BY MARC MOSS
On Tuesday night Marc Moss and Dylan Skriloff of the Rockland County Times were shown several hours of further footage from County Legislator Frank Sparaco’s tape-recorded conversations with Councilman Frank Borelli, Highway superintendent candidate Dennis Malone and a Democratic Party attorney.
The tapes made headlines last week as they apparently showed a plot for Borelli and Malone to win Sparaco’s support for Malone’s campaign in return for a high-paying town job. Sparaco went public with the tapes, he said, because Borelli and Malone would not leave him alone and were playing outside the rules.
Borelli and Malone denied the tapes showed what they appeared to, referring to them as “out of context” and claiming Sparaco was just trying to keep his job by helping Wayne Ballard score political points and thus win reelection. Malone said he’d “rather die” than make a deal with Frank Sparaco and promised that Sparaco would be relieved from his current $75,000 per annum job when he wins election for superintendent.
Last week Borelli challenged Sparaco to release all three hours of tape he had. The additional footage Sparaco released to the Rockland County Times, however, only appears to bolster his story and also adds some embarrassing highlights, mainly for Borelli.
At one point in the tapes Borelli refers to fellow Republican Councilman George Hoehmann as a “lying sack of (expletive),” claiming he “lies all the time, that’s what he does,” and in another instance he refers casually to a plan floating around to give Working Families Chairman Bob Milone’s wife a cushy town job as an incentive for him to not run for council in 2013 or to lay down and run a campaign intended to lose.
The deal with Milone never materialized, however, the arrangement is mentioned by Borelli as if it were an everyday matter of conversation. At one point Borelli refers to Rockland County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Lettre as “the master” of such inside politicking, dealing with the trading of jobs for political support and the counting of pension years.
Sparaco noted, “It gets worse for them. You’d think they’d not want me to show the tapes.”
In the tapes, Dennis Malone defers to Borelli as his political boss several times, indicating Borelli has authority to speak for him and that he ultimately will follow Borelli’s instructions in most instances. And in one passage Borelli said he made a vote because Gromack told him he had to, indicating Gromack sometimes played the role of Borelli’s boss.
A deal also was discussed in which, in return for Ballard dropping a lawsuit against the town’s consolidation of Highway Dept. garages, Dennis Malone would drop out of the race for superintendent.
In one tape Borelli bluffs dropping the deal with Sparaco, at which point Sparaco reinitiates the conversation, getting Borelli to agree to the deal he had originally offered (a full-time job in return for Sparaco’s support). This is the only time in the over three hours of tapes that Sparaco appears to be the instigator of the deal-making.
Sparaco said, “I was playing a role in these tapes. I am undercover.”
Editor’s Note-Frank Borelli’s assertion printed in this article regarding George Hoehmann by no means reflects the viewpoint of the Rockland County Times.