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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October 27th, 2015

One Week Away

One week from today is Election Day – All of the candidates are busy putting their spin on the issues. Incumbents are talking about their accomplishments while candidates are talking about what they will do differently if elected.

Last week, Jeff Siegel who is running for legislator against incumbent Ira Steingart sort of put his foot in his mouth when he said that he would not support tax dollars going to assist not for profits. His statements poured in an outcry from many of those institutions that rely on such Sullivan County funding and tax dollars. But – Siegel stood by much of his comments in a video released on youtube and facebook.

As voters we have an obligation to look into the issues. Whether we agree with Siegel’s statements or not, we still must give him credit for raising them. The voters will ultimately decide if they agree with him or not.


One of the most important issues legislators must tackle is our budget.

Last week with much fanfare a tentative budget revealed the 2016 Sullivan County Budget will come in below the state 2 percent cap. It sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Could even be considered election year politics.

The simple truth is – even at 2 percent – how much blood can one get from a stone?

In five years that 2 percent each year becomes 10 percent – and in ten years it becomes 20 percent.

Add in Town and School taxes – and you get the record foreclosures and hardships Sullivan County residents are facing each and every day.

Let’s also ask – What are really doing to stop us from being one of the poorest and unhealthiest counties in New York State.

There are many issues that have made the headlines this past year. It is our obligation as voters to review them.

Casino Resort Destination

Probably the biggest issue facing us is the anticipation of a resort casino and how will it change our economy.

Do you feel our elected officials have done enough in mapping out a strategy?

Another issue that is related to the casino is the proposal to spend millions on a new hanger at the Sullivan County Airport. Is it needed or are there other things we can spend these monies on? Where do all of our candidates stand?

DFS and Fraud Unit

Probably the biggest headlines this past year related to the Department of Family Services, former Commissioner Randy Parker, a HEAP scandal, and a dwindled down fraud unit.

This past week I received a very disturbing email from Michael S. Brownstein, a Former Sullivan County resident and Former District Attorney Fraud Investigator. I would like to share that email with you now:
Good Morning Bill,

I hope you find my letter I drafted worthwhile. I sent it to the THR to Heather Yakin as well as Jim Farrell.

As I state, work is preventing from being done at no fault of Jim Farrell or Gerry Dietz. Kathy LaBuda would get rid of the Fraud Unit if she could. The Unit has done a great job for the county and state since Gerry took over in 2013. In my year and three months I made over 30 arrests and recoupment was over 100k. Then a brick wall was hit after Parker was fired and the new acting commissioner took over.

Please keep me apprised of the status of the letter.

Michael Brownstein

Former Sullivan County resident and Former DA Investigator Says:
Wake up Sullivan County Taxpayers and County Legislators

I am writing this letter to express my opinion which was lived first hand as an employee for the County of Sullivan and the District Attorney.

I was hired by Sullivan County District Attorney James Farrell and started to work for Sullivan County on May 19, 2014 working under Sr. Investigator Gerard Dietz at Family Services in Liberty, New York.

I was a District Attorney Investigator hired to investigate fraud within the County of Sullivan. My assignment brought me to Liberty, New York where I worked with the SIU (special investigations unit), which consisted of civilian investigators.

I was a sworn police officer with arrest powers.

Along with the help and hard work of the civilian investigators as well as two senior examiners utilizing their knowledge of the Family Service system, a certain dollar amount would be determined when applications were filed with false information on them giving certain money, either in medical benefits, SNAP (food stamp benefits), or in some cases housing benefits when the person or persons filing these applications should not have been eligible to receive these benefits.

This was not in every case but a substantial amount of applications were false. What I mean by false, is that whomever filed the application(s) LIED.

The reason Family Services exists is to help those who need the help. It isn’t made for those who want to take advantage of it when they do not need the help.

In the beginning of my tenure at Family Services I began working not only for James Farrell but Randy Parker, the Commissioner of Family Services.

Mr. Parker was subsequently fired and a new “acting” Commissioner was appointed.
This is where the “fun” began.

When I worked under the Parker regime the Fraud Unit was just that a Fraud Unit. Arrests were being made of those persons outright lying on their applications receiving benefits when they shouldn’t have which takes benefits away from those who do need it and tell the truth.

Once the newly appointed “acting” Commissioner began his reign, the Fraud Unit which was part of the SIU (special investigations unit) working as a TEAM, was now banished to the second floor in a room maybe 7′ x 9′ for two Investigators to work out of.

This was OK because as two “seasoned” Investigators we did what we had to do and continued to perform our duties and investigate fraud. However, there was one stumbling block….the Fraud Unit was on the second floor and the SIU unit was in the basement. The “team” was now separated and unable to work together….I continue with the stumbling block….the so called coordinator of the SIU, which was to be known as Resources advised that the Family Services was to stop investigating “some” cases where people,” made a mistake” on their application.

There were no mistakes people, they outright lied.

But, this was a way for certain people to make an attempt to dismantle the Fraud Unit.

You may not know this so I will tell you. In the year and three months that I had worked for James Farrell as a District Attorney Investigator, over $100,000.00 was recouped from those persons arrested, and either pleading guilty or prosecuted to charges stemming from the Fraud Unit and SIU investigation.

I have been gone for two months now, residing in the State of Florida but reading the Times Herald Record and keeping in touch with residents of Sullivan County, I see nothing as far as investigations or arrests.

No fault to District Attorney James Farrell or Sr. Investigator Gerry Dietz.

In ending I would like to say, wake up! If certain higher ups don’t care that people lie to get benefits that they do not deserve just think of who is paying the bill here.

Respectfully submitted,
Michael S. Brownstein
Former Sullivan County resident and Former DA Investigator.

Ask all the candidates running for legislator about Mr. Brownstein’s letter and their opinions.
Where Do The Candidates Stand?

Also – ask them if they support term limits, staggered terms, and the election of a County Executive. While you are at it, ask them if they would support funding the Charter Review Commission so they can take their message to the public without them muzzling it.

Yes – Indeed we have a lot of homework to do.

But first – Do you even know who the candidates are?

Thunder Radio is holding debates between all candidates running for the Sullivan County Legislature.

They are available online at:

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.

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