UPDATE 5 p.m. — Staff for Legislature Republicans just sent along this statement from Majority Leader Steve Tucciarello>
"Ms. Andrews and her colleagues clearly don’t grasp the complexity of the ongoing review. Not only would her proposal jeopardize the integrity of the Attorney General's investigation, I also fail to understand why Ms. Andrews thinks she is more qualified than respected law enforcement officials to conduct this review."
Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature say they want a committee of legislators to take over an internal investigation into two county-linked local development corporations.
As a result of an investigation by the attorney general's office into the two LDC's, Upstate Telecommunications Corporation and Monroe Safety and Security Systems LDC, four people are facing criminal charges. One of the defendants is Robert Wiesner, husband to County Executive Maggie Brooks. The men are accused of participating in a bid-rigging scheme.
In July, Brooks hired a Buffalo-based law firm to assist the county with legal work related to the investigation. She also directed one of the firm's partners, former state Attorney General Dennis Vacco, to conduct an internal investigation of the LDC's.
During a press conference this afternoon, Democrats released a proposal to turn the investigation over to a committee of three Republican legislators and three Democratic legislators, which would replace Vacco. The committee would have subpoena power — meaning that it could request documents for review and compel people to testify under oath.
The Democrats said that the current review has not been transparent and has not been subject to legislative oversight. And they argue that, since Brooks has signed off on contracts with the LDC's, and because her husband is one of the defendants, she should not oversee the internal investigation.
"This internal review must be done in a manner that is above reproach," said Legislator Justin Wilcox.
Democratic Minority Leader Carrie Andrews said that a similar investigatory committee was established in the 1980's to probe a Monroe County Pure Waters accident.
Legislature Republicans haven't yet issued a response to the Dems' proposal. But odds are slim that the legislation will make it past Legislature committees, if it makes it even gets that far.