CAROGA — The town is suing former Caroga Supervisor Ralph Ottuso for $8,168 he allegedly owes on a health insurance policy the town says he hasn’t paid since he left office.
Current Caroga Supervisor Beth Morris on Friday had no comment because it involves “pending litigation.”
The town — represented by Albany attorney Daniel Rubin — filed the civil suit against Ottuso in state Supreme Court in Johnstown on Nov. 2.
Ottuso, a Fulton County businessman, is a former Caroga supervisor who served in 2015 as chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors.
According to the lawsuit, Ottuso resides at 113 Kunkel Point Road, Mayfield, but receives mail at the Caroga Postoffice. The lawsuit notes that prior to Jan. 1, 2016, Ottuso served as Caroga supervisor. He was first elected the town’s supervisor in 2011.
Court papers said Ottuso, prior to 2016, received health insurance benefits from the town, which paid for his premiums as part of his employment by the town. After he left office, he was offered an opportunity to continue on the town’s insurance policy, as part of COBRA. The suit says Ottuso agreed, in return for him making payment of premiums plus a $5 filing fee for each month.
The agreement was that Ottuso would pay $429.90 monthly, which included the filing fee.
But the suit says the former supervisor developed a “breach of contract” situation and now and owes the town $8,168 from 19 months of unpaid premiums.
“Plaintiff [Caroga] has demanded that [Ottuso] reimburse the town for its expenditure, but the defendant has refused to do so,” the suit says. “The acceptance of these benefits will result in the unjust enrichment of [Ottuso].”
Ottuso didn’t return a phone call Friday seeking comment.
In addition to serving as 2015 county board chairman, Ottuso served as a former member of the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee.
He is a former Fulton County and Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy and founder of Pine Lake Stoves in Caroga Lake. He also branched out into commercial real estate and other ventures.
He established Lake Country Marketing. Ottuso also purchased commercial property in Johnstown and built four log cabins — called Lake Country Cabins — on the site of the former Iron Kettle Motel, next to the Caroga Town Hall on Route 10. He also has purchased self-storage units along Route 29A and created Lake Country Self Storage.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]