A guest column by Rye City Councilman Joe Sack:
Dapolite, Truth and Justice
By Joe Sack
At last night’s city council meeting, I was surprised and dismayed that one of my colleagues attacked the character and integrity of Andrew Dapolite, a life-long 23-year-old Rye resident, because the attack was part of a prepared statement which was purportedly against personal attacks, because the attack was inconsistent with my own experience with Mr. Dapolite as a truthful and upstanding person, and because the attack pertained to a set of circumstances which a majority of the city council – including my colleague in question – had heretofore repeatedly declined to investigate.
However, upon reflection I must thank my colleague for resurrecting this matter, which had been abandoned last summer, albeit without a satisfactory conclusion, in that a lot has transpired since then. Namely, other allegations of misdealing at Rye Golf Club have now also surfaced, and the city council has at last demonstrated a will to exercise its right to investigate such allegations. As such, this matter can now be viewed in a new context. The time may finally be right to require the relevant parties to answer these allegations. Better late than never.
By way of reminder, last February, Mr. Dapolite made very detailed and credible allegations, including in sum and substance, that a January 2012 city council meeting which the city manager had told the city council and general public had not been videotaped, had indeed been videotaped; that Mr. Dapolite had been instructed by city staff to tell the public that the meeting had not been videotaped, even though it had been; and – when the city finally acknowledged that the meeting had actually been videotaped – that the audio on the previously concealed videotape had later been purposefully altered to make it difficult to hear.
Subsequently, Mr. Dapolite made a further allegation that the city manager had retaliated against him for bringing attention to these facts, by taking adverse employment action against him which was unfounded.
Instead of investigating these allegations, the council majority decided to refer the matter to the city ethics board. The ethics board did not do an investigation, beyond speaking with Mr. Dapolite behind closed doors, which he did openly and freely even though his lawyer was barred from the room. The ethics board did not speak with the city manager, any other city staff, or any other potential witnesses, and did not review any documents. The ethics board never made any substantive findings or ruling.
Sadly, Mr. Dapolite subsequently left his job with the city, apparently in large part because of frustration that the city council had failed to investigate and act on his allegations. Nevertheless, Mr. Dapolite voluntarily released his legal claims against the city, although he could have pursued drawn out litigation with potential exposure to the city.
At the time, I commented that Mr. Dapolite’s allegations touched upon basic truthfulness and fair dealing, and that they demanded our attention. I called for accountability and integrity, and warned that we should not just sweep this alleged serious misconduct under the rug. Nothing happened.
But that was then. This is now. It’s a whole new world. This matter has been put back in public view, by virtue of my colleague’s comments last night. Let’s not miss this second chance to get it right.
Joseph A. Sack, Esq.