A town justice in Freedom resigned while he was under investigation by a state commission for various complaints, including writing a letter to the editor in which he attacks Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a local community organization.
Gary Chamberlain was the Freedom Town Court judge for a decade before he tendered his resignation in November, which was officially approved last week. The town is about 40 miles southeast of Buffalo in Cattaraugus County.
On Oct. 18, 2018, Chamberlain wrote a letter to the editor published in the Arcade Herald in which he accused a community leader of “scare tactics and personal attacks” while defending some town board members and a local farmer who support the Alle-Catt Wind Farm project.
“A bigger problem I see is arguably the most corrupt governor NY has ever had,” Chamberlain wrote in the letter to the editor.
“Cuomo does not govern by consensus, he governs by executive order, the Safe Act, he hijacked the Tappan Zee Bridge to name after his father, and Article 10 which I understand to be Cuomo’s new vision of Eminent Domain.”
Article 10 refers to the law Cuomo amended in 2011 which created the framework for state siting boards, which streamlines critical decisions for the placement of wind and solar farms, hazardous waste dumps and other energy and environmental entities, while ensuring environmental and public health laws are followed.
Stephanie Milks, the president of the local grassroots organization Freedom United, whom Chamberlain attacked in the letter, said she filed a complaint with the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.
“I’m also a petite woman that was happy to make it to 5 feet tall and began Freedom United to protect my young children and the future of the town’s property rights. I am not scaring or attacking anyone,” Milks said in an email to WIVB.
The commission informed Chamberlain in March that it was investigating Milks’ complaint.
But the commission told Chamberlain that it had to expand its investigation of several complaints over a two-year period beginning in October 2017.
The complaints included failing to enforce a town ordinance regulating the storage of junk, failing to inform a defendant during an arraignment of his due process rights, and making political, partisan statements on numerous occasions.
But before the commission finished its investigation, Chamberlain tendered his resignation.
In doing so, he agreed to never run for judge again.
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