Throwback Thursday – Cuthbertson, Matthews and Ethics Part II
Original posted November 2, 2014 :
In a recent investigative report on Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson’s business dealings with other townships, foiled documents from a North Hempstead investigation reveal that the Huntington Councilman and James Matthews, who is currently running for Suffolk County District Court Judge had business dealings as far back as 2004. The documents, which include Cuthbertson’s response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) to perform legal work for the Town of North Hempstead Community Development Agency (CDA) show that Cuthbertson wrote Matthews into the proposal and listed him as “of Counsel” to the firm known as the Law Offices of Mark Cuthbertson. This occured at the same time Matthews was already “special Counsel” on the Town of Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Matthews has been special counsel on the Huntington ZBA since 2002. The Cuthbertson proposal to North Hempstead was prepared in 2004. Cuthbertson wrote Matthews into the North Hempstead CDA proposal to handle condemnation proceedings.
A section of the North Hempstead RFP asks that if any conflicts of interest that would need disclosure. Cuthbertson responded that none existed. For example a section within the RFP asks that “Any other matter that your firm believes may create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest in acting as outside counsel on behalf of the agency.” Cuthbertson responded “none”. Since 2004 Cuthbertson has contributed approximately $38,000 to North Hempstead politicians and the North Hempstead Democratic Committee”. The North Hempstead Town Board appoint the members of the North Hempstead CDA. The proposal was prepared in May of 2004. The North Hempstead CDA accepted the Cuthbertson proposal and entered into contract with him by August of 2004.
Since 2004 Cuthbertson’s law firm has received a total disbursement from the North Hempstead CDA in the area of $956,000.
James Matthews is currently the Attorney for the Town of Huntington Ethics Board who recently stated in an “informal opinion” that Cuthbertson’s receivership deals and ties to Gary Melius at the same time Cuthbertson voted on a zoning change that benefited Melius in order to build condominiums at the Oheka property was not a conflict of interest. Matthews himself has approximately $5100.00 worth of campaign contributions to Cuthbertson over the years.
Matthews who is running for Suffolk District Court Judge has received the backing of the Democratic Party and has also been cross-endorsed by Conservative and Independence Party leadership. Many have questioned how does a candidate, particularly one running for a judgeship receive both the Democratic and Conservative backing? Ed Walsh who is chair of the Suffolk County Conservative party is currently under federal investigation for allegedly falsifying his time sheets while serving as a corrections officer in Suffolk County. Frank McKay who runs the Independence party is on the Gary Melius payroll. Cuthbertson also received the Independence backing during his last election.