Critical New York State bridge reports missing for years
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Jim Taylor
2024-02-09 06:03:08 UTC
Kathy Hochul will not do a damned thing about it. She's too busy
with her black boyfriends.

NEW YORK (WRGB) — You've probably never heard of the Graber Report,
but it's vital for your safety.

It's a report on bridge inspection and bridge safety in New York. By
law, it has to be put together every year by NYS Department of

It's done with your tax dollars, or at least it was.

We've now learned that the DOT stopped doing the Graber Report three
years ago, so we started asking questions.

In April of 1987, as flood waters raged through the Schoharie Creek
in Montgomery County, the thruway bridge above the creek collapsed.
Four cars and a tractor trailer plunged into the creek, killing 10
people. It was caused by bridge scour, erosion under and along the
bridge pilings.

In the aftermath of the collapse, the state legislature passed a law
that required a yearly report on bridge inspections in the state,
the Graber Report. The DOT is supposed to submit that report to
state legislature every year, but that stopped in 2020.

That means that the public was left in the dark when it comes to
bridge inspections for the last three years.

We checked with leaders of the NYS Assembly and Senate
Transportation Committees. No one knew why the reports were no
longer being delivered.

One week after we started asking questions at the Capitol, the
Graber Reports for the last three years magically appeared on the
DOT website. Three years of delayed reports were suddenly made

We tracked down NYS Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese
Dominguez as she showed up to testify at a legislative budget

“In all honesty, we’ve been working to get out the reports in the
last year here, and we wanted to make sure that we were thorough and
did all of the analysis on the bridge conditions," Commissioner
Dominguez told us. "Our team has been working on it recognizing that
we do have a statutory obligation to get them out, so we’ve been
working on it for a while now with all our reports we try to get
them out in a timely way, this one unfortunately slipped."

The DOT and Commissioner Dominguez claimed the COVID-19 pandemic and
resources that were stretched thin caused the delays.

Even before the reports stopped, they changing to have less
information included, and it's clear from the reports that with age,
the condition of some bridges went down.

Commissioner Dominguez had reassurances for state lawmakers at the
hearing saying, "We inspect our bridges every two years, we have
eyes on them, we want to make sure that they're safe."

When we asked Commissioner Dominguez if she could promise us that
future Graber Reports would come out on time, she said, "We'll make
every effort to make sure we do that. The department is very
conscientious and transparency is our goal."

Jim Taylor
2024-02-09 06:43:09 UTC
He is a Kathy Hochul voter and a crook of course.
ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) — Albany County's top law enforcer is being
investigated for possibly playing fast and loose with the law for
his own benefit.

We obtained letters from the Albany County Comptroller, asking the
NYS Comptroller and the NYS Attorney General to investigate Albany
County District Attorney David Soares for additional compensation he
gave himself from state grants.

A confidential investigation done by outside counsel found that
additional compensation could be in violation of the law.

The numbers tell the story, and the numbers in the confidential
report indicate that David Soares gave himself a sizeable bonus last
year, and received smaller bonuses for many years before that.

According to Albany County records we obtained, David Soares gave
himself payments from two state grants in November of 2023. Those
payments totaled $23,951.32.

That's on top of his salary, which is most recently listed in NYS
records as $208,000.

We have contacted several county lawmakers from both parties, and
most do not want to talk about this investigation. Mark Grimm (R-
Guilderland) would only talk in generalities, saying the
investigation has to take its course.

The records also indicate that since 2005, David Soares has been
receiving "longevity payments." Those are payments that some county
employees receive for their length of service.

Soares received just over $20,000 worth of those payments, including
$5,000 in both 2022 and 2023. We learned the outside counsel
determined that those payments are also additional compensation that
is a possible violation of the law.

Back to bonuses from grant payments. One grant in question is from
the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services. It's called an Aid to
Prosecution Grant.

In 2023, it totaled $945,000, a county resolution accepting the
grant said it would go in part to "fund a new enhanced pay line to
meet the staffing needs of the office."

There was nothing in the resolution that outlined who would receive
grant payments. It was the same for a second fund from a grant
designed to help institute discovery reform in the offices of D.A.'s
across the state. Vague wording, with no specifics on who would
receive bonus payments.

That's in direct contrast to grant resolutions we looked at from
other counties. Cayuga County, in an October 2023 resolution
accepting a state grant for its DA's office, clearly outlined who
would be getting the grant payments. The District Attorney was not
on the list, just deputy and assistant DA's and other employees.

A search of Albany County records reveals one DA investigator who
worked for Soares received $122,020 in bonus grant payments over the
course of seven years.

One top aide to the DA received $130,308 over seven years. Another
top aide received $126,480 over eight years, including two annual
payments of thirty grand each.

The outside counsel said it can't be sure whether all those payments
were proper, whether the employees performed the work stipulated by
the grant.

The Albany County Comptroller Susan Rizzo asked DCJS to audit the
grant payments to determine whether they were appropriate.

We have confirmed with the offices of both the NYS Comptroller and
NYS Attorney General that the letters from Albany County requesting
a state investigation have been received and are under review.

We asked David Soares to go on camera, but through a spokesperson,
he declined. He did send us a written statement. Here it is in full:

"The role of district attorneys’ offices statewide has changed
dramatically in the 4 years since New York’s criminal justice system
was completely overhauled. The work load increased exponentially in
2020 (welldocumented), and the state has finally funded what was
initially an oppressive, unfunded series of mandates through a
dramatic increase in funding of Aid to Prosecution (ATP) grants, one
of which was received by our office.

One of the primary purposes of that grant was to attract, retain,
and reward prosecutorial staff following a multi-year period of
dramatic turnover in district attorneys’ offices statewide. That is
what we used these additional funds for. This office was able to
minimize turnover, fill 9 vacant Assistant District Attorney
positions, and improve the overall morale of our dedicated team

To that end, administrative staff distributed a portion of the
allotted ATP money to members of our staff as a bonus, with each
staff member’s bonus based on an equal percentage of their salary.
This use of grant funds was approved by the audit and finance
committee on September 28, 2023, after which we followed guidance
from the Division of Criminal Justice Services, and relevant county
agencies, ultimately leading to final authorization (Via Resolution
435, hyperlinked here) by the full Legislature on October 10, 2023.

While the word “salary” has been used to describe the distribution
of these funds, there is no request for salary increases in our
Request for Legislative Action provided to the Legislature by our
office. The intent of our request was a one-time bonus, as permitted
by the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Bonuses are not salary
increases, and we did not represent them as such during discussions
with the Legislature. If we were given notice of this concern we
would have addressed that issue, as the specific concerns raised
have seemingly not been well-litigated."