Citing those remarks [“We need another sodomizer in Attica like we need another Peter Andreoli in Onondaga County.”], Mr. Andreoli asked Judge Cunningham to disqualify himself when he was called upon to rule in a jurisdictional dispute between the special prosecutor and the District Attorney.
Insisting that he was “in no way prejudiced against the special prosecutor or his investigation,” Judge Cunningham refused to disqualify himself—and then ruled in favor of the District Attorney. His decision was overturned on appeal.
The county officials who have pleaded guilty say the conspiracy to assess county employees a percentage of their salary was extensive and long-standing. Mr. Greenhouse, the former county attorney, said he first became aware of it in October 1968, when he was working as a law clerk in the county attorney’s office.
He said that, when the county attorney’s secretary handed him a slip of paper with a dollar amount, “I was told that it was an assessment for a contribution to the Onondaga County Republican committee and the amount was based on my salary at the time.”
Firm Admits Role in Scheme
Last month Marsh & McLennan Inc., the nation’s largest insurance brokerage, admitted having participated in a kickback scheme to obtain political contributions from insurance companies and made restitution to the county of $30,000. It also paid a $5,000 fine.
The firm is one of the three concerns accused of conspiring to distribute the insurance business of Onondaga County to other insurance agents on the basis of their contributions to the local Republican Party. Mr. Mulroy and State Senator Martin S. Auer, another Syracuse Republican, have been accused of felonies in connection with the case.
Governor Carey named the special prosecutor in response to a request from a New York City grand jury that had uncovered evidence of political corruption in Onondaga County while investigating wrongdoing in the State Attorney General’s office three years ago.
“Some people just don’t cotton to the idea of a person from the most corrupt city in the country being sent here to probe corruption,’ wrote Gus Bliven, the political columnist of the Post-Standard, a morning paper whose continuous criticism of the special prosecutor has set the tone for most of the local newspaper coverage of the subject.
‘Thought It Was a Witch Hunt’
Of Mr. Andreoli’s investigation, he said: “We thought it was a witch hunt” because only one of the 16 individuals indicted so far has been a Democrat—Francis L. McGraw, a former lieutenant in the Sheriff’s office who was convicted of official misconduct.
Besides the Post-Standard, the Newhouse Newspapers group owns the other two major Syracuse papers, the evening Herald-Journal and the Sunday Herald-American-Post-Standard, as well as the local NBC television affiliate and two local radio stations. But Len Gorman the 73-year-old executive editor of the Post-Standard, which he joined in 1933, said: “We are never told what to do.”
The morning and evening newspapers, which have separate news staffs, “are just as competitive as The New York Times and the Herald Tribune used to be,” he said
Harold Addington, the 63-year-old chief editorial writer for the Herald Journal, conceded that the number of counts charged by the special grand juries was “quite prolific” but he noted that “the number of felonies, comparatively they’ve been minute.”
Only Clifford F. Hart, former Salina Town Supervisor, has been convicted of a felony. In addition to Mr. Mulroy and Senator Auer, felony charges are still pending against six other defendants. One man—Stephen G. Vislosky, a deputy county comptroller—has been acquitted of all the charges against him.
———————————————————————————————————Several years later, I was temporarily employed in the Post-Standard’s letters department. Gus Bliven explained to me that any letter typed with a blue ribbon on newsprint was to be published. Those letters to the editor were written by the editor; various friends had given him permission to use their names on letters he wrote.
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