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PBA president questions candidate’s ‘veracity’;Cora Edwards responds

By Fritz Mayer
October 19, 2011

Cora Edwards, who is running for a seat on the Sullivan County Legislature, has a page on the Liberty Democrats website that says, “Cora has successfully brought hundreds of thousands of grant dollars to Sullivan County.” Listed below that are four grants that Edwards says she worked on, including one that brought a broadband project to the county.

On October 11, Ed Simon, president of the Sullivan County Patrolman’s Benevolent Association (PBA), singled out Edwards for criticism in a press release that endorsed Edward’s opponent, Republican incumbent Jodi Goodman, and eight other legislative candidates.

The release said, “Our sources in county government indicate that Ms. Edwards had no official role in obtaining this grant. ‘We seriously doubted the veracity of her claims,’ said PBA President Ed Simon.’”

However, the consultant who was hired to write the grant, Darcy Gerbarg, and who took a course in grant-writing from Edwards at New York University, wrote a letter that said that since 2009, “Cora has supported my efforts to bring broadband services to Sullivan County. She spent countless hours researching the grant requirements, is always available to answer questions and has never requested or received compensation for her generous assistance.”

County planning commissioner Luiz Aragon said that he hired Gerbarg to write the grant, but he never had a conversation with Edwards about the grant. He also said that he thought Edwards’ campaign materials were misleading at best.

Chris White, a district representative for Congressman Maurice Hinchey, said, “Cora Edwards contributed to the county’s broadband planning grant by providing support during the application process, and by bringing together key stakeholders for the project.”

Edwards spoke to two reporters at the government center on October 13, and said all grants require teamwork at the local state and federal levels, and that she and others met with many officials going back to 2009. She said, “All of the hours I have spent on this effort have been as a volunteer and not in a paid position. I’m very proud of all my work in this effort.”