Recent E-mail from Scott Johnston:
This is not a partisan matter, this is not “dirty tricks,” and it’s not fake news. There is a fundamental question at stake about what sort of person we want representing us as a town leader. I will summarize what happened as impartially as I can, but please, DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. I couldn’t urge you more strongly to read the attached documents, because they tell a very unpleasant story. Why is this so urgent? Because the town board member in question, Mary Ann Carr, is up for re-election in two weeks.
Here is the summary, but again, read it yourself. Start with the Motion for Summary Judgement, page 4.
- Ms. Carr, having been evicted from her residence, was in need of a place to live. A close friend of hers, Thea Fry, offered to loan the down payment for a $225,000 condo. Mrs. Fry is an 80 year-old retired school teacher living in Bedford. (items 1-4)
- Ms. Carr did not qualify for a mortgage and could not afford to purchase the property outright. Mrs. Fry again offered to help by loaning her the remaining money to complete the purchase, including closing costs, an additional $219,201.
- Ms. Carr agreed, per a contract, to start making monthly payments to Mrs. Fry as rent, and also to obtain a mortgage and purchase the condo from Mrs. Fry, a total $237,000. Mrs. Fry never wanted to own a condo in the first place. (7-10)
- Ms. Carr almost immediately stopped making payments, and she has provided no evidence she ever tried to secure a mortgage. (11-12)
- Ms. Carr, who had moved into the condo and has been living there since 2013, was also contractually obligated to pay for utilities, maintenance, insurance, and taxes, which she also failed to do, forcing Mrs. Fry to pay another $23,570 lest she lose the condo. Mrs. Fry had initially lent more money to Ms. Carr to make these payments, but Ms. Carr used the money on personal expenses. (17, 31)
- Mrs. Fry also made a personal loan of $12,000 to Ms. Carr for personal living expenses, none of which has been repaid.
- Ms. Carr misrepresented her employment status and income to Mrs. Fry to Mrs. Fry to convince her to make these loans. (23) (As a side note, it would now also appear that Ms. Carr greatly inflated her resume the first time she ran for the board.)
- Perhaps worse than any of this is the fact that Ms. Carr’s name somehow got added in with someone’s handwriting to the deed. Mrs. Fry didn’t approve this and has no knowledge of how this happened. Ms. Carr admits that it was not the original intent to have her name on the deed as co-owner, and despite the fact her initials appear on the deed, she does not acknowledge them to be her own. (28)
- Ms. Carr actually testified that she never had any intention to abide by the agreements and that her intent all along was simply to get Mrs. Fry to buy the condo. (34)
There’s a lot more than the above, none of it good. If you read the summary judgment, you will also see that Ms. Carr has completely ignored two years of discovery requests, providing no evidence to suggest any alternative explanations for what happened. The judge has ordered the condo, where Ms. Carr still resides rent-free, to be sold and the proceeds to be escrowed until the unusual circumstances surrounding the names on the deed can be resolved. Mrs. Fry’s attorney points out that by Ms. Carr’s own admissions she has committed grand larceny. (page 27)
In my view, Ms. Carr cannot be re-elected to the town board. It may be that her personal circumstances were difficult, and we are all sympathetic to the challenges a single mother faces, but that doesn’t excuse doing the things she did and blatantly taking advantage of a friend. The kindest possible interpretation of the case, one that you’d have to have quite an imagination to believe, would still have Ms. Carr guilty of gross financial mismanagement. Is that someone who should be in charge of our town budget?
Now, as for Ed Baum, Editor of the Record Review: shame on you. You were presented direct evidence of serious misdeeds by a town official, and yet you failed to inform the public, your most basic duty as a member of the press. What difference does it make if you received the court documents anonymously? Are you telling us that reporters never use anonymous sources in cases where they can fully corroborate the information? Given the naked partisanship of your paper, one also has to wonder how you might have acted had these documents implicated a Republican. Your anger at the anonymous source is a fig leaf that’s not hiding much.
Chris Burdick, shame on you, too. You have known for some time about how Ms. Carr has treated another one of your constituents, who is, again, an 80 year-old retired schoolteacher. Don’t bother denying it. Indeed, as Ms. Fry is a member of the Democrat Committee, you know her well. And yet, you have continued to support Ms. Carr for reasons of political expediency.
And to my Democrat friends, I ask you to think beyond politics on this one and ask yourself whom we want in leadership positions in our wonderful town. This will not end well.
Election day is November 7th. Put it on your calendars. Note that Chris Burdick is running unopposed. I strongly urge you to abstain on his line in protest.