Posted at: 10/15/2012 6:22 PM
Updated at: 10/15/2012 6:46 PM
By: Ray Levato
The campaign for the 25th congressional seat has gone from heated to a possible criminal investigation. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter is now asking the attorney general to investigate her opponent, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.
This has to do with the county awarding a contract to a company with ties to the Brooks' administration. State comptroller Tom DiNapoli faulted the contract for what he called backdoor borrowing and Mrs. Slaughter says that's evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Congresswoman Slaughter cites the recent audit of Monroe County's awarding of a $212 million, 20-year contract to a company called Navitech. Navitech is a company headed by Stephen Gleason, a former county finance director. Democrats say it was a sweetheart deal because Navitech knew intimate details of what the bid was specifically going to ask for - eliminating other companies' bid.
Congresswoman Slaughter said, “Now the comptroller's report is clear as it was in audits before, this bid was rigged. This bid was rigged. The comptroller says as far as he can tell county employees are still doing the work. So where does this money go. $20 million is totally unaccounted for. But $39-million the taxpayers are on the hook for.”
Ray Levato said, “Are you alleging criminal conduct on the part of Mrs. Brooks or any member of her administration.
Slaughter said, “I'm telling you that rigging a bid is illegal. And the comptroller has pointed out a lot of evidence here that that bid was rigged.”
Brooks’s campaign in response called Slaughter an entrenched Washington insider and her call for an investigation is unsubstantiated.
"The only scandal in this race is Louise Slaughter being found guilty of lying to voters by three independent fact checks, including the Fair Election Practices Committee.
News10NBC asked Nazareth College political science professor Dr. Tim Kneeland to comment on the Slaughter charges.
Dr.Kneeland, Nazareth College Political Science Professor, said, “This is not uncommon. So you make a campaign ad and you claim in this case some corruption or something, in Maggie Brooks' administration. Things for example, contracts to different companies that the Brooks's campaign says they were the most competent people to handle these services. And the comptroller says we overspent. That may be misjudgment. It doesn't necessarily mean corruption or scandal. “
The attorney general’s has been investigating various aspects of the Brooks’s administration for a year. But in this case, News10NBC checked this with the state comptroller's office and a spokesman confirmed that the comptroller's recent audit of Monroe County does not include any recommendation that the attorney general investigate anything.