Four members of the Kingston Common Council, including its leaders, are calling for an independent investigation of Kingston Mayor Steven Noble and his wife, Julie Noble, by attorney general Letitia James. The allegations are not detailed in the request, which was sent to Hudson Valley One at 5:39 p.m. on Friday, July 10.
The signers on the document are Andrea Shaut, council president; majority leader Reynolds Scott-Childress; and aldermen Jeffrey Ventura-Morell and Rita Worthington. They claim to have gotten reports from “multiple sources” regarding “potentially inappropriate and perhaps even illegal behavior” by the Nobles in the course of official business. As members of the city’s ethics board are all named by the mayor, they are turning to the state’s highest crime-fighter for help. As they explain, an investigation through the attorney general’s office “is the ideal pathway to learn if in fact violations of our ethics code or the law have occurred. And if no wrongdoing is found through an investigation, it is best to staunch the flow of rumors in order for our government to move forward to best serve our constituents and our community.”
While being “deeply saddened” by need for the request, the council members are calling for this independent investigation “in the strongest tradition of the principle and practice of separation of powers.”
In response to a request for additional information, ward 1 alderman Ventura-Morell advised that an attorney working for the New York Conference of Mayors recommended asking the attorney general to open an investigation, and not to discuss the details of what’s essentially a personnel matter in public. This was after “being approached by several credible sources” about the unnamed concerns. Other members of the common council have been apprised of the situation, Ventura-Morell advised.
This is not the first time this year the attorney general has been asked to look into governmental issues in Kingston. In February, corporation counsel asked for “special attention and scrutiny” to be given to Mayor Noble’s plan to consolidate the city departments of Parks and Recreation into the Department of Public Works. The plan called for a new deputy supervisor position to be created, and Ms. Noble, who works in the parks department as the city’s environmental education and sustainability coordinator, was to be named provisionally to that job, which carried a raise of $22,882. The mayor removed her name from consideration following criticism and in April, a motion to move ahead with the merger proposal died without receiving a second.
A request for information made to the attorney general’s office was acknowledged and referred to someone familiar with the subject, but no additional information has been provided as of this posting.