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Home Government Scott Yandrasavich - Solo CriminalGenius?: Guest Column by Ted Carroll

Scott Yandrasavich – Solo CriminalGenius?: Guest Column by Ted Carroll

A Guest Column by Ted Carroll

Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.

JFK used this very bromide in ultimately taking personal responsibility for the 1961 Bay of Pigs military fiasco in Cuba. A half century later the Tremont Group (Rye) and  the Fairfield Greenwich Group (Greenwich) – both so called “feeder funds” of the now reviled Bernie Madoff – claimed initially that they were shocked, appalled, outraged, etc and had been “lied to” by their then largest financial benefactor. And as events unfold in current day Rye City government, it’s clear once again that personal responsibility is to date equally absent from Rye’s Madoff Golf Club debacle.

And so it goes, for now, at Rye City Hall, where the council party line is closing in on “orphaning” Mr. Yandrasevich along with his unique wine cellar as the de facto sole bad actor in the drama. The endeavor here is apparently to exclude – by intent, design and scope of investigation – any and all other senior managerial authorities and scenarios. In this evolving municipal fairy tale Mr. Yandrasevich simply walked into city hall one day and presented his first tortuously skimpy invoice from his then unincorporated RM Staffing Co. and – PRESTO – it was approved and the funds were disbursed. That RM Staffing was actually a no-bid cut-out company designed for masking payments to substantial numbers of exploitable underpaid undocumented foreign workers went somehow miraculously undetected. And it all just continued and snowballed from there.

Regrettably for this convenient meme, Rye – at the time that first invoice arrived – had, in the very same building, senior elected and senior paid managers ranked well above Mr. Yandrasevich. Tasked by statute to act as legal fiduciaries for city residents in matters such as this one, these fiduciaries were: Mr. Steve Otis, Mayor; Mr. Kevin Plunkett, Esq, Corporation Counsel; and Mr. O. Paul Shew, City Manager.  As to their current whereabouts; I understand Mr. Shew can be reached (as always) at his long time home in Massachusetts. Mr. Plunkett – profiled just last week in The Journal News as one of the most highly paid public employees in Westchester County – now serves as Deputy County Executive. And Mr. Otis is now a NYS Assemblyman who resides in Rye and commutes frequently to a land called Albany.

Recognizing the political and patronage deflection possibilities of at least two of these men I approached the lectern in council chambers on the night that Brune & Richard LLC was to be selected as the lead outside investigation firm. I asked some pointed, politically difficult, questions: Could Brune & Richard be impartial and unimpeded in their investigation, given Mr. Plunkett’s decades long tenure at the highest level of New York’s Pataki Machine? Would they be allowed to go where the evidence took them? Was Brune & Richard’s fiercely protected spotless reputation and Democratic Party bono fides enough to enable them to soldier through any backchannel backstabbing? The council answer was all nods and smiles and yeses and affirmations.

Now that we have all come to know those on the council bench it should come as no surprise to any resident of the City of Rye that as of today ZERO attempt has been made to interview any of these men under oath. None of these men – our past city fiduciaries – has been questioned as to how this fraud was allowed to begin. None has been asked how, seemingly inexplicably, that no questions were asked about these strange invoices along the way. This “no interview” limitation to the scope of the investigation– or political firewall if you will – seems to have fallen from the sky. Yet no council member has so far taken responsibility for blocking this testimony of prior senior management for which express subpoena power is granted by charter to the council. 

Messrs. Otis, Plunkett and Shew were unmistakably our senior fiduciaries when the fraud was initiated – they were our protectors – and apparently they were the orphan Scotty Y’s staffing scheme’s “parents.”

Instead those among the council members who perpetually hide behind the false facades of THRIFT and disdain for council DISTRACTION on any matter involving evident corruption are once more being ceded the microphone. Their cry is always “too much money, too much time wasted, too much uncovering of nothing important, nobody cares.”  To which I and many many others will reply: Not this time, nor from now on ever, will crimes be slid quietly under the rug at our city hall.

In the end, it should be noted; Mr. Madoff’s feeder funds were all deposed and discovered to death under oath. Mr. Madoff’s employees, outside auditor, and family members were interviewed repeatedly and rigorously. And it sure wasn’t pretty. But the reestablishment of systemic trust comes first from a public understanding of who did and approved what and to whom – which by definition requires disclosure and light and evidence as a foundation. Here another council shut-down charade accomplishes none of that. We will not and we cannot allow it to succeed.

Ted Carroll is a life long Rye resident, a frequent commenter on
MyRye.com and a partner at Noson Lawen Partners, a media industry
private equity firm.

17 COMMENTS

  1. tedc,

    Do you think it was a coincidence that after Pickup was denied indemnification (free lawyer paid for by taxpayers) that Brune & Richard suddenly ceased doing interviews?

    Councilwoman Brett seemed to relish her role as the liaison with Brune & Richard more than she did her role as a finder of fact. To me she seemed to constantly obstruct the investigation while telegraphing the desired outcome which was to only implicate Scott Y at all costs and exonerate Pickup.

    As far as Shew, Otis and Plunkett how is it that they were not interviewed under oath?

    Perhaps the biggest sham is why weren’t French and Connors interviewed under oath? French started his own investigation and Connors was ordered by French and Pickup to conduct an investigation as well.

    They say you get what you pay for. As far as I can tell so far we taxpayers have a 20 page, $300,000 travesty of justice.

    Why do our officials leave out the tens of thousands of dollars being paid to their labor lawyer Vincent Toomey as part of this investigation?

    Is it because Toomey is being paid to lead Brune & Richard away from any wrongdoing committed by City of Rye officials?

    Why haven’t all the records being sought by Mr. Sculti been provided yet? Is it because they implicate Pickup and others in wrongdoing?

  2. From Opie Shew’s resume:
    We developed competition between our Golf Club and private sector in management of a restaurant and catering operation. The Golf Club won this competition and went on to turn the first profit for this facility while engendering goodwill with the membership.
    Shew also refers to how Rye Golf Club membership dues were used for maintenance at the Rye Nature Center.
    You can’t make this stuff up.
    How is it that French gave Opie a letter of recommendation?

  3. Let the investigation continue to see high up it went, it would be foolish not to. If you don’t want to do it, step aside, don’t let the door hit you too hard on the backside, and let someone else do it

  4. PICKUP GIVES CREDENCE TO TEDC’S OP ED
    For those of you who may be shaking their head at some kind of “conspiracy theory” by Mr. Carroll, please let me note that in an email exchange only two weeks ago, Mr. Pickup actually identified Rye’s former corporation counsel, Kevin Plunkett, as the city attorney who (he nows says) vetted RM Staffing.

    Unfortunately, one has to always wonder if Mr. Pickup is lying. More than anything, and especially in regards to RGC, that is what Mr. Pickup he has proven himself to be to be–a liar. Yes, it is a dirty word. Yet unfortunately, it is wholly appropriate.

    Below is Mr. Pickup’s direct quote implicating Rob Astorino’s Deputy County Executive, Mr. Plunkett, is blessing the entire RGC/RM Satffing relationship. Mr. Pickup was writing in response to the question, “What is it like to lie to a room full of lowly golf club members and to lie even more when they don’t believe your previous lies?

    “The prior review of agency staffing at RGC (vetted by former corp. counsel) obviously was not the only issue in the discussion that evening, and as we have all discovered, the depth of the problems at RGC are complicated… No one feels worse about this deception than I do.” -Scptt Pickup.

    Council members Laura Brett, Julie Killian, Catherine Parker and Joe Sack, as well as city attorney Kristen Wilson, where all cc’d on Mr. Pickup’s latest version of the facts.

  5. See LausDeo comments yesterday to Councilwoman and Attorney Laura Brett on adjacent story. Now ask yourself what I asked her 10 days ago – how much are you willing to bet that the former Rye City Clerk’s “going away” party was the ONLY phantom event involving public employees and officials held at Club Y (AKA The Rye Golf Club) and secretly and unknowingly paid for by the members and the taxpayers? Catering invoices – catering invoices – held illegally by the city attorney and manager for over 280 days? What the heck is on them?

    I’m coming to believe certain council members are actively complicit in this expanding serious fraud. How stupid can they and this be?

    Those who keep secrets CONTROL those who’s secrets they keep.

  6. Paranoid RP? I think not.

    We’re just getting to the bigger fish. (They always hate that.)

    Per Rye City Manager Scott Pickup:

    Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett Vetted Agency That Stole Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars from City of Rye.

    http://www.lausdeo10580.com/lausdeo10580/2013/04/rye-city-mngr-says-westchester-deputy-county-executive-kevin-plunkett-vetted-agency-that-stole-hundr.html

    So is Mr. Pickup lying (again), or has he just fingered one of Rye’s former top fiduciaries in apparent malpractice – or even worse – in The Rye Golf Club Scandal? (Our Schubert’s Pond depositions and subpoena recovered stolen city documents may actually come in handy very soon.)

  7. “Rye Auxiliary Cop Accused of Felony Fraud Tied to Rye City Bid”

    http://rye.patch.com/articles/rye-auxiliary-cop-accused-of-felony-fraud-tied-to-rye-city-bid

    Gee – I wonder who for months now pestered the paid and elected Rye City officials to death to get them to open their eyes to this rather clumsy fraud. Who would that be?

    Commissioner Connors? Nope, maybe too busy consulting for labor lawyer Vincent Toomey through former Rye City Manager Julia Novak’s consulting company where Mr. Connors’s has previously been tasked with opposing other cops in court. http://thenovakconsultinggroup.com/william-r-connors

    Would it be Rye City Corporation Council Kristen Wilson? Nope, she can’t tell the difference between a “violation” and a “phone call complaint “if it’s the Mayor’s own house in question. And here she just can’t be bothered to verify the company ownership of the soon to be winning bidder.

    Would it be City Manager Pickup? No, he’s currently way too busy hiding piles of documents about the Rye Golf Course.

    Would it be ANY of our elected officials? Well Mr. Sack smelled a rat (he’s an ex-prosecutor by training).

    How about Lawyer Laura Brett? Nope. Looked ‘all good’ to her. Watch here where at starting at about the 6.00 minute mark she apparently holds in front of her face one of the unsigned forged Blauer “warranties” that support the bid which she will soon vote to approve. http://ryeny.swagit.com/play/03202013-786/#12

    How about the rest of the non-lawyers up there? Nope, they saw nothing, heard nothing and of course said nothing wrong. That, folks, is true current day Rye political class “consensus” voting of the first order.

    Actually however the “who” that pestered paid and elected local and state officials about this rather obvious clumsy fraud is one of our local good government group’s volunteers. He wants no thanks or praise for his diligence. But his work here is enormously satisfying.
    All the others except Mr. Sack did just as they were told by Mr. Pickup, Ms. Wilson and Mr. Connors.

    What shameful rotten behavior. Yet again.

    How much more of this can YOU take?

  8. SEO sending SOS

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a subject I know a little about and others (such as the publisher of this site) know much more about. In layman’s terms, the more people who visit a web page over time, the higher that page will rank in a search engine listing string.

    Today I entered the names of the 3 former Rye City fiduciaries I called for to be deposed in my commentary above here about the Rye Golf Club scandal. I added the name “Rye” and/or their current job title (Deputy County Executive, Assemblyman, or Job Applicant) after the requisite name. And that was all and PRESTO, up came http://www.lausdeo10580.com or www MyRye.com with a highly ranked story or commentary about – the Rye Golf Club scandal.

    Try it yourself. Tell your friends. Tell the seven members of the Rye City Council. Tell them the public – whose “votes” are SEO indicated – want the big fish here deposed. It’s in the charter to do this and Rye residents deserve answers.

    Steve Otis.
    Kevin Plunkett.
    O. Paul Shew.

    Raise your right hand and solemnly swear that the evidence you will give will be the truth and only the truth so help you God.

  9. Tedc,

    Thank you for your comment and agreement with my position. While I do not have any knowledge of two of the individuals you cite, I agree with your proposal, and the doctrine of respondeat superior demands as such (Google it); does the Council have the power to demand testimony or does it need to have counsel subpoena it in any court proceeding?
    I say I only have knowledge of two of the people you cite, as in 2008 or so I was approached by the former Chairman of the Rye Democratic Committee to run for City Council only to be blocked when Mayor Otis brought in his own “candidates.” Telling or not, I take no position at this time, but only when some more facts surface. This time around, it is my hope that current Chairman Rod Brown does the right thing when it comes to selecting a Democratic ticket for City Council. Obviously, city government corruption is high up on my list for any potential platform.

  10. Whoops! What’s this now?

    “Kevin Plunkett of the now-defunct Thacher Profitt & Wood represented the town and its officials. Robinson said he would order the defendants to pay $10,000 in sanctions because “the record is replete with evidence regarding defendants’ intentional destruction of evidence and disregard for discovery obligations.””

    http://www.lohud.com/article/20130418/NEWS02/304180132/Fortress-Bible-case-will-cost-Greenburgh-taxpayers?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Frontpage|p&nclick_check=1

    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202470575438&Court_NY_Towns_Opposition_to_Church_Violated_Federal_Law&slreturn=20130318211630

    (Suggested Rye City answer – Ted that’s nothing, just nothing.)

  11. WHO EXACTLY ARE OUR RYE CITY FIDUCIARIES?

    The City Manager? The Corporation Counsel? Other paid managers? The Mayor? Other city councilmember’s? Or all of them?

    And what violations of law negate their city-paid-for-shield’s of personal legal indemnification for duties relating to their “public service?”

    “Trustee Sues Corzine Over MF Global Collapse”

    “The trustee overseeing MF Global Holdings Ltd.’s bankruptcy sued former Chief Executive Jon S. Corzine and two other top executives over their alleged role in the brokerage’s collapse. In the lawsuit, trustee Louis J. Freeh accused Mr. Corzine, the former governor of New Jersey, former Chief Operating Officer Bradley I. Abelow and former Chief Financial Officer Henri J. Steenkamp of BREACHING THEIR FIDUCIARY DUTIES to the company and being ultimately responsible for its collapse.”

    From WSJ.com (subscription required)

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324874204578440501547451518.html?mod=djemTAR_h

  12. Tedc,

    To accomplish all you rightly advise to be done, while the DA investigates, bring in the FED’s and on the U.S. taxpayers nickel, not just our own. If proven as alleged, these are all Title 18 crimes, the FBI’s bread and butter.
    Submit an online form at http://www.fbi.gov or call their public corruption hotline for New York, NY: (212) 384-1000.

  13. Has anyone noticed their comments disappearing into the Cloud today?

    This, is the third attempt to alert tedc about the statute of limitations over the past elected and appointed officials he blogs about which is 4 years for civil and criminal RICO.

  14. PSL – cloud problems come in waves with TypePad, the service Jay (and Leon) use to host their publications. It’s frustrating but not nefarious.

    I think an attorney should make the call to the Feds not a media guy. It would best come from a Republican attorney hint hint hint but a respected retired Democratic Judge would be almost as good.

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