Posted at: 11/11/2013 5:06 PM
Updated at: 11/11/2013 5:33 PM
By: Berkeley Brean
News10NBC is staying on top of the Monroe County corruption case involving those county-created development corporations and the companies they hired. One of them, Upstate Telecommunications Corporation or UTC called a special meeting because of the arrests last week.
Four men, all with ties to the work that UTC was contracting out, were indicted and accused of bid-rigging and in some cases stealing tax payer money. One of them, Bob Wiesner, is married to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. He is not accused of stealing money.
The case involves a complicated web of contracts and sub-contracts for local projects. At the top are these local development corporations. They were created by the county to over-see public projects. I-Team 10 wanted to know if their leaders knew about the alleged bid-rigging going on.
The meeting was at the law offices of Harris Beach. The UTC board officially added former Rochester Police Chief David Moore to the board. This is what Monroe County Executive Brooks called for after the indictments last week. I-Team 10 was asked to leave the room for executive session.That's when the board talked about the state's investigation. When the meeting was over, that's when I-Team 10 had the chance to ask questions to the chair of the UTC board.
I-Team 10's Berkeley Brean said, “Hank, were you aware of any of the allegations of bid rigging prior to.”
Hank Stuart, UTC Board Chair, said, “No.”
Brean said, “This was all news to you?”
Stuart said, “All news to me.”
Brean said, “So Hank if you weren't aware of the allegations of bid rigging, what's your reaction to the indictments that suggest there was?”
Stuart said, “Well, so indictments are accusations and I have no knowledge about the allegations. I've read the indictment and we're going to let the legal process take it from there.
Neither the board of UTC nor any of its members were in the indictment. I-Team 10 wanted to talk to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks about this Monday. I-Team 10 found her at the Veterans Day wreath laying at the War Memorial. Brooks told me she's not commenting at all.
One of the reasons it's hard to get your arms around this story is that the projects these development corporations were created to do are projects that we will never come in direct contact with. It's not like they're fixing roads or purifying water. UTC is all about copiers and computers for county departments. The other one called Monroe Safety and Security Systems or M3C is about emergency communications. Its board is virtually identical to UTCs and it meets Tuesday to do the same thing.
These projects are funded by taxpayer money and some of the defendants arrested last week are accused of stealing more than a quarter of a million of your money.