Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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June 12th, 2015

Hitting a Raw Nerve

Officials at the Sullivan County Government Center are apparently more concerned with backroom closed door self centered politics instead of fixing the mess Sullivan County is in.

This week the County Property Tax Auction was held and we should all have a wakeup call. It was devastating to see so many properties being foreclosed because people were not able to pay their property taxes.

Equally tragic was the prices most of these properties were being auctioned off at. Some homes were going for under $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, and less.

Some properties didn’t even have any bids. One with think that with the expectations of Casino Gaming coming to Sullivan County these properties would have been swooped up, but such was not the case.

There are always foreclosures and tax auctions – But why are they at record highs?

You live in Sullivan County – As a taxpayer do you see a united front to make some positive change?

Do you see things really getting better in Sullivan County?

We can list and discuss the problems facing all of us over and over – What does it all matter?

We lack leadership. You know it – I know – and even they know it. Filing bogus ethics charges and figuring out a way to protect their self-serving interests is more important to them.

I guess I hit a raw nerve with last week’s column.

Sadly two of our hardest working public servants have announced they are not seeking reelection – first Cora Edwards and now Cindy Kurpil Gieger.

You can see people like legislative Chairman Scott Samuelson and legislators like Kathleen LaBuda opening up the champagne bottles.

They didn’t like it that Edwards and Gieger were asking so many questions and were on a mission for “Good and Accountable Government”

Last week, through the release of documents and revelations that Ethics Charges were filed against Legislator Cindy Gieger, with the latest being by legislator Kathleen LaBuda – You were afforded a firsthand view of the dysfunction at the Sullivan County Government Center.

I stand by everything that was published, and the protection of the first amendment.

This past Monday the Sullivan County Board of Ethics met and they did not like the fact that I informed you the taxpayers and residents of Sullivan County with this information.

Obviously not acting on their own, these members decided to file Ethics charges against me claiming that because I am a volunteer on the Charter Review Commission, I violated the Ethics Rules by releasing Cindy Gieger’s information as I am now a so called “County Official.”

Let’s understand something – The documents released had nothing to do with the Charter Review Commission. All meetings, and I mean all meetings of the Charter Review Commission, are open to the public, and there is nothing confidential pertaining to the business of the Charter Review Commission.

I am well aware that some people do not like me, and they will do everything they can to defame me and smear me, but that is expected when you are outspoken and write a column such as “The Mouth That Roars”

These people will do everything in their power to deflect from the real issues facing Sullivan County and its future.

On Thursday, Democratic County Chairman Darryl Kaplan joined the mix as he sent out a blistering attack and diatribe about me and the Democratic Chairman of Callicoon – It was filled with lies, innuendoes, and mistruths.

Kaplan was attempting to rewrite history while concealing his own outlandish and uncontrollable behavior. He was projecting his own actions onto others.

The question Kaplan will have to ask himself is what he had to gain by writing such a letter – Except for his out of control personal hate for me.

His disrespect for the Executive Board of The Democratic Committee was also evident by his not even discussing the matter with them.

Although I do not have much hair on my head, I have very thick skin. My entire life – I have always fought for what I feel is right and just – I have and always will speak out on issues I believe in.

I love Sullivan County and I want to see it flourish.

Like the rest of you, I am sick and tired with what has happened to the world renowned Catskill Mountains.

Some people do not want me on the Charter Review Commission because they are looking into possibly changing our form of government to that of a County Executive and recommending staggered terms and term limits for legislators.

It is well established that Kathleen LaBuda is against term limits, she has been there 16 years, and now wants to be there 20 years.

The allegations by the Ethics Board that I violated law as a “County Official” in releasing Cindy Gieger’s documents are a joke.

By law she can release any information she wants pertaining to herself and others who accuse her.

Unlike the charges against me, the names of those who accused her were released in her complaint and in the determination of the ethics board.

The documents I published were never marked “Classified” or “Confidential”

In the allegations towards me, the Ethics Board will be the Prosecutor, Jury, and Judge.

Former members of the Ethics Board were comprised of distinguished people like former Justices Anthony Kane and Burt Ledina.

But, who is this new group of five?

The Ethics Board is comprised of John Konefal, Ken Walter, Judie Goldberg, Keith Gilmore and Lorne Green.

One of the members is a County Employee, while another one is on the Charter Review Commission and running for legislator, and another member has ties to certain legislators.

All of the members of the Ethics Board file disclosure papers, and I have foiled those documents.

This past Tuesday I asked County Officials for documents that informed me that being a member of the Charter Review Commission would make me a “County Official” and that I was bound by the Ethics Law.

Below is my exchange with Michele Huck, Assistant to County Manager Josh Potosek:

Hi Michele,

Can you please email the documents that I signed as a Charter Review Commission member that stated I was subject to the Sullivan County Ethics Law, and all the disclosure information that I and other members signed to accept this voluntary position.

Thank you,

Bill Liblick

Michele Huck Response:

Dear Mr. Liblick,

I am in receipt of your FOIL request below. Please be advised that I have been in contact with the Clerk to the Legislature and she has informed me that she has no documents in her possession that are responsive to your request.

If you wish to appeal my decision, Sullivan County’s FOIL Appeals Officer is Samuel Yasgur, Esq., 100 North Street, P.O. Box 5012, Monticello, NY 12701

Sincerely, Michelle L. Huck, Executive Assistant Sullivan County Manager’s Office

My response: So you are telling me that the members of the Charter Review Commission were never told that they were supposedly County Officials and bound by the Ethics Laws?

I await your response

Thank you,

Bill Liblick

A few hours later all members of the Charter Review Commission along with all legislators received this email:

Dear County Official*:

It has come to our attention that whether or not you received a copy of the 2013 Sullivan County Ethics Law you may have not been advised of your obligation to provide written acknowledgement of its receipt. In order for you to continue in your current capacity as a volunteer, you are required to provide this office with written Acknowledgement of receipt of the Ethics Law.

You may transmit the Acknowledgement Electronically, by regular mail, or in person to me.

Regrettably, if we do not receive your signed Acknowledgement by close of business on June 16, 2015, we will have no choice but to consider your current position vacated.

Please refer to Ethics Law SectionA8A-10.

Attached to this letter is a copy of the Ethics Law and form Acknowledgement of receipt for your convenience.

Thank you very much for your prompt response and compliance.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.


Anne Marie Martin Clerk to the Legislature

*You have been identified as a “County Official” as that term is used A8A-1of the Sullivan County Administrative Code, which contains the 2013 Sullivan County Ethics Law.

Obviously I will be responding to this Ethics Allegations.

The sad part in all this is that Cindy Gieger has made a decision not to seek reelection.

She feels that this is not why she ran for political office, and that her family does not need to go through this form of abuse. She instead wants to concentrate on her family and grandchildren.

Although not seeking re-election Gieger plans to keep her pristine reputation intact.

In a statement issued on Monday, Gieger said, “I have worked too hard over the last four years to bring forward necessary reforms to Sullivan County government for all the residents and taxpayers.”

Richard Golden, Gieger’s Attorney stated, “The obviously coordinated ethics complaints against Legislator Gieger clearly lack any basis for a violation of the county’s Code of Ethics and should never have been accepted. The new complaints are more of the same and similarly lack any merit. They appear to be politically motivated. Ms. Gieger will aggressively fight these new complaints and will not back down.”

Cindy Gieger will soon move on with her life and she will be glad she did.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

1 comment to Hitting a Raw Nerve

  • gespin3549

    You have no reason to lie. There is nothing in it for you. One of the reasons you are quite believable. Sorry state of affairs.

    The tax auctions are disgusting. The county does not care enough to help people retain their homes and that is an obvious fact by the amount of foreclosures every year over the last few years. But that’s just my opinion and I am not married to a powerful judge to cover my ass when I want to throw a tantrum.