It is the end of an investigation, but there is no end in sight to a divide within the Syracuse area GOP. A special prosecutor will not file charges, based on a complaint by the county GOP chairman against a top aide to the republican County Executive. YNN's Bill Carey says it's clear neither side in the dispute is ready to let bygones be bygones.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- It all began with an appointment to the Onondaga County Legislature. County Executive Joanie Mahoney naming attorney Robert Cox to a vacancy. She claims she was under pressure to name others to the job. Among the other potential candidates, the sister-in-law of the county's Republican Party chairman.
Tom Dadey denied he put pressure on Mahoney. But she claims that when she also balked at party recommendations for other appointments, Dadey issued a clear warning.
“He was very clear that he would attempt to embarrass me if I didn't do what he wanted. I didn't do what he wanted. He followed through on his threat. There's nothing more to this,” Mahoney said.
The chairman, for his part, says he stumbled upon evidence that a top political aide to Mahoney, Ben Dublin, had conspired with a party official, Al Julian, to improperly appoint members to the county's GOP committee to back her legislative choice. He went to the DA with his complaint.
“I'm an insurance agent by trade. I'm not a prosecutor. I saw irregularities and questionable conduct and I turned that over to the appropriate authorities,” Dadey said
Another person not given that legislative seat was the son of county District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. As a result of that relationship, Fitzpatrick handed the case over to the Oneida County District Attorney, to act as a special prosecutor. Scott McNamara reviewed the evidence and talked to witnesses for several weeks, finally issuing a report saying no charges would be brought.
“There was clearly things that were done that broke their own rules, but didn't break the law,” McNamara said.
The county's republican chairman says he feels vindicated. That the special prosecutor did agree with his initial assessment.
Dadey said, “The e-mails that I saw. The forged documents that I saw. The other evidence that I uncovered with our own internal investigation led me to believe that there were irregularities and improper conduct.”
Mahoney says she always had faith that her political aide did nothing illegal. She says Ben Dublin deserves an apology.
“He's a human being who lives in a small town with his wife and his baby and he has done absolutely nothing wrong. But, he's had to endure this cloud of accusation, and they think it's a game. It's not a game. People's reputation at stake is not a game,” Mahoney said.
Even with the investigation complete, neither Mahoney nor Dadey expect to see any significant change in their relationship in the days ahead.