Defendants call town supervisor's lawsuit frivolous

(Original publication: December 29, 2004)

The town supervisor's lawsuit against the three Republican Town Board members is a frivolous one, and its cost will ultimately be borne by Kent residents, according to the suit's defendants.

In a statement yesterday, Councilman Louis Tartaro and Councilwoman Kathy Doherty said Supervisor William Tulipane's lawsuit was "squandering ... time, money and goodwill that should instead be used to benefit the citizens and build the community."

Tulipane, a Democrat, and his deputy, Richard Quaglietta, filed the lawsuit last week in state Supreme Court in Carmel against the two and Councilwoman Patricia Madigan. The suit seeks to overturn appointments the three GOP members made and void any business they conducted during meetings in which they excluded the deputy.

Madigan was out of town and unable to join the two in issuing the statement, which avoided addressing any of the lawsuit's claims. Tartaro late yesterday afternoon said the three hadn't been served yet with legal papers, which prevented them from commenting on the suit's specifics.

But, Tartaro said, the trio's legal defense will be covered by the town's insurance. Tulipane, who said he is paying his own legal fees, wants the three to be personally responsible for all legal costs if he is victorious.

"To the best of my knowledge, we are covered," Tartaro said. "I did consult with the town attorney and he confirmed we were indemnified."

The suit seeks to overturn the Town Board's replacement of about six residents Tulipane appointed to liaison posts. Approximately 35 liaisons serve as go-betweens with the board and various town organizations. Traditionally, individual Town Board members are named to the slots.

Tulipane also wants a closed-door executive session and a meeting held by the defendants earlier this month to be declared illegal because Quaglietta, who was sitting in for the absent Tulipane, was excluded.

Peter Constantakes, a Department of State spokesman, said Town Board members would be covered "if the town has an indemnification resolution or local law in place that protects people if they are performing their duties."

Jonathan Lovett, the lawyer representing Tulipane and Quaglietta, said the three Republicans "can spend whatever they want."

"Ultimately, they'll be brought to task," he said.

Reach Michael Risinit at or 845-228-2274.Reach Michael Risinit at or 845-228-2274.


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Wednesday, January 5, 2005