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Saturday, April 18, 2009

DA: Cop loaned cash to ex-chief

Guilderland police chief's husband transferred $3,200 to James Murley
The Albany Times Union by SCOTT WALDMAN - April 18, 2009

GUILDERLAND, NY — The Guilderland police chief's husband loaned thousands of dollars to former Chief James Murley, and she used a code name to contact Murley while he was gambling at a casino, investigative records show. At the same time, she and her husband were promoted to positions Murley created for them. Murley recommended that Carol J. Lawlor, the current police chief, be promoted to the newly created deputy chief position in December 2005. The Town Board approved the move. Lawlor's husband, John Tashjian, was promoted to the new position of senior investigator in May 2005.

Murley acknowledged earlier this year that on more than 50 occasions he claimed to have been working when he was actually gambling at Turning Stone casino in Verona. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor official misconduct and has participated in a gambling counseling program. During the investigation into Murley's activities, Tashjian told State Police investigators he loaned Murley a total of $3,000 in 2005 and 2006, according to records released by Albany County District Attorney David Soares' office. The records show Tashjian transferred at least $3,200 from his personal account to Murley's account from February to October 2006. Lawlor also used the code name "Boyeau" to reach Murley for emergencies when he was at Turning Stone casino, Guilderland police Capt. Curtis Cox told investigators. Supervisor Ken Runion said Thursday that the promotions of Lawlor and Tashjian were approved by the Town Board and were deserved. He said a town investigation showed Murley paid back Tashjian the money owed. "There was no connection," Runion said of the promotions and the loaned money. The Murley case is closed. State Police will not charge Tashjian or Lawlor with any crime.

Murley admitted in court that he failed to notify the town at least 53 times between February 2001 and August 2004 that he was actually at Turning Stone when his monthly time slips said he was working. He also admitted to claiming sick leave on at least three other occasions when he was at the casino. Lawlor and Tashjian's attorney, Stephen R. Coffey, could not be reached. Tashjian, who retired last year, told State Police investigators that Murley frequently borrowed money because he had financial problems caused by gambling. In April 2008, Guilderland Police Officer David Romano accused Tashjian of harassing him for cooperating with the Murley investigation. Records show Romano recorded Tashjian admitting he loaned Murley a large sum of money. Murley's former secretary also told investigators Lawlor had spoken of loaning the ex-chief money for gambling, according to the records. As part of his guilty plea, Murley agreed to pay $13,500 in restitution to the town, an $800 fine plus $200 state surcharge. Murley, a 34-year law enforcement veteran, retired in May 2007, eight months before his plea. Scott Waldman can be reached at 454-5080 or by e-mail at

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