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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Case of the Missing FS-6T receipts...cont'd

Monday, November 26, 2007, right after I blogged about the missing FS-6T license plate surrender receipts, I get an email from the Town Clerk:
The Highway Department has delivered photocopies of DMV receipts for vehicles removed from insurance coverage. You may wish to stop by the Town Clerk's Office to review these documents. Lack of a copy does not necessarily mean that a plate wasn't turned in but only that a copy of the receipt had not been made at the Highway Department before the original was turned into the insurance company.
Oh, I see, they only made copies of some of the receipts before they turned the originals into the insurance company. Sounds very much like trying to cover someone's butt...

You know, one would almost believe the baloney in the town clerk's email except that all of the license plate surrender receipts that we received copies of yesterday...all that the license plates were ALL surrendered on March 12, 2007. One would have to believe that the Town of New Hartford sold 29 vehicles sometime in February 2007 or early March 2007. Of course, with our "searchable" town board minutes, we were able to ascertain that none of these vehicles were sold in 2007. In fact, some of these vehicles were sold in 2003...

So one has to ask...has the town been insuring these vehicles since 2003 and they were finally taken off the insurance in March 2007...or did the insurance company take the vehicles off the insurance in 2003 - 2006 without receiving the license plate surrender receipts? By law, liability insurance cannot be taken off a vehicle until the plates are surrendered at the DMV and the license surrender receipt is turned in to the insurance company. Might spell trouble for the insurance company.

Secondly, why were 29 license plates accumulating at the Highway Garage? Was the Highway Superintendent running a Rent-a-License-Center in his spare time? Is that why we have pictures of privately owned vehicles with Town of New Hartford license plates on them?
Here are the license surrender receipts for vehicles that are noted as sold in the town board minutes...we have indicated the date of sale in the upper right hand corner of each sheet.

Here are the license surrender receipts for vehicles that either were sold prior to 2002 (we only have town board minutes starting in June 2002), or they were sold as scrap. We do know that the Front End Loaders are traded on a regular basis, but the year of each would indicate that this equipment was gone long before the plates were turned in.
Lastly, there was no license surrender receipts for the most recent vehicles sold to Mr. Al Roberts in November 2006. We know that some of the vehicles were sold with license plates still attached because we have pictures. Where are the license plates now and why did we not get a copy of the surrender receipt for the van pictured at Sangertown Mall? Wouldn't you think that would be the one license surrender receipt that the Highway Superintendent would make sure was available for our FOIL request or did he not want to give us evidence that they were just turned in a couple of weeks ago? Or are the plates indeed still on the van at Sangertown Mall?

Concerned Citizens finds it interesting that all 29 of these license plates were turned in on the same day. Interesting, too, is the fact that approximately 1 week after the license plates were turned in, we were given the list of town vehicles that we FOILed on February 22, 2007. The FOILed vehicle list was supposed to be given to us no later than March 9th, but on March 14th the town clerk sent us the following in response to our email asking why we still hadn't received the information:
"I'm awaiting verification from certain departments to ensure we have an accurate list."
Sounds to us like more was at play than ensuring they had an accurate list of vehicles. Looks like some back-pedalling!

Clearly, there is no accountability for equipment and vehicles in possession of the Town of New Hartford. Vehicles are sold without board approval, long before their "useful" life and well below book value. Until our FOIL request in February 2007 there apparently was no in-house list of Town property, and no set procedure for keeping track of license plates. Since the town started selling vehicles on eBay there has been nothing in the town board minutes to document who the vehicles are sold to and the price received. If nothing else the town board minutes should contain a record of the vehicles that were sold. The Town Board by law has control of all property owned by the Town...when vehicles are sold for less than their is time to question whether or not the Town Board is doing their "due diligence".

Information sent to our Anonymous Tip Line regarding some of the vehicles that have been sold is disturbing. We have verified some of the information and are working on verifying the rest...we will report on this blog shortly.


Anonymous said...


Is this the smoking gun we've been waiting for to oust this crowd of scum from the driver's seat?

Keep at it.... you've got the "right" people's attention!

Anonymous said...

And to think Kazanjian and Topar lost thier jobs. What a shame

Traveling Man said...

If I am reading the Town's plate surrender receipts; it does appear that they did not surrender them timely as required by law.

In other words, NYS Insurance Law REQUIRES an OFFICIAL TURN-IN RECEIPT before the Town's insurance carrier can REMOVE coverage from the Town's liability policy.

QUESTION: Was the Town of New Hartford PAYING insurance premiums for all this time - BEFORE THE PLATE TURN IN?

Also, I find it very odd that the plate turn-ins occurred AFTER Concerned Citizens had asked for the Documentation.

In other words...the Town NEVER turned in these vehicle tags (plates) until an inquiry was made.

Seems like we need to alert the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles and the NYS Insurance Department for violations of law and fraud on many levels.

Incidentally, good job Concerned Citizens!

Forgot to ask: I thought the Town Clerk was REQUIRED to maintain copies of all titles, records, plate transactions, insurance matters, etc.? Is the Town Clerk guilty of malfeasance of office?

Anonymous said...

This will someday be an Off Broadway hit. How long till the O.C. DA's office takes interest in all this. Give me a break.

Move out to Westmoreland. We dont have anny of this crap and we're conviently located too

King Timahoe said...

Talk about timing too:

After reading this I wondered what triggered the Town to suddenly surrender all those plates at once:

Then I looked at the February and March postings here in your blog and notice what appears to be the first mention of this on this page:

It looks like they reacted to your post... actually.