Elizabeth Reszka, represented by Steve Cohen, claims Collins has breached his duties with self-dealing practices.
Cohen says the incidents include:
1. That on or about February 12, 2010, Councilman Collins was advised by letter that he could not appear as an attorney on behalf of clients in the Town of Hamburg Justice Court as such appearance would constitute a conflict in interests. However, Councilman Collins continued to represent clients with positions adverse to the Town of Hamburg.
2. That on or about February 4, 2010, Councilman Collins, directed a Town of Hamburg employee to post flyers in Town buildings advertising Councilman Collins’ legal practice in an attempt to solicit Town employees as clients.
3. That on or about December 22, 2011, Councilman Collins included a third party who was the subject of an investigation on copies of confidential correspondence relating to Town of Hamburg business.
4. That on or about September 29, 2010 Councilman Collins, sent an email to Town of Hamburg employees inaccurately advising that the Town was attempting to modify employees’ terms of employment.
5. That after taking office on January 1, 2010, Councilman Collins continued a previously filed Notice of Claim against the Town of Hamburg, on behalf of a personal client of his law firm.
6. That on or about May 7, 2010, Councilman Collins filed with the Hamburg Town Clerk a Notice of Defect against the Town on behalf of a Town of Hamburg resident who was a client of Councilman Collins’ law practice, all contrary to the best interests of the Town of Hamburg.
7. That a harassment complaint was filed against Councilman Collins on or about June 17, 2010 by a female employee of the Town of Hamburg.
8. That following an investigation of the harassment complaint, and an opportunity for a hearing, the Town Board found that Councilman Collins violated the Town of Hamburg Code of Ethics by failing to disclose his conflict of interest, by failing to recuse himself from votes of the Town Board regarding matters that direct or indirectly relate to the Notice of Claim which he filed on behalf of a client of his law firm and by engaging in the practice of law before and/or against the Town of Hamburg, during his tenure as a Councilman.
“We’ve never seen such a consistently blatant violation of ethics and possibly the law by any public official,” says Cohen. “Mrs. Reszka is taking a very courageous step. She saw a consistent pattern of ethical and legal violations from Mr. Collins and instead of saying ‘it’s just politics’ she’s spending her own money to fight for the rights of everyone living in the Town of Hamburg.”
A call to Collins' office at town hall was not returned.