I would like to take the opportunity to correct Oswego County Legislator Louella LeClair on a couple issues that she apparently has quite the distorted view of.
I was recently contacted by a legislator from another county who had been in attendance at the Sept. 25 New York State Association of Counties afternoon workshop on the Freedom of Information Law, presented by New York State Committee on Open Government Executive Director Robert Freeman.
It was alleged that Mrs. LeClair stated at this conference that I (stating my name) had “lost” my job with The Valley News. This is completely false. I left The Valley News of my own choosing (quit) for reasons that are none of Mrs. LeClair’s business.
Mrs. LeClair also allegedly told everyone present at this workshop that I had my ear to the door of an executive session held by one of the legislature committees and, when the door was opened, I fell through.
First, I will note that Mrs. LeClair was not in attendance at the Sept. 26, 2012 meeting in question, so I am not sure how she can state as fact that I “fell through” the door. It was alleged that I had my ear to the door of an executive session by Legislator John Martino, who at the time was likely very well aware that I was working on an investigative story in regard to his relationship with a county vendor (which was subsequently published). Is it a coincidence that Mr. Martino would attempt to discredit me at the time I was working on a story about a questionable bid that he was involved with? It’s a rather important fact Mrs. LeClair failed to mention to the conference attendees.
While Mrs. LeClair apparently has no problem spreading malicious and defamatory hearsay, I carefully checked the validity of the story that was originally relayed to me from the out-of-county legislator with other legislators who were present at the workshop. I also called Mr. Freeman the morning of Oct. 7 and he confirmed that the information was relayed to me accurately.
I recall when Mrs. LeClair first won election to the Legislature when she ran against then-incumbent Russ Johnson. The day after the election, Mrs. LeClair sent a letter praising my reporting of county government.
Conversely, ever since Mrs. LeClair took office, I have received countless telephone calls following Republican caucuses from legislators telling me that Mrs. LeClair had said vicious, nasty things about me, yet, during her tenure in office, I had written very little, if anything, about her. I’ve even had legislators tell me that she is “obsessed” with me.
Mrs. LeClair was in attendance at the conference in her official capacity as an Oswego County Legislator. It’s something she may want to remember the next time she chooses to make defamatory comments about anyone because, by doing so, she is putting the taxpayers at risk.
Why Mrs. LeClair feels compelled to tell her fabrications about me is beyond my comprehension but it would behoove her to keep my name from rolling off her tongue.
In closing, I would like to thank all of the readers who followed my 22 year tenure at The Valley News and now it’s time to put to rest the rumors that I was fired. I am with another media, extremely happy there, and very appreciative of all of you who continue to follow my work. I had a good run with Ron and Vince Caravan. They were true representatives of the fourth estate and it was a privilege to be a part of that Valley News era.