LaPietra out; vows lawsuit

By Patsy Nicosia

Bob LaPietra is off the Cobleskill Village Board—and already promising a lawsuit to get his seat back.
Saturday, Mayor Mark Nadeau confirmed rumors that Mr. LaPietra had been replaced by Howard Burt, but wouldn’t elaborate.
“A vacancy has occurred, and I have appointed someone to that position,” Mayor Nadeau said. “It [the vacancy] does happen to be Mr. LaPietra. “It was fully legal…I have full power to do that.”
Mayor Nadeau wouldn’t comment on how—or whether—Mr. LaPietra, who no longer lives in Cobleskill and has put his Morris home up for sale, had been notified.
In an email sent to Mayor Nadeau Saturday and forwarded by Mr. LaPietra to the Times-Journal, Mr. LaPietra wrote that he does not intend to resign as trustee.
“Any rash action by you to overturn the electoral process that has placed me on this board will create immediate litigation. Be so advised,” Mr. LaPietra wrote.
Mr. LaPietra ran unsuccessfully for mayor four years ago in the three-way race that saw Mike Sellers defeat incumbent Bill Gilmore.
Mr. LaPietra then ran successfully for trustee in 2008—despite challenges of election fraud and the fact that he no longer lived in the village—pleading guilty in May to misdemeanor charges in connection with his petition.
He was sentenced to three years probation and 75 hours of community service.
Mr. LaPietra, who’s in Florida, said Monday he’d intended to resign before the end of the year for health reasons.
Now, he said, he intends to fight to get his seat back.
“All I know is that they took me out,” he said. “I’m going to file a lawsuit and all the dirty laundry, all the way back to the Gilmore and McGuire administration, is going to be out there for everyone to see.
“It would be an easier thing at this point to walk away, but it’s the principle of the thing now. I’m mad. They’re so frightened of me…This is going to rip the fabric of Cobleskill apart.”
Mr. LaPietra maintains his ouster isn’t because he’s not a village resident but rather because he had “some unpopular ideas” of where cuts should be made.
“Rather than heeding the message, they’re killing the messenger,” he said.
Mr. LaPietra said he didn’t plan to be at least night’s village meeting.
‘There’s no point unless I have [lawsuit] papers to serve,” he said, “but they will be served.”
Mr. Burt, his replacement, won’t be there either; Mayor Nadeau said Mr. Burt had a longstanding prior obligation.
Mayor Nadeau said Mr. Burt took his oath of office at noon Friday,
“I feel he can stand on his own two feet,” he said of his appointee. “I had pretty high standards…I had been looking for some time. He’s diversified with good family values.”
Though Mayor Nadeau refused to elaborate, he said the change was made “in the best interest of the people.
“I was hired to do a job for the people. I hit the ground running and I’m doing what I said I would do. It’s a new start. What’s in the past is in the past.”

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