A Vietnam veteran Bob Force of Otsego County recently lost his home to, allegedly, a "second bidder" in the auction, Neil J. Fogarty.
That's the same last name as Otsego County public defender Dolores Fogarty.
Neil J. Fogarty paid for the property not immediately, as required by law, but 6 months after the auction - while the homeowner's offer of payment BEFORE the auction was rejected by the County.
Now, a last name "Fogarty" is not as common as, let's say, a last name "Smith".
In view of the potential appearance of impropriety, I encourage my readers from Otsego County to ask their County government - is Neil J. Fogarty related to County employee Dolores Fogarty, and is the suspiciously lenient attitude of the County to Neil J. Fogarty's 6-months-after payment, while the homeowner's before-the-auction payment was rejected, due to that connection?
I would like to draw my readers' attention to the recent results of audit by the New York State Comptroller in the adjoining Delaware County where Delaware County found similar self-dealing by the Commissioner of Social Services Bill Moon where his wife was buying up properties foreclosed upon by the County.
It is interesting that Commissioner Moon's wife had a different-than-him last name, which obscured the relationship of the bidder to the County official, which makes me wondering, how many deals like that did Commissioner Moon "enjoy" before his speedy retirement. And how many proceeds did he, potentially, share, with his friends the County Attorney and the County (and Acting Supreme Court) judge to prevent disclosure of self-dealing?
Now the Delaware County introduced a prohibition for County employees and their relatives to bid on County-foreclosed properties.
It is interesting whether Otsego County has a similar self-prohibition.
By the way, the audit of the Delaware County by the NYS Comptroller apparently dug very deep and found that the County provided "insufficient oversight" over $129.6 million dollars worth of annual procurement contracts to third-party providers (that is a politically correct double-speak instead of saying that the County officials - Richard Spinney, William Moon, the current County Attorney Porter Kirkwood), and paid $770,000 to vendors without any written contracts, see the audit here, in other words, County officials gave contracts to their friends without putting them up for public bidding.
Here is also the full report from the NYS Comptroller about the audit of the Delaware County on vehicle usage.
The period under audit was January 1, 2013 to August 15, 2014.
Immediately before the audit started and right after it ended, three key players, and also three long-time buddies, who could have a hand in financial improprieties discovered in the County retired - without any accountability for their actions, by the way:
- Delaware County Commissioner William Moon - retired at the end of 2014 (the audit covered the period where Bill Moon was directly involved);
- Delaware County Attorney Richard Spinney - retired at the end of 2012 (the smartest of all, before the audit began);
- Delaware County Judge Carl F. Becker - retired on July 31, 2015 (announced his retirement a day before the press-release about the audit - while there is a clear appearance that he was notified ahead of time about the audit, given his connections and usual back-room dealings).
Do we need an audit in Otsego County, too, to get to the bottom of self-dealings in tax sales of properties that are plucked out of the hands of war veterans and their families and given to people with same last names as County employees (and, in Dolores Fogarty's case, people who are close to Judge Kevin Dowd who presided over tax sale litigation)?
That is an interesting question especially that the property that the disabled Vietnam was veteran Bob Force has lost to Neil J. Fogarty is 111 acres of farmland?
By the way, at an auction of August 20, 2014 Neil J. Fogarty, of Mt. Vision, NY, purchased yet another property at the Otsego County foreclosure sale, for 5 (five) thousand bucks, previously owned by Patrick and Larry Ward, on State Highway 7.
Which makes the question of the interesting last name even more interesting.
And what makes it even more interesting that I found an attorney in New Jersey with this exact name - Neil J. Fogarty.
Attorney Neil J. Fogarty is also admitted to practice law in New York.
Is it a coincidence or is Neil J. Fogarty a New Jersey attorney and/or is he related to the Otsego County employee, full-time public defender and a person close to Judge Kevin Dowd's law clerk Claudette Newman, attorney Dolores Fogarty?
Let's explore this interesting issue.
I am waiting for your feedback and will do my own investigation.