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Home Government Speaking French: Mayor's Update - The RGC "Madoff Moment"

Speaking French: Mayor’s Update – The RGC “Madoff Moment”

Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

City Council Updates by Mayor Douglas French

The Way Forward: Proposed Governance Rules for City’s Enterprise Entities

Rye Golf Club will be remembered as the City’s Madoff moment when institutional breakdowns in oversight over a long period of time may have led to financial corruption. As part of the City’s work to restore public confidence in the enterprise entities, the Council is reviewing a set of governance rules, practices and procedures as to how the Rye Golf Club and Boat Basin will be directed and controlled.

Enterprise Funds are proprietary funds used to report on activity for which a fee is charged to external users for goods or services, and are operated separately and apart from the City’s General Fund. The governance framework is designed to balance the interests of the many stakeholders to include membership, residents and taxpayers, commission members, City Council, City Management and staff. It will encompass every aspect of oversight – budgets, capital plans, policies, internal controls, performance measurement and public disclosure. A summary of the highlights of the governance rules being discussed are as follows:

Commission Role — The Commission shall serve in an advisory capacity on behalf of the members of the Rye Golf Club and Boat Basin (the “Clubs”) reporting to the City Council and shall have the responsibilities set forth below. It is intended that the Commissions will have day-to-day advisory oversight responsibilities for the Clubs in conjunction with the City Manager and designated staff for the execution, implementation and management of the authorized operations of the Clubs consistent with approved plans, budgets and policies.

Monthly Updates and Authorizations for the Council — A standing monthly agenda item for the Clubs will be added to the regular meetings of the City Council for updates, approvals and discussion on Club operations.

Annual Audit — An annual, independent audit shall be conducted by the City on behalf of the Clubs by an auditor with experience in said operations. An annual presentation on the audit will be held at a regular scheduled meeting of the City Council.

Commission Responsibilities

  • Review, advise on and approve an annual budget and capital plans for the Clubs provided and prepared by staff and any other committees established by the Commissions.
  • Work with the City Manager in reviewing and negotiating all contracts which will bind the Clubs (other than omnibus municipal contracts) subject to final approval by the City Manager (with input as needed from the City Council).
  • Have responsibility for interviewing and recommending to the City Manager and City Council, the terms of employment for managers and similar personnel to be employed by or consultant to the Clubs.
  • Inform the City Manager of any concerns regarding a particular employee’s performance and work with the City Manager, as needed, in any disciplinary or termination actions.
  • Upon request, have managers, City employees or other department head designated to the Club provide an update to the Commission and/or Council on operations regarding the Club as requested.
  • Recommend in conjunction with the City Comptroller, changes necessary to ensure accurate accounting practices and procedures at the Clubs, and for the Clubs to invest as needed in the proper resources to ensure compliance with financial controls and reporting.

Commission membership

  • The Rye Golf Club Commission shall consist of twelve members. Nine of the members shall be elected by the membership, and the Mayor shall appoint with Council confirmation one Council liaison, one member from the Club’s finance advisory committee, and one additional appointment.
  • The Boat Basin shall consist of seven members. Five of the members shall be elected by the membership, and the Mayor shall appoint with Council confirmation one Council
  • liaison and one additional appointment. All members on each board shall be voting members.
  • All Commission meetings shall comply with the Public Officers Law and be posted with agenda materials on the City of Rye website. Minutes shall be kept for all meetings.
  • The Commission can act only if a quorum of members are present and all votes must be approved by a majority of the members in order for any action to be passed. Commission members cannot miss more than 3 consecutive meetings to remain in good standing.

The Council will hold one more public meeting before adopting the new governance structure.



    Doug French will be remembered as the most ethically challenged mayor in the history of Rye. RGC members want no part of Mayor French, or any other mayor, appointing “their people” to the Rye Golf Club Commission, which would constitute 25% of the commission.

    This is not a slap in the face to taxpayers.

    It was the city’s people who raped RGC of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    The massive fraud at RGC was committed by a senior city employee. Another senior city official, the man who is responsible for the operation of the entire city, approved over $4 million to RM Staffing over 6 years–all by himself. He funded the fraud. He also ignored auditor’s warnings and lied through his teeth to protect the fraudsters.

    That city manager, Scott Pickup, did all he could to stop, then impede, an investigation that French himself originally put Pickup in charge of.

    Numerous intermediate city employees like Angela Runco and Gary Galante were used by Yandrasevich to administrate and execute the fraud he committed.

    When the dead bodies were finally dragged out from the shadows and laid at the feet of the city council–by club members, not the city–they shrugged. Sans Sack.

    For all their flaws, the RGC Commission had no power to initiate or stop the fraud committed at RGC by city employees, who were supervised by city managers, who serve at the leisure of the city council.

    Doug French and his ilk were–and still are–the problem at RGC.
    Now French says their “may” have been fraud at RGC? May have? Really?

    So, Doug French is now contradicting the findings of teh city’s own $300K investigation which concluded…

    “The Council has further determined that Mr. Yandrasevich controlled RM Staffing, and that, over a six-year period, he used RM Staffing and its affiliated business Studio Y to steal many hundreds of thousands of dollars from the City of Rye.

    RGC, and Rye, will be a better place the moment the sad and pathetic Doug French is out of office.

  2. LausDeo,
    Doug Madoff is Rye’s P.O.S. moment.
    Political appointments by Rye’s P.O.S. moment are not the answer at RGC. Getting rid of Pickup is the answer.
    Doug Madoff is trying to make it look as though the RGC Commission was at fault here when it was Pickup. To this day Pickup has not been questioned by the City’s $300,000 investigators or by his friend at the DA’s office, Ted Livingston.
    Doug Madoff, Jowannasniff and Filipout want to do as much damage to this community and to our next Mayor Joe Sack as possible before they leave in disgrace on December 31, 2013.
    Let’s hope Brett, Parker and KIllian step up to the plate with Joe Sack to stop these fools from doing more damage to our town.


    Dear Counselor Livingston,

    We haven’t met that I’m aware of, but perhaps you are related to my 1974 RHS classmate, Clayton Livingston, formerly of Soundview Avenue?

    I hear you’re heading up the investigation for the County of Westchester and the City of Rye on the findings of the Brune & Richard report referenced below. I take it you are someone who wants the best for Rye –

    “As far as the replacement scoreboard goes, Livingston was quick to dispel any notion that Nugent Stadium would soon be fitted with a garish monstrosity.” http://www.hometwn.com/hometown-media-group/rye-sound-shore-review/rye-boosters-push-for-new-scoreboard/

    – and in this regard, your words would be greatly appreciated in updating the residents (especially the many dues paying members of The Rye Golf Club) as to the state of your investigation. As you’re probably aware, the Rye City Council has provided zero updates to the public, and calls to your office from the media to date are met with either a “continuing to investigate” or “no comment” response.

    In the vacuum that typically follows disclosure of a substantial financial and political scandal, various local rumors abound. Today they include:

    – That your record search using your subpoena power is still incomplete
    – That your depositions are not complete
    – That Mr. Yandrasevich was arrested vs. no he was not
    – That the Brune & Richard findings are being disputed
    – That Ms. DiFiore has interfered with your process, slowing it
    – That Steve Otis, Kevin Plunkett and O. Paul Shew will not be put under oath:

    Mr. French has just asked local publishers to pass along this insinuation below that the Rye Golf events of the past half decade “MAY have led to financial corruption” (emphasis mine). This directly contradicts the expansive Brune & Richard findings. I believe that the law abiding citizens of Rye deserve to hear where the official investigation stands on this now very tangible garish monstrosity. Wouldn’t you agree that this is a very reasonable request?


    Ted Carroll
    Milton Point

  4. He’s joking, right? Rye City employees? Fool me once – shame on you; fool me twice – shame on me. Both of Kemper Sports and Troon Golf have made contact with the Council to take it over. With Kemper you get impressive financial controls; with Troon you get handpicked, vetted GM who is a “good fit” for RGC and reciprocal golf at Westchester Hills, Brynwood, and the Mutton Club.

  5. The situation at RGC has gone from bad to worse but is adding a profit layer at this time the answer? We can debate the pros and cons of subcontracting but can we agree on the perils of decision-making under the current Mayor and City Manager? Doug French loves to say, “Government shouldn’t be in ‘X’ business or ‘Y’ business”. What a tiresome talking point that is – a blanket view on fiscal policy that doesn’t take into consideration anything about what’s best for Rye right now. The combined lack of transparency, recent profit layers (RM Staffing), and ongoing mismanagement by Pickup make it impossible for us to have a clear view of the Club’s finances. Why is the fox guarding the hen-house? Doug French is a Republican in the mold of George W. Bush: mismanage public resources to the point where they “need” to be privatized. And Doug has one of the best mis-managers out there: Scott Pickup. Please! No decisions under Doug!


    After members expose huge fraud by city staff at Rye Golf, “Madoff French” – who personally thwarted repeated attempts to begin an independent investigation last summer – now tries to play one more marked card:

    “French Attempts to Silence Golf Club Members – Wants Mayor to Appoint 25% of Golf Commissioners.”


  7. Kemper Sports (Galloping Hill, Ashbrook Golf Club) and Troon Golf (Westchester Hills, Brynwood, Mutton Club) are ready to take over the whole operation for a flat management fee plus incentives. They have made a request for information to the City Council who have not responded. Troon offers reciprocal privileges.


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