by Ted Carroll, Guest Columnist
“My team and I will work together and with others to promote fundamental ideals, including openness, transparency, integrity and accountability, to restore confidence in our City government and get Rye back on track.” (Kirstin Bucci, Julie Killian, Terry McCartney & Joe Sack – Rye United campaign flyer, Fall 2013)
“Any argument that the concealment of these documents was inadvertent must be flatly rejected. We have shown these documents to the Westchester District Attorney’s office, and they agree that the documents contain Brady material. At the very least, they are Rosario material and were required to be disclosed to plaintiff at the felony and suppression hearings of the underlying criminal matter. They were not. It is reasonable to infer that a cover-up was planned and executed from the beginning of the criminal case, knowledge of which may be imputed to all the city defendants. (From letter to Jed S. Rakoff, Senior Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in the matter of Caspi v. City of Rye et al., January 2015)
“It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' says the White Queen to Alice.”
So yes, we are down the rabbit-hole again as another so-called Rye municipal “reform” slate in short order veers wildly off its pre-election promises and embraces public record secrecy with all the slippery sanctimony of a standard Corridor of Corruption cow town. Mayor Sack claims we are moving forward, not re-litigating the past, and that past issues of transparency and accountability are old news. Where is he getting his legal advice – the same old places?
It’s no coincidence that nationally Gallup reports three in four Americans (75%) last year perceived corruption as widespread in the country's government. Pew Research notes just 19% say they can trust the government always or most of the time and according to Rasmussen Reports – a portfolio company of my investment firm – only 28% of U.S. Likely Voters believe the country is headed in the right direction.
Closer to home, and thanks to The Wall Street Journal and MyRye.com, we can now add the “Iranian Hacking Memo” from the Department of Homeland Security (discovered residing quietly for years in secret at city hall) to a long and dismal list of suppressed public documents withheld from our overly sensitive eyes by those at 1051 Boston Post Road who are paid with our tax dollars and apparently know better. Lowlights from this list include:
(1) Rye’s ex-city naturalist’s full memo to the city council exonerating Bob Schubert and naming names of city hall insiders participating in the atrocious wetland destruction-for-profit gambit that effectively ended The Otis Administration; (2) Police records critical to the public understanding of the former Caspi case document disappearance matter above; (3) The Rye Golf Club 2012-2013 forensic reports from Breen & Associates almost certainly naming city hall insiders who assisted Scott Yandrasevich in the circumvention of our internal financial controls leading directly to the largest fraud in city history and effectively ending The French Administration; and (4) The now most curious case of Mayor Sack’s own city work related emails – which were legally FOILed for last April. Someone is apparently worried enough about these public records to stonewall for 9+ months and force the Rye resident requestor into court.
Nothing to see here? Mr. Sack, for one, should know better.
Public records belong to the public.
Ted Carroll is a lifelong Rye resident, a Certified Public Accountant, and a partner at Noson Lawen Partners, a media industry private equity firm.