Oswego County spends thousands to collect decade-old debt

by Carol Thompson

Outside counsel has been hired to assist with the collection of a debt owed to Oswego County that dates back to 1998.

According to documents provided under the Freedom of Information Law, the county has paid the Syracuse based law firm Hancock & Estabrook, LLC a total of $25,712 to collect on a $90,000 judgment owned in the timber theft case of 1997.

The invoices provided by the county are for the time period April 28, 2010 through Jan. 31 and do not include any payments made prior to those dates.

The county has been attempting to collect the money owed by former highway department employee Brian Horning.

In 1998, Horning, of Parish, was ordered by the court to pay the $90,000 after he admitted stealing approximately 1,500 trees from county land in Parish. He also received five years probation as a part of a plea-agreement.

Horning pleaded guilty to a charge of fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, reduced from his original charge of second-degree grand larceny.

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