Controversy over tape recorded comments in Washingtonville
The Village of Washingtonville is mired in controversy over allegations that a trustee made racially charged comments caught on tape last month. Our John Wagner has the story.
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ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y. -- Washingtonville's board meeting heated up with officials calling each other liars and police forcing a number of residents to leave. It neared a boiling point as Mayor Kevin Hudson asked for trustee Jacqueline Polman to resign for allegedly making racially charged comments.
“Basically I would refer to it as hate speech, it’s totally inexcusable and intolerable," said Mayor Hudson.
The mayor's friend, Joseph Murphy, said he taped Polman while watching news reports of racial strife in Newburgh.
“There's no way that you can set somebody up with the language she used that night and how fluent it came out of her mouth,” said Murphy.
But Polman said the mayor's been trying to get rid of her for challenging him and that it was all a set up.
"There's no speakers on the computers so I’m basically repeating what the people were saying, the mayor was rolling on the floor laughing, but the tape’s been edited," said Washingtonville trustee Jacqueline Polman.
Residents packed village hall to either condemn the alleged comments...
“When you hold a position that's highly respected, all eyes are on you, not at just one point of the day, but all the time,” said Washingtonville resident Adam Flores.
Or to defend Polman's character.
"We've never had problems like this, he's making it up, and it shouldn't come down to that... because this is not the village that it is, it's a good community," said Washingtonville resident Kathy McBride.
But with no legal standing identified to oust the trustee, village leaders will be forced to work together.
"I am not planning to step down and if I did offend anyone I do apologize," said Polman.
"She's not sorry for what she said, she's sorry she got caught," said Mayor Hudson.
Residents said they're worried village politics will get worse before they get better.