On the heels of a failed lawsuit against a development company, Mayor Stephanie Miner is now embroiled in a dramatic legal saga that could be a major blow to her administration.
According to Syracuse.com, a judge has ruled that Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick can call upon two lawyers from Syracuse City Hall to testify in court about Miner and her past actions.
This ruling comes after a secret court proceeding in which three of Miner’s lawyers attempted to block the city hall workers from testifying. Fitzpatrick claims that he wants the lawyers to testify as part of his probe into Miner’s actions during the COR Development Co. controversy.
As Syracuse.com also reported, Miner sued COR in December, alleging that they circumvented her authority to obtain tax breaks for the Syracuse Inner Harbor Project. However, it seems as though Miner has given up on the case after it was dismissed by a judge. Miner did not appeal the dismissal.
Of the some 26.5 million businesses in the United States, COR Development Co. was lucky enough to be awarded the lucrative Inner Harbor Project. Due to the massive financial implications surrounding the project, many feel as if Miner’s lawsuit again COR was merely an attempt to save face with her constituents.
Now, it seems as if Miner and her administration are only making things worse. After obtaining court documents from two city councilors who are allies of Miner, Fitzpatrick believes that their statements are part of an “orchestrated effort” to mislead the public about the litigation against COR.
Many political insiders are quick to point out that the prior contentious relationship between Miner and Fitzpatrick has prompted the latter to launch this particular investigation. About 10 years ago, Fitzpatrick attacked Miner and other councilors who voted to block a package of tax breaks for Carousel Center mall, claiming that they violated the NYS Open Meetings Law before voting.
“He’s gone after her before,” said Tim Carroll, a city hall aide. “It’s no coincidence that the DA sends his troops over to city hall every time a bigwig developer doesn’t get what they want.”
Bruce Conner, a political volunteer who supports Miner, has already been charged with a misdemeanor related to the COR scandal. Fitzpatrick has said that he does not hold a personal grudge against Miner, and he is unsure if additional criminal charges will be filed after the city hall workers have testified.
“The investigation is ongoing. This is a very, very long-term investigation that we have going on,” Fitzpatrick said. “Do I anticipate more charges? I have no idea. I anticipate we will get to the truth — and let the chips fall where they may.”