Former Local Official Sued

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against a former public official in Steuben County who used his public service position to attract business to his privately-owned contracting company.

Richard Hober, Sr., the Town of Wayland Highway Superintendent between 1996 and 2003, was accused of breaching his fiduciary duty in dealings with a local not-for-profit and an Andover-based pipe company. Specifically, Hober secured business for his privately-owned company, Hober Enterprises, Inc., as a result of work performed for the town involving a local not-for-profit and in separate dealings with the pipe company that also did business with the town.

Hober Enterprises is a general construction company that was nominally owned by Hober's wife.

In 2002, Hober directed the use, without charge, of Wayland town resources, including a town truck and the use of a town worker, to the Naples Community Park Foundation (NCPF), a not-for-profit group that was constructing a park in the Town of Naples. While the construction of the park was in progress, Hober proposed that Hober Enterprises be hired to provide additional equipment and manpower to the project. The NCPF agreed, and ultimately paid Hober Enterprises $8,750.

In addition, between 1997 and 2003, Hober engaged in private business with Lloyd Hollenbeck, the owner of Allegany Pipe and Tubular Products, Ltd., from which the town, at Hober's direction, purchased more than $118,000 worth of metal pipe. While Hober was Highway Superintendent, Hollenbeck paid Hober Enterprises $5,000 to rent equipment and storage space through another company he owned, Industrial Services.

The lawsuit seeks reimbursement to the Town of Wayland for the salary and benefits paid to Hober during this period.

"Public officials must not treat taxpayer-supported projects as opportunities for personal gain," Attorney General Spitzer stated. "Private financial arrangements that compromise a duty to the public are illegal."

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Brian Stettin, under the supervision of Carrie H. Cohen, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, and Deputy Attorney General Marty Mack.