Written February 10, 2016     
 

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© 2016 Bob Lonsberry

 
 
GOP MUST REPAY MONEY, MAGGIE MUST GO

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The money must come back, and she must go.

In the wake of guilty pleas in the LDC scandal in Monroe County, there is some unfinished business.

The money must come back, and she must go.

The Monroe County Republican Party must return criminal proceeds given to it, and Maggie Brooks must leave her high-pay, high-profile patronage job at the transit authority.

Maggie Brooks spent 12 years as Monroe County executive. She was the top elected official of county government. During that time she pushed through the creation of various local-development corporations, which took public business private.

She said it was to save the taxpayer money.

Subsequent accounting and investigation have shown it did just the opposite.

It also criminally enriched her campaign account, her husband and the “housekeeping” fund of the county Republican Party.

Let that sink in.

Maggie Brooks created entities that engaged in criminal activity that enriched her husband, her campaign and her political party.

And she walked away with a $116,000-a-year make-work job from which she took two weeks vacation during her first four weeks of employment.

And her political party fattened its coffers with tens of thousands of dollars that had been criminally obtained from the taxpayers.

This isn’t “case closed.”

This is “settle the score.”

And here’s how.

The party has to return the money and she has to leave the transit authority.

The chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party is morally obligated to scour his records and his purse and return any monies given by lead conspirator Dan Lynch or any others connected to him in this criminal enterprise.

Lynch on Tuesday admitted to directing a subcontractor to overbill the county and then funnel the stolen money to the Friends of Maggie Brooks and the Monroe County Republican Party Housekeeping Committee.

That money must be given back.

The chairman of the Republican Party knows how much it is and who it came from. And it, along with the $47,000 Lynch gave the housekeeping committee, must be returned.

Make the check out to the taxpayers, and give it to the county.

Anything less is reprehensible and unacceptable.

It is blood money. It is filthy lucre. It is the 33 pieces of silver for which it seems this party sold its soul.

And just as the new county executive has set about cleaning house and imposing rules and oversights to prevent future corruptions, the Monroe County Republican Party must do the same.

It is not enough to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar and give it back, you must demonstrate that you’re getting out of the cookie-stealing business. The Monroe County Republican Party must establish guidelines for contributions, to itself and its candidates, that will stand for integrity and an avoidance of the appearance of evil or impropriety.

If political parties seek to lead society, then let Monroe County Republicans lead. And let it be in the direction of integrity. It was a founder of Republicanism, for example, who was called “Honest Abe” and who said, “Right makes might.”

And this party must be honest and do right.

It must refuse future donations from companies and people doing business with the county and towns. It must put a stop to the reality and perception of pay to play.

Or it must be revealed as the slop-sucking trough hog it appears to be.

And Maggie must go.

She went from leading a demonstrably corrupt county administration to a big-money job at the Republican-controlled transit authority. A job that had never previously existed. A job that mostly seems to ask her to go to occasional meetings.

All to pad out and fill out her pension.

The Monroe County taxpayers face the highest combined state and local tax burden in the country, and Monroe County officials get fat life-long pensions as a matter of right.

But she’s burned her bridge.

LDCs were her idea. Her husband committed a felony rigging a bid for an LDC. That rigged bid paid off her campaign fund and her political party. All while she told the people that accusations against her were partisanship. She said she was a victim.

And now we know different.

Some days I think they led the wrong member of the family across Exchange Boulevard in handcuffs.

Every minute she remains at the transit authority is a crime against common decency. She must be removed.

The Monroe County Republican Party and the transit authority must both do the right thing.

They’ve got to give back the money, and she’s got to be gone.

This isn’t “case closed.”

This is “settle the score.”


- by Bob Lonsberry © 2016

   
        
   
 
    
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