Brad Will is guilty. The Alderman of Kingston’s 3rd Ward was judged guilty of knowingly and deliberately violating Kingston’s Ethics Law, discussing and voting on Pike Plan issues, and with lying about his knowledge of the law in order “to shield his conduct and intent from the Ethics Board.” An extensive Order and Finding of Fact was delivered on October 6, giving specifics of Will’s intentional violations, and implicating Alderman at Large James Noble for his part in them.
Proof of his depth of knowledge of the Ethics Law is evidenced in a four-page memo from Brad Will to Alderman at Large James Noble detailing charges of conflict of interest, the appearance of impropriety, and disclosure of financial interests against Mayor Gallo. The letter was written two weeks before Will began breaking the law.
After his testimony as a witness for Brad Will in the hearing, Noble complained that the Council will have to consider the law, saying they’ve never had to do that before. He further suggested the taxpayers ought to bear the burden of paying for Brad Will’s lawyers.
In the wake of the Ethics Board’s findings, we have not heard one apology from Will for putting the people of Kingston through the time and expense of prosecuting this case. We certainly haven’t heard him take responsibility for his actions. We haven’t had any indication that he won’t break the ethics law again. In fact, it appears that he has.
He has plenty of excuses, and blame for everyone but himself. We have heard he was new. Yeah, but Zweben never told him not to break the law. He did it, but Gallo is out to get him. Champ-Doran wants to harm him. It’s just bad press. He says it is the negativity of others. Most tiresome of all, Brad Will still claims these charges are political.
Is it is political? YES! However, it is Brad Will’s political misconduct on which these findings are based.
There would be no conviction, no charges, and no additional charges coming if Brad Will did not continually break the law.
Instead of pointing to any evidence, facts, or conclusions in the case, Will and his lawyer scurried off to the local papers, pushing the same lies debunked in his hearing. Spinning yarns not based in fact, and minimizing the seriousness of his wrongdoing, his press junket was designed to dupe the intelligent citizens of Kingston.
Members of the fair press have FOILed the court stenographer’s transcripts of Will’s hearing. The taxpayers paid more than a thousand dollars for them. Petitioners have been told no and blocked, because only Brad Will has the power to release them, and he has chosen to keep the public record hidden. I emailed Brad directly, asking for the release of the hearing transcripts for public transparency. As of this writing, he has not responded.
Release the transcripts. I have no doubt that people might not like what they read from your lawyers and your witness, most pointedly from Jim Noble and his testimony under oath, especially if they hear it before the election. I understand why Will wouldn’t want that to get out, and the politics behind his obfuscation, but it’s part of the record, and there is no compelling public good in covering up evidence of misdeeds.
In addition, Brad Will has repeatedly impugned the integrity of the Ethics Board while he hides the actual proceedings. He has an obligation to be fair, and let the people served by the Ethics board know the facts and testimony they had to work with, and from whence the judgement was issued.
With a campaign sign on your fence glaringly promising and declaring your integrity, your openness, and your communication, where is the holdup? Do the right thing, Mr. Will. Again, your own words, from your campaign slogans, evidence you know what constitutes that. Put some integrity behind the transparency you advocate.
Brad Will, resign.
Jim Noble, resign.
Less than a week after being handed the guilty verdict, Brad Will has apparently broken the law again. In a violation of the Standards of Conduct in the law, Will appeared on behalf of his business client in front of the Kingston Planning Board.
This was not the first time violations of this provision have come up. Will was listed as representing a different client of Ashokan Architecture in the May and June meetings of the Kingston Heritage Area Commission.
It is political misconduct
When you reach the point that you refuse to live by the law, can’t be bothered to uphold your Oath of Office, would rather swear out lies on behalf of your cronies than root out bad apples among your members, you should resign.
When your personal interests lead you to make your colleagues look bad, and when you are more worried about your political career than serving your constituents, resign.
Political misconduct and lies should matter to all of us. Corruption does not start in Albany or Washington. It starts locally, when one guy gets caught breaking the law, and another lies enough to cover up what they both did. Somebody gets away with it, convinces some people it’s not that bad, and he does it again. The cycle repeats.
After a while, people forget to care. The party machines get their guys elected higher up, and the crimes and the money get bigger. The regular person starts to think there’s nothing to do, and corruption wins.
We have an obligation that goes beyond the ballot box. Corruption gets a foothold when good people do nothing.
If this is where it starts, then this is where we can stop it.
*Editor’s note: All documents referred to in this post can be viewed by clicking on the highlighted document titles, or by visiting KingstonBarn’s “The Documents” page.