Institutionalized Corruption in the Home and Birthplace of a President, Hyde Park, NY

I would like to thank you for your consideration into looking into this matter and I wish to keep my name anonymous for the time being because of the harassing e-mails I have received from the McArthurs for shedding light on this issue.

This is a story of interest that could and does happen in small towns across the country. This story is about a Town Board that has followed through with their campaign promises and has made business decisions in the best interests of the town, do not represent any special interest groups, nor do they take marching orders from Party Bosses. I would like to add that these men are not politicians but residents of the town that have the town's best interests in mind as should any Town Board should do. What is happening in this town should cause outrage and the corrupt politicians that have their hand so to speak in the cookie jar need to be investigated. 

I would like to bring your attention to the Town of Hyde Park, home and birthplace of Franklin D. Roosevelt, located approximately 75 miles north of New York City, that shares the northern border of Poughkeepsie. The current Republican Town Board that took office January 1, 2010, has kept its campaign promises of keeping taxes low (0.9% tax increase in 2010, one of the smallest increases in the county and in town history), repealing a wetlands law which violated landownership rights, building a new police and court facility, encouraging commercial growth with projects such as a Hyatt Hotel, a medical arts building, a new supermarket and the possibility for a housing community for older adults as well as other retail shops. The Town Board made improvements to the Town Hall building, replacing a leaking oil tank and replacing the heating and cooling system, which was needed to be done. Carbon monoxide that was leaking from the outdated system was putting all those that worked and visited in the building health at risk. The traffice court, which was losing money hand over fist was reorganized to have a traffic prosecuter address the negotiation of traffic fines rather than individual police officers. This had saved the town tens of thousands of dollars. The police force, which had been operating on a radio system that was donated by a water company in thr 1980's was replaced. Turns out that this radio system didn't have reception in spots throughout the town, potentially putting the lives of the officers at risk during traffice stops and calls.  But these are the accomplishments that you don't hear about in the local paper. In addition Moody Investor Service has affirmed the credit rating of Aa3, placing town's finances in a favorable position (1). Currently the town has a commercial tax base of less than 3% to which the Town Board has acknowledged is pitiful and has focused on commercial development in order to bring some relief to the taxpayers of the Community. This pitiful number is the result of years of a 'Stop the Sprawl' movement supported by previous administrations that discouraged businesses from setting up shop in the town with ridiculous regulations such as signage on building being no larger than 18 inches. Retail stores that approached the Planning Board interested in investing in Hyde Park were quickly sent packing. To this day, in a town of 21,000 residents, there is only one supermarket and as one resident stated, 'You have to go to Poughkeepsie to buy a pair of underwear.' Hyde Park has become a drive through for destinations North, such as Rhinebeck and the business districts of Poughkeepsie and towns south that focused on commercial growth in years past. A mark left by this ‘Stop the Sprawl’ movement was the empty storefronts that filled Route 9, the main route through town.  One could drive through the town and see the empty plaza that once contained an Ames, a Shop Rite and several other smaller stores which in its heyday was bustling with shoppers. Now it stands empty, its lot in need of repairs and shrubbery overgrown.

This small town's political atmosphere can be compared to Tammany Hall in which the Boss Tweeds who are not on the ballot call the shots and institutionalized corruption exists. These Boss Tweeds whose original intent was to have a Town Board cater to their whims, quickly found that four of the five members were men who were leaders, not followers and so unleashed a campaign of inimical actions. The town board is also the target of a small independent newspaper owned by a local resident who has made the Town Board the cover story of his paper almost on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, Mr. Langan, the owner and editor of the The Hudson Valley News isn't truthful the majority of the time and has twisted the truth to place the Board in a less favorable light. He has unleashed this tirade of biased accusations in this paper and blog on a weekly basis that has included accusing a Board Member of being a white supremacist. At this time the Town Board, understandably, cannot grant him interviews based upon his previous record of presenting false information to the public.

The Chairwoman of the Republican Town Committee, Jean McArthur was involved in what could be described as voter fraud per reports by a detective of the Dutchess County Sheriff's Department of which she was having people who reside in other towns registered out of her home address.  This investigation that took place in June through July of 2011 uncovered the extent of the draconian measures the Boss Tweeds would go to in order to retain power. These 'registered voters' having been located and interviewed by the detective clearly indicated that they never lived or resided at that address or in any other address in Hyde Park.

It is on record that the current supervisor stated that he was threatened and intimidated by the 'party bosses' (whom he later sued along with 4 out of 5 members of the Board in Dutchess County Supreme Court for violating election laws ) because he would not take orders from them and negate on his campaign promises. The suit was brought about as a result of the Chairwoman attempting to pass a bylaw in which town committee members can be excluded from meetings based upon a vague definition of 'disloyalty'.  For a slight disagreement with her, a committee member could be banned from attending meetings and participating in the election process.  The court found the Committee and Chairwoman in violation of these election laws. Recently the Board has filed suit against the committee in regards to petitions that they state are invalid due to several reasons, of which include Committee members not residing either at the address they are registered at or in the town, and the petitions not being numbered which violates Rule 6-134 of the NYS Election Law. According to rumor, the attorney that was to represent the plaintiffs was advised if she did so, there would be the loss of employment. Other reasons may apply but considering the advantage of having the case heard outside the district, there is question as to why they did not proceed with the appeal.

 With such loathsome and corrupt behaviors one may compare the ‘leaders’ of this community along the likes of Stalin and forgetting that this is taking place in a country in which citizens have protected rights which enables them to partake in the political process. On a more criminal matter,  word has it that complaints were filed with the NYS Attorney General’s Office with information alledging that the McArthurs are defrauding the state through their personal business by charging HEAP recipients a higher price of gallon of oil over cash customers.

 As a result of the Town Board has filing suit against the Town Committee and Chairwoman, Chairwoman McArthur nominated another candidate and instructed the other Town Committee members as well as the local paper to support this candidate under intimidation. This is a woman who has threatened, harassed, intimated and blacklisted those who disagree with her. She has caused under false pretenses, people to be fired from their places of employment as well cause small business owners to go on the verge of losing their business by blacklisting them to her cohorts and followers. Republican voters have stated that they will not sign petitions or publicly support the opposing candidates because of the consequences that will befall them should they do. The candidate they she and her herd of sheep nominated can be called into question as well the complete screening process for candidate selection. This is for a position that will be responsible for millions of dollars of the town's finances and decisions that will determine the town's future for decades to come. In a nomination speech made by Yancy McArthur, the Chairwoman's husband, the candidate, Joseph Kakish and his wife were described as being a financially responsible couple. What was not disclosed to the public that per the Dutchess County Clerk's office is that Mr. and Mrs. Kakish (Qaqish) have more than $109,000 in legal judgments combined which are comprised of credit card debt and the repossession of an automobile. Mr. McArthur also stated that they were responsible business owners however, their daycare found in violation of several violations in multiple site visits within a six month period in 2010 per NYS Office of Children and Families. This information, especially the couple's distressing financial records could potentially adversely affect the town of Hyde Park’s financial health is not being disclosed to the public. This contradicts the nomination speech made by Mr. Kakish promising to be more honest and forthright than the current town board.  In addition, in a June 1, 2011 Hudson Valley News & June 13, 2011 Poughkeepsie Journal article, Mr. Kakish stated he was attorney to which he is not. Mr. Kakish attended Southern New England School of Law, a non-accredited American Bar Association law school to which, until it was recently absorbed by UMass, was denied accreditation by the ABA due to its dismal academic record of its students (1). Mr. Kakish has reported that he only recently took the Connecticut State Bar Exam which was held July 27 & 28, 2011. The Town Committee and Chairwoman allowed this misrepresentation to be printed in the Poughkeepsie Journal. This misrepresentation may have been made to benefit his campaign as Supervisor. Mr. Kakish's voting records also shows that he hasn't voted in an election in almost 8 years, the entirety of his time as a resident in the town and is on the record for stating he has never attended a Town Board meeting previous to his nomination, which questions his competency as the potential supervisor of the town. As a graduate with a Juris Doctorate degree and in preparing for the Bar Exam, Mr. Kakish surely would be aware of the severe consequences of having such a misrepresentation of calling himself an attorney. This is just one of the examples which questions Mr. Kakish's competency into question.

Other candidates running for ward councilman should also be questioned as well. Jacob Michel's, who was nonimated to run in the 3rd Ward was described by Sarah Murray as a financially responsible young man in her nomination speech. What she forgot to mention was that Mr. Michel's, at the ripe age of 23, is being sued by Chase Bank for failure to pay his credit card as per records on file with the Dutchess County Clerk's office.

All of this information was forwarded to the local newspaper, The Hudson Valley News, which has reported on much less and the editor and owner refused to acknowledge the very existence of public record, which is on record in an e-mail transcript. His website, is a showcase of the hate venomous lies that Mr. Langan has been spreading throughout the community. What is even more interesting is that Mr. Langan has been seen socializing with the Chairwoman and her husband in bar establishments and Jean McArthur writes a column that is published in this paper. Mr. Langan has printed stories based upon information in her interviews without considering the Town Board members. Furthermore, his refusal to acknowledge public record is downright suspicious and his quote that he 'won't do others dirty work' through his paper is a polar opposite given his record of publishing fallacies and untrue stories that reflect his own point of view.  The saying 'everyone is in bed with each other' can be just in describing the situation in this small town.  Speculation as to why he would not run this story as he has freely done with other situations that were considerably minor in comparison to voter fraud, misrepresentation, threats, intimidation and the financial backgroundof the supervisor candidate could be because if Mr. Kakish's financial records and misrepresentation be made public, the current Town Board running on the Independent Line this November would have an advantage to win the election over the Democratic candidates. Other speculation made by several reliable sources have indicated that Mr. Kakish's family, who have considerable money, may be making pay offs in order to keep him on the ballot come this November. One must question Mr. Langan's very noticeable obsession with the politics in this town. Why would a newpaper editor have almost EVERY edition of his paper in the past two year have either a cover story about the HYDE PARK town board. If this is a newspaper that covers the areas of the entire northern dutchess area, why is he not in attendence on a regular basis at other board meetings or covering stories on the going-ons in other towns? And why is he present at meetings at a local italian eatery with the committee members of the Hyde Park Republicans and Democrats? Is Mr. Langdon receiving money to portray the current town board as vile bullies from political funds?

What is interesting, is that in the regulations of the CT State Bar Exam, there are regulations in which one must adhere to in order to be considered to the bar:

Art. VI-11 CONDUCT THAT CREATES A PRESUMPTION OF LACK OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER AND/OR FITNESS TO PRACTICE LAW, states the following examples of what can create a presumption in finding a lack of good moral character:

iii) Fraudulent conduct, which shall include, but not be limited to plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct

v) Significant financial problems evidencing fiscal mismanagement

Why the above is not applied in the screening process for candidate positions when the Town of Hyde Park picks its candidates should leave us wondering what the real motives are for nominating incompetent individuals. Will these individuals be puppets having their strings pulled by others? And why are the above examples of conduct be considered to an individual wishing to being admitted into practice, but not when being considered when choosing to being elected a leader of the community. 

 In the perfect world, such conduct would apply in all aspects of life, including the political arena. Unfortunately, people get a small taste of power and become intoxicated by it and are unwilling to relinquish the grip they have on it.  In the small town of Hyde Park, birthplace of a president, Machiavellian politics have surely been in practice and one small group of individuals, including one husband and wife have created their own Tammany Hall to which they are unyielding to step down from.  Fear, intimidation, threats, harassment and violating the law are to the extent to which this couple and her sheep will go to in order to retain their crowns.

The Poughkeepsie Journal and Northern Dutchess News has on file in their archives reports related to the Town Board's performance and voting record as well as the local television media outlet, RNN, covering the stories as well. Mr. Tom Martino, the current Supervisor has been featured on Meet the Leaders on RNN as well as in other programs in which he has granted interviews which where conducted professionally and fairly.



Resources  search Joseph and Meryana Kakish, also spelled Qaqish the list of violations for his daycare  his facebook page where he links the PoJo article listing him as an attorney and lists his graduation from southern new england law, the non ABA school the listing of accredited law schools


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    August 2011