Inspector General’s office looking into GHA

Attorney confirms visit, but reasons remain unclear

The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor 
Members of the Gloversville Housing Authority Board are shown during Thursday's board meeting at  Dubois Gardens.

The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor Members of the Gloversville Housing Authority Board are shown during Thursday's board meeting at Dubois Gardens.

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Housing Authority has been visited by a member of the New York State Office of the Inspector General.

During Thursday’s meeting of the Gloversville Housing Authority Board, GHA resident Robert Castiglione asked the board about a possible visit by someone with the inspector general’s office, or if it was a special investigator for the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.

Attorney Bryan Goldberger, of the Goldberger and Kremer Law Firm in Albany, said after the meeting that he was aware that someone from the inspector general’s office was at the housing authority, but said he was unaware of the reasons.

“I am aware they were here. I haven’t gotten any documentation yet, so I really can’t comment more than just being aware somebody was here,” Goldberger said.

Calls to the inspector general’s office were not returned by press time.

Castiglione asked the board why the Inspector General representative visited the GHA, and he was told the board would not engage in that dialogue during the public session.

The board did not move to answer Castiglione’s question.

Board Chairman Mike Ponticello said after the meeting that he was unaware of any visit from the inspector general’s office.

“I haven’t been informed of anything,” Ponticello said.

Castiglione requested a written response to his question. He was informed he could request whatever he would like.

The Federal Housing & Urban Development’s Buffalo field office has been investigating allegations made by employees that include they were told to do work on former GHA board chairman Anthony Ferraro’s house and for a nonprofit then headed by Executive Director Tim Mattice.

Ferraro has resigned from the board. Ponticello said Ferraro dropped off his letter of resignation prior to Thursday’s meeting and was not present at the meeting.

“Mr. Ferraro served over 30 years on the board. He has apparently decided it was time for him to move on an do other things,” Ponticello said.

During the meeting, board member Jason Sweeney attempted to have the board hold off on voting on any resolutions until the HUD investigation was concluded. Sweeney argued that the resolutions should be tabled as well because of the visit by the inspector general’s office.

“I’m suggesting it all be put on the table until the investigation is over with,” Sweeney said.

No other board members moved to support Sweeney’s tabling of all resolutions.

“I understand there are other things going on, but we still have to move forward with business,” new board member Thomas Canty said.

Goldberger said the GHA has had to turn in some additional information, including to clarify responses that had been sent previously.

New board members

Ferarro’s was the second resignation in a month following Dorothy Boroson leaving the board in March. Ponticello said Boroson spends a great deal of time in Arizona.

Two new members joined the board on Thursday. Greg Gottung and Canty were both appointed in late March by Mayor Dayton King.

Gottung said during the meeting that he was there to work with the tenants.

“We really want to do a good job, we really do. This is not something where we are here to be against you guys. We’re trying to work together,” he said. “If we work together, instead of pulling apart, this will work out.”

During the meeting, the board approved a resolution for a waiver of section 19 (B) (1) of the Public Housing nepotism requirements to allow the hiring of John Mattice, `Tim Mattice’s brother, as a painter for the GHA.

According to Ponticello, John Mattice was the only applicant who had prior painting experience.

Sweeney said he doesn’t have a problem with John Mattice working for the agency, but argued the resolution should have been passed prior to his hiring. He said this was one of the issues of which HUD wanted more information.

“This should have been done prior to hiring the guy,” Sweeney said. “Now they’re trying to pass it six months after he had been hired.”

Tim Mattice said the board was following the hiring process. He said the GHA has completed the appropriate process with HUD. He said HUD is requesting the board submit a resolution to them, so they can close this issue.

“There was no hiring done illegally. We’re following the process. This is the final step in the process,” Mattice said. “HUD is requesting that we provide the waivers to complete the process. They are OK with it.”

Sweeney said the board originally tried to pass the resolution in an executive session in February.

Tim Mattice said the board only discussed the matter in that session, but did not vote on it.

“We did not pass it, because the meeting ended abruptly and we never finished the conversation, that is why it never got addressed,” Tim Mattice said.

Sweeney said the resolution should be on the table until the HUD investigation is over.

Sweeney questioned why when the ad was placed in the Leader-Herald for a painter, why the Gloversville Housing Authority was not listed as the employer. He said the address listed was the PO Box for the Gloversville Housing and Neighborhood Improvement Corp., which Mattice use to run.

“Why was it published under the nonprofit that you use to be the head of?” Sweeney asked.

Mattice said the listing did not include an employer name, and was not labeled as the GHNIC.

When asked by Sweeney how people would know the position was for the GHA, Mattice said he doesn’t think it made a difference.

Several audience members audibly stated that “yes” it made a difference.

The question was then called by Ponticello, with Sweeney voting no.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

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