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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Tuesday, August 28

I should know better...

...than to say when an article is going to be published.

The article(s) on the alleged indiscretions in the Accounts Department ran in Tuesday's Saratogian, rather than Sunday as was originally intended.

In addition to just having some outstanding questions (despite the overtime I put on the article) we also didn't want it to get lost in Travers coverage.

As the articles (here is the one on the condo assessments and here is the one on the allegations) show, it was a convoluted issue (try simplifying a capitalization rate) and late on Friday evening, after getting through writing one of the two articles, it was pretty clear more questions needed to be answered.

At the time, I thought to myself that I would have to update the blog to let people know. Obviously that didn't happen, so my apologies to the commenters who were disappointed and frustrated by the lack of coverage (those whose comments I didn't publish, though, you know who you are and I have no apologies for you. Remember, all comments have to go through me).

Anyway, there you have it. As I said in the previous blog post, it started as a rumor and if I printed every rumor I heard there would be no difference between us and a blog.

Obviously a couple of newspapers beat us to getting the allegations out there, but I like to think we did a more effective job of explaining what they actually were and why they were out there (if you don't, I'm sure you won't hesitate to let me know).

If anyone has any outstanding questions about the whole thing, e-mail me at or just comment below and I'll do what I can to explain or look into your questions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why was it not mentioned back in November when this was going on? You never hesitated to attack the Housing Authority on rumor and speculation that now has turned out to be just that. Franck manipulated you guys to write about the Housing Authority to keep the public eye off of his office.

August 29, 2012 at 7:14 AM 
Blogger Lucian said...

It wasn't written about in November because at that point it was rumors at best. The police department did not divulge they had a complaint about the Accounts Department. The City Hall employee did not go public with any of her allegations until a disciplinary hearing earlier this month.
To your second point: I do not attack the Housing Authority; I report facts about the housing authority. There are plenty of rumors about the SSHA which I will not print because they are unsubstantiated.

August 29, 2012 at 10:41 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Day late and a dollar short. The assessor has given sweetheart deals to his connected friends. While others can't even get a hearing. Giving developers great rates so later on they can raise them assessments on the unsuspecting new buyers. Is this legal?

August 29, 2012 at 11:08 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When does a "rumor" become fact-based legitimate news? Case in point: There have been rumors that Judge Jeff Wait has a long history of associating with and working with the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation... and yet he is now the sitting Judge in the SSPF vs. 66 Franklin case. I've researched the rumor and found a web profile of Wait that clearly shows an "Employment History" where he cites his employment with the SSPF. It's here on my website... a "News Tip" I've shared it with the Saratogian--
Isn't Wait's apparent conflict of interest now more than a rumor?

August 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 29, 2012 at 2:42 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

Manipulating assessments for the benefit of developers would of course be illegal, but that's not the allegation. Giving "connected friends... sweetheart deals" without giving others a hearing is, gray area to say the least.

Now, as for 12:52 p.m.'s discussion of Jeff Wait and his ALLEGED role in the SSPF: I haven't been able to confirm that. A website citing his employment history is not proof.

I've talked to a number of people about this, including the SSPF who have denied he ever worked for them. I've talked to others who, in my assessment, would know if he did work for the SSPF and he/she said Wait did not.

I looked into this one months ago and found nothing. I've since looked into it further and found more nothing.

12:52's assertion that "Wait's apparent conflict of interest now more than a rumor" illustrates what I've been saying: No, it is not more than a rumor.

Just because it's on the internet doesn't make it real.

If someone can show me proof and not just a Zoominfo profile (which is, often times, not created by the person whose profile you are looking at), I will consider the facts. Until then, it's just a rumor.

August 29, 2012 at 3:13 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lucian have you ever thought to ask the poor woman Mary Zlonik for her side of the story? That's the kind of thing people are talking about. I don't think getting John Franck's opinion is enough. Afterall he is the one who in question here. Just like no wrong doing has happened according to John Franck. As if we believe anything he has to say at this point.

August 29, 2012 at 3:37 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The allegation is giving assessments at a lower rate for some of his friends(Harry Manios)and Frank Parillo and his condos that aern't sold yet. Also on his own home and his other properties he has lowered the assessments.

August 29, 2012 at 3:46 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you going to continue to print info on this story? This will probably be a big story and I would hate to see you not cash in on it because of political pressure from your buildingowner and his political plant Commissioner Franck. These two are really tight and it looks like they are in on the building ideas on south broadway. Granting assessments to developers in hopes to profit.

August 29, 2012 at 7:46 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What actual facts do you have about the housing authority? It was all rumors and allegations. You have no proof of nothing other than the director has a legitimate contract. Fact, SSHA followed Civil Service law, fact, no issue with the easy pass, fact, all travel board approved in the budget, and HUD approved, fact ,never made $152,000 in a year, proof in the w-2, fact, John Franck vowed to take the SSHA down, he has not and can not. Fact, everything about the housing is public, not secret like The Saratogian has kept the assessment scandal under wraps for months. Proof is in the pudding! Fact, leases were never held back, fact, no one was ever threatened with eviction for going to the press(eviction is a court decided issue). I could go on and on with your unproven allegations . Know do you want to state that nothing but fact was printed?

August 29, 2012 at 8:12 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

I interviewed Mary Zlotnick twice.

I will continue to follow this story. No one is pressuring me to do anything (except anonymous commenters on this blog).

And the "facts" that the 8:12 anonymous said about the SSHA are just too much to get into.

August 30, 2012 at 3:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The facts are too much to get into because Franck used you to print countless stories about SSHA while he was hiding his scandal waiting to happen. isn't it ironic that he has been watched by his own office workers and later the police and AG for many months while he was screaming transparency and making demands and foiling info from SSHA with his puppet John Kauffman to keep the public eye off of him. You even allowed Kauffman to write his own column here. The whole time it was Franck who was in trouble with not much to do abut nothing at the SSHA. Also Kauffman was using it as well because he was a failure at EOC and Dennis Brunell had to straighten his mess out. All the while you hid info from taxpayers about city business that effected them directly to cover a non story.

August 30, 2012 at 5:37 PM 
Anonymous Nancy Nutron said...

Heaven forbid that bloggers are pressuring you. How about printing the story? Who are you covering for? Don't worry Franck can't hurt you. He is toast. A year from now he is going to wish he never knew us.

August 30, 2012 at 9:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cover up continues. No Franck news. How about his connection with the comptrollers office in one Shawn Thompson. He was his go too guy when he was wasting taxpayer money chasing the Housing Authority. That came up empty. The real reason he was doing this is to cover up the problems in his own office. The saratogian continues to cover it up by not putting it in print outside of one lousy article that you let Franck write.

August 31, 2012 at 7:13 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to set the record straight, anyone (yes anyone) can grieve their assessment. There is no favoritism, just cold hard facts when determining if the assessment should be lowered on the basis of unequal, excessive, unlawful (property located outside special zoning districts or owned by not for profits) or misclassified.
The grievance hearings are open to the public and the Accounts office has provided classes on how to do the paperwork and research required to grieve your assessment.
The Board has routinely given relief to those homeowners who provide recent appraisals or purchase contracts. If a home that was assessed at 500K was sold for 350K, the Board always lowered the assessment as the purchase price IS the true value of the home, as long as the purchase was arm's length and not an estate sale, etc.
If a home or condo owner is willing to pay another to act as an agent because they don't want to do the work required, that is perfectly legal and above board.
Read the "Board of Assessment Review" policies and procedures before you go on a witch hunt on the say so of a disgruntled employee that was so inept at her job that she was being let go just before these allegations came out.

September 1, 2012 at 11:24 AM 

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