I am the managing editor of the Daily Freeman, Kingston, NY, for which the reporter, William Kemble, works. The following is a statement I have prepared in response to the misrepresentations of this incident by Congressman Hinchey’s office:
There was an incident. Mr. Kemble says the congressman put a hand on his neck. A third party who witnessed the incident says he did not see that, but did see the congressman jabbing Mr. Kemble in the chest with his finger. Yet another witness says Kemble was pushed into the path of another person by the congressman.
For his part, Mr. Kemble views the incident as an unwanted distraction to his work.
However, as managing editor, I take seriously the issue of anyone, including a congressman, putting their hand on or jabbing with a finger a reporter who is simply doing his job.
Further, the Hinchey camp’s characterizations of the incident as either prompted by aggressive action by Mr. Kemble or by false accusations they claim he and the Freeman have made are untrue.
First, the videotape of the questioning of Mr. Hinchey clearly shows that while Kemble was persistent, he was professional and even in tone, while it was Hinchey who lost his composure. The congressman should own up to what everyone can see.
Second, the specific question that Mr. Kemble was asking prior to the incident and which apparently provoked the congressman involves Hinchey’s real estate interest in a commercial Saugerties development which was referenced in a congressional disclosure form for funding of a Hudson River ferry project. To our knowledge, Congressman Hinchey has never answered questions about that connection, which is why Mr. Kemble was posing the question to him.
We stand by our reporting on federal funding to an area Mr. Hinchey represents . We have made no false allegations nor has Mr. Hinchey proven once, never mind “numerous times,” that any of our reporting was false.
Readers may judge for themselves. The stories are posted online at:
KINGSTON — U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, leads federal representatives in the region in securing federal pork-barrel funds for local projects, according to the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste’s annual “Pig Book,” which put Hinchey’s budget earmarks at $54.96 million.
SAUGERTIES — U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey has a financial interest in the Partition Street Project, which is to be constructed within the village for which he secured $800,000 in federal funding for a sewer infrastructure project his office called “critical to the village’s commercial future.
SAUGERTIES — A village official says U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey overstated at the outset the planned use of $800,000 in federal money to rehabilitate sewer lines.
In announcing the funding last fall, a Hinchey press release specifically mentioned rehabilitation of Partition Street infrastructure from Main Street to the Esopus Creek bridge. Lines along that route would have run past the Partition Street Project, a hotel and conference center in which the congressman, a Hurley Democrat, has a property interest.