All posts by Andrew Henderson

New York Chocolate investor indicted

The man who brought to light allegations of money laundering and wrong doing with the now-defunct New York Chocolate and Confections Company in Fulton is currently facing similar charges in California.

In early October, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought fraud charges San Francisco-based hedge fund manager Hausmann-Alain Banet and his firm Lion Capital Management. He reportedly stole more than a half-million dollars from a retired schoolteacher who thought she was investing her retirement savings in Banet’s hedge fund.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed against Banet and Lion Capital Management in federal court in San Francisco, Banet allegedly led the teacher to believe that his hedge fund would invest in the stock market using a long/short equity investing strategy.

Instead, Banet is accused of taking the teacher’s $550,000 investment and used it to pay unauthorized personal and business expenses, including his home mortgage, office rent, and staff salaries.

Banet also reportedly provided phony account statements showing non-existent investment gains and listing an independent administrator that performed no actual work for the fund.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced criminal charges against Banet.

According to the indictment, Banet faces charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and criminal forfeiture.

Ironically, Banet led the effort to expose corruption that led to the indictments of 23 individuals within the cocoa-bean sector of the Ivory Coast in 2008, including New York Chocolate board Chairman Louis Okaigni Okaigni, former CEO Jean-Claude Amon, and Treasurer Yalle Agbre. Each indictment included charges of embezzlement, breach of trust, looting of corporate assets, swindling, and forgery.

The indictments occurred in the Ivory Coast.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

City of Fulton all night parking ban begins Nov. 1

The City of Fulton all night parking ban takes effect Nov. 1, according to the Fulton Police Department.

The city ordinance prohibits the parking of any motor vehicle in/on any city street or city parking lot from 1:30 a.m. through 5:30 a.m. from Nov. 1 to April 1.

The penalty for a violation of the all night parking ban is $15. Unpaid fines double every 10 days. Vehicles may also be towed.

Holiday open house to be held Saturday

Kathy’s Cakes and Specialty Treats in Fulton will be hosting its first Holiday Open House from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 13.

The open house will encompass the different holidays throughout the year and will feature a traditional Christmas gingerbread house as well as a haunted Halloween gingerbread house.

“There will also be games, free balloons, and cupcake decorating for the kids,” owner Kathy Hotaling added. “We will have examples of some of our gift and cupcake baskets on display as well as free samples of some of our sweet treats.”

Kathy’s Cakes and Specialty Treats is located at 129 Cayuga St., Unit A, in Fulton.

Congressional debate to be held in Granby tomorrow

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, a Republican, and Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum will have the first of four town hall debates this Thursday, Oct. 11 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Granby Town Hall in Oswego County.

Democratic candidate Dan Maffei was invited but decided not to participate.

The forum will be moderated by Beth Hilton, executive director at the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

Candidates will address written questions from area constituents.

The town hall is located at 820 Co. Rte. 8, Fulton.

Judge McCarthy to rule on county clerk case tomorrow

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Supreme County Judge James McCarthy will render a decision in an Article 78 proceeding held to determine if the Oswego County clerk position will be on the ballot in the Nov. 6 election. Attorneys for all side argued the case this afternoon at the county courthouse in Oswego.

Former legislator James McMahon had filed the Article 78, alleging that the successor to the late county clerk George Williams should be appointed by the governor though 2013.

The defendants include the Democrat, Republican, Working Families and Independence parties, candidates Michael Backus and Phil Vasho as well as county election commissioners Donald Wart and Richard Atkins.

Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that New York State County Law section 400 should apply in filling a vacancy. The law states that a vacancy occurring three months prior to an election should be a governor’s appointment.

Attorneys for the defendants argued that state Election Law, which contradicts county law, should prevail and an election should be held.

McCarthy  quizzed the lawyer for the plaintiff extensively. At issue was the placement of a comma in the county law.  McCarthy also noted that if the governor wanted to appoint someone to the position, he would have done so by now.

In attendance at the hearing were Assemblyman Will Barclay, clerk candidate Michael Backus, his father Mark Backus, and Oswego County Conservative Party Chairman Ron Greenleaf.

McCarthy said he will have his decision available at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Ghost Hunters’ episode featuring Fort Ontario airs tonight

“Ghostly Refuge,” an episode of “Ghost Hunters” filmed at Fort Ontario last summer, will air tonight, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. on the SyFy Channel.

“Ghost Hunters” is a reality television series that investigates reports of paranormal activity across the U.S.

Watch the clip from tonight’s episode:

Paul Lear, historic site manager at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, said members of the “Ghost Hunters” cast and crew filmed in the officers’ quarters and other buildings at Fort Ontario for several days and nights last June and interviewed several people who had witnessed unusual sights and sounds at Fort Ontario. Featured cast members include Jason Hawes, Steve Gonsalves and Adam Berry.

The Friends of Fort Ontario, assisted by the Central New York Ghost Hunters, will host the annual Fort Ontario Ghost Tours Oct. 19 and 20 starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 per person. Groups will leave every 15 minutes until 11 p.m.

For ticket information go to For accommodations and visitor information, go to

Job fair to be held tomorrow in Fulton

Nearly 40 local employers are expected at state Senator Patty Ritchie’s second annual Job and Career Fair Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fulton War Memorial, located at 609 W. Broadway, Fulton.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will also feature workshops to help attendees better their job-seeking strategies, including resume writing, improving interview skills, tips for job-hunting on the Internet and obtaining information for starting your own business.

The job fair is being organized in collaboration with Beth Hilton, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce; Christine Weaver, One-Stop manager of Oswego County Workforce New York; and Tammy Elowsky, assistant director of the SUNY Oswego Small Business Development Center.

County Clerk election legality challenged

by Carol Thompson

The legality of having the office of Oswego County Clerk on the ballot in the November election is being challenged in Oswego County Supreme Court.
Lawyers for Bond, Schoeneck and King, PLLC, filed a petition Friday afternoon on behalf of James McMahon, asking the court to restrain from printing and placing the candidates’ names on the officials ballots and voting machines to be used in the Nov. 6 election.

Named as defendants in the Article 78 action are the Oswego County Board of Elections; Michael Backus, both personally and as chairman of the Oswego County Republican Committee; Phillip Vasho; the Oswego County Conservative Party and chairman Ronald Greenleaf; the Oswego County Democrat Committee and chairman Mike Kunzwiler.

The Board of Elections added the position to the ballot for the Nov. 3 election, following the Sept. 3 death of George Williams.

The three political parties selected candidates at their respective committee meetings and filed a certificate of nomination for each candidate.

The Democrat Committee selected Vasho and Backus was selected as the candidate for both the Republican and Conservative committees.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy  of Wednesday’s edition of The Valley News