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Crown Point assessment battle continues

Lawsuit filed against town board

The assessment battle in Crown Point did not end when a new town administration took office earlier this year.
The latest move in the on-going fight is a lawsuit filed by two members of the Crown Point Board of Assessment Review whose appointments were rescinded after the new town board took office in January.

The assessment battle in Crown Point did not end when a new town administration took office earlier this year. The latest move in the on-going fight is a lawsuit filed by two members of the Crown Point Board of Assessment Review whose appointments were rescinded after the new town board took office in January.

— After getting legal advice, Viscardi said, the town board realized it had made a mistake. So, Feb. 9 the town board rescinded its Jan. 5 action. It then voted to remove Russell and Clarke from the review board because they had not taken the oath of office within 30 days of their appointment.

That action is also illegal, Viscardi contends. First, the town board moved against Russell and Clarke on Jan. 5, 28 days after they were appointed. Second, board of assessment review members routinely take their oaths on Grievance Day.

Viscardi has filed an affidavit from current Crown Point Board of Assessment Review member Fred French, who said in his 25 years on that board he has always taken his oath of office only on Grievance Day. Viscardi also said he could find no evidence of any review board oaths ever being administered in Crown Point.

To make certain his clients were properly sworn in Viscardi had them take the oath of office from Essex County Clerk Joe Provoncha Feb. 21. However, Viscardi said, Crown Point Clerk Linda Woods has refused to accept the oaths administered by Provoncha. Linda Woods is named in the lawsuit along with the town board.

“I really think they (Crown Point town board members) did this just to show the Kosmider administration that they’re in control now,” Viscardi said. “It’s a game of ‘I’ve got ya’.”

Harrington and Peters were elected last fall following a bitter fight over assessment practices that divided the community.

Kosmider, DuShane and trustee Bob Patnode voted last year to eliminate the town’s elected three assessors in favor of an appointed sole assessor. The vote was 3-2 with trustees Tom Walters and Charlie Mazurowski in opposition.

That sparked controversy in the town with incumbent assessors Carl Ross, Stephen MacKay and Glenn Porter promising to drive Kosmider, DuShane and Patnode from office. They succeeded in replacing Kosmider with Harrington and DuShane with Peters. Patnode was not up for re-election.

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