Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sheppard wants Reilich and COMIDA investigated

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 10:59 AM

James Sheppard - FILE PHOTO
  • James Sheppard
Democratic County Legislator James Sheppard wants Monroe County's newly created public integrity office to step into a messy and odd political dispute in Irondequoit. But there's a slight problem: the office isn't up and running yet. 

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo last week announced the start of a national search for the office's director. In a statement released early this morning, Sheppard called on Dinolfo to expedite the search. 

Sheppard's concern is with recent statements by Monroe County Republican Committee chair Bill Reilich, as well as with statements and actions by officials with the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency.

In a misguided attempt to sully the reputation of Irondequoit Supervisor Adam Bello, a Democrat who will be sworn in as Monroe County clerk tomorrow, Reilich claimed that Irondequoit's I-Square development is failing under Bello's watch. He said that I-Square has defaulted on a tax incentive agreement with the town, the West Irondequoit school district, and COMIDA.

COMIDA then sent out its own statement backing Reilich up.

During an appearance on WXXI's Connections program Monday afternoon, I-Square owners Mike and Wendy Nolan said that COMIDA hasn't notified them of a problem. And they questioned why Reilich had been informed before them. And They've said that they intend to sue Reilich for defamation. 

"Public institutions charged with developing local businesses and creating jobs cannot and should not be used for personal gain, yet the chairman’s statements indicate that he used this independent authority as a tool to further his political agenda," Sheppard said in his statement.

He says that the county's new integrity office should open an investigation into Reilich's and COMIDA's conduct as its first order of businesses.

Sheppard voted against the legislation that created the county's Office of Public Integrity over questions about the office's powers. 

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