64.9 F
Rye
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Home Government Sack: RGC Investigation Update: Council Prepared to Release Summary Report

Sack: RGC Investigation Update: Council Prepared to Release Summary Report

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

  1. Thank You Joe,

    And I want to thank you for your persistence and “HONESTY”!!!

    “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.”

    AND YET SOMEHOW MR. SCOTT PICKUP IS STILL EMPLOYED HERE IN RYE???????????????????????????????

  2. TODAY’S JOURNAL NEWS – LOOKS LIKE RYE MAY FIT RIGHT IN

    “Nick Spano leaves prison healthier, relieved”

    http://www.lohud.com/article/20130226/NEWS/302260113/Video-Nick-Spano-talks-about-stint-prison?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Frontpage|s

    “Mount Vernon’s top lawyer drives strip club owners BMW”

    http://www.lohud.com/article/20130226/NEWS/302260082/Mount-Vernon-s-top-lawyer-drives-strip-club-owner-s-BMW?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage

    “Peekskill cops charge 4 in assault – on a car”

    http://www.lohud.com/article/20130227/NEWS02/302270044/Peekskill-cops-charge-4-assault-car

  3. Bob,
    If it makes any difference to you I am not the blogger that is poking fun at you but I am one of the persons responsible for making public the information about our Deputy Mayor. I personally believe that the public has a right to know who is running our City and what skeletons are hiding in their closets. I wouldn’t want you or anyone else to think I was cowardly. I happen to agree with you about some posters needing to come out of the closet.

  4. Rye Sound Shore ‏@ryesoundshore

    RGC findings turned over to district attorney. “We are reviewing matter in regard to the club,” Lucian Chalfen, a DA spokesman, said today.

  5. RYE TAXPAYERS TO LEON SCULTI – THANK YOU.

    Opportunities to Prevent or Shut Down the Scheme Are Missed

    Current City Manager Scott Pickup recalled that in 2005 he had been involved in discussions with Corporation Counsel regarding potential labor issues that might arise from RGC using staffing companies, but he did not recall any discussions regarding which staffing company would be used and did not recall hearing the name RM Staffing until later. Former City Manager Frank Culross, former City Comptroller Michael Genito and then-Deputy Comptroller (now Acting Comptroller) Joseph Fazzino each recalled a brief discussion during which Mr. Yandrasevich stated that RGC was going to use a staffing agency to provide workers to RGC. Some of them thought that Mr. Yandrasevich may have mentioned RM Staffing, but none of them was aware that RM Staffing had been established at Mr. Yandrasevich’s behest.

    It does not appear that any current or former employee in the Finance Department or at City Hall ever questioned Mr. Yandrasevich or RGC regarding any of the RM Staffing invoices. There appears to have been no effort on the part of the Finance Department or by any current or former City Manager to scrutinize the accuracy of the invoices or review them for potential fraud. Instead, each current and former employee who reviewed the invoices relied on Mr. Yandrasevich to confirm that the invoices should be paid. Ms. Runco recalled that on occasion she asked Mr. Yandrasevich about certain items on RM Staffing invoices, but recalled that in each instance she passed the invoice on for payment after Mr. Yandrasevich stated that the invoice was propers.

    In early 2010, the City’s independent auditors from O’Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins, LLP were onsite at RGC in connection with their audit for year-end 2009. (Exhibit 64.) As reflected in the Independent Auditors’ Report on Communication of Internal Control Matters Identified in the Audit for 2009, the outside auditors stated that they had not identified “any fraud or illegal acts,” but they identified a number of issues, including with respect to RGC and relating to RGC’s use of staffing companies to provide labor. (Exhibit 65.) In particular, the auditors expressed concern regarding the fact that these staffing services were not subject to a competitive bidding process and that there were no written contracts.

    On June 17, 2010, Mr. Pickup met with Mr. Yandrasevich and then-City Comptroller Jean Gribbins to discuss the auditor’s findings. In their interviews, Mr. Pickup and Ms. Gribbins both stated that they had little recollection of this meeting beyond a discussion of the need for RGC to provide at least three rate sheets for staffing companies before processing a purchase order for a vendor like RM Staffing.

    During the 2010 audit in early 2011, O’Connor Davies made some effort to follow up on their findings from the 2009 audit by asking Mr. Yandrasevich to provide an update on the RGCrelated issues. (Exhibit 66.) Mr. Yandrasevich provided a written response, but that response did not address the fact that there still was no written contract between RGC and RM Staffing. (Exhibit 67.) There appears to have been no further follow up on any of these issues.

    Further, although in early 2010 former City Manager Frank Culross expressed a concern to the City’s outside auditors regarding a potential ownership relationship between Mr. Yandrasevich’s wife and RM Staffing, it does not appear that the outside auditors or anyone else were able to substantiate the concern.

    When asked about his public statements on September 27, 2012 suggesting that the relationship between RM Staffing and Mr. Yandrasevich had been sanctioned by the City, Mr. Pickup said that at the time he made the statements, he was aware only that Mr. Yandrasevich had recently admitted to consulting for RM Staffing and admitted to being paid “less than $1,000.” Mr. Pickup further acknowledged that he understood at the time of the meeting that the Corporation Counsel had not reviewed or approved even the limited relationship with RM Staffing that Mr. Yandrasevich had disclosed at the meeting.1 When Mr. Pickup was asked during his interview why then he had stated during the meeting that the relationship between RM Staffing and Mr. Yandrasevich had been “reviewed” and was “all above board,” Mr. Pickup stated that he was trying “to calm everyone down.”

    ( 1 Current Corporation Counsel Kristen Wilson stated during her interview that she did not review or approve the relationship between RGC or Mr. Yandrasevich and RM Staffing.)

  6. Ray,
    While I disagree with some of your tactics, as near as I can tell, you have consistently posted under either your real name or the donkey name.

    I have zero issue with raising historical material that is relevant to on-going issues in Rye. I do have an issue when such material is spread around simply to titillate or embarrass – those directly involved or innocent bystanders. The likelihood of someone spewing about past legal issues, etc., being brought up purely to entertain, embarrass or abuse – and this is not just about the Jovanovich stuff – increases when cowards choose to do so under “funny” names as opposed to their real names.

    We want our children to grow up to be self-respecting, respectful members of our community. Think about the image many on this blog are setting out for our children with their attempts to brow beat, bully, embarrass, etc. Would those who do that write in the same way if their children, spouses, parents, etc., could see such comments tied directly back to them? Some, probably, but we’ll always have the sick among us.

    There are, no doubt, cases where confidentiality is required to protect someone who is attempting to disclose illegal actions. But I have yet to see anything on this blog disclosed by a fake ID that was really secret. You make your disclosures under your own name. Leon does the same. Jim does the same. Ted does the same. But spurious comments from the peanut-gallery types serve only to excite and amuse themselves. They really don’t help Rye – our community and neighbors – to better understand the problems and options available to us when facing them.

    So, rather than continue to criticize spineless cowards who hide behind their oh-so-funny fake names, I’d rather complement you, Jim, Ted, Matt, Charmian, Leon, and the others who have the courage to speak truth in public.
    Bob.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here