Former Rye Golf Club manager Scott Yandrasevich allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the golf club, and the public is demanding to know how they were scammed. The allegations were outlined in the council’s summary report of a nearly five-month long investigation into Yandrasevich’s conduct as manager at the golf club. an outside law firm the council retained in October, conducted the investigation.
"He (Yandrasevich) was able to manipulate the system for so long and it got by a great number of people," Mayor Doug French said. "While we will pursue all avenues for restitution, we will also work to restructure our enterprise fund models and restore credibility."
The city council does not yet know the exact sum that they claim Yandrasevich misappropriated because they are waiting for banks to provide subpoenaed information.
At Wednesday’s city council meeting, members of the public asked the council to scrutinize how Yandrasevich was able to allegedly steal from the city for six years without being caught by his supervisor city manager Scott Pickup, or anyone else. The council agreed they needed to use the findings to assess how it happened. Rye Golf Club members and the council also discussed a need for more transparency, an effective checks and balances system, and to reconsider city-run enterprise funds.
Because the RGC is a city enterprise fund that operates on membership dues, Yandrasevich reported to the city manager, who reports to the city council. The RGC also operates with a Commission, meant to set rules and regulations and oversee operations, including the annual budget and membership fees. But the commission members have said they felt they had no real authority and often did not receive clear information from Yandrasevich.
No other former or current city employees are accused of personally benefiting from Yandrasevich’s actions, but RGC members had some harsh criticism for Pickup.
Pickup was first criticized in September 2012 when he told RGC members that Yandrasavich’s actions were Pickup later told investigators he said that to calm down the crowd. RGC members and councilman Joe Sack also criticized the city manager for having signed off on many expensive bills and for not taking action when, in 2010, independent auditors noted that RGC’s relationships with RM Staffing should be evaluated and adjusted to require rate sheets.
"(It is) startling and disturbing that the city manager also failed to exercise any meaningful oversight with regards to millions of dollars of invoices coming in over years despite many red flags," Sack said.
Pickup told the crowd that he trusted Yandrasevich, who violated that trust. In 2010, the city had no knowledge of "off the books" transactions or side businesses, Pickup said.
"An assumption of trust is not how you run city government," RGC member and Rye Republican Committee Chair Anthony Piscionere told the council, after explaining he was outraged by the report.
RGC Member and local blogger Leon Sculti, who investigated RGC on his own and published much of the same information the city-hired law firm found in its investigation on lausdeo10580.com over the last five months, called on Pickup to resign or be fired.
Members of the council said the released findings are just a first step in a process that will lead to changes that prevent a failure of transparency and checks and balances in the future.
"We now have a road map to figure out what controls to put in place in the future," councilwoman Laura Brett said.
Councilwoman Julie Killian said she was deeply disturbed by the findings, and wants the council to focus immediately on what the shortcomings were and how to fix them.
The council emphasized they were glad that Yandrasevich resigned in January, because it saved the council money in legal fees and allowed them to make decisions to move the golf club forward. The council and RGC members all agreed they want to move the club past the scandal and figure out the most effective way to run RGC.
"We must restore Rye Golf Club to the jewel that it is," Killian said.
Read a summarized version of the investigators findings here.