Rick Mason did send a letter to District Attorney Rich McNally and the U.S. Attorney Office asking that some of the alleged actions by Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade be “criminally investigated.”
In the letter (which is below) Mason claims the feud started when Wade asked Mason to buy a ticket to a fundraiser. Mason, being more loyal to individuals than the party as a whole, told Wade no – obviously I wasn’t there to hear the conversation but I’m guessing it was a bit more colorful than:
“Hi Rick would you please like to come to a fundraiser or at least buy a ticket to support the cause.”
“Why thank you for the invite Tom, but I’m busy that night and I’m a little short this month. Please send me some information on the next one.”
Anyway, Mason is asking McNally to investigate Wade’s thinly veiled attempt to put pressure on Councilman Kevin McGrath and others to not support Mason as marshal – a part time job that can pay between $15,000 and $20,000.
Something tells me though McNally wants no part of this one. If you remember when McNally first took office after beating Greg Cholakis by just a couple hundred votes, there was an ongoing grand jury investigation into allegations Wade was extorting Board of Elections employees for political contributions.
It’s not unusual for party bosses to expect those in politically appointed jobs to contribute to the party – actually it’s the rule rather than the exception – but supposedly Wade put it in writing and that note ended up in the hands of prosecutor Joe Ahearn who brought the case before the grand jury.
When McNally took office, the case was allowed to expire without the grand jury taking a vote. I asked McNally about it and he said there was nothing there so rather than waste time and resources, he just let it go. He made a point to say Ahearn is a Republican who once ran for city court judge. It’s also fair to point out that Ahearn is again looking at running for a seat on the county court as a Republican. While Ahearn makes no qualms about his partisanship, I don’t think he would let that cloud his prosecutorial judgment and McNally should have at least let the grand jury vote on it.
But he didn’t and it’s ancient history so safe to say, I doubt McNally does anything with Mason’s letter and I can’t say I blame him.
While not having any direct involvement – though an FBI agent did get a little jammed up by Trey Smith - I’d find it hard to believe the U.S. Attorney’s Office wants anything to do with the inner workings of Troy politics after voter fraud.
So, I don’t think Mason’s letter goes anywhere in any official capacity and odds are it was written and sent in an attempt to embarrass Wade and diminish his power as chair. A power, I dare say, which suffers with those who refuse to support the party like Mason, but also like Mason, are in political jobs. I can’t say I blame Wade for being upset as there are only a few such jobs available and campaigns aren’t cheap.
The grumblings about Wade and the grumblers displeasure with his chairmanship are getting louder but I don’t think that’s unusual given some of the choices Wade has been forced to make – like chasing Clement Campana out of the mayor’s race, a race he would have certainly lost, and clearing the way for Lou Rosamilia to coast into City Hall.
In the end, Wade has a pretty good record as chair and the grumblers don’t have anyone credible to put up against him.