Home News Four Orange County legislators who questioned StarCIO contract sue county for legal defense

Four Orange County legislators who questioned StarCIO contract sue county for legal defense

Four Orange County legislators who questioned StarCIO contract sue county for legal defense

GOSHEN On Monday, four Orange County legislators filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court, contesting the county’s decision to not indemnify them after they were refused legal defense against a possible lawsuit based on their inquiries concerning the StarCIO contract for information technology services.

According to their counsel, Michael Sussman, Legislature Chairwoman Katie Bonelli had declined defense as mandated by Local Law 3 of 1998.

During a press conference held by Senator James Skoufis (D, Cornwall) in October of last year, lawmakers Michael Paduch, the Democratic minority leader, Genesis Ramos, Laurie Tautel, and Mike Anagnostakis asked questions regarding the appropriateness of a contract that StarCIO’s owner had been awarded for information technology services.

Langdon Chapman, the county commissioner of human resources, has a relative who is the owner.

Late in January, the politicians were prompted to get legal assistance from the county after the owner of StarCIO filed a notice of claim against them. Bonelli turned down their plea.

Rejecting the request, Bonelli claimed that her fellow lawmakers’ remarks against the deal were political in nature and that they were not speaking in their official roles. She said that the politicians failed to request legal representation within the allotted 10-day period, and that some of the information presented during the news conference was false.

Civil rights attorney Michael Sussman of Goshen represents the four legislators who raised the issue.

We require elected authorities to hold the public accountable. We live in a democracy, and that’s not exaggeration, he added. This is true not just in Orange County but also at every level of the United States at the moment.

A special legislative committee found last week that the contract was extended against county procurement regulations, although they did not find any violations of the law.

According to Sussman, “my clients tried to highlight problems with the contracting process.” Their allegation is supported by this report.

A special parliamentary committee that Bonelli called last week found that the county’s procurement regulation had been broken by the StarCIO deal. The report shows that nothing about the agreement was illegal, even though the contract was obtained and handled inappropriately.

According to Sussman, “my clients tried to highlight problems with the contracting process.” Their allegation is supported by this report.

According to Sussman, had his clients not raised the matter, the legislature would never have set up an inquiry committee to examine the contract, which the committee eventually found was improperly obtained.

The petitioners further cited the continuing criminal investigation by the FBI into the StarCIO deal as evidence that their actions in raising the issue were appropriate. The FBI has not yet released the findings of its inquiry.

The Goshen lawyer stated that if the StarCIO lawyer files a lawsuit, his clients would be happy to defend themselves and provide more details about the procurement procedure and the use of the over $800,000 that was received after a $65,000 contract that was executed without a formal bidding process because it was purportedly for less than $100,000.


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