While much of the recent news has focused on the forty-one count indictment of GOP County Legislator Martin Reid, we must not lose sight of our esteemed DA's ethical issues relative to his Republican colleagues.
Rensselaer County - Republican Safe Haven
According to the story:
"The state Labor Department turned over copies of the judge's ruling, and other records in the case — including Reid's county time slips and his certifications to the state that he qualified for the benefits — to the Rensselaer County district attorney's office for review as a potential criminal case. District Attorney Joel Abelove, a Republican who took over as district attorney in January, declined to pursue the case and, earlier this year, denied his office received a referral from the state Labor Department."
Abelove stated that no referral was ever made. On the news this morning he was quoted as saying that his predecessor had the information and did not act.
However, in January Abelove said:
"We've been dealing with a lot more pressing issues," said Abelove, who recently hired one of Reid's relatives, Christine Labbate, as an assistant district attorney. Abelove declined to confirm how Reid is related to Labbate. But he added that Labbate has experience as a former prosecutor in Essex County and said his decision to hire her will not sway any case under review by his office, including Reid's."
Whatever. This guy is a train wreck.
Earlier in the year Abelove's office dropped charges against Rich Crist, a key player in getting any office seeker the GOP and conservative lines. Crist, if we recall, was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. The charge was deemed unfounded by Child Protective Services. It sounded like a dust-up between Crist and his teenage son. Another DA would have, more than likely, dismissed the charge.
Point is, these are softballs pitched right down the middle. Send the cases to another District Attorney. That's it. Easy. End of story.
Anyone who spoke to Abelove after his election but before he took office knows the District Attorney-elect voiced his enthusiasm for cracking down on welfare cheats. Oh, the hypocrisy. And before we get any idiotic comments, we do not, and would not, expect Abelove's office to prosecute these cases. We just expected him to do the right thing.
Instead, people having growing concerns about Abelove's conduct and we are barely 8 months into his term. We should have known. In a massively Republican election year, this guy barely squeaked into office.