Former Vernon Codes Inspector To

Attorney General Spitzer today announced an agreement with a former public officer for the Town of Vernon who breached his fiduciary duty by engaging in private business dealings with a company who owned a property for which he had oversight responsibility.

Laurence S. Sarandrea was a full-time Codes Enforcement Officer for the Town of Vernon. Sarandrea’s responsibilities included inspecting the facilities at Vernon Downs, an entertainment complex with a racetrack and a hotel owned by Mid-State Raceway, Inc., to ensure the company’s compliance with state and local health and safety laws.

In August 2003, without disclosure to the Town, Sarandrea entered into a contract with Mid-State, under which Sarandrea agreed to provide "consulting services" to the company for a fee of $1,000 per week. During Sarandrea’s consultancy with Mid-State, he continued to receive his full-time salary and benefits from the Town.

Under today’s agreement, Sarandrea will reimburse the Town of Vernon $9,000, which represents the salary and benefits the Town paid to Sarandrea during the period he simultaneously worked for Mid-State. Sarandrea previously resigned from his Town position.

"Public officials have an obligation to the public they serve," Attorney General Spitzer stated, "Any private financial arrangement which presents a conflict or compromise is illegal and must not be tolerated."

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