When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income. - Plato
Fire Starter has recently reported on the blatant hypocrisy displayed by Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich. Hrustich has repeatedly violated safety laws, vehicle and traffic laws, and criminal laws. Hrustich seems to believe that the rules do not apply to him. And thus far, with Mayors Bertoni and Hannon running interference for him, he probably has good reason to believe this.
However, when outside agencies get involved, it is next to impossible for Hrustich's protectors to intervene. Thus may be the case with Hrustich's latest misconduct. Fire Starter has learned that Hrustich is being investigated by the New York State Division of Taxation and Finance. For a number of years Hrustich has taken advantage of tax advantages afforded to farmers. Only Hrustich is not a farmer.
But first, a little background. When Hrustich was moving through the ranks of the Endicott Fire Department, he pursued a series of "get rich quick schemes". While on duty, Hrustich pursued an internet business in which he grew and sold ginseng root. This business often took priority over his official duties much to the dismay of his co-workers and subordinates. He also attempted to become a sheep farmer. It is with regard to this business that Hrustich took advantage of tax breaks afforded to farmers.
Hrustich's farming days are long behind him but his agricultural license plates live on. On his personal truck, (which has a fire radio and lights and sirens) Hrustich still utilizes agricultural license plates. What most do not realize is this excuses the owner from paying sales tax on the vehicle.
Fire Starter understands that Hrustich has done a tremendous job of crushing morale in both the Johnson City and Endicott Fire Departments. But we are quite confident that sowing the seeds of dissatisfaction does not qualify as farming.
Hrustich should pay his fair share like the rest of us. And if he is not, we are confident that New York State will get to the bottom of it. And Hannon and Bertoni will not be able to protect him.