Rotten To The Core?
The Rockland County Conservative Party
Will some Republicans abandon their principles
in the pursuit of political expediency?
Ed Lettre was one of the ‘three men in a room‘ who ran the Town of Clarkstown by controlling who would be elected using the balancing power of the three minor parties (Conservative, Independence, Working Families). The other two were believed to be the former Chairman of the Rockland GOP, Vinnie Reda, and the former leader of the Independence Party and former County Legislator, Frank Sparaco.
Lettre had sufficient power that he could call a meeting anytime he wished and all of the local politicians and political appointees would dutifully do his bidding. The most famous of these events became known as the ‘House of Horrors’ meeting, which was called by Lettre reportedly to keep himself in power as leader of the Conservative party. Every member of the Gromack Town Board attended including the Town Attorney and the Superintendent of Highways, Wayne Ballard. Then Councilwoman Lasker couldn’t be there but because she “appreciated Mr. Lettre’s support” she “listened in by phone”.
The ‘House of Horrors’ article told the story of a “secret meeting” called by Lettre who was at the time the Town of Clarkstown’s ‘Clerk Of The Works‘ and Executive Director of the Rockland County Conservative Party. The purpose of the “secret meeting” as described by the Rockland County Times, was to discuss Lettre’s plan to maintain power in the Conservative Party. Almost all elected officials in Clarkstown relied on Lettre’s party’s endorsement. Lettre was in a tight battle with a former chairman of the Conservative Party for control of ‘his’ party.
In return for helping him stay in power, Lettre conveyed to his allies that he would help them stay in power. The Rockland County Times commented: Hey, they don’t call it ‘politics’ for nothing. Lettre’s efforts proved successful and he subsequently defeated a Jewish challenger, Sam Naemit, for the Conservative party’s leadership by the smart ploy of holding the Conservative convention on Yom Kippur.
Lettre had also been provided one of the greatest ‘GiveAway‘ contracts in the history of Clarkstown.That contract paid out all accumulated sick leave and accumulated vacation time and allowed him to take unlimited sick leave, and a minimum of three weeks vacation time. In addition, he was not required to work a 35 hour work week, but could work “reasonable” hours, meaning he no longer had to be in Town Hall when it opened or when it closed.
The contract also provided that “where a department head will not be on duty during the normal business hours of the town, he or she shall be available and accessible to the supervisor“. This led one joker to say that Lettre would be OK so long as he had his cell phone while out on a golf course near his home in Florida. As to sick leave, that was unlimited too. Lettre was eligible for unlimited sick leave to provide income protection in those instances where he was unable to perform the duties of his position in the event of illness or other physical disability. The illness was not required to be verified. All of the above, of course, paid for by the plunderous property taxes piled upon Clarkstown’s homeowners.
Today Sam Naemit has gained control of the reins of the Conservative Party in Rockland County and Ed Lettre has been placated as the Chairman ‘Emeritus‘. The party, in theoretical principle, supports conservative candidates but it rarely if ever offers a Conservative Party member to run for office, nor does it commonly endorse the candidate who appears to best represent true conservative values. Thus one is left to wonder if the leadership of a party – which has no candidates of its own and consistently endorses candidates who don’t represent its platform – has any intention of ever running a real political party. Based on our opinion of what we have seen, they are nothing more than co-sponsors of the Rockland version of ‘Three Men In A Room‘ who betray the honest values of their rank and file members time and time again.
The ‘Party’ – we hesitate to even refer to it as such – gives its support to whatever candidates from one of the two major parties genuflect in an interview before a supposedly independent panel of ‘conservative’ citizens. Late last year an individual associated with the Conservative leadership in Orangetown openly stated that George Hoehmann would not be permitted to represent Clarkstown’s Conservatives in the November 2017 election because of “what happened to Alex Gromack and Ed Lettre“.
What happened to Alex and Ed? Hoehmann defeated Gromack and then Lettre was shown the door and asked to return the keys to the front door of the Clarkstown Town Hall.
To make the Conservative Party’s sham interview process appear legitimate again this year, Hoehmann was invited to interview before the party’s “independent” panel of conservative citizens. Yet despite assurance from the panel that Hoehmann was indeed the “best and the most well-prepared conservative candidate for supervisor of Clarkstown” he was not given the nomination.
There should be no surprise at that outcome; Hoehmann is ‘enemy number one‘ of Lettre and ‘enemy number one‘ of the ‘new’ Conservative Party leadership under Naemit and Beckmann. They seem to subscribe to the same methods as the ‘old’ leadership of abandoning conservatism for some ’emeritus’ whim or the promise of a job.
The surprise today is that County Executive Ed Day appears poised to accept the Conservative endorsement even though he has been thoroughly informed of what is happening to his colleagues in Clarkstown. Day has also known that he will be handed the Conservative banner in Clarkstown to lead its ticket – not with a blank line for the position of Town Supervisor in Clarkstown – but with suspended Chief Michael Sullivan standing beside him as the candidate for Clarkstown’s supervisor.
Several individuals have confronted Day about this situation. We question how he can lead a ticket for the Preserve movement in Clarkstown while also heading a sham political ticket run by a group of individuals working against his own allies and against his agenda of reform.
Apparently the principles of legitimate conservative voters will take a back seat as the Chairman Emeritus” of conservatism must be given a chance for revenge through the potential election of suspended Chief Sullivan riding on the coat tails of the popular county executive.
The suspended Sullivan, now sitting with four charges proven against him from his first disciplinary hearing in which the judge found that he had “brought discredit upon the Town of Clarkstown“, is also apparently bent on revenge. The reason? He was called to account by Hoehmann and the Town Board for refusing an order to remove Police Sergeant Stephen Cole-Hatchard from the Strategic Intelligence Unit and return him to duty in the Police Headquarters on Maple Avenue. Among other things Cole-Hatchard had been spending taxpayers money monitoring a Facebook page and later removed his hard drive and erased its contents before his computer was seized by the Clarkstown Police Department.
The 2017 Conservative line-up is a ticket of shame on which County Executive Day will be used to draw Conservative votes to support the election of four individuals supported by Democratic Chairwoman, Kristen Stavisky, and County Executive Candidate, Maureen Porette. Those individuals are running against four conservative colleagues of County Executive Day, namely Supervisor Hoehmann, Councilman John Noto, Town Board Candidates Adrienne Carey and Peter Bradley.
As our readers may recall in the 2013 race for County Executive, Day ran against Democrat David Fried. The Conservative Party under Lettre’s sham ‘conservative‘ leadership ran a sham ‘conservative‘ candidate drawing approximately 1,000 votes away from Day. Lettre and his conservative colleagues tried and failed to assist Democrat Fried to win.
Later the Republican Party, then headed by Day as the highest elected official, suffered an attempted putsch by Frank Sparaco and Vinnie Reda when they tried to replace the committee leadership of the Repubican Party and reverse the gains that were being made by the Preserve Leadership in Rockland County. The putsch failed and Frank Sparaco, a classic fall guy, went to jail.
Clarkstown Councilman Frank Borelli seemingly has some decisions to make in the next couple of days. What he will do about the offer of the Conservative Party’s sham committee to give him their support in the November 2017 election is unknown at the present time. Will Borelli stand with Hoehmann and distance himself from the Conservative ticket or will he follow County Executive Day in splitting Republican unity? Borelli was the target of a taping incident several years ago by Sparaco in which Sparaco urged him to give support to Democratic legislators such as Ilan Schoenberg to make sure the Brega Bus company got a contract with the county to run the TRIPS system. Brega has since been arrested for corruption and the local betting is that he is presently in negotiations with the Feds for a cooperation agreement.
Perhaps the only person of principle in this sad Conservative saga will end up being the present Clarkstown Highway Superintendent, Frank DiZenzo. DiZenzo has previously stated that he does not intend to be placed in a position of any ‘quid pro quo’ with any party line and that he intends to exercise his office to benefit the citizens of Clarkstown and not the interests of any party political hacks or their hangers-on. If Dizenzo is true to his word, and we have every reason to expect that to be the case, we hope he will stand by his principles and reject the Conservative line.
Several years ago we wrote that Clarkstown was a town of ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotape‘. It now seems that in this election party principles have gone out of the window for political expediency and Clarkstown is destined to return once more to an election, even more dirty than the one voters were subjected to in 2015.
We expect the 2017 election in Rockland County to be waged not on how to ensure “Equal Treatment For All With Special Treatment For None” but on further issues of ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotapes‘.