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Croton Republicans Conspired to Hijack Village Board Meeting

February 8, 2007

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
Wake up, citizens of Croton! You’ve heard of carjacking, haven’t you? Well, you’ve just been the victims of a new technique—meetingjacking. Yes, you’ve been scammed and you don’t even know it. An unscrupulous group with their own agenda secretly plotted to hijack a village board meeting and nearly got away with it. Here are the details of the coldly calculated plot and how it was accomplished:

Phase One. A letter was sent to the Village Manager signed by one Bill Rooney. Mr. Rooney is a mysterious individual who writes many letters to the editor of The Gazette, but has never been known to appear or speak at village board meetings. His spontaneous letter on the subject of 1A Croton Point Avenue, the former Metro Enviro property, was made part of the agenda for the meeting on Feb. 5. The stage was now set for the next phase of the scam.

Phase Two. With the Rooney letter now on the Monday night meeting’s agenda, Susan Schmidt, wife of the Mayor, and Joann Minett, Secretary of the Republican Party, conspired to drum up attendance at the Feb. 5 meeting. Mrs. Minett widely circulated an e-mail message urging recipients to attend the meeting and “protest” village actions with respect to this property and attached a flyer prepared by Mrs. Schmidt. These were the famous documents found “floating in a bottle” in Croton Bay.

Phase Three. At the Monday night village board meeting, members of the cabal took advantage of the Mayor’s invitation to speak on “agenda items” and took turns at the microphone to read lengthy prepared statements. Subject categories had obviously been assigned to prevent repetitive coverage of individual topics. A total of ten persons spoke in succession at Monday night’s meeting—not the “more than a dozen speakers” reported in the typically less than careful Journal News story of Feb. 8. In the order in which they spoke, they were: James R. Moore, Maria Cudequest, Antoinette M. Cosentino, M.D., Charles Trendell, Richard Pellicci, Joann Minett, Susan Konig, Regina Montana, Don Daubney, Robert Wintermeier, with a brief afterword by Phil Tamico of 18 Half Moon Bay.

It is curious that among the names of those who signed the Republicans’ Certificate of Participation accompanying the nominating petitions filed on January 26, 2007, for candidates Gregory Schmidt, Thomas Brennan and Susan Konig were six of the ten names from the above list: James R. Moore, Charles Trendell, Joan Minett, Susan Konig, Don Daubney, Otto R(obert) Wintermeier. Joann Minett was listed on this certificate as the secretary of the Republican caucus. Maria Cudequest claims to be registered as an independent voter and Richard Pellicci claims to be registered as a Democrat; thus, they are not permitted to take part in a Republican caucus.

Phase Four. Mayor Schmidt colluded with this cabal and refrained from admonishing the small partisan audience not to applaud or make any demonstrations. He also failed to cut off Charles Trendell, who libeled the three Democratic sitting trustees by accusing them of taking bribes (see: “Charles W. Trendell Charges Croton-on-Hudson Officials with Accepting Bribes”). Mr. Trendell’s embarrassing embellishment was probably inadvertent and not part of the plot. Trustee Brennan underscored each speaker’s statement by repeatedly reiterating the Schmidt-Brennan-Konig campaign position, a blatant act of electioneering prohibited by law at a public meeting. This was reported in painfully excruciating detail in Crotonblog’s satirical “theatrical review” (see “A Satirical Report on Croton’s Feb. 5 Village Board Meeting”) of the proceedings.

In 2000, a similar unscrupulous group with their own private agenda hijacked our national government, and we all know the disastrous mess their machinations have caused at home and abroad. Sadly, we have just witnessed a similar nefarious attempt to abuse the democratic process and subvert our local government. Wake up, Croton, and see these people for what they are! They claim to be concerned about your health and welfare but they are actually engaged in a plot to control local government through trickery and deception. In its campaign to instill fear, the Bush administration has everybody on the lookout for swarthy-looking individuals with strange-sounding names, accompanied by women wearing headscarves. Jackals are indeed lurking among us here in Croton. The people we should really be wary of, however, are co-conspirators like those named above posing as our friends and neighbors.

— John C. “Dusty” Rhodes

On September 21, 2008 7:21 PM, Devil's Advocate said:

They are at it again!

This band of truth twisting liars are again poisoning the village with their dispicable deception regarding the Harmon Committee Recommendations.

I am so tired of Cudequest and Trendell controlling their proxies Schmidt, Brennan and Konig to do whatever they want. Who the hell are they to dictate the direction this village should take in the future. They have about as much forward vision as a rear view mirror.

Wake up Croton and chemo this cancer before it kills this village!

On February 14, 2007 7:34 PM, waffels said:

Tom……these republicans have the “obnoxious” monopoly at the board meetings, period…..letter to the editor, blogging, let fly…at a board meeting there are people being paid, good hard working volunteers that listen to their abuse and village business that needs to be attended to….it’s is an obnoxious waste of time….

On February 14, 2007 12:00 PM, Tom Faranda said:


As soon as I posted my comment, I realized that wasn’t your screen name. But comments are like missiles, you can’t call them back! I suppose that’s what happens when people post without using their real names.

I certainly agree that obnoxiousness is unnecessary and counter-productive. And I’ve never been to a Croton trustee meeting. But there’s plenty of odnoxiousness to go around - both on this weblog and in the Gazette. The Republicans don’t have a monopoly on it.

Tom Faranda

On February 12, 2007 9:51 AM, weewill said:

Tom, of course people are “entitled to attend” – as a matter of fact people should be encouraged to attend and “articulate their positions.” We absolutely agree on that point.

What we apparently disagree on is the assumed right to abuse and defame good and decent people such as Ann, Leo and Charlie, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with their positions. This disregard for what is just and appropriate has been apparent with a very few residents performing for the television cameras and/or to make political points. Charlie - Mr. election-campaign-time-Republican - Trendell joined that elite group with his tirade at the Feb. 5th village board meeting. In my opinion, he not only degraded himself but offended every fair-minded person in our wonderful village.

P.S. For the record, Tom, my blog name is Weewill, not Waffles. Glad to see you speaking out.

On February 11, 2007 10:47 PM, sdavidson said:

Tom, I agree that they have a right to speak their minds, and that they have a right to organize. That doesn’t mean they are not incredibly obnoxious. I don’t think anyone wants to infringe on their right to speak at board meetings, just expose that they are a tiresome cancer on Croton’s political discourse. They shouldn’t be silenced, but it would be great if they all moved.
Can anyone in the entire village even see the Regus site from their home? From what I can tell it is down by the train tracks in an area that is allready industrial and ugly. Except for the past few months, I’ve lived in Croton my entire life, and I have never seen this waste transfer station or whatever it is. If it weren’t for Maria Cudeaquest and friends I wouldn’t even know it is there. At this point I might be willing to accept a giant dump in Croton if it means we can stop talking about

On February 11, 2007 10:02 PM, Mrs. Smith said:

Mr. Faranda, If they want to organize themselves, that is OK. However, to adopt the mob mentality as this group does at almost every meeting is quite different, and for you to condone people who accuse others of being on the take and accepting bribes is totally unacceptable. All trustees and the mayor are basically volunteers and for people to go, week after week, and harass and accuse them of criminal behavior is wrong and a symptom of what is happening nationally. If you cannot agree with someone, there is no longer dialog, just character assasination and an all out attempt to malign and defame.This is not what I think democracy and community are about and it is the reason so few people have the stomach to show up and try to state a contrary opinion.

On February 11, 2007 9:44 PM, Tom Faranda said:


Well I disagree. People are entitled to attend these meetings and articulate their positions. And if they organize and show up with lots of supporters, well, good for them.

And people who disagree should turn out and say so.


On February 10, 2007 12:29 PM, waffels said:

Please Tom……the whole charade is nauseating. It wastes time and in turn wastes money because the village attorney is sitting there being paid a pretty hefty sum to listen to this trash…..Trustee Brennon and his honor Schmidt should be held accountable for the wasted time and money…..

On February 9, 2007 5:17 PM, Tom Faranda said:

Dear Mr. “Dusty” Rhodes,

Well, I’m not a republican and I didn’t attend this meeting.

But it seems to me that people are within their rights to organize themselves to attend a public meeting. That’s just good citizenship.

Namecalling and bad mouthing people - “Hijacking”, “unscrupulous”, “nefarious”, “trickery”, “deception” - for attending a meeting and expressing their views - is just sour grape because you disagree with them.

John Hall did a better job of rallying supporters then Sue Kelly did - that doesn’t mean he did a “hijacking” of the congressional seat.

“Dusty” Rhodes (baseball player?) stop whining, get organized, and just get out the vote to support whatever position it is you have.

Tom Faranda

On February 8, 2007 2:06 PM, dors said:

Dusty, thanks for the warning but rest assured most Crotonites are well aware of the antics of the band of blabbermouths. We’re all wide awake to their shrill chant and bored with their theatrics.

I will say these people are well organized but so what if they wrote letters, organized attendees, and staged their show. It’s as old as the hills and most are so bored with the repeat performances we’ve pretty much stopped listening.

What we need to do instead is get organized ourselves and work to get the vote out for the Democrats so sanity can be restored to our lovely village.


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