By Joe Sack, Rye City Councilman
Last October, I commended my City Council colleagues for retaining a sophisticated law firm to lead an independent investigation into recent events at the Rye Golf Club.
As the City Council now nears the conclusion of its investigation, and prepares to issue a summary report on its findings tomorrow night, I wanted to take the time to put our efforts over the last four months into perspective.
First, the unfortunate underlying situation at RGC was not something that the City Council created or asked for, but it is was something that we were compelled to address head on. Second, I do not believe that we would have fully uncovered what happened here but for the fact that we hired an experienced and independent outside attorney to conduct the investigation. Our attorney has been top notch, and I believe that we have more than gotten our money’s worth. Third, if it turns out that there are considerable funds at stake here, of the millions of dollars paid out to the entities in question, our attorney fees will be a fraction of this number. And in any event, we need to know exactly the monies involved in order to prepare a detailed case, if we are to be able to protect the City’s interests by potentially pursuing an insurance claim and/or civil suit. Under those circumstances, I believe that we might also be able to seek reimbursement of attorney fees. Finally, with the reputation of both the Club and City on the line, I am confident that we have to date taken all reasonable and prudent steps to responsibly address the entirety of the situation.
One other thing that I hope is not overlooked, is that when the City Council voted to proceed with the investigation, and then to hire the investigative attorney, and then to hire special counsel to prepare Article 75 charges, and then on more than one occasion to appropriate the necessary funds, the immediate issue was to timely deal with the employment situation involving the then-suspended Club manager. Following the City Council's votes, and the pressure created by these votes, the Club manager resigned last month and agreed to move out of his residence, luckily sparing the City the potential expense and agony of protracted litigation, and allowing the Club to expeditiously focus on a successful 2013 season. That was a big deal.
As a further consequence of the City Council's votes, we will now be in a position to examine certain management issues, and assess how it was that we could have arrived at such an unfortunate situation in the first place. Notably, we would not have had to expend the time and resources required to investigate this matter if the conduct in question had been identified by management sooner.
We will certainly share as appropriate what we have learned with the District Attorney, and the DA may decide to pursue its own further investigation. That is solely within the province of that office, and whatever will be, will be. However, the DA obviously does not work for the City, and does not necessarily have the same interests or agenda or timetable as the City. Moreover, based on the above, we would not be in the relatively favorable position that we are in today if not for the City Council's votes, and the specific course that we have taken to date.
Of course, there will be more to discuss once the report is released on Wednesday night. For now, I would like to thank again not just my colleagues, but also the RGC membership and commissioners, and the residents of the City of Rye, for their assistance and patience during these trying times. With the investigation findings imminently before us, we can now begin to take appropriate action, and begin to put this episode behind us.
Joseph A. Sack, Esq.
The Sack Law Firm PLLC