Former chair of Owasco ethics board requests state investigation into two alleged incidents

An Owasco town councilor has asked the state to investigate allegations of misconduct following his removal from the town ethics board.

Fred Cornelius, the former chair of Owasco’s ethics board, notified the town in February that he planned to look into concerns related to two town government payments. He was then removed as chair by his fellow town councilors.

Now, Cornelius has requested the Public Integrity Bureau of the New York State Attorney General and the state Comptroller’s Office fraud unit investigate the payments, according to The Citizen.

One of the concerns brought forth by Cornelius is related to retired town water and sewer department administrator and former town councilman Richard Knaul. Cornelius spoke out after a January resolution to pay town bills included an invoice from Knaul for work Cornelius has alleged was previously considered “volunteer” work.

Cornelius’ other concern highlights an incident in which the town paid $3,000 to a customer of elected Owasco Highway Superintendent Robert Bruno’s private construction firm for work done on the customer’s property by the firm.

Owasco Town Supervisor Ed Wagner stated that Cornelius’ concerns are not founded. The town is currently considering expanding its town ethics board from three to five members, with a public hearing on the matter planned for this week.

Get the latest headlines delivered to your inbox each morning. Sign up for our Morning Edition to start your day. FL1 on the Go! Download the free App for Android (All Android Devices) or iOS (iPhone, iPad).