City of Newburgh officials face scrutiny for alleged cover up to improve image

Orange County District Attorney Dave Hoovler says Newburgh officials stopped communicating about crime and investigations like they used to last year.

Blaise Gomez

Mar 15, 2023, 9:37 PM

Updated 430 days ago

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Newburgh is a beautiful waterfront city filled with people who care about the community, but when it comes to crime, its streets are plagued by violence.
So much so, that up until recently police reported near-daily shootings.
Now, there's seemingly no mention of crime these days - even when it's obvious police are on a scene.
"Mayor Harvey is very accessible, but I would not say the rest of city management are as accessible as they have been in the past," said Orange County District Attorney Dave Hoovler.
Hoovler says Newburgh officials stopped communicating about crime and investigations like they used to last year.
When it comes to the media, the new city manager, Todd Venning, put department heads on gag orders in 2022 and said all information requests must go through City Hall.
The problem is that requests are rarely answered.
News 12 emailed eight times for information since November about reports of violent crimes but never heard back.
Mayor Torrance Harvey has also faced scrutiny for allegedly censoring public concerns in council meetings after he has been heard yelling at city employees and constituents who expressed criticism, and on at least one occasion, calling for a speaker to be removed.
A law enforcement source tells News 12 that crime statistics are being purposely withheld to control the city's image.
"There's a lot more going on than people know," said a source. "It's all being done to make Todd Venning look like an accomplished city manager. Torrance Harvey doesn't want any negative information getting out."
A fire department source says the city is forging ahead to create a new fire commissioner job to control the department and squash member concerns about safety and staff cuts after a fatal blaze and several serious fires.
News 12 has reached out several times for information this week for information about a possible homicide and stabbing but has not heard back.
News 12 reached out to city hall Wednesday for comment on the coverup allegations but also did not get a response.


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