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August 26, 2013 - 10:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

The trustees of the Village of Corfu voted 4-0 on Monday to delay filing a petition with 4th Appellate Division of the NYS Supreme Court for the removal of Mayor Ralph Peterson from office.

Peterson is reportedly hospitalized and under observation by doctors. Peterson has reportedly told trustees and others that his undisclosed condition is related to stress.

After a closed session, Deputy Mayor David Bielec announced the board's decision to delay sending in the petition. The delay is intended to give Peterson time for his health to improve. The trustees want him to meet with Village Attorney Mark Boylan so Boylan can ascertain how Peterson intends to respond to the trustees' demand that he resign.

There was no response from Peterson to the board's demand for a resignation letter by 5 p.m. last Friday.

"We don't want to take any action until he's out of the hospital," Bielec said. "We want to discuss it within and get a firm decision before we go through the court procedure. It's a very expensive process and you can't know the outcome until you get there."

Trustee Art Ianni also asked the board to reconsider its aggressive approach to trying and recover more than $10,000 in missing court funds.

The trustees believe that regardless of how the funds went missing -- former court clerk Brandi Watts is accused of stealing it -- former village justice Robert Alexander is legally responsible to reimburse the village for the shortage.

Watts is the daughter of Alexander.

"Based on our budget, based on our court budget, this (the $10,000) is a small percentage of dollars," Ianni said. "I don't mind trying to recover it, but it's the kill zone we're looking at when it comes to the families and actions that might come out. I would like to ask the board to take another look at what potentially could happen from our actions. ... We could recover $10,000 and find out we destroyed two families. Is this something we could have some compassion about and say, 'Look, they've lost their jobs and their reputations?' "

When asked, though, Ianni said he would still vote yes on any motion trying to recover the funds.

August 24, 2013 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu, Robert Alexander.

Robert E. Alexander has been suspended with pay effective Thursday as justice in the Town of Pembroke in an order signed by NYS Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

Alexander is under indictment on charges of coercion and official misconduct. He's also been accused -- but not charged with any crime -- of threatening a Town of Pembroke board member.

A former Village of Corfu justice, Alexander's troubles started June 2012 when a NYS Comptroller's Office audit allegedly uncovered at least $10,000 in missing court funds.

In June, Alexander's daughter, Brandi Watts, who was the Village of Corfu court clerk during the period of time covered by the audit, was indicted on 61 counts, including felony counts of grand larceny.

In July, Lippman ordered Alexander removed from all pending court cases in Pembroke and barred him from hearing any future cases pending the outcome of the criminal case against him.

The charges against Alexander stem from a compliant lodged by the current court clerk, Pam Yasses, that Alexander harassed her after initially directing her to conduct an audit of the court records and then reportedly being unhappy with the results when Yasses said she confirmed at least $10,000 in missing funds.

Alexander has denied any wrongdoing.

Further Reading: This morning we found this undated story about Alexander on the 700 Club Web site.

August 24, 2013 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.
Mayor Ralph Peterson (file photo)

Corfu Mayor Ralph Peterson did not respond to an Aug. 16 letter from Village Attorney Mark Boylan demanding his resignation.

The letter was sent to Peterson at the direction of the board of trustees and alleges Peterson has taken several actions not in the best interest of the village.

Peterson was given a deadline of 5 p.m., Aug. 23, to submit his resignation or face a petition to the appellate division of the NYS Supreme Court seeking his removal from office.

It will not necessarily be easy to convince the court to remove an elected official from office. In prior cases, justices have ruled that removal under Section 36 of the Public Officers Law is a "drastic remedy."

According to a ruling in 2011 on an attempt to remove the mayor of the Village of Middleburgh, the trustees seeking Peterson's ouster will need to build a case that shows "unscrupulous conduct or gross dereliction of duty or conduct that connotes a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority."

Actions that are considered "minor neglect" or "administrative oversights" and even some violations of the law do not rise to the level of misconduct serious enough for the "drastic remedy."

If the removal case against Peterson goes forward, it will be up to a panel of justices in the 4th Appellate Division to determine if the case presented against him is sufficient.

Boylan's letter to Peterson probably lays out the case the trustees will try to make against the mayor.

The letter accuses Peterson of:

  • A general pattern of obstruction and interference with village board attempts to hold Judge Robert Alexander and his daughter Brandi Watts, a former court clerk, accountable for court funds found to be missing by a state audit. "It's clear your relationship with the judge has influenced many of your decisions in this matter."
  • Peterson is accused of withholding a settlement offer letter from an attorney representing part-time police officers who have threatened a lawsuit against the village over pay and scheduling issues. Peterson reportedly received the letter in May but kept knowledge of the letter to himself until August despite repeated requests by trustees for updates on the threatened suit. During an Aug. 12 closed session meeting, Peterson allegedly told trustees, with Boylan in the room, that he wanted the suit to go forward so the village's insurance company would pay off the officers.
  • During his time in office, Peterson is accused of trying to use his power as mayor to retaliate against former Deputy Mayor Al Graham over a long history of disagreements by getting Graham removed from his job as supervisor, working for Camden Group, of the Corfu sewer plant. Peterson allegedly threatened to "see to it" that Camden's contract with Corfu would be terminated if Graham was not removed.
  • Peterson is also accused of harassing and intimidating village employees Sandra Thomas, clerk, and Denise Beal, deputy clerk. The letter states that Peterson's actions have subjected the village to potential litigation.
  • During his time in office, Peterson is accused of abusing his authority several times, including hiring police officers without board approval and renewing village insurance policies without board consent.

In example cases we can find, courts have shown some reluctance for removing elected officials.

In a 1976 case, a justice wrote:

The court certainly recognizes the sacred right of the people to choose their elected officials. Section 36 of the Public Officers Law is in no way intended to interfere with this vital aspect of democratic society. Rather, this section has been enacted to protect the citizens from an elected official who by his misconduct, malfeasance, maladministration or malversation, abuses his public trust, harms the public interest and violates his oath of office.

The case cites a prior case with this observation:

The intent of the law is to bestow on the courts discretion to draw a line between an actual intentional breach and mere oversight. Thus, certain administrative oversights and municipal accounting deficiencies by the Mayor of a village, though clearly technical violations of village law, were found attributable to the Mayor's inexperience and did not constitute grounds for removal. (Matter of Pisciotta, supra.) Had the deficiencies continued unabated, such continuation could be found to constitute an intentional disregard of duty.

Removal of an elected official by the court, however, is not without precedent. In 1997, Victor R. Grant, supervisor of the Town of Lake Luzerne was removed from office.

In that case, Grant was found to have engaged in a willful conflict of interest by acting as insurance broker for the town's insurance policy, drawing commissions on the sale and renewal of the policy.

August 21, 2013 - 8:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Pavilion, corfu.

Latoya D. Jackson, 27, of 112 State St., Batavia, is charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17, assault 2nd, and assault 2nd (recklessly causing serious injury with a weapon). Jackson was allegedly involved in a fight at 121 Liberty St., Batavia, in which she injured two people with a knife at 8:39 p.m., Monday.

Dustin W. Bogue, 31, of 109 Oak St., Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd, criminal contempt, 1st, harassment, 2nd. Bogue is accused of violating a no-offensive-conduct order of protect.

Michael S. Lytle, 24, of 11 Wood St., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, for allegedly violating an order of protection.

Raymond Paul Meshlovitz, 34, of Main Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and unlawful possession of a prescription form. During a search of his residence by probation, Meshlovitz was allegedly found in possession of brass knuckles, a switchblade knife and prescription forms.

Jacob Duane Defisher, 17, of Roanoke Road, Pavilion, is charged with petit larceny. Defisher is accused of stealing money from Darien Lake while employed there.

Amanda Marie Bowles, 28, of Williams Street Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Bowles is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Tammy L. Draper, 46, of 22 Porter Ave., Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Draper is accused of making obscene gestures and yelling obscenities while on State Street at 3:39 p.m., Saturday.

Landrea D. Wroten, 41, of 5 Dellinger Ave., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Wroten is accused of stealing a friend's purse.

Cody D. Cutitta, 26, of 5 Fairmont Ave., Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment and disorderly conduct. Cutitta is accused of standing in the middle of Fairmont Avenue and swearing at 2:15 a.m. He's also accused of making threats by phone.

Nicola Marchesoni, 53, of Hamilton Street, Albion, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana, failure ot keep right and moving from lane unsafely. Marchesoni was stopped at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday on Quaker Hill Road, Elba, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

August 19, 2013 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Stafford, corfu.

Patrick D. Powell, 27, of 98 Barton St., Rochester, is charged with resisting arrest. Powell is accused of physically interfering with the arrest of Richard Johnson at 9:43 p.m., Saturday, at 45 Swan St., Batavia.

Richard E. Johnson, 53, of 159 Millbank St., Rochester, is charged with disorderly conduct. Johnson allegedly used obscene language and gestures on a crowded public street after being warned by police to cease such conduct.

Jovon C. Johnson, 24, of 960 Gleason Circle, East Rochester, is charged with resisting arrest. Johnson allegedly interfered with a police officer's attempt to arrest another person during following a reported fight involving several people on Swan Street at 9:43 p.m., Saturday.

Willie A. Toney, 26, of Finch Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Toney was stopped at 3:03 p.m., Saturday, on Route 77, Village of Corfu, by Corfu Police Officer Michael Petritz for allegedly driving 48 in a 35 mph zone. Upon further investigation, it was determined Toney's license was allegedly suspended 21 times. A search of his vehicle allegedly turned up a .38 caliber pistol and a crack pipe containing crack cocaine residue.

Jennifer L. Spraugue, 30, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a falsely reporting an incident case. Spraugue is being held on an unrelated charge. She was arrested for allegedly failing to appear in Bergen Town Court on a third-degree charge of falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement. Spraugue entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to time served. She was returned to the jail on the unrelated matter.

Stoan Richard Dietzman, 18, of Dartwood Avenue, Cheektowaga, was arrested on warrants related endangering the welfare of a child and strangulation, 2nd, charges. Dietzman was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in the City of Buffalo and after a records check was arrested on the warrants. After being turned over to the Sheriff's Office, Dietzman was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Barbara Ann Kosciolek, 67, of Osterhout Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, failure to keep right and moving form lane unsafely. Kosciolek was stopped at 11:11 p.m. Saturday on Route 5 in Stafford by Deputy Matthew Butler.

John Edward Ryman, 32, of Macedone Center Road, Palmyra, is charged with possession of untaxed cigarettes. Ryman was allegedly found in possession of 35 cartons of untaxed cigarettes during a traffic stop on Route 5 in Le Roy by Deputy Matthew Butler.

Jeanine Danielle Fuller, 26, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Fuller is accused of shoplifting $33.78 in merchandise from Walmart.

Robert Gordan Woodhouse, 54, of Creek Road, Batavia, is charged with felony DWAI-Drugs and moving from lane unsafely. Woodhouse was stopped following a report at 4 p.m. Friday of a black H3 Hummer operating erratically on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The Hummer allegedly crossed the center line and nearly struck an oncoming vehicle. The Hummer was stopped by Deputy Chad Minuto and upon investigation Woodhouse was accused of driving while under the influence of drugs.

Robert Walter Plantiko, 38, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Plantiko allegedly entered a motel room and stole property. Plantiko was jailed on $10,000 bail or $20,000 bond.

Mark Robert Willard, 39, of Tinkham Road, Darien, is accused of violating probation. Willard was arrested and held without bail.

Iesha Marie Vetter, 20, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and criminal mischief. Vetter is accused of removing products from packaging as part of an effort to steal items from Target.

Winston A. Lockhart, 18, of 3 Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Lockhart allegedly hit a woman at 119 State St., Batavia, during an incident reported at 3:22 p.m. Saturday.

Ashlea M. Harmon, 22, of 665 Ellicott St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Harmon was found in possession of an allegedly stolen bicycle that she admitted to stealing.

Michael S. Lytle, 24, of 11 Wood St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and criminal mischief. Lytle was arrested following a reported domestic incident on Wood Street at 11:40 p.m. Friday. Lytle was jailed on $250 bail.

August 18, 2013 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, corfu, WGRZ.

Michael Caputo invited me to appear on WGRZ's Sunday afternoon show, 2 Sides, which airs at noon.

We'll be talking about Corfu and Le Roy. 

If you receive the Buffalo stations on cable or DirecTV, tune in.

August 18, 2013 - 8:35am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Darien, corfu, indian fall.

A small car fire inside a garage is reported at 59 E. Main St. in Corfu. It has not spread to the structure and is under control. Corfu Fire Department is responding, along with mutual aid from Darien and Indian Falls.

The location is between Lawrence Avenue and Meadowbrook Terrace.

UPDATE 8:40 a.m.: Fire is out; vehicle is cooled down; smoke is gone. Mutual aid companies put back in service.

UPDATE 8:43 a.m.: Some Corfu responders are put back in service.

UPDATE 8:55 a.m.: Corfu command puts the assignment back in service.


August 16, 2013 - 9:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford, corfu.

Kyle Justin James Jackson, 21, of Slusser Road, Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment. Jackson, while incarcerated in the Genesee County Jail, allegedly threw a plastic cup containing feces at a corrections officer. Jackson remains in jail on other charges.

Sandra Rae Marceill, 66, of Sanders Road, Stafford, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving too slow/impeding traffic and moving from lane unsafely. Marceill was stopped at 11:04 p.m. Aug. 9 on Main Road, Stafford, by Deputy James Diehl.

David Michael Jackson, 36, of Lake Road, Pavilion, is charged with forcible touching, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse, 3rd. Jackson is accused of touching the intimate parts of a person less than 17 years old.

April Lynn Walradt, 36, of Westcott Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and moving from lane unsafely. Walradt was allegedly the driver in a motor-vehicle accident reported at 1:18 a.m. Thursday on Westcott Road, Le Roy. The accident was investigated by Deputy Matthew Fleming.

David Alexander Bramblett, 44, of Chapin Street, Canandaigua, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, unlicensed driver. Bramblett was stopped on Route 77 in Corfu following a report of an apparently intoxicated driver from a witness on the Thruway. Bramblett was stopped at 4:19 p.m. Tuesday by Deputy Eric Seppela.

August 15, 2013 - 11:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

Corfu Mayor Ralph Peterson is going to receive a letter from the village attorney demanding his resignation.

If he doesn't resign, Mark Boylan, village attorney, is instructed to contact the appellate division of the NYS Supreme Court to begin the process of trying to remove Peterson from office.

Corfu's trustees voted 3-1, with Peterson supplying the no vote and Trustee Keith Busch absent, to take steps to remove Peterson from office.

While there's a long string of complaints that trustees and village residents have about Peterson, the latest alleged action that has angered trustees is an alleged admission by Peterson that he withheld an important letter from the village because he wanted to see a lawsuit against the village proceed.

This allegation came out after a closed session where trustees -- without Peterson, who was barred from the closed session -- discussed their options in the wake of recent events involving the lawsuit, village personnel and an alleged threat made by former village justice Robert Alexander.

Corfu trustees held an emergency board meeting on these topics this evening.

After Boylan raised the allegation that Peterson withheld the letter to perpetuate the lawsuit, Peterson denied it.

Trustee Ken Lauer said, "Oh, you have a different story to tell?"

"Yes, I have a different story to tell," Peterson said.

As Peterson started to speak, Lauer repositioned a microphone from a television news station to point at Peterson and Peterson paused and then said, "I've been advised by counsel not to make any statements."

As soon as the meeting adjourned, Peterson walked out of the building without speaking to anybody.

In May, Peterson reportedly received a letter from Andrew Fleming, the attorney representing a group of part-time village police officers who claimed they were illegally deprived work hours.  The letter was an offer to settle a potential lawsuit before it reached that stage.

Trustees only learned of the letter Monday when Fleming showed up at the village board meeting.

Peterson allegedly made a statement in closed session that night that he wanted to see the lawsuit filed, so he allegedly withheld the letter from the other trustees.

Also stirring the pot for trustees was a letter Peterson reportedly sent out Aug. 8 (PDF) asserting his power as mayor to run the village. He threatened legal action against any trustee, or the board as a whole, if attempts were made to usurp his power.

This evening, the trustees also voted 3-1 on a motion instructing Boylan to send a letter to Peterson barring him from contact with village office staff over concern that Peterson's continued contact with staff will lead to a harassment lawsuit.

The other motion passed Thursday was one instructing Boylan to send a letter to Robert Alexander barring him from village property.

Last night the Town of Pembroke board instructed Boylan, who also represents the town, to send a letter to Alexander barring him from town property.

According to witnesses, at Monday's village meeting, Alexander allegedly threatened to break the neck of a Town of Pembroke board member.

State Police confirm receiving a report of an alleged incident involving Alexander, but decline to disclose any further information pending completion of an investigation.

Two residents spoke at Thursday's village meeting. Charlie Lenhard, who identified himself as a longtime friend of Peterson's, told Peterson it's time for him to resign. Drew Doll said that as a 60-year resident of the village, he's embarrassed by what the village has become. The problems started, he said, long before any of the current trustees were on the board. It's time, he said, to dissolve the village.

August 15, 2013 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

We just received this public notice from the Village of Corfu.







August 13, 2013 - 9:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, Bethany, corfu, bergen.

Joseph Andrew Hernick, 64, of Seven Springs Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Hernick is accused of being verbally abusive and attempting to be physically intimidating toward a neighbor.

James A. Hancock, 44, of 318 E. Main St., Apt. 6, Batavia, is charged with aggravated criminal contempt. Hancock allegedly violated an order of protection while having a prior criminal contempt conviction within five years.

Patrick O. Spikes, 32, of 16 Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. Spikes is accused of damaging property of another person valued at more than $250 during an alleged incident on Holland Avenue at 2:30 a.m., Saturday.

Keluan B. Williams, 24, of 109 Summit St., Apt. 2, Batavia, is charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17 years old. The alleged incident was reported at 3:30 p.m., Saturday. No further details released.

Danny D. Williams, 24, of 18 East Ave., upper, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation and consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle on a public highway. Williams was allegedly found driving at 6:54 p.m. Saturday on Hutchins Place by Officer Chad Richards. At the time of the traffic stop, Williams allegedly had an open can of Natural Light beer in the driver's side cup holder.

Brandi A. Watts, 32, of Indian Falls Road, Corfu, is was arrested on a warrant yesterday following a court appearance on an unrelated matter. Watts is accused of failure to pay a fine on an overnight parking ticket in the City of Batavia.

Eric Alexander Ion, 40, of Brant Road, Brant, was arrested on bench warrants related to charges of criminal contempt, 1st, and assault, 3rd. Ion is accused of failing to appear on these charges. Ion is currently being held on bail in the Genesee County Jail on matters in Family Court.

Faith Brenda Obeirne, 45, of Mt. Read Boulevard, Rochester, was arrested on warrants for alleged petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Obeirne was arrested by Rochester PD and turned over to the Sheriff's Office. Obeirne was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Conor Patrick Wilkes, 25, of Lewiston Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to keep right. Wilkes was stopped at 1:31 a.m. Saturday on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Justin Joseph Caryl, 26, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Caryl is accused of stealing $25.94 in merchandise from Walmart.

Jake Philip Myers, 23, of Maple Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08, failure to keep right and no or inadequate headlights. Myers was stopped at 1:48 a.m. Saturday on Edgerton Road, Elba, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Evelio Rodriguez-Santiago, 46, of Bergen, is charged with petit larceny. Rodriguez-Santiago is accused of stealing an item of value at a location on Church Street, Bergen, at 6:15 p.m., Saturday. Rodriguez-Santiago was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Timothy J. Poblocki, 24, of East Bethany, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Poblocki was stopped at 1:45 p.m. Sunday on Route 20, Alexander, by State Police.

Jennifer N. Bujnowski, 39, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Bujnowski is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

August 11, 2013 - 11:21am
posted by Billie Owens in events, corfu.
Event Date and Time: 
August 20, 2013 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

The next meeting of the Corfu Concerned Citizens will be held at the Pembroke Community Center, 116 E. Main St., Corfu, beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20. This meeting is open to the public.


August 5, 2013 - 11:40pm
Event Date and Time: 
September 13, 2013 - 6:00pm to September 14, 2013 - 8:00am

PLEASE SAVE THE DATE...Batavia Assembly of God Church is hosting its 3rd Annual Prayer Conference Friday, Sept. 13th, 6:00pm to 9:00pm (registration is from 6pm - 7pm) and Saturday, Sept. 14th, 8:00am to 4pm. The theme for the conference is "Presence, Prayer, and the Power of God". The keynote speaker will be Dick LaFountain. Dick is an accomplished  speaker and a published author of the book, "Time Alone With God". His passion is to motivate a renewed love for prayer and the presence of God in our churches. Workshops will also be available. Worship will be led by Elmwood Drive.

August 4, 2013 - 2:17pm
posted by Jay Terkel in corfu, Black Swallowtail, Butterfly.

We just had this beautiful visitor to our flower garden. I'm not sure how common this Black Swallowtail is in this area