John Piseck -- facts that voters need to know
Posted in the Mohawk Forum
#1 Oct 10, 2011
With elections coming up, voters need to know the truth about John Piseck.
Since his election two years ago, John Piseck has abused his position as a Herkimer County legislator and chairman of the county IDA to engineer a no-bid back-room crony deal that funneled more than $54,000 in taxpayer money to his campaign manager and consultant, former NYS Assemblyman Tony “Crony” Casale.
Piseck accomplished this by persuading the Legislature to approve a more than 10x increase in the IDA marketing budget, from roughly $15,000 in 2008 to $250,000, for 2010.
Then as chairman of the IDA, Piseck puppeteered the IDA into granting GOP patron and powerbroker Crony Casale a no-bid contract that totaled more than $54,000 ($4500 a month) for alleged “IDA marketing services.”
In doing so, Piseck violated numerous sections of the Herkimer County Ethics Law governing conflict of interest and misfeasance in his role as a public official.
Who is Piseck looking out for?
Is Piseck looking out for the hard-working taxpayers who put up the $250,000 he wasted on a back-room sweetheart political deal that has paid ZERO DIVIDENDS?
Or is Piseck looking out for his political buddies, namely Crony Casale and other good old boys in the circus known as the Herkimer County Legislature and Republican Committee ?
Voters have a choice and an obligation to acquaint themselves with the facts of this scandal, which unsurprisingly the GOP-controlled country Ethics Commission did nothing to address.
In the following posts you will find the Utica O-D editorial on this scandal and a Utica O-D news article.
#2 Oct 10, 2011
UTICA OD EDITORIAL
Our view: Herkimer Co. should rethink marketing deal
Posted Mar 13, 2010 @ 10:34 PM
There are so many things wrong with the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency’s awarding of a marketing contract to Anthony J. Casale Public Affairs of Cooperstown that it’s tough to know where to begin.
One thing is certain: The contract should be rescinded and the county should put out an open request for proposals. In the wider scheme of things, the county’s whole marketing and development effort should be revisited to determine just what it should be paying for promotion and what exactly that promotion should be. As it stands, there really is no plan.
This winter, Herkimer County IDA awarded a $4,500-a-month contract to the Casale firm following an unofficial search process that according to IDA Chairman John Piseck consisted of Google research and word-of-mouth suggestions.
That’s disturbing for several reasons:
• The firm is run by Herkimer native Anthony J. Casale, a former nine-term assemblyman and state Liquor Authority chairman. He started Casale Public Affairs, which focuses on marketing and communications for businesses, nonprofits and municipalities, in 2006. He also is a senior adviser for The Casale Group, a separate operation run by his son Vincent out of the same Cooperstown office. That company worked on the 2009 election campaigns for three Republican county legislators, two of whom made motions leading toward the decision to give the IDA the $250,000.
• One of those legislators assisted by The Casale Group was IDA Chairman Piseck, a Republican from Herkimer. Vincent Casale said the campaign work performed for Piseck and two others – Bruce Weakley and Stephen Keblish – did not involve his father. Vincent Casale also represented Piseck in 2007, when Piseck was first elected to the legislature.
• The IDA’s purchasing policy requires that a formal bidding process must take place for purchases of materials, equipment or supplies exceeding $10,000, but consulting work isn’t bound by that policy. Nevertheless, the right thing would have been for the county to make a formal request for proposals and outline specifically what it was looking for.
Equally disturbing in all this is the fact that the money to pay the Casale firm comes from a $250,000 pot taken from the county’s 2009 contingency fund. That’s money set aside for emergencies, yet it was appropriated just two days after the county approved a bare-bones budget. Four legislators voted against the appropriation. Among them was Dennis Korce, R-Mohawk, who said:“I’ve been around long enough to know that contingency accounts are for contingencies, you know, emergencies. This was a deliberate appropriation in a budget year that was going to start in two weeks.”
Korce is right. In fact, at the time of the vote to appropriate the money in late December, Korce questioned the lack of detail in how the money was going to be spent and the lack of urgency for justifying its approval. Others who voted against the appropriation were Robert Hyde, a Republican, and Helen Rose and Joseph Chilelli, both Democrats.
There is no question that marketing is necessary to grow the economy, but in these especially lean times, it seems a fool’s errand to appropriate money set aside for emergencies for a marketing plan that lacks specifics. Herkimer County residents should be furious, and they should demand that the legislators go back to the drawing board on this one and re-examine the whole process.
END UTICA OD EDITORIAL
#3 Oct 10, 2011
UTICA OD ARTICLE ON PISECK / CASALE SCANDAL
How Casale's firm landed rare contract
By JENNIFER BOGDAN
Posted Mar 06, 2010 @ 09:47 PM
Without issuing a formal request for proposals, the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency gave a marketing contract this winter to a public relations firm run by a former state assemblyman.
The funds come out of a $250,000 pot of money the county gave the agency to spend on marketing and development, an unprecedented amount for an organization that had traditionally received a fraction of that funding from Herkimer County each year.
With hundreds of thousands in tow, IDA officials say they don’t have a plan for how the money will be spent. The first contract they awarded from that funding went to Anthony J. Casale Public Affairs of Cooperstown.
Anthony Casale also is a senior advisor for The Casale Group, run by his son Vincent out of the same office. That company worked on the 2009 election campaigns for three Republican county legislators, two of whom made and seconded the motion to give the IDA the $250,000 out of the county’s emergency account just days after legislators had approved a bare-bones county budget for 2010.
One of those legislators, John Piseck of Herkimer, is also IDA chairman.
Asked how Anthony Casale’s firm came to obtain the $4,500-a-month IDA contract, Piseck said no formal requests for proposals were issued. Instead, the contract was awarded following an unofficial search process that consisted of Google research and word-of-mouth suggestions, he said.
While other firms were contacted or expressed interest, Anthony Casale’s firm was the only one to make a formal presentation before the contract was awarded in late January.
A government watchdog group and a Democratic legislator question the process by which the IDA contract went to Casale, who, along with his son and their companies, has donated many thousands of dollars to Republican candidates in recent years.
“I have nothing against the Casale company,” Legislator Helen Rose, D-Herkimer, said.“It’s the appearance of favoritism that I’m concerned about.”
READ THE WHOLE DISTURBING STORY
#4 Oct 10, 2011
wow. i didn't know hardly anything about this. thank you for pointing it out! i actually probbably would have voted for the guy. no way after reading this.
#6 Oct 17, 2011
whose running against him?
#7 Oct 17, 2011
#8 Oct 17, 2011
#10 Oct 29, 2011
Vote Against Corruption!
Vote Against Cronyism!
Vote Against Backroom Political Payoffs!
VOTE AGAINST JOHN PISECK
(Vote Gary Hartman)
#11 Nov 2, 2011
Voters, don't forget about this crap that Piseck did with Casale and IDA. Sleeze all the way. He does NOT have his constituents best interests at heart - only his ego and pocketbook.
#12 Nov 8, 2011
remove this corrupt backstabber from office
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