by Ted Carroll, Guest Columnist
(PHOTO: Rye City Hall)
Greetings summer vacationers. No column this month as we spend some time outdoors and sift new batches of public records for election season. On the subject of elections I hope readers here will consider signing up for the free daily newsletter from my firm’s portfolio company, Rasmussen Reports, which covers state and national public opinion issues in detail. Between it and MyRye.com, what more could you possibly need to read?
The great news here in August is that a large and growing portion of residents are now fully engaged in rejecting the improperly broad permissions granted by City Hall to a predecessor of the wireless contractor now determined to permanently land the technological equivalents of alien invasion probes in every residential neighborhood in town. As Rye corruption reporters we’ve seen this kind of City Hall pattern repeatedly and we’re optimistic that if you all push together you will prevail. It’s frankly ridiculous that in 2016 this type of thing (and others) are still going on given the solemn reform promises Joe Sack, Julie Killian, Kirstin Bucci & Terry McCartney’s Rye United made to get elected in 2013.
So for those of you who might have missed coverage of the largest fraud to date in city history, here is our special edition recap of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. The Rye Golf Club’s unsolved swindle provides a compact local case study of corruption, patronage and deceit. By the way, if you didn’t see our royally screwed prior club workers picketing last week at City Hall this is the video link. How could this possibly happen and why does the city continue to protect the fraud’s co-conspirators? Those of you fighting to save us from this most recent City Hall debacle might draw some useful data from recent events. Enjoy.
Mar 2013 - Rye’s official golf club theft investigation summary - based on a forensic accounting report from Breen & Associates that we are not allowed to see – claims “no wrongdoing” by top city officials. This omits the uncomfortable fact that City Hall insiders had to green-light senior city employee Scott Yandrasevich’s scheme at every twist & turn for over 7 years.
Our column – on April 1st: SCOTT YANDRASAVICH - SOLO CRIMINAL GENIUS?
Sep 2013 - We dig in and discover the official theft investigation can go in any direction except up. This scope limitation firewall apparently falls from the sky to shield senior local operatives in both political parties who had their hands on and in the club for years along with our patronage appointed outside law and accounting firms.
Our column – on September 10th: TO CATCH A THIEF
Aug 2015 – Mr. Yandrasevich is sent to slammer alone but Rye’s new outside auditor confirms he did not work alone. Breen forensic report still secret, the city council drops subject like a hot potato, the DA’s office goes quiet but the sound of the new auditor’s spanking reverberates throughout village.
Our column – on August 20th: RYE’S OFFICIAL THEFT FAIRYTALE COLLAPSES
Oct 2015 - City’s insurance company stuck with the multimillion dollar club fraud claim discloses the city has been withholding documents and stonewalling for going on 3 years. City foot-dragging ensures all other avenues of recovery (like malpractice suits against ex-attorney’s & auditor) expire due to statute of limitations.
Our column – on October 26th: INSIDE RYE’S $2M THEFT INSURANCE CLAIM – WHAT CITY HALL HASN’T TOLD YOU.
Dec 2015 – City and insurance company trade adversarial blows in Federal Court but the taxpayer-paid-for Breen forensic report is not released as promised. Westchester DA tapped for top state court slot, so before she leaves for Albany we ask her what she knows.
Our column – on December 7th: RYE’S FORENSIC DECEPTION - QUESTIONS FOR THE STATE’S INCOMING CHIEF JUDGE
Jan 2016 – State’s new Chief Judge maintains her silence on the Rye Golf Club investigation but Mayor Sack is now discovered withholding his city business related emails from lawful Freedom of Information Act release requests. So much for transparency and accountability.
Our column – on January 19th: SACK’S SILLY SEASON OF SUPPRESSION
March 2016 – We provide MyRye.com readers with the city’s first published financial accounting of who gave what and to whom in the past November elections looking at money - coming from inside Rye City’s 10580 area code - and then from everywhere. Discomfort among Rye’s donor class ensues.
Meanwhile, “National Sunshine Week” arrives and departs Rye apparently unnoticed by New York State’s most transparent small city government.
Our column - March 21st: AIN’T NO SUNSHINE
April – June 2016 – We disclose that the Rye City Assessor has again been quietly providing selectively reduced property tax benefits to city employees and elected officials.
This act of transparency shocks the system so officials scramble to deflect it.
We double down by documenting lapses in internal financial controls favoring local builders who collectively remain the largest political donors in the city. We propose an easy to implement solution to inject accountability using 3rd Party Proof to prevent fraud.
Greeted as heretics, we triple down, make the case for reform, do the long math, and in the process analyze the financial impacts of an apparent actual case of serious ongoing fraud.
Meanwhile, we discover Mr. Yandrasevich has been quietly sprung from The Big House. Instead of doing 1to 3years he’s actually clocked less than 1 full year in prison stripes.
July 2016 - So we reverse course and address the lucky Mr. Y along with the dozens of other names featured in the now 3+ year old official investigation summary. We identify three key men whose names and actions were not only deliberately erased, but who likely wielded the eraser.
Our column – July 5th: - MISSING ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE CHARLIE BROWN OF GOLF COURSES
By late July, with temperatures and humidity skyrocketing, local tempers grow short. Sick of the constant nattering that no one in town knew anything was wrong at Rye Golf for those 7+ long years, we take a look at who else might well have benefited and how. With the tell-tale Breen forensic report still locked up at City Hall, our abbreviated summer potboiler likely raises temperatures throughout the ranks of the still unnamed co-conspirators region wide.
Our column – July 25th: - OUR POLITICAL CLASS & THE FIVE LETTER F WORD
That’s all for now. See you in September!
Ted Carroll is a lifelong Rye resident, a Certified Public Accountant, and a partner at Noson Lawen Partners, a media industry private equity firm.