhead on May 13, 09 6:07 PM
I like what Gordon Herr said in this article. It's clear that the Southampton Democrats have their priorities in order: nominate good people, hopefully get them elected, and then let them do the PEOPLE'S business.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on May 13, 09 6:32 PM
Linda Kabot seems to be following the lead of Arlen Specter, but who will have her? To Mr. Malone - the last thing we need is another Wall Street flunky in office and America has already flatly rejected the Republican party's "core values"
By dagdavid (646), southampton on May 13, 09 8:00 PM
If the Republicans give Linda the nomination all is lost with the party, it would be a shoe in for the Dems. There are not too many, if any, Linda lovers left in the town, let alone the Republican party for her to win the primary or the November election. Malone's charisma alone is enough to dissuade Republicans from voting for Linda.
By oceanview (15), hampton bays on May 13, 09 10:38 PM
For those responding to this blog that are so loyal to former Supervisor Skip Heaney, it should really be him that should take responsibility for the financial problems of this town. The past financial person admitted she knew about the problems but blamed her deputy for not moving over the money. They are calling it human error, 4 years of human error (give me a break). People are smart enough to see that you are trying to spin the blame to detract from the truth. The tax payers of this town are ...more
By MrRight (22), bridgehampton on May 14, 09 12:14 AM
Maybe the town needs a bailout
By TheGoodLife (43), Westhampton Beach on May 14, 09 5:35 AM
why in the world is the elected town supervisor having a private screening party with members of the GOP? Doesnt she work for everyone?
By littleplains (305), olde england on May 14, 09 7:56 AM
Linda's argument about the prior administration makes no sense. If a transfer was not made from one account to the other, the money is still there. Move it now and all should be fine, unless Linda spent too much and budgeted incorrectly. Odd how she suddenly "found" this problem after Anna demanded information on Linda's budget.
By Hampton (50), Westhampton on May 14, 09 7:57 AM
Had Anna Throne-Holst not pressed the supervisor on these issues the public would not even know about it. Now we have Sally Pope doing the same...thanks to both of you.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on May 14, 09 8:46 AM
A return to core Republican values, great, that means paving over Agawam Park to make way for condos or a Walmart.

Do not let anyone lift the 5% tax cap, the taxpayers should not suffer for the Town Board's past mismanagement.
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on May 14, 09 9:07 AM
Hey, is this another example of our partisan government botching the reality?

Let's stop holding parties responsible... How about the people in these parties? Again with the elect people, not politicians thing... People stand for what they stand for... Politicians have no idea what they stand for, until someone/their party tells them....
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on May 14, 09 9:38 AM
While I personally am not wild about Linda I have to say Mr Right is correct; I'd take her as she seems to be trying non-partisan, at least on this issue. The political party situation in the Town is simply detrimental to us all.
What's going to happen next year when all those real estate assessments will be based on the time period when the real estate market melted? The books better be in order now as the pressure will be on to significantly cut savings next year. Partisanship will not help ...more
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on May 14, 09 10:43 AM
To North of Highway. If it was kept in surplus by Heaney then it should still be there, unless Linda spent it. Heaney was a known tightwad who cut every department budget and built up surplus. I believe he was the one who imposed the 5 percent cap to limit spending.
Anna was the one who drew this out. Vote for her.
By Hampton (50), Westhampton on May 14, 09 11:05 AM
Let us remember the new (expanded without board approval) Justice court, the new roof on town hall (slate), and the improvements to Terisa Kiernan's office. All of this was ordered by the supervisor and completed when the town was MILLIONS in debt. Thank goodness for Anna Throne-Holst who would not let up on these financial issues. She is the reason why this all became public.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on May 14, 09 11:31 AM
What this financial mess is uncovering was that there was an artificial surplus during the Heaney years. He had a surplus becuase the Comptroller never took funds out of the General Fund and appropriated them as directed by the entire Town Board. In actuality there was never a surplus just smoke and mirrors by Heaney and crew. Now when it was being looked into why there is no money for certain projects, a trail was discovered and found that in many instances money was never moved into the proper ...more
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on May 14, 09 1:54 PM
Koudos to Linda except she was there when all this was going on. What was she doing all those years?-her nails?
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on May 14, 09 2:43 PM
we need a business person to fix town. There is so much waste and over staff in many dept. , expenses out the roof and us taxes payers will be paying some of these people staff now and for the next 40 years for there serivce think of that next time you see all those town inspector cars driving around tring to earn $150 summons fees while bothing property owners and costing 5,000 in town employee time and costs, why not help everone in town with these resources they would make everyone life better ...more
By take our town back (10), southampton on May 14, 09 4:10 PM
Thanks for that explaination ridculous. What arrogance playing with tax payer money. The Suffolk County DA should do an investigation, they should have to answer to the people. Heaney was so disliked in this town, the taxpayers will never forget the reassessment disaster. I'm sure they were dancing in the streets when he lost in 2007.
By MrRight (22), bridgehampton on May 14, 09 7:40 PM
She has lost her mind.
Well she had no idea what was going on. So what was she doing getting Skip the other loser his lunch???
Than she is told to keep quite. When has she ever been quite??
I forgot only when she got caught lieing (which was alot )
Lets not forget her attitude. She thinks she was God's gift to Southampton.
Maybe the animal shelter needs some help. Since that is the only place she could clean up
The Suffolk DA needs to stay on top of this and get the real ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on May 14, 09 11:31 PM
Linda is the Nancy Pelosi of the Hamptons.Both of them lie all the time.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on May 15, 09 12:54 PM
i havent seen this much tap dancing since guys and dolls or Chorus Line. Hi-oh!!!!!
By littleplains (305), olde england on May 15, 09 2:02 PM
sjd what the hell are you talking about ? Did you just get here from anolther planet?
By MrRight (22), bridgehampton on May 15, 09 9:23 PM
Split the town in two! Right at the canal...
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on May 18, 09 12:50 PM
You mean more than it already is...? Neh, I don't think that's necessary... Plenty of nice people live on the West-side!

By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on May 18, 09 2:43 PM
Hey Linda !!!!! Karmas a Bi*ch.
By be real (2), Brookhaven on May 20, 09 11:41 AM