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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 14, 2008

Town investigation finds no proof of wrongdoing

By Saranac Hale Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Six months have passed since Republicans in town filed a complaint with the district attorney’s office.

“We will be conducting our own investigation,” was Democratic Supervisor Kenneth Runion’s response after Ted Danz, the town’s Republican Committee chairman, submitted the complaint in February.

It would take the town one to two weeks to investigate the claims, Runion estimated on Feb. 20.  A report with the town’s findings was submitted last week.

“I understand that a complaint was filed with you by Town Board members Mark Grimm and Warren Redlich, together with Ted Danz, Chairman of the Guilderland Republican Committee, alleging that Donald Csaposs, an employee of the town, was posting comments on the Times Union local politics blog from his computer at Town Hall while working as a town employee,” begins Town Attorney Richard Sherwood’s memo to Runion.  Csaposs, a Democrat, works for the town as a grant writer.  He was active in the fall on local Democratic campaigns.

Danz filed a complaint only with the district attorney’s office, not the town, he said yesterday.  “They did the research and the footwork,” he said of the role played by the Republican councilmen, Grimm and Redlich.  “I filed the claim,” said Danz.

He hasn’t heard anything from the district attorney’s office, Danz said.  The office didn’t return calls for comment this week.  “I’m certain that this is not a high priority,” he said of his complaint compared to others that the office is investigating.

It wasn’t a high priority for the town, either.  “I had much more important things to do,” Sherwood said of why it took six months to complete.

“It’s a lot about nothing,” Sherwood said yesterday.  “Even if it’s true, it’s a very minor thing.  It’s political is what it is.”

Runion explained yesterday that, although no complaint was formally filed with the town, it was compelled to look into the matter.  “If we hear an outside complaint, even a rumor,” he said, “we do check those out.”

Sherwood’s report states that, according to Csaposs, he made the blog posts from his personal computer while he was at his home for lunch, since, at the time, he was overseeing the McKownville sidewalk project in his neighborhood.  He spoke with Csaposs for 10 to 15 minutes for the investigation, Sherwood said, and was able to verify that work on the sidewalks was being done on the dates in question, Oct. 18 and 19, by checking against records that he had from easements that the town had needed to get from residents.

The posts that Csaposs made on the blog, “literally could have taken him 30 seconds with the way he types,” Sherwood said.  Csaposs declined to comment.

The reporter in charge of the blog did not provide the IP, or Internet protocol, address associated with the computer from which the posts were made and, the report says, “To my knowledge, there were no witnesses to Mr. Csaposs’s posting of the aforementioned comments.”  It then concludes, “There is insufficient evidence to support any finding that Mr. Csaposs violated the Town’s Employee Manual by using a town computer for personal use or for posting such comments while employed by the town.”

“Everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” Runion said.  “That’s the way I read the report.”

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