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PANEL TO REVIEW PAST LOANS FROM AL TECH FUND

The former executive director of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency said Tuesday he will meet with a County Legislature subcommittee to review past loans from the Al Tech Trust Fund.

David Dawson and former IDA board chairman Paul Sandberg met privately last week with some legislative leaders and County Executive Andrew Goodell. While some lawmakers indicated they might like to subpoena Dawson and Sandberg, Dawson called that "ridiculous" and unnecessary.

"I have never been asked until now to go before the Legislature to discuss those loans," Dawson said. "The staff and the board of the IDA never operated independently of each other."

"So I am sure that we (the former board members and staff) would be eager to talk to anybody at any time about a proud record that we had in running the agency for 20 years."

Dawson raised concerns about possible "Monday morning quarterbacking" on loans that were made years ago.

"I am aware that some lawmakers may have deeper political agendas," he said. "But if we can sit and talk about it in a logical way and approach it in a very open and professional way there is absolutely no concern on my part or Paul Sandberg's."

"We made a thousand loans involving $1 billion, and I stand by the record of that organization, regardless of the 23 loans that went bad over 20 years," Dawson added.

County Legislature Chairman Richard Davies expects to appoint a subcommittee to oversee the Al Tech probe by the end of this week.

"Any further timetable on the review will be up to that committee," Davies said. "But we need to finish this and get it behind us."

The Al Tech fund was replenished thanks mainly to a $13 million cash infusion from the state secured by Assemblyman William Parment, D-North Harmony.

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