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Former Plattsburgh Assemblyman Chris Ortloff
Former Plattsburgh Assemblyman Chris Ortloff

ORDA removes plaque honoring disgraced official Ortloff

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Chris Ortloff's plaque has been removed from the Lake Placid Hall of Fame.

Ortloff is a former state Assemblyman, reporter and state Parole Board member who was convicted of federal coercion and enticement charges in 2010 after he was arrested in a sting operation. Ortloff had arranged to meet who he thought were two underage girls at an Albany area hotel for a sexual tryst.

Ortloff was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998 for his contribution to the 1980 Olympic Games, which were held in Lake Placid. Up until last week, a plaque and a tribute on ORDA's website could still be viewed by the public.

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Reported by

Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

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Pat Barrett is chairman of ORDA’s Board of Directors. On Friday, he said the plaque, and a website tribute, were brought to his attention, and he had them taken down immediately.

“It’s pretty simple,” Barrett said. “I’m the chairman of ORDA, that’s a state facility, and we’re not going to have a picture hanging up there of a guy that’s been convicted of the crimes he was convicted of. ... I was not the chairman then, at the time that he was convicted, but it was just brought to my attention, and I ordered it taken down.”

Ortloff was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998. At the time, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported that he was selected for his help in organizing the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. He was in charge of opening and closing ceremonies, flags, medals and the torch relay.

A story in the latest edition of Adirondack Life questioned why the Ortloff tribute remained. The story’s author, magazine editor Annie Stoltie, wrote that a former ORDA employee, who isn’t named, was ignored after he expressed concern about the display of Ortloff’s plaque.

Adirondack Life’s creative director, Betsy Folwell, said Stoltie noticed the plaque during an event last October. Folwell said that’s when Stoltie began asking questions for her story. She even wrote to Ortloff in prison, but didn’t receive a response.

“I saw Mr. Barrett’s statement in the paper,” Folwell said. “Cause and effect, it certainly seems very plausible that the Adirondack Life [story] brought the issue to his attention, but I can’t speak for what his actions were as a result. Maybe it was just water cooler kind of chat rather than Mr. Barrett just directly reading the story and coming to the conclusion like that.”

Barrett said in fact, someone raised the issue to him in conversation, and he made his decision immediately.

Local and regional officials have praised Barrett’s decision.

Ortloff is serving his sentence at the low-security Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey. His projected release date is Jan. 1, 2020, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Reporter Chris Morris' reporting comes courtesy of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. For more of his work, go to AdirondackDailyEnterprise.com.

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