While several past and current government officials are receiving lease payments – some in excess of $1 million – from the Maple Ridge Wind Farm, the most recent disclosure by Iberdrola Renewables Inc. indicates that only one of its ongoing north country wind projects – Stone Church in Hammond – includes a direct potential conflict.
According to a disclosure filed by the wind company last month, Hammond Town Councilman James C. Pitcher has a lease agreement that could be worth $60,000 to $100,000. He has recused himself from recent wind votes.
Susan Dunham, the sister of Hammond Town Councilman James Langtry, also has a lease agreement that could be worth $20,000 to $60,000.
Another official listed is former Hammond Town Clerk John Mitchell.
The disclosure fulfills the requirements of the Wind Industry Ethics Code, which was introduced by state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo in 2008.
Iberdrola has two other north country projects: Roaring Brook in Martinsburg and the dormant Horse Creek project in Clayton and Orleans.
According to the filings, past Lewis County Legislator Gary P. Rosiczkowski has a transmission line agreement on the Roaring Brook project, and Boonville Village Trustee William Daskiewich has a lease agreement, both of which are to be worth $5,000 to $20,000. Neither would have voting influence on the project.
Nicholas Thisse, the brother of Martinsburg Town Supervisor Terry J. Thisse, also holds a lease agreement with a listed worth of $5,000 to $20,000.
For the Horse Creek project, the only officials listed are Michael Pavlot from the Clayton town Board of Assessment Review and Leslie and Gretchen Daye, both past assistant fire chiefs from Depauville.
Eleven current or past officials are listed as benefiting from the 195-turbine Maple Ridge Wind Farm, which was built primarily in 2005 in the towns of Martinsburg, Harrisburg and Lowville. Of those, six may have had voting influence on the project. They include:
■ Stephen N. Bernat, who has served as Harrisburg town supervisor from 1990 to 2003 and from 2008 to the present, has an agreement worth $1 million or more.
■ William J. Burke, a long-time member of the Lowville Zoning Board of Appeals and Lowville Academy and Central School District Board and Lewis County legislator since 2008, has agreements worth $1 million or more. Mr. Burke and some of his family members are also employed by Iberdrola Renewables, and he has in recent years abstained or recused himself from voting on wind matters.
■ Paul Widrick, who was on the Harrisburg Zoning Board of Appeals in 2004 and 2009, has an agreement worth $1 million or more.
■ Edward Yancey, who was on the Harrisburg Zoning Board of Appeals from 2004 through 2008, has a financial interest through the Yancey Family Trust of $1 million or more.
■ Robert Delaplain, who was on the Harrisburg Planning Board from 2001 through 2005, has a financial interest of $1 million or more.
■ Loren D. Lyndaker, who was on the Harrisburg Planning Board from 2002 through 2006 and a member of the Town Council since 2007, has a neighbor agreement worth $20,000 to $60,000.
The methodology used in Iberdrola’s calculations for Maple Ridge – including length of leases and whether extension options were figured in – was not immediately available Monday afternoon, according to a company spokesman.
Unlike more recent wind projects, Maple Ridge evoked little public opposition or questions about potential conflicts during its development.
A spokesman from the attorney general’s office couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
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