Assembly Candidate Smullen’s Case Referred to Grand Jury
118th Assembly candidate Robert Smullen had his case referred to the Schenectady County Grand Jury on Wednesday, according to court officials in Niskayuna.
Smullen was arrested in July on a felony count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing after it was alleged that he double dipped on a property tax exemption for veterans. Smullen is a retired Colonel in the United States Marines. According to a State Police release from July, Smullen allegedly filed paperwork for the exemption on a property he owns in Niskayuna, while having already received the veterans' exemption at his primary residence in Fulton County.
It's not yet known when the Grand Jury will hear the case. "Once they receive it, it's their decision as to what happens next," said Barbara Pidgeon, the Niskayuna Town Court Clerk.
Smullen claims applying for exemptions on two properties when a veteran is only allowed to claim one, was a mistake. He told WIBX in July that he became aware of the 'mistake' in April and he acted quickly to correct it. He said he paid a portion of the money back and the remainder will be paid back next year when he pays his taxes.
Smullen won the Primary in September over his Republican opponent, Patrick Vincent of Poland, who charged during the campaign that he felt Smullen knowingly broke the law. Smullen responded by calling the arrest "political" and accused Niskayuna Town officials, the State Police, and Vincent of playing dirty politics.
Smullen, a Republican, is facing Democrat Keith Rubino of Herkimer in the November 5th election for Assemblyman Marc Butler's seat. Butler, of Newport, is retiring at the end of the year.