Page images

withheld by the treasurer is not shown, and it appears that when sometime in 1898 the treasurer's attention was called to the matter, an investigation was made and it was found as a matter of law that the fees belonged to the collectors. Since that time all fees to which they were entitled have been paid or allowed by the treasurer to the school collectors.

It also appears that the treasurer in 1897 and 1898 erroneously credited himself in the aggregate with the sum of $551.30, excess of fees on return taxes. His attention was called to this matter in the summer of 1899 and after some investigation, he discovered that his report did include such excess of fees, and therefore an erroneous credit of the amount stated. Said sum of $551.30 has been refunded to the county by the treasurer since the commencement of this proceeding.

One of the charges which demands serious consideration relates to the retention of interest by the treasurer. It appears that since the first day of January, 1897, when his term of office began, he has received and retained for his own use $1,595.92 as interest on county funds. The larger part of this interest was received from banks where deposits were made, and some small amounts were received from other sources. In retaining this interest Mr. Hutson claims that he followed the precedents of the office, and it is shown by the evidence thąt the county treasurers of Chautauqua county for many years have retained to their own use interest received on county funds, and have not reported such interest to the board of supervisors. Reports of the treasurers for some thirteen years last were put in evidence and in none of them was any interest included. Whether the board of supervisors has made any attempt to collect such interest or inquire into the question of its retention, does not appear, but the claiii of the treasurers to retain the interest seems to have been acquiesced in by the board. This interest is clearly the property of the county. A county treasurer is bound to account for all the interest received by him on county funds. This has been the law many years, and should have been known by the several county treasurers who have been permitted to retain as their own property the interest on county funds. The fact that Mr. Hutson followed the custom of the office in this respect, and that his claim to interest was not questioned by the board of supervisors, is some justification for his retention of it under the circumstances; yet it was his duty, as it is the duty of every public officer, to undertake to know the law concerning his office; and if Mr. Hutson had examined the law concerning his duties, he would have readily discovered that he had no right to this interest. Mr. Hutson since this proceeding was commenced has paid into the county treasury the whole amount of the interest received by him.

It appears that the county treasurer kept a large deposit in the Fredonia National Bank; that nearly $29,000 was in certificates of deposit bearing interest, and according to the testimony of Mr. Green, the cashier, the sum of $93,491.1 I was on deposit in what is known as an open account on which no interest was paid.

Mr. Green testifies that the bank has not paid Mr. Hutson any interest, except on the certificates, in his dealings with it since January 1, 1897, and that neither the cashier nor the bank had any arrangement or understanding with

as a

[ocr errors]

Mr. Hutson by which he should receive any interest aside from that which was paid upon the certificates.

Mr. Green further testifies that at one time he sent to Mr. Hutson a check for $100, which was intended to be received and was received as a present to Mr. Hutson by the bank. This I think is the most serious fact developed by the investigation of these charges. Of course no county treasurer should receive a present from a bank in which he deposits public funds, and when Mr. Hutson received this check, he ought either to have returned it at once and declined to accept it, or if it was accepted, it ought to have been accepted as interest and credited as such to the county, and the bank should have been notified accordingly. It seems to have been intended and received as a present to himself, in which the county had no interest; it was evidently regarded as a reward for favors which the bank had received from him in his official capacity. When a public officer by his official act confers a benefit upon a corporation, it is of course flagrantly improper for him to receive in return, from the corporation benefited, a sum of money which he accepts in his private capacity.

It appears that two other banks allowed Mr. Hutson interest on open accounts. The fact that this bank thought it worth while to make Mr. Hutson a present of $100 is evidence that it could have afforded to pay some interest on the open account.

Since these proceedings were begun, Mr. Hutson has paid over to the county the amount of this check of $100, so that the county has the benefit of it; but it apparently did not occur to him that it should have been paid to the county until after this proceeding was commenced. The

acceptance of a present under the circumstances indicated, implies so grave a failure to appreciate the responsibilities of his office, that it cannot be overlooked.

Some other minor matters were included in the charges and received some attention during the investigation, but I think they need no further consideration here.

On the whole case I am reluctantly obliged to come to the conclusion that the facts disclosed are sufficient to warrant the finding that Thomas Hutson, as treasurer of the county of Chautauqua, has been guilty of misconduct and malfeasance in office which justifies his removal.





Executive Chamber IT APPEARING to my satisfaction that the public interest requires it;

THEREFORE, in accordance with the statute in such case made and provided, I do hereby appoint an Extraordinary Trial Term of the Supreme Court to be held at the courthouse in the borough of Manhattan and county of New York, on Monday the twentieth day of November in this current year, 1899, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon of that day and to continue so long as may be necessary for the disposal of the business that may be brought before it; and I do hereby designate the


who is a justice of the Supreme Court to hold the said Extraordinary Trial Term of the Supreme Court.

And I do further direct that notice of the appointment aforesaid be given by publication of this order once in each week for two successive weeks in The Sun and in The New York Press newspapers which are published in the county of New York.

Given under my hand and the Privy Seal of the

State at the Capitol in the city of Albany [ls] this twenty-seventh day of October in the year

of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine.


Secretary to the Governor




Executive Chamber During the past year this State has been blessed with prosperity and with order. Under Providence each man has been permitted to live his life and do his work as seemed best to him, provided only that he in nowise interfered with the liberty and well being of his fellows. Moreover, the people of this State are not merely New Yorkers; they are Americans, and as such they have shared in the blessings that have come upon America during the year

« PreviousContinue »