By WBNG News
October 12, 2016
(WBNG) – Broome County Democratic Chair James Testani is responding to comments made by Broome County Executive Debbie Preston (R) in a news conference Tuesday.
Preston admitted to taking out a credit card with her name and the Town of Conklin listed on it in 2011. Preston said she took out the card through Sam's Club. She says she used it for personal reasons and after racking up a significant amount of debt, she paid off the card in 2012 after being contacted by the Town of Conklin.
The following statement was released by Testani Tuesday:
“Earlier today Broome County Executive Debbie Preston stated that the instances of public corruption which she admitted to were part of an 'October Surprise '. This incidence of wrong doing was brought into public view by District Attorney Stephen Cornwell , a Republican, whose letter to the media last Friday acknowledged an investigation of Preston's wrong doing. Her use of the phrase "October Surprise" insinuates Democratic Party involvement in exposing her activities. Let me state emphatically, this attempt to deflect blame on the Broome County Democratic Party is not true. The incidence, however, of a town supervisor and a County Executive using a Town credit card for personal purposes should have been known four years ago. Supervisor and later County Executive Debbie Preston chose to use the Town of Conklin as her personal lending institution fronting her over $23,000 to buy personal items. This is not an instance of misfortune or an accident. It is just another in a series of bad ethical behaviors since the start of the Preston Administration in 2012.”
"I have to say, I regret it. I am sorry," Preston said Tuesday. "I was told to me that this was resolved, there were no issues."
Preston sent a letter to the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to handle the investigation.
She says she has not been arrested or indicted and that she does not believe she committed any criminal act or did anything wrong. Preston stated she is not resigning and is still on the ballot for the November election.
To the taxpayers, Preston said she is sorry it happened, but again stressed she did not use taxpayer money.
Preston's attorney tells 12 News that the Broome County District Attorney's Office is looking into the situation and has passed it on to a special prosecutor to be named later.
Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell (R) said in a statement: “In response to Ms. Preston’s attorney, we can confirm that the case involving Debra A. Preston is being reassigned to another District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.”
Preston's opponent, Jason Garnar (D), says that he is disappointed with the news out of the County Executive's Office.