by Ted Carroll, Guest Columnist
News has reached us that former Rye Golf Club Manager Scott Yandrasevich was apparently paroled from New York State prison (June 6th) after serving less than 1 year of his 1-3 year sentence for leading the largest fraud in Rye history. Mr. Yandrasevich to date has never publicly admitted who helped him circumvent our internal financial controls allowing him and his phony staffing company into our city treasury for millions.
Some define political success as knowing who to blame – and who to shield. Those lacking basic ethics are said to know this lesson well – especially those in high places. Don’t agree? Let’s spend a few lazy summer moments together here reviewing some local history.
Exhibit 1 – Our very own expensive yet tortuously incomplete Summary Report of the City Council’s Investigation Into the Rye Golf Club. It’s on the load page of the Rye City web site.
Going through this 18 pager sequentially there are – 34 individuals named. And here they are listed by initial mention and in sequence:
-Scott Yandrasevich – former General Manager of Rye Golf Club (RGC) (92 mentions)
-Scott Pickup – former Rye City Assistant Manager & Manager (10 Mentions)
-Anna Yandrasevich – Mr. Yandrasevich’s wife (8 Mentions)
-Charles Breed – former RGC Food & Beverage Director (5 Mentions)
-Paul Carroll – former RGC Executive Chef (19 Mentions & no relation to me)
-Suzanne Ruggiero-Madeo – owner Studio Y & RM Staffing & Events (36 Mentions)
-Angela Runco – former RGC accounts payable clerk (5 Mentions)
-Susanna, Lidia, Godfrey, Rey, Lisa, Carl, Miguel, Avilia, Mike M, Mike, Tom, Jose, Joe Lab, Chris Lab, John – these are single name employees from RM Staffing records
-Andrew Richter – former Director of Sales (4 Mentions)
-Megan Hayes – former Senior Sales Associate (10 Mentions)
-Greg Colica – former Chef at RGC (2 Mentions)
-Lisa Wheeler – a former Studio Y contract employee (I Mention)
-Ben Coyne – former Executive Chef (1 Mention)
-Joe Pacelle – owner of Fairway Auto, Mamaroneck, New York (4 Mentions)
-Frank Culross, Former Rye City Manager (2 Mentions)
-Michael Genito – former Rye City Comptroller (1 Mention)
-Joseph Fazzino – then-Rye City Deputy Comptroller now Comptroller (1 Mention)
–O’Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins, LLP – Rye’s former independent auditors (2 Mentions)
-Jean Gribbins – former Rye City Comptroller (2 Mentions)
-Kristen Wilson – Rye City Current Corporation Counsel (1 Mention)
That’s 34 individuals, 220+ mentions – but look who’s been selectively left out:
Rye’s Former Corporation Counsel – our 2nd highest paid municipal official – who personally reviewed & approved an undisclosed, un-bid & unwritten ‘contract’ with fraudulent shell company RM Staffing & Events, a direct circumvention of Rye’s then established internal financial controls – (0 Mentions)
Rye’s Former City Manager – our highest paid municipal employee – who personally directed that the city comptroller’s office promptly pay (to Scott Yandrasevich’s own hand) any and all RM Staffing & Events invoices without verification against requisite written contracts nor rate sheets, a direct circumvention of Rye’s then established internal financial controls – (0 Mentions)
Rye’s Former Mayor – who promoted the hiring of both of these senior city officials after personally directing the terminations of their predecessors thus making him the de-facto highest ranking and most powerful official in the municipality in 2007 when the RM Staffing & Events scheme was approved, initiated and put in motion – (0 Mentions)
Your tax dollars were obviously hard at work here. Please recall that former Councilwoman Laura Brett & former Councilman Joe Sack (both lawyers) headed up the 2012-2013 council investigation and personally managed the drafting of this ‘Summary.’ Both promised repeatedly on Rye TV to bring accountability, transparency and trust back to Rye Golf and Rye City Hall. Yet here are some examples of how selective editing made certain people disappear –
On Page 4 – the following sentence appears – “Then, the Finance Department and the City Manager approved the purchase order so long as there were sufficient funds in the RGC budget to cover the requested amounts.”
On Page 5 – the following sentence appears – “For invoices over a certain dollar threshold, the City Manager reviewed as well, but again the review was limited to the face of the invoice and claim form and to whether the payment was within the relevant budget.”
Question: Who was Rye’s City Manager at that time – and why in the world is Mr. O. Paul Shew’s name omitted?
On Page 15 – the following sentence appears – “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.”
Question: Who was Rye’s Corporation Counsel at that time – and why in the world is current Westchester County’s Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett’s name omitted?
On Page 1 – the following sentence appears – “The City Manager, the Finance department, the City Council and the RGC Commission have oversight responsibilities over RGC.”
Question: Did and does Rye’s Corporation Counsel have oversight responsibilities for contractual activities at throughout the city? It most certainly did at that time. So why is Mr. Plunkett’s role in this process not included in the descriptor here?
Final Question: Who was the City of Rye’s Mayor in 2007 (the City’s Highest Elected Official and thus the municipality’s Chief Executive) – regardless of the city council makeup this man had demonstrated his personal hiring and firing powers over senior city employees multiple times – so why in the world is current NY State Assemblyman Steve Otis’s name omitted?
These three omitted names – Shew, Plunkett & Otis were the municipality’s three most senior executives and our fiduciaries – individuals unarguably best positioned to prevent the largest fraud in city history. Thirty four other people are mentioned by name repeatedly in the Investigation Summary – but not one single mention is made of them.
Flash forward and it’s now Mid-2016 – the long promised Rye Golf Club forensic accounting report from Breen & Associates naming who directed the internal controls circumvention birthing the fraud is still being suppressed but now it’s being done by the same person who repeatedly publically demanded its release in 2013 right along with his then, and now, city council bench political sidekick. And they would be –
Current Rye Mayor Joe Sack & Current Rye Deputy Mayor Julie Killian (who’s almost incredibly a candidate for the NY State Senate this fall).
Maybe its high time Preet Bharara should meet our city council.
Ted Carroll is a lifelong Rye resident, a Certified Public Accountant, and a partner at Noson Lawen Partners, a media industry private equity firm.
See some of Carroll’s other 2016 MyRye.com commentaries here: