2006 New York Code - Prosecution Of Officers For Illegal Acts.



 
    §  51. Prosecution of officers for illegal acts. All officers, agents,
  commissioners and other persons acting, or who have acted,  for  and  on
  behalf  of  any  county,  town, village or municipal corporation in this
  state, and each and every one of them, may be prosecuted, and an  action
  may  be  maintained  against them to prevent any illegal official act on
  the part of any such officers, agents, commissioners or  other  persons,
  or  to  prevent  waste  or  injury  to, or to restore and make good, any
  property, funds or estate of such county,  town,  village  or  municipal
  corporation  by  any  person  or corporation whose assessment, or by any
  number of persons or corporations, jointly, the sum of whose assessments
  shall amount to one thousand dollars, and who shall  be  liable  to  pay
  taxes  on  such  assessment  in  the  county, town, village or municipal
  corporation or by any person who owns shares in  a  cooperative  housing
  corporation  where  the pro rata share of the assessment attributable to
  such shares shall amount to one thousand dollars (or by  any  number  of
  such  persons, jointly, the sum of whose pro rata shares shall amount to
  one thousand dollars) and  where  the  cooperative  housing  corporation
  shall  be  liable  to  pay taxes on such assessment in the county, town,
  village or municipal corporation to prevent the waste or injury of whose
  property the action is brought, or who have been assessed or paid  taxes
  therein  upon  any  assessment of the above-named amount within one year
  previous to the commencement of any such action,  or  who  has  been  so
  assessed  but  has  not  paid nor shall be liable to pay any or the full
  amount of taxes on such assessment  because  of  a  veteran's  exemption
  therefrom  pursuant  to  section  four  hundred  fifty-eight of the real
  property tax law, or who has been so assessed but has not paid nor shall
  be liable to pay any or the full amount  of  taxes  on  such  assessment
  because of an exemption therefrom granted to persons sixty-five years of
  age or over or their spouses pursuant to the real property tax law. Such
  person  or  corporation  upon  the  commencement  of  such action, shall
  furnish a bond to the defendant therein, to be approved by a justice  of
  the  supreme court or the county judge of the county in which the action
  is brought, in such penalty as the justice or judge approving  the  same
  shall direct, but not less than two hundred and fifty dollars, and to be
  executed  by  any two of the plaintiffs, if there be more than one party
  plaintiff, providing said two parties plaintiff shall severally  justify
  in  the  sum  of five thousand dollars.   Said bond shall be approved by
  said justice or judge and be conditioned to pay all costs  that  may  be
  awarded  the  defendant  in  such  action  if  the  court  shall finally
  determine the same in favor of the defendant. The court  shall  require,
  when  the  plaintiffs  shall  not justify as above mentioned, and in any
  case may require two more sufficient sureties to execute the bond  above
  provided for. Such bond shall be filed in the office of the county clerk
  of the county in which the action is brought, and a copy shall be served
  with  the summons in such action. If an injunction is obtained as herein
  provided for, the same bond may also provide  for  the  payment  of  the
  damages  arising  therefrom  to  the  party  entitled  to the money, the
  auditing, allowing or paying of which was enjoined, if the  court  shall
  finally determine that the plaintiff is not entitled to such injunction.
  In case the waste or injury complained of consists in any board, officer
  or  agent  in  any  county,  town,  village or municipal corporation, by
  collusion or otherwise, contracting, auditing, allowing  or  paying,  or
  conniving  at  the  contracting,  audit,  allowance  or  payment  of any
  fraudulent, illegal, unjust or inequitable claims, demands or  expenses,
  or  any item or part thereof against or by such county, town, village or
  municipal corporation, or by  permitting  a  judgment  to  be  recovered
  against  such county, town, village or municipal corporation, or against
  himself in his official capacity,  either  by  default  or  without  the
  interposition and proper presentation of any existing legal or equitable
  defenses,  or  by any such officer or agent, retaining or failing to pay
  over to the proper authorities any funds  or  property  of  any  county,
  town, village or municipal corporation, after he shall have ceased to be
  such  officer  or  agent, the court may, in its discretion, prohibit the
  payment  or  collection  of  any  such  claims,  demands,  expenses   or
  judgments,  in  whole  or in part, and shall enforce the restitution and
  recovery thereof, if heretofore or hereafter paid, collected or retained
  by the person or party heretofore or hereafter  receiving  or  retaining
  the  same,  and  also  may,  in  its discretion, adjudge and declare the
  colluding or defaulting official personally  responsible  therefor,  and
  out  of  his property, and that of his bondsmen, if any, provide for the
  collection or repayment thereof, so as to indemnify  and  save  harmless
  the  said  county, town, village or municipal corporation from a part or
  the whole thereof; and in case of  a  judgment  the  court  may  in  its
  discretion,  vacate,  set  aside  and open said judgment, with leave and
  direction for  the  defendant  therein  to  interpose  and  enforce  any
  existing legal or equitable defense therein, under the direction of such
  person  as  the  court  may,  in  its  judgment  or order, designate and
  appoint. All books of minutes, entry or account, and the  books,  bills,
  vouchers,  checks,  contracts  or other papers connected with or used or
  filed in the office of, or with any officer, board or commission  acting
  for  or  on behalf of any county, town, village or municipal corporation
  in this state or any body corporate or other unit of local government in
  this  state  which  possesses  the  power  to  levy  taxes  or   benefit
  assessments  upon  real  estate  or to require the levy of such taxes or
  assessments or for which taxes or benefit assessments upon  real  estate
  may  be required pursuant to law to be levied, including the Albany port
  district commission, are hereby declared to be public records, and shall
  be open  during  all  regular  business  hours,  subject  to  reasonable
  regulations  to  be adopted by the applicable local legislative body, to
  the inspection of any  taxpayer  or  registered  voter,  who  may  copy,
  photograph  or  make  photocopies  thereof  on  the  premises where such
  records are regularly kept. This section shall not be so construed as to
  take away any  right  of  action  from  any  county,  town,  village  or
  municipal  corporation,  or  from  any  public officer, but any right of
  action now existing, or which  may  hereafter  exist  in  favor  of  any
  county,  town,  village  or  municipal  corporation,  or in favor of any
  officer thereof, may be enforced by action or otherwise by  the  persons
  hereinbefore  authorized to prosecute and maintain actions; and whenever
  by the provisions of  this  section  an  action  may  be  prosecuted  or
  maintained  against  any  officer or other person, his bondsmen, if any,
  may be joined in such action or proceeding and their liabilities as such
  enforced by the proper judgment or  direction  of  the  court;  but  any
  recovery  under  the provisions of this article shall be for the benefit
  of and shall be paid to the officer entitled by law to hold and disburse
  the  public  moneys  of  such  county,  town,   village   or   municipal
  corporation, and shall, to the amount thereof, be credited the defendant
  in  determining his liability in the action by the county, town, village
  or municipal corporation or public officer.    The  provisions  of  this
  article  shall  apply  as  well to those cases in which the body, board,
  officer, agent, commissioner or other person above named has not, as  to
  those  in which it or he has jurisdiction over the subject-matter of its
  action.

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