SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local mayor is coming to her own defense after a heated city council meeting Tuesday night.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen is accused of violating the city’s ethics code, potentially compromising a project vote.
Now Mayor Yepsen is releasing personal and confidential legal documents to prove she did nothing wrong.
It all goes back to last fall when Mayor Yepsen started talks with the Saratoga Hospital Foundation about possible employment.
“We had no contract. They were very preliminary discussions with the hospital foundation,” Mayor Yepsen said. “I had a relationship with them because I served on their board for nine years. They were looking for some grant writing help.”
Meanwhile, the hospital had an active zoning application before the council.
Mayor Yepsen recused herself from that project vote, but an ethics board said the code prohibits city employees from soliciting work with anyone doing business with Saratoga Springs.
City council members agreed.
“Solicitation is sort of the back and forth of asking for a job,” Michele Madigan, finance commissioner, said. “There are several emails back and forth so that’s the solicitation.”
Tuesday night, the council voted to censure Mayor Yepsen. A resolution that calls on the state to investigate.
“We were set with a task like what do we do next. That’s where the resolution comes in,” Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, director of public works, said. “Send it down to the state have the state take a look at it. I don’t think anyone accused her of any criminal acts. We were just looking for some insight.”
The mayor insists she did nothing unethical.
“We were disclosing it as soon as we realized potential conflict and both hospital and I realized it at the same time.”
Some council members argue the mayor’s recusal on that hospital vote, killed the project.