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Police: Claims against mayor false

August 5, 2008
By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - An investigation into allegations that Mayor Timothy Hughes used his cell phone after he reported it stolen found no evidence Hughes did so, police said.

Hughes told police May 28 his phone and laptop were stolen from his car May 23.

Last month, Amsterdam attorney Elmer Robert Keach, who is representing former City Clerk Gary Margiotta in a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city, alleged phone records show the cell phone was used after May 28, suggesting Hughes falsely reported it stolen.

A police investigation began soon after Keach made the allegations, but the investigation found no evidence to support Keach's claims and is now closed, police said.

"We've concluded there was nothing we found that would substantiate the allegations that Keach made about the cell phone being used after it was stolen," said city Police Chief Edgar Beaudin.

Police said from the time the phone was stolen May 23 to before Hughes purchased a new phone May 29, no phone calls were made.

Hughes provided police with a receipt for a new phone, purchased May 29 and reactivated with the old number. The first call from the number after the old phone was stolen didn't occur until after Hughes purchased and reactivated the new phone, police said.

"We investigated the allegation that he falsely reported the incident, and we can't substantiate the claim," said Detective Sgt. Donald Van Deusen, who interviewed Hughes and Hughes' estranged wife, Melissa Hughes.

Keach also alleged Hughes' 4-year-old son is believed to have played on his father's laptop after it was reported stolen. Van Deusen said Hughes denied the allegations.

Van Deusen said there was no evidence to support the claim Hughes falsely reported the laptop stolen.

"Based upon my interview with [Melissa

Hughes], I wasn't able to substantiate the use of the laptop," Van Deusen said. "It would be tough to substantiate that from a 4-year-old."

Beaudin, who was appointed by the mayor this year after the former chief was suspended by the mayor and later agreed to retire, said the case investigating whether Hughes falsely reported the phone and laptop stolen is closed.

"If there is any new information, we would be happy to reopen the case," Van Deusen said.

Keach said he still is planning to pursue the issue of the stolen laptop in court.

"It appears to me that no effort was made to preserve the mayor's electronic records, and that is something I will deal with before the court in short order," Keach said. "We will just have to see how it shakes out."

His client, Margiotta, is suing the city after council members refused to reappoint him.

 
 

 

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