Updated 08/22/2012 08:49 PM
Controversy surrounding former Gouverneur mayor continues
The former Mayor of Gouverneur continues to make headlines, but not for policy or platform, instead, an arrest. But Miller is speaking out, saying not everything is as it appears. Our Cara Thomas explains.
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GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. -- 31 Edith Street has been the center of legal and financial trouble since 2009 when former Gouverneur Mayor Christopher Miller and his former partner Dylan Lebinow purchased the property. According to the previous owner, he wasn’t receiving payment toward the $4,000 down payment and had to take legal action. Neither Miller nor Lebinow showed up at court to refute the claim.
"Therefore the judge ruled in my favor that the balance of the money was owed to me," said George Ablan, the former owner of the home.
Ablan says he received the final payment just last week. But the controversy doesn’t end there. On Tuesday, Miller was arrested for what the sheriff's office says was a fraudulent land contract sale. And Miller was charged with grand larceny in the third degree. The sheriff's office says Miller was selling that same house, but failed to mention the home was jointly owned by his former partner.
Miller says many of the accusations against him aren’t true.
Miller said, “It’s a false accusation. The tenants knew from the beginning that my partner and I owned the property together.”
Miller also believes he wasn't arrested because of a fraudulent contract sale, but rather because he had not had a chance to refund the buyers the money they had invested into the house thus far.
While the courts decide what happens next, Deputy Mayor Ronald McDougall has been tapped to take the reins of the village for now.
But even after everything that's happened, McDougall says the village is trying to look toward to the future and move forward with normal village business.
McDouggall said, “[We] had what I thought was a progressive meeting last night. We’ve got a number of infrastructure projects ahead of us. We’ve got water, sewer, lighting, and things of that nature. If I can just help with the rest of the board to make Gouverneur a little better, then we’re progressing.”
McDougall and Miller both agree that his resignation was best for everyone involved. Miller says there have been too many rumors and accusations and the best thing to do was walk away.