CAPE VINCENT, N.Y. – Members of the Cape Vincent Town Board voted Thursday to have Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey investigated after allegations from Acciona Wind Energy USA that he leaked “privileged and confidential correspondence” between the town Planning Board and several local agencies to the Wind Power Ethics Group, currently suing the town.
n a letter addressed to the both the town board and Planning Board, Timothy Q. Conboy, project manager for Acciona, writes, “Privileged and confidential correspondence between and amongst the Town of Cape Vincent Planning Board, the Bernier, Carr & Associates Group, Cavanaugh Tocci Associates and the Cape Vincent Planning Board’s law firm were provided, apparently unsolicited, to Wind Power Ethics Group, apparently at the direction of Town Supervisor Urban Hirschey.”
A reply affidavit from Todd M. Mathes, the town’s counsel, in response to a December 2010 affidavit filed by WPEG, states that Municipal Law 805 “prohibits municipal offers from disclosing confidences of their municipality.”
The leaked discussions, according to John L. Byrne, president of WEPG, were “correspondence that we received from the town’s engineers, which is also the same information that has been foiled from citizens in the town before.”
He added, “The information was foiled, the information should not have been confidential.” That information, Byrne said, “clearly shows that the sound study by the developer, which was accepted by our Planning Board, was flawed.”
During privilege of the floor, some citizens called for Hirschey’s resignation in light of the allegations.
“With the public evidence that we’ve read many times we think it would be wise for Mr. supervisor, Mr. Hirschey, to resign or at least refrain from conducting business regarding the wind, at least until the courts decide, and they will, that there really is a conflict of interest to do what has been done,” Cape Vincent resident Gary J. King said.
“In my eyes, you’ve done something very bad,” Councilman Donald J. Mason said. “I think it ought to be investigated just like you had us investigated,”
Hirschey replied, “I would be answer those once charges are pressed, other than that I have no comment.”
“I don’t think there’s a problem at all,” Councilman Brooks J. Bragdon said. “I don’t think Urban has the slightest ethical reservation about doing what’s right for the people of Cape Vincent. He’s not trying to suppress any information in this situation.”
Conboy’s letter claims Hirschey, a founder of WPEG, is listed as a member and registered agent on “The Articles of Organization for Wind Power Ethics Group Limited Liability Company, which was refuted by the organization’s president.
“Mr. Hirschey was part of Wind Power Ethics group,” Byrne said. “He has resigned. As soon as he took office, he decided he needed to resign his position.”
Richard C. WIley, who operates the Jefferson’s Leaning Left blog, also confirmed Mr. Hirschey’s resignation from WPEG.
“I’ll make a motion that we ask Mark, our attorney, to contact the DA’s office to look at this and also send a letter to the attorney general’s office regarding the possible conflict of interest,” Councilman Marty T. Mason said. The motion had a second from Councilman Donald J. Mason and passed 3-1, with Mr. Hirschey abstaining.
Hirschey is also expected to explain the allegations to the Jefferson County Board of Ethics.
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