Friday, October 23, 2009

Why Does Gardner Need a Gun to Campaign?

Why does convicted felon Neil Gardner need a gun to campaign? What is convicted felon Tom Spargo, a lawyer convicted of extortion and attempted bribery, trying to pull now? Who are they trying to intimidate? Gardner's opponents - YOUR elected officials here in Stephentown? Or YOU the voters of Stephentown?

Is he afraid of the voters of Stephentown? He should be. On Tuesday, November 3, 2009 YOU get the right to exercise the strongest weapon in the American arsenal... The Secret Ballot.

We, the Democratic candidates on Row A, trust that you, the voters, the people of Stephentown, clearly see through Gardner's desperate attempts to deceive you and cast blame for his troubles anywhere but where they belong... squarely on him and him alone.

On Tuesday, November 3, go to the Polls. Exercise your right to Vote. Send a strong message that this sort of behavior has no place in government.


Judge refuses to return candidate's a pistol permit

BOB GARDINIER, Staff writer
Last updated: 5:22 p.m., Friday, October 23, 2009

STEPHENTOWN -- Neil Gardner, the former town highway superintendent who lost his job last year after a felony conviction for filing false documents, wants his permit to carry a gun back.

Gardner and his attorney Thomas Spargo appeared before county Judge Robert Jacon this morning asking for a certificate of relief from the aspect of his felony conviction that prevents him from holding a pistol permit.

Assistant Attorney General Nancy Snyder told Jacon the state does not want Gardner to get the relief.

Gardner, who is running for re-election in November to the post he lost, said his property in town has been vandalized, including people stealing his campaign signs.

''I bought 90 signs and only have 30 left,'' Gardner said after court.

Gardner said he also needs the permit back because a company building electricity-generating windmills at Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts is using his property to store expensive parts that Gardner needs to guard.

Jacon told Gardner he was concerned over an ''air of vigilantism'' he saw in his court papers.

''This is just Stephentown, for God sakes, not Miami,'' Jacon said.

Jacon then denied Gardner the relief.

The Town Republican Committee is backing Gardner, a popular Republican, to run for the post he held for 20 years before his December conviction.

Despite the conviction, Gardner can run for office because he received probation.

Rules governing politicians with felony convictions are covered under the state's Public Officers Law, not election law, said John Conklin, director of public information for the state Board of Elections.

''A felony conviction means removal from office but there is nothing to bar the person from running for the office again after their sentence is up,'' Conklin said.

State law only prohibits a convicted felon from ever running for any judicial office.

Gardner was sentenced to five years' probation on charges he filed forged documents to cover up illegal gravel purchases for the town from a mining operation that had no permit.

Bob Gardinier can be reached at 454-5696 or bgardinier@timesunion.com.

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