30-count indictment for LaPietra


By Jim Poole

A Schoharie County Grand Jury indicted Cobleskill Village Board candidate Bob LaPietra on 30 counts of first-degree perjury and first-degree filing a false instrument on Friday.
The indictments stem from charges related to Mr. LaPietra’s nominating petitions in his run for a trusteeship on the board.
All 30 counts are Class E felonies. If convicted on all counts, Mr. LaPietra faces a likely maximum of two and two-thirds to eight years in prison, according to District Attorney Jim Sacket.
Mr. LaPietra was charged September 8 with 26 counts for falsely listing 748 East Main Street, Cobleskill, as his address on the petitions, according to police at the time.
The perjury charges were for listing the address; the offering a false instrument charge was for filing the petitions with the Board of Elections in Schoharie.
He was later charged with four more counts, this time in connection with signing the petitions as a witness, according to Mr. Sacket.
Although it involves a candidate for the village board, Mr. Sacket said the basics of the case are “no different than any other.”
As examples, he pointed to people who may falsely complete applications to the Department of Social Services or Department of Motor Vehicles.
“When you swear to things and then file the documents with the government, you’re swearing under oath,” Mr. Sacket said.
“We have to be able to depend on these statements. The system breaks down if you don’t follow the rules.”
Contacted Monday, Mr. LaPietra had little to say about the indictments.
“We expected it, didn’t we?” he said. “We saw it coming. Naturally we’re looking forward to our day in court.”
Mr. Sacket said there would be an arraignment and schedule for motions the second week in October, and a date to return to court would probably be in about two and a half months.
A Board of Elections spokesperson said Mr. LaPietra would remain on the ballot. He’s running against Linda Holmes and incumbent Carol McGuire for two seats on the board.
A conviction might change the picture, officials said, but Mr. Sacket said the case is unlikely to come to trial before Election Day.
And, Mr. Sacket added, he doesn’t expect a guilty plea from Mr. LaPietra.

* * *
In a related case, Mr. LaPietra paid $2,100 to settle a suit brought by the Village of Cobleskill over his 748 East Main Street apartments, where he claims to live.
Judge Eugene Devine ordered Mr. LaPietra to vacate the apartments, which the village claimed were illegal, on September 15.
On Monday, Mr. LaPietra paid the $2,100, a combination of a fine and court costs.