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Police: Michael Hirsch of New City Arrested in NYC Investigation

Vocal community activist accused of grand larceny, falsifying records. Hirsch denies allegations, pleads not guilty.

Contractor Michael Hirsch of New City, a vocal community activist who has been a leader of on-going calls for lower taxes in Clarkstown, was arrested Tuesday in a New York City investigation, according to New York City Police.

Hirsch, 62, said this afternoon he has pleaded not guilty in connection with the charges that were filed against him for his business dealings with the city. Police said Hirsch was arrested 10:45 a..m. Tuesday on charges that include:

- Offering a false instrument for filing

- grand larceny

- petty larceny

- Falisfying business records

New York City Police said the charges stem from a probe of workers' pay. Police said Hirsch is accused of falsifying records submitted to New York City.

Hirsch said he entered a not guilty plea during an arraignment in Manhattan.

"I have not done anything wrong," Hirsch said this afternoon.

Hirsch said he could not discuss details regarding the charges.

The New York City District Attorney's Office confirmed the arrest but said it could not comment on the investigation until after a court hearing expected on Thursday.

Hirsch's contracting business is based in New City but he said he primarily does work in the surrounding area, including Westchester and New York City.

Hirsch has been a vocal advocate for reducing the size of local government and cutting local tax bills. For several years he has regularly attended Clarkstown Town Board meetings, urging Town Board members and town officials to enact efficiencies and pass along savings that would help lower taxes.

He is also active in the business community in Rockland County.

Maria Singh September 27, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I don't know you Mr. Hirsch but I agree with Pat. The people have to let you prove your innocence. I wish you the best.
Mike Hirsch September 27, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Chris, I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of and will talk about this issue at the appropriate time. I will continue to speak my mind and fight for what I believe in. I know of no other way.
Michael N. Hull September 27, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Mike  I wish you the very best in your defense against these charges.  You should rest assured that the goals you have fought for to reduce taxes, bring accountability to the Town over multiple troubling patronage appointments, educate the public about deficit spending, pass-the-buck surcharges etc will continue unabated. I know that this will be a difficult time for you and your family but your friends are not summer soldiers or sunshine patriots who will shrink from the journey they are on.   There is always light at the end of every dark tunnel and with God's grace you will emerge a stronger person from this very personal journey that you now have to travel alone. But thankfully you share in the blessings of this great country where one is assured of justice and liberty for all. Peace be with you.
Maureen September 27, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Lester - Don't go overboard with the Madoff analogy. And right now neither you nor I KNOW anything about "what kind of business we thankfully avoided". What I DO know about the gentleman that Mr. Sabatini is, he would never have given an $87,000 retainer fee to the head of the Bronx GOP, Jay Savino, to fill out tax cert forms and you can rest assured that Sabatini would never have permitted a part-time position to be created for Wayne Ballard to be filled by Frank Sparaco, the head of the republican party in the county legislature at a salary of $75,000 after rejecting 260 applications from the county's citizens. Further, I KNOW that Sabatini would have the busines acumen to figure out that a 1% surcharge on school tax bills was a cockamany idea that has now had to be rescinded (but not refunded) by Supervisor Gromack.
Robert Ward Kurkela September 27, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Mike It's not easy to speak the truth against public figures. I've never shared my story and what I endured battling our prior board of education. One prior board member actually was encouraging me to pen a book about it all. When I first saw this article the first thing that popped into my mind was retaliation for speaking out against someone or some group. What I know for a fact is that you have been and still are a voice of reason and this article doesn't diminish your credibility with me. Innocent until proven guilty, my friend. Don't stop because that's what "they" want you to do. Peace to you and your family Bob
Mike Hirsch September 27, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Thank you Michael. I am happy that you will continue to carry the torch. I know that you are wiser than I am. I look forward to telling the story at the appropriate time. We will all be able to see if justice has been served.
Mike Hirsch September 27, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Thank you Robert. You find out who your friends are at times like this.
Alexander Hamilton September 27, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Amazing......they guy who rails against the town for spending too much money gets arrested for.....stealing The guy who fights for more transparency and honesty in government gets arrested for.....filing a false written instrument to NYC The guy who speaks over and over about honest government gets arrested for..... Falsifying his own business records Unbelievable that you claimed to stand for truth and honesty and now your charged with these And Mr. Kurkela. In your comment you state that, "The first thing that popped into my mind was retaliation". Do you care to elaborate on that claim sir? Are you insinuating that the NYPD in some fashion went after poor old Mike because he fights with all of the local unions......pathetic
INTHEKNOW September 27, 2012 at 05:14 AM
>>When I first saw this article the first thing that popped into my mind was retaliation for speaking out against someone or some group. <<< Riiiight. In between prosecuting terrorist, drug cartels, wall street swindlers and murderers, the District Attorney of New York County set his sights on a guy who squeaks at a council meeting at a small upstate town. Cyrus Vance Jr. couldn't find Clarkstown on a map.
Kelly Castel September 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Mr. Hirsch I have a great deal of respect for the way I have witnessed (both in person and on this blog) you conduct yourself. That speaks volumes to me about your character. We are fortunate to live in a country where you are innocent UNTIL proven guilty. I wish you well.
Laborers Local 754 September 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM
As a person who is very familiar with wage violations, It is very hard to get a person or company charged with falsifying wage records and violating prevailing wage laws. If this is the charge, My experience has been it is 99% valid. I have investigated and made many wage complaints that were very obvious. Many were not taken on due to the money amount or the lack of investigators. If a charge was filed by the DA, my experience has been it usually is legit. That being said, there could be an accounting error, disgruntled employee etc. If it is prevailing wage violation, I would hope the DA has the certified payrolls and paystubs of the employees which will prove the allegation. Most of the time, the paystubs match up but the employee is forced to kickback or he/she is paid a wage that is less than required for the job classification. I guess we will see. Mr. Hirsch has his work cut out for him but if he is innocent, he will prevail.
Brian September 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Yup. This guy and his group of loudmouths run around calling the Clarkstown government criminals. Funny how the pot always calls the kettle black.
philphillips3 September 27, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Very interesting, when Mike Hirsch makes accusations against the police and other government officials, the accused is guilty until proven innocent but when Hirsch gets arrested, he is innocent until proven guilty. Talk about double standards! So much for credibility, huh Mike?
Joe Ciardullo September 27, 2012 at 12:36 PM
What business did you avoid? Would Ralph Sabatini hit the taxpayers up with a 1% charge to collect the school taxes? Would he have signed off on a new position that was given to Frank Sparaco for 75k for a part time job? Would he tout that we have a AAA bond rating, meaning they can borrow more money that we can't afford to pay back. Watch our town taxes to go up at least 7%. When the Palisades Mall wins it's tax challenge, we may be paying close to 10%. the only way out of the mess we are in, is to cut back. Costs are going up at an unsustainable rate and the only answer is to cut back on spending. Something Alex Gromack has not demonstrated he can do effectively.
Robert Ward Kurkela September 27, 2012 at 01:04 PM
It's comical to see the people posting under pseudonyms because they dare not post under their real names. Why is that?
Alexander Hamilton September 27, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Hey Mike How does it feel to be "Living La Vida Loca Baby?"
Robert Ward Kurkela September 27, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Another interesting aspect of this story is that the local Patch was the first news source to report this story. Mr. Demarest, can you tell us how you became aware of it? Do you get a feed from the NYPD with arrests of local residents?
Bradley Jensen September 27, 2012 at 01:15 PM
An open letter to Mr. Hirsch. Even though we have never met, I have been perusing New City Patch for quite some time now and have finally decided to join after reading this thread. There is no such thing today as "innocence before guilt." On the contrary, it is the other way around. Mr. Hirsch, it would appear to me that you were set up by the local government here. Obviously, a person or persons cannot tolerate the truth which is what you present. Most people in this community are complacent and will accept nearly any situation handed to them, even if they go broke. Change comes in numbers (as you can plainly see around the world) and you are just one cog in a big wheel. It is my expectation that you will be exonerated and I suggest doubling up on the pressure for the local government to make some big changes and stop raping us. I, for one, will stand behind you. Good luck in your "case!" Bradley L. Jensen P.S. The Rockland Energy Tax and School Tax Preperation Fee are the most underhanded tricks that I have ever seen. I suggest that it is time to revolt. We need strict term limits on elected positions.
MitchP September 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM
In these lean times, a town paying a part time employee $75K for a job with "assistant" in the title? I still support Clarkstown Taxpayers.
Siobhan September 27, 2012 at 01:54 PM
This is my first post on Patch although I have been a reader for several years. My friend is a contractor, like Hirsch, who works in New York City. He is giving it up because he says that there are too many people that have to be put on your payroll, tipped, given a favor before anything can be done. If you refuse some of your paperwork will be found to have problems which would cause legal problems. So he is getting out of there once his present work is finished. According to him, it would only be a matter of time before some individual who thought he should have been treated in a certain way would do him in. He is now actively working locally to expose some of these same practices closer to home so I think we should sit back and let the wheels of justice turn. Just as an aside I find some of the gloating comments to be somewhat distasteful given that we profess to live in a civilized society with an independent judiciary and that we hold a person to be innocent until a jury of one's peers declares otherwise. I'm disappointed in you BenRound as a person whom I have formerly held in the highest regard but there may be things occurring that you can not see. Personally, I welcome that this case has been brought, not because I wish Hirsch ill, but because he is a person who is not afraid to expose what contractors know is going on and those he will call to be deposed under oath will have to tell the truth or fall under the law of perjury.
Joe Ciardullo September 27, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Brian, Speaking for my self, we are trying to make sure Clarkstown is affordable. If you enjoy the high taxes, back room deals, and mismanagement that goes on in our town, then there is nothing I can say to you. For the rest of us, if you want to stay here, you need to get involved in what is going on. See how quickly the town changed their position on the 1% tax on the school bill? Why do you think they did that? Did they all of a sudden realize it was not the right thing to do?
Laborers Local 754 September 27, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I believe the "Local" Patch is a nationwide news service that obtains info all over them reports it on a local level. I think it is AOL. You can put your local conspiracy theory to rest.
Laborers Local 754 September 27, 2012 at 03:16 PM
The fact of the matter is prevailing wage fraud is rampant across NYS. What is worse is the municipalities are compliant in many cases because they do not verify the certified payrolls in a hope to get a cheaper price. It happens all over and is the number one reason honest contractors with skilled men making a fair wage and benefits are having a hard time winning bids. They are getting undercut by cheating contractors that employ illegal labor and use it as leverage to steal their wages .
Thomas Leonard September 27, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I have helped Mike in his fight against taxes and the ridiculous handling of our local government. I have a great deal of respect for him. We live in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty and it's sad that many of you here belittle our constitutional rights.
Joe Ciardullo September 27, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Lester, I am not coming up with anything to justify Mike. He, like everyone in this country is innocent until proven guilty. Let's see if the media posts the same breaking news story once the outcome is determined. Mike has been vocal, and so have I. The problems that the town, county, state and country are in need to be addressed. Like you say, what's $50. The problem is that it all adds up and we are close to a 10k average tax bill, that's 105 of the average taxpayer's salary. The high taxes are driving many people out of here. They are also causing housing values to drop as people are not willing to move here due to excessively high taxes.
Mike Hirsch September 27, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I have decided to cease being a "vocal citizen advocate" until I can tell the story, so I will not be commenting on Patch until that time. I do not want to become a distraction for all the good work that the Clarkstown Taxpayer group has accomplished and will continue to accomplish. We should all be very happy that there is finally a group of committed citizens who are acting in opposition to the one party rule in our town.
Michael September 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Does anyone else see the fantastic irony in the fact that it took the government 4 years and probably cost more to investigate than the arrested is accused of stealing? Even in being arrested the accused is able to highlight ridiculous government spending.
stephany September 29, 2012 at 08:37 PM
you got it 100% backwards-and that is not what Pat said-the state has to prove his guilt not him prove his innocence. and if they don't.. game over. unless of course the jury decides to disregard their oath and convict on no or insufficient evidence, which is all to prevalent today and should worry everyone who is ever charged
Clarkstown life September 30, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Michael.....the only irony I see is that people are bending over backward giving him the benefit of the doubt.....and the spin you are putting on it is utterly ridiculous......so anything but an immediate arrest after the crime, society should just blow it off?
jeff meyer October 01, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Michael, there is no "fantastic irony". None at all. It is best just to remain silent and let the justice system run its course as opposed to your abstract justification regarding a criminal complaint. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY

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