The intrepid Jimmy Vielkind of the Albany Times-Union broke the story today that New York State Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean) double dipped from the STAR program for over a decade, gaining thousands of dollars from the property tax exemption. Young says it was a mistake:
The senator said her husband was responsible.
"Like many families, my husband handles all of our financial matters. I just found out about this," she said in a statement sent by email. "I took immediate action to correct it. I have filed the appropriate legal documents to cancel the STAR (on the North Greenbush condo) and repay the full amount owed. The assessor is calculating how much and as soon as I have the assessor's figures, it will be paid in full."
An aide to the senator said she learned of the dual exemption over the weekend "during a casual conversation with her husband." Richard Young did not return a message left on his cellphone.
I'm sure the Senator's husband is thrilled he has to dodge the media for the foreseeable future. Double dipping on the STAR exemption: $12,000. Throwing your husband under the bus - priceless.
Take a closer look at this story and it smells like a Lenten Friday: according to Vielkind, Olean Assessor Nancy Champlin learned of the double exemption last week. Then, according to Sen. Young's aide, the lawmaker found out in a "casual conversation" with her husband over the weekend. What a coincidence!
Either somebody's not telling the whole truth, or Richard Young is some kind of psychic. Sen. Young should hang on to that guy - she can use him as a convenient scapegoat AND make a killing in the stock market.
If he can cook, too? He's a keeper.
UPDATE: Apparently, Sen. Young was not at fault here. According to the Buffalo News, "the assessor in the Town of North Greenbush said that following Young's purchase of the condo, town officials erroneously failed to remove the Basic STAR property tax exemption for the previous property owner." Also, Richard Young is recovering fine from multiple tire tracks across his back.