Press-Republican

Local News

January 14, 2013

ComLinks funds on hold for now

Franklin County mulls future of funds earmarked for defunct agency

MALONE — A routine resolution for contract-agency funding in Franklin County was sidetracked recently when defunct ComLinks was among those named to receive support.

Legislator Sue Robideau (R-Brushton) questioned a proposal put before the seven-member board that divided up money to 15 agencies supported by the county.

On the list was $4,050 for ComLinks, a community-action agency that was closed after losing all of its programs and service contracts following the December 2011 conviction of its former executive director, Nancy Reich, for grand larceny.

ComLinks is in the process of selling off its remaining assets to pay off vendors and creditors, and its Gleaning Program is handled now by the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties, located in Plattsburgh.

“Are we going to be funding (ComLinks)?” Robideau said when she saw the resolution. “They’ve been abolished, and I don’t think it should be there.”

FUNDS IN LIMBO

County Manager Thomas Leitz said he was planning to meet with JCEO officials, who have said they are interested in receiving the county funds for its programming.

The ComLinks stipend was taken out of the resolution, but the other contract agencies will be paid.

Those receiving funds include North Country Life Flight ($6,075); Hospice of the North Country ($2,000); Adirondack Regional Airport ($8,100); Franklin County Tourism ($166,765); Snowmobile Trail ($104,850); Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System ($14,489); Franklin County Historical and Museum Society ($10,000); Catholic Charities ($608); Adirondack North Country Association ($4,050); conservation programs ($810); Cornell Cooperative Extension ($311,178); Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District ($70,000); the Adirondack Review Board ($1,013); and Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties ($1,620).

Until a decision is made on where the money pegged for ComLinks will be spent, it will stay in the general fund.

Reich was accused in a State Comptroller’s Office audit of using $100,000 in grant funding to pay for a lavish lifestyle that included massages, golf-club memberships, airline tickets, groceries and stainless-steel appliances for her home.

She pleaded guilty to grand larceny, was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution and was given a conditional discharge if she remained arrest-free for three years.

Email Denise A. Raymo:

draymo@pressrepublican.com

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