ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) - State Senator Antoine Thompson is coming under fire for taking a trip to Jamaica during yet another crisis in Albany?
Senator Antoine Thompson is not answering the phone at his office and he was not in Albany at the end of last week when Governor Paterson announced he would not seek election in November. The Senator was in Jamaica. It was a working trip, according to the man whose group arranged it.
Dr. Charles Anderson of the Jamaican American Association explained, "There was not time for playing on this trip."
Dr. Charles Anderson, who chairs the Jamaican American Association, says Senator Thompson and a delegation of more than a dozen people stayed at the Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios last week, but spent all their time working on business opportunities and multi-cultural exchanges between Buffalo and its sister city of St. Ann's Parish.
"And of course when you look at it you say, "Oh my God! Look where Antoine Thompson was." That's where you fellas go all the time and enjoy yourself. It provided the facilities to help us move about. Didn't have to worry about cooking and stuff like that," explained Dr. Anderson.
Rus Thompson of the Tea Party movement questions how Thompson got permission to leave the Senate during a critical time.
"Your number one job is the budget. That's their number one job and Albany in such a crisis right now. Paterson having his problems., everybody calling for Paterson to resign. Why are you getting up and leaving now? If he actually did go on a jobs mission, okay, you know there is plenty of time to do that after April st. After the budget is passed," said Rus Thompson.
Senator Thompson did not return News 4's calls questioning who paid for the trip and what was accomplished? His office issued a written statement saying "While the trip was productive, it is too early to speculate firm commitments."
Sen. George Maziarz said, "I guess what I don't understand is, if it was a legitimate business trip, why all the secrecy?"
Senator Thompson's Chief of Staff Mark Boyd went along on the trip and reportedly said the Senator's campaign funds paid for it.
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