District Attorney looking into alleged illegal activity by County Executive
The Onondaga County District Attorney's office is reviewing allegations of illegal activity by members of the staff of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. What is unusual is that the source of the charges is the chairman of the county's Republican Party. YNN's Bill Carey says it's the latest sign of a deteriorating relationship between two former political allies
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Joanie Mahoney had supported Tom Dadey's bid to become chairman of the Onondaga County Republican Party, but things quickly began to sour.
First, Mahoney crossed party lines to support Andrew Cuomo's bid for Governor. Then, in the spring of 2011, county legislator Robert DeMore left that job to take a post in Mahoney's administration.
Dadey had a successor in mind.
“As soon as the vacancy became clear, Tom Dadey brought his sister-in-law, Sarah Dadey, to my office in an effort to encourage me to appoint her to the position,” said Mahoney.
In the end Mahoney bypassed Sarah Dadey and several others suggested by party leaders, instead naming attorney Robert Cox to fill the vacancy. It was then that the County Executive said Dadey began a vendetta against her.
“It was, she didn't do as we told her to do and it's been all out war ever since then,” Mahoney said.
What followed was an intra-party battle over the party nomination for the legislative seat now filled by Cox. The leaders decided to back David Knapp. Carole Marsh had been secretary of the county committee and town chairman in Pompey. She said Dadey lobbied for her support of a particular candidate.
“His sister-in-law, Sarah Dadey. And I said I would support who ever Joanie Mahoney nominated,” said Marsh.
She says Dadey moved against her.
Marsh said, “Mr. Dadey called me and said he wanted to talk to me. And he said that he was requesting that I either resign as secretary or he would have me go before the executive committee.”
“Tom Dadey fired her from that position. She lost her paying job, as well, because she supported Bob Cox,” said Mahoney.
There had been vacancies on the county republican committee prior to the vote on the nomination in the legislature race. The previous fall, Mahoney says her brother and sister's names had been added to the committee in an area that would vote on that nomination. Dadey claims they were never approved and that the then-executive director of the party, Al Julian, had sent through the names, shortly before Mahoney gave his wife a job in county government.
Al Julian's support of Mahoney and Cox increased the tension at County GOP headquarters and he resigned his post. Later he would end up working in the county law department. Dadey says it was a quid pro quo agreement, in return for his support of Cox. All of it arranged, he says, by Mahoney aide Ben Dublin.
Dadey has now taken his charges to the District Attorney, who is reviewing the case and expects to decide in early December whether further action is needed.
“I do understand why the District Attorney's office would investigate this. I think they have an obligation to investigate where a complaint has been made,” Mahoney said.
What is clear is that her relationship with the county republican chairman appears irretrievable.
“There's a pettiness that is extraordinary. You know, if you don't do what he wants you to do, he will fight you to the death,” Mahoney said.
Tom Dadey declined an on camera interview, issuing a statement defending his actions and saying he had no interest in attempting to "frame the story" or become involved in a "tit for tat" battle with the County Executive.