TICONDEROGA - Former Ticonderoga Highway Superintendent Arthur "Pat" Morrison Sr. has been sentenced for official misconduct.
Morrison entered a plea of guilty to official misconduct May 26, the day he resigned. His resignation was part of a plea agreement.
Morrison was arrested, charged with accepting illegal kick backs from a vendor, in September 2009.
Morrison was charged with receiving reward for official misconduct, a Class E felony, and official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.
Morrison was sentenced in Schroon town court in July to three years of probation, ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, told to pay the costs of returning items he improperly purchased and banned from seeking public office during his term of probation.
Morrison has already paid $20,000 in restitution.
Morrison is alleged to have accepted $2,000 in retail store gift cards from a vendor in exchange for purchasing large volumes of chemicals at above-market prices.
The investigation started when a routine state audit of town records revealed unusual purchases at the highway department, police said.
Auditors were surprised to find large chemical purchases at extremely high prices. Their experience made them suspicious and they alerted Ticonderoga police.
Morrison took office as Ti highway superintendent Jan. 1, 2008. The questionable purchases began in March 2008, according to investigators, and continued until April 2009.
The chemicals purchased were cleaning and ice melting agents.
The investigation was conducted by the Ticonderoga Police Department, the Essex County District Attorney's office and the state Comptroller's Investigation Unit.
According to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Morrison purchased $100,000 in over-priced supplies that for the most part were not used by the town, and accepted $2,000 in gift cards, according to a state audit.
The audit also found the superintendent purchased $18,000 worth of sand from his uncle, without seeking competitive bids for this material.
DiNapoli's auditors found that:
- the superintendent purchased $100,000 of overpriced highway supplies much of which remained unused, and admitted to accepting $2,000 in gift-card kickbacks from one of the vendors who sold him those supplies;
- the board could have paid $46,000 less for the $100,000 in supplies through a competitive procurement process;
- the superintendent purchased $18,000 in sand from his uncle, without bidding;
- the superintendent's actions wasted about $90,000 in taxpayer funds;
- the board did not make sure the superintendent solicited bids, as required by law, for $109,000 in purchases, or obtained price quotes, as required by town policy, for $12,000 in purchases; and
- the board approved the payment of vouchers for the excessive and overpriced highway products purchased by the superintendent without questioning the need and quantity of goods purchased, the use of two new vendors, the suspicious invoices, or the lack of bids and quotes.