[POLL] Ethics Board Adjourns With No Comment or Recusals

The Rye City Ethics Board adjourned its meeting without comment to the press. City manager Scott Pickup and corporation counsel Kristen Wilson participate in deliberations.

The Rye City Ethics Board met in executive session until 11:45 a.m. this morning to discuss a formal request for review of Mayor Doug French. 

Though members of the press waited outside the mayor's conference room, committee chair Elizabeth Griffin Matthews left City Hall without comment about the proceeding–whether the board had agreed to further review the allegations against Mayor French or dismiss the request without further consideration as they concluded at their last meeting.

According to corporation counsel Kristen Wilson there were no recusals from this morning's proceedings. Though Wilson and city manager Scott Pickup were accused by Ray Tartaglione of being involved in obfuscating the matter of Mayor French's STAR tax exemptions, possible building code violations and subsequent measures that may have been taken to prevent revelation of the situation, neither Pickup nor Wilson stepped aside from participating in this morning's meeting.

Wilson said that minutes from the meeting will be made available once Matthews and other members of the committee review them. But she anticipated 'something' would likely be available in time for next week's regular city council meeting.

RyeDad February 02, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Another coverup. Wilson and Pickup are a joke and should be fired for obstructing a credible investigation of French, themselves and others. If the City Council let's this crap fly they will be guilty of suborning at the very least bad behavior and possible criminal acts by those who are supposed to be entrusted to run the City of Rye properly.
Bob Zahm February 02, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Yes, the worst case might be coverup / conspiracy / etc. However, far more likely that what you're seeing is poor communications and defensive behavior of someone who's made a couple of mistakes. Either way, you really think an ethics committee is going to figure out anything useful? Go a step further, who of the folks on the witch hunt are going to be satisfied with anything than resignation of the mayor? And it isn't going to happen.
HEALtheHARBOR.com February 02, 2012 at 08:56 PM
"witch hunt" I don't think so Robert! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6nWzVM99R8
Bob Zahm February 02, 2012 at 09:20 PM
witchhunt (n) an intensive effort to discover and expose disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, or the like, usually based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence. I think I'll stick with my usage for two reasons. First, while there is a facade of a desire for good gov't, the real motivation for the attacks on most of the Rye City Council and officials is because of personal dissatisfaction with the handling of several non-related issues. Second, the fundamental issues at hand related to Doug French's two STAR exemptions and zoning of his property as a one or two family home just aren’t that big a deal. The bigger deal is the way in which the points were first treated with disdain by the mayor as opposed to saying, up front, "I'll take whatever action is necessary to remedy the situations". The mayor has in process of doing that with the STAR exemption and will hopefully get to it soon w/r/t the zoning issue. So, when I call the repeated postings on this topic a “witchhunt”, I’m saying that because the group focused on this point are trying to find anything to force a change in city gov’t with the expected hope that a new administration will handle the group’s issues differently. Given that the treatment of the issues has been the same between a democratic and republic administration and between multiple city managers, is that really a reasonable expectation?
RyeDad February 03, 2012 at 02:36 AM
tedc February 03, 2012 at 03:51 AM
“..based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence?” Please put down the Rye political class Kool-Aid Bob and pledge to come with me to Rita Schubert’s house when she’s recovered and we’ll sit among the boxes of testimony under oath and formerly missing documents, secret plans, photographs and other evidence of real crime in Rye. I guarantee it will blow your mind. There’s big money involved here, the missing water was found (under a court ordered process) right where Bob Schubert said it was going to be and confessions of criminal activity inside Rye City Hall by city employees and outside influence peddlers are recorded under oath. Ever wonder why Ms. Wilson blocked other Rye City employees from testifying about the Schubert matter as required by a Judge? Well buddy you will certainly come quickly to understand why. And then I think that since you’re an honest guy you will pivot pretty quickly and feel that same “personal dissatisfaction” rise up in you and then you can transmit it to your social group. In the meantime take a look at our 2010 Schubert’s Pond Videos now released and available on YouTube after a clever transmission mauling by Rye TV during their original run.
Bob Zahm February 03, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Ted - Not all sure what you mean by "Rye political class Kool-Aid", but you've just mixed issues, I think. Shubert got the run-around. I agree. But with all of the documents you've reportedly seen that support the idea of cover-up, corruption, etc, why isn't there a court case going on? Why isn't the county DA investigating? Not having seen any of that stuff - and not willing to look at it unless it is made public for all - I have to ask what it has to do with the current mayor? the current city council? etc? Which brings me back to my assertion of the witchhunt. There is a core group of people – yourself, the mystery RyeDad, Ray/HealtheHarbor – who are frankly coming across as pushing an agenda that has less to do with righting wrongs and more to do with harassing anyone in Rye City government. I’m all for exciting, seat of the pants, what’s coming next stories, but this one is getting long in the tooth and need a little real action / facts to keep us readers interested instead of increasingly doubtful. As I said above, and previously, the latest round of attack-the-mayor reflect problems, but the largest part of them is that there was no up-front statement of “Yes, there are issues here. I’ll be open about them and fix them.” He seems to be fixing them and deserves a slap on the wrist of some sort, but this idea of a grand conspiracy is really hard to believe.
HEALtheHARBOR.com February 03, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Robert, I have to agree with you on a point but that’s it, if you view the 13 Richard Place it is easy to see these allegations are not based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence. The good Govt is not a façade, if we had good govt. we would not be dealing with any of the issues in front of us today. My personal dissatisfaction is with the handling of several related issues as they are related to poor actions of the past two administrations. I will give you a push on the way that he handled the situation after he was exposed but I think you and the City Assessor are making light of the Star tax issue and it appears that you both are trying to protect him. In Suffolk County they arrested and charged a hand full. Personally I think he should be charged also. He is surly a onetime Mayor, his political career is finished, his reputation is shot and he is under a tremendous amount of pressure. He is an embarrassment to his party and they can’t run away from him fast enough.
HEALtheHARBOR.com February 03, 2012 at 11:56 AM
As a result he is dragging good hard working people down with him. Look what he did to Vinnie Tamburro, cut his staff, refused to increase it after the floods and them tried to change the violations he issued when he was alive, saying they were a phone call complaint. In doing so he involved an unknown number of honest city employees in his cover-up. Vinnie was the most honest employee the City had and if you think, the pressure he was under had nothing to do with his death, something is wrong. Why do you think the City spent so much money on attorneys to stop Vinnie from being disposed in the Schubert case? Because he would tell the truth. That would have been very damaging to their case. There are very similar situations surrounding the Hen island case. If Vinnie was deposed they knew he would tell the truth and trust me plenty of heads would have rolled, in and out of City hall. They put him under so much pressure poor Vinnie didn’t know what to do. He went home with that in the back of his head every night. Vinnie and all the other hard working people in City Hall should not have to deal with this type of stuff. It’s just not fair.
HEALtheHARBOR.com February 03, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Just look at what the press is saying about the Ethics Committee after their involvement the past two times. Do those people deserve this at this stage of their lives? They can’t get the egg off their faces fast enough. It’s just not fair that so many people should be dragged thru the mud to save his as*. I do believe if we get the right people in place they will bring back enforcement to Rye that French promised and failed on. They will also stop this abuse of the legal fee bartering system. You have to see the person that benefits the most from legal fees is the same person advising the City council. Why not restrict her firm from involvement in any cases or referrals for the same. This little game is going on in every municipality they are involved in. French asked Sack and Carey to look into this and then when French decided he wanted to be in politics he changed his mind. That’s why the Cary Sack legal report went in the garbage can. He now realizes his political career is over so he got a job again in the City. These are not Dem or Rep issues they are problems and serious one’s that need to be addressed, corrected and put behind us.
RyeDad February 03, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Bob: I am not pushing an agenda that has less to do with righting wrongs and more to do with harassing anyone in Rye City government as you refer to me. We have what I believe to be an incompetent City Manager and City Attorney here in Rye with a mayor and City Council oblivious or covering up for their actions and inactions. When trying to address the incompetence, mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance with the idiots running Rye, they refuse to respond or find other sneaky ways to get around doing their jobs. When not getting redress from City staff the next logical and appropriate step, after the clowns finish their circus act, is to address french and the City Council. When one has the opportunity at around midnight at a council meeting to address french and the City Council about City staff's incompetence or impropriety, one finds that just like the other circus performers, french and his jesters will usually put on their red noses or red lipstick, blow their own horns, start to juggle and finally go into the house of mirrors (executive session). So Bob I ask you this. Is the way Rye is currently being run your definition of a government of the people, by the people and for the people? I hope not.
Bob Zahm February 03, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Is the garbage picked up on time? Are the streets cleared of snow (granted, it's a dry winter)? Is it safe to go out at night? Does the city get cleaned up after a storm; e.g., fallen trees removed, etc? Are streets/bridges maintained? (For me, this is the gap, but it is getting appropriate attention). Are taxes under control? Does the fire department respond quickly? Are our homes safe from break-in? These are the kinds of items about which I think most people care and which serve as the basis for assessing the performance of city gov't. When these items are all under control, then people focus on other issues (think Mazlov's hierarchy of needs) like those pursued by you and your posse. However, interest in those items continues only so long as they believe that there is a real problem, which affects them AND/OR there are new revelations. By all means, keep digging up new revelations, but doing so without getting anything from the previous list resolved in a way which results in a fundamental change (legal, personnel, etc.) says to me that your activities are good for generating e-ink, but little else. If there is real impropriety, then I want it cleaned out. But, perhaps mistakenly, I give the benefit of the doubt to my neighbors who are volunteering their time for the benefit of all of us.
tedc February 03, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Bob I spent yesterday at an annual industry conference in Manhattan where the luncheon speakers were Paul Steiger, former Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal, and Stephen Engelberg, former Managing Editor of The Oregonian in Portland who previously had also spent 18 years at The New York Times. They’ve founded an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. See it here - http://www.propublica.org/about/ After the luncheon concluded I was waiting to speak with Mr. Steiger when my phone buzzed – the Rye City Board of Ethic’s had ditched out without public comment on their 90 minute closed door “Do Over” meeting this time including Rye City Staff implicated (videotaped actually) in apparent misconduct. I laughed out loud (startling several media moguls in close proximity) because not only had I lost a bet but I realized that everything I had just heard at lunch about hidden malfeasance and political jobbery in bigger places was apparently happening all over again in the small town I was born in.
tedc February 03, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I’ll try and meet Mr. Steiger another time soon and I hope to be able to encourage local Rye investigative filmmaker Leon Sculti to join me in that meeting – and maybe you’d like to come also? Because what is going one here is not a “distraction” (they always use that one Bob) or a “mountain out of a molehill” (that one too) but rather a classic pattern of every cycle of scandal, cover-up, revelation and punishment going back to the dawn of man. It’s that simple.
HEALtheHARBOR.com February 03, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Bob, Maybe you can start by asking your "neighbors who are volunteering their time" to stop the Urine and excrement from entering the waters that I boat and swim in all Summer long. And then maybe you can ask those same people to do something about Westchester Counties worst mosquito infestation, that stops my neighbor from using his home and threatens the lives of the rest of them every time someone walks to the rear of Hen Island. We have no streets to clean or plow, no storm cleanup is done after any storm, we maintain our own trees, and we have no roads or bridges. We even pay non-resident fees at the Marina. And in the past four years after my home was vandalized 6 times and I filled out about 15 different Police reports for different claims of Vandalism including when my Boat received over thirty thousand dollars in damage, there was no investigation as to who did it? While you are at it, please remind them that we pay over 135,000.00 in taxes each year. Oh! I did forget, we do get one garbage truck for six hours split up into two different days three hours each. That translates to about 21,666.66 per hour.
Bob Zahm February 03, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Ray, I choose to live on a private road as you choose to maintain a vacation property on Hen Island. Both come with the same property tax rates applied in Rye City. However, both also come with different levels of service for road upkeep, etc. We knew that was the case when we made our respective decisions. So, those items are no basis for complaint. Paying non-resident Marina fees falls into the same category I think, at least partially due to your primary residence being outside the City of Rye – I believe. Haven’t checked. I think you probably have a valid beef about the [lack of] follow-up on your vandalism charges. Why don’t you publicize that point and seek a city inquiry as to why you’re getting unequal protection? Regarding the Sound pollution why the City and the County have played football with the inspection and enforcement issue. Again, I think you probably have a legitimate complaint. But the agenda you’re pursuing viz the Mayor, city officials, etc., seems pretty far removed from that complain and certainly does not seem to lead to actual remediation of your issue. Actually, either issue.
RyeDad April 09, 2012 at 08:13 PM


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