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Rye Mayor Sack Says Ed Fox's Allegations Are Untrue

Rye City Mayor Joe Sack/Photo credit: Pamela Stern
Rye City Mayor Joe Sack/Photo credit: Pamela Stern
Mayor Sack issued this statement regarding the remarks made earlier today at the Special Board of Education meeting:

Ed Fox’s allegations are untrue.  I categorically deny Mr. Fox’s allegations.  No matter what Mr. Fox’s perspective may be regarding the school district’s handling of the high profile teacher cases, he is irresponsible to cast such unfounded aspersions on me – not to mention my wife, the members of the school board, and the members of the city council, whom I presume will speak for themselves.

Ben January 27, 2014 at 02:44 PM
Mr. Mayor - learn your vocabulary. Mr. Fox was not making allegations. He was stating FACT. You appointed Mr. Slack - FACT. Your wife was involved with a school board issue FACT. Mr. Slack's wife is president of the school board - FACT. Incestuous?!?! Disgusting!!! Hope you all go down together.
Eric Kamander January 27, 2014 at 03:00 PM
I wonder what "allegations" Mayor Sack is suggesting is untrue. Is he denying the appearance of impropriety?
Bob Zahm January 27, 2014 at 03:04 PM
Think about this for a second. It is standard practice for the Board of Education to discuss negotiations before they start and as they progress. There is no reason that would not have happened here. So if there was an issue, the Board of Ed has had almost 3 weeks (when Richard Slack was appointed and approved by all 5 elected Council members) to raise the issue and decide what to do about it. I respect Ed Fox. And I respect Laura Slack. I have no idea what the upside [for anyone or any group] is for Ed to have made his statement today given the previous opportunities to raise the issue, get legal council's opinion on the potential existence of a conflict of interest, and/or change who the Board of Ed had doing the negotiations. If we're going to take Ed's statement at face value, then I suspect each and every member of the Board of Ed must recuse themselves from handling of this case because of all of the cross-connections between the Board of Ed members and parents. That's one of the results of living in a small city.
tedc January 27, 2014 at 03:21 PM
I guess somehow improper or undue influence is being alleged in the ‘Mr. Sack nomination’ of Mr. Slack for Rye City Council? Meanwhile Mrs. Sack (an attorney representing a ‘rubber room’ teacher here) has some kind of improper negotiation with Mrs. Slack, who heads the school board? Kinda catchy, right? One big problem – Mr. Sack was one vote of, umm, let me use my fingers to count, umm, FIVE elected officials voting Mr. Slack into his seat? Are all FIVE Rye City elected officials somehow implicated in improper ‘quid-pro-quo’ behavior here? Really? Now don’t get me started on Councilwoman Killian and Councilwoman Brett and what they did when they personally heard The Dapolite Tapes (hint: improperly ignored exculpatory evidence) - but really – does this then mean that the other 2 new elected council people are to be implicated in a voting racket as of their first council meeting? Folks – the losers of the last election are privately spitting-mad they lost their influence peddling positions. Would it be unheard of (Steve) that they would attempt to ding up the new admin before it got out of the showroom? I think that’s entirely possible. Meanwhile, in Rye City Crime, where are the NAMES of the evidence tampering / evidence destroying RCSD criminals in this front page case? http://rye.patch.com/groups/announcements/p/falsely-accused-in-rye--rcsd-has-some-splainin-to-do
Clarita Zeppie January 27, 2014 at 03:27 PM
I applaud Ed Fox for standing up for the truth. The facts disclosed shed some light on the "investigation" . It is sad that the two remaining teachers have no connection to the mayor or his friends. Doesn't anyone care about that? Not the mayor for sure. I hope there will be an investigation, but will it be done by the same people who bungled the initial investigation of the facts regarding "improper coaching"? Let's hope not!
tedc January 27, 2014 at 03:27 PM
Hey is that Hen Island 'Ben" - messaging us all the way from upstate NY? If so Ben we can't wait to see you Kuder Island Kreatons start drilling your 3 fresh water wells early this spring and remediate one of the east coast's worst MAN MADE WNV mosquito breeding sites. Dig, dig, dig Ben.
Bob Zahm January 27, 2014 at 03:47 PM
The existence of an e-mail merely shows that negotiations have been proceeding for a while and that the Board of Education has had more than sufficient time to vet the existence of a conflict of interest. I do not understand why Ed made his statement as I see no upside for anyone. Upside may exist, but motivation is usually required to convict someone, right?
Bob Zahm January 27, 2014 at 03:49 PM
Surely the teachers have a connection with one or more of the City Council members and School Board members even if they are non-residents. They have, after all, been teaching our children. And it is through our children that many Rye Residents know each other.
Clarita Zeppie January 27, 2014 at 03:52 PM
There are many kinds of connections, Bob. It's a question of ethics.
dita von struedel van trappyodel January 27, 2014 at 04:48 PM
The Sack administration is off to a great start. Not even a month into it and it is already wracked with scandal. I bet people now wish Peter Jovanovich was mayor.
Eric Kamander January 27, 2014 at 05:05 PM
When Mayor Sack says "Ed Fox’s allegations are untrue" is he referring to Fox's statement that "the settlement could be construed as a sweetheart deal due to Topol’s lawyer’s connection with board President Laura Slack" or that "the public will be left to wonder if the agreement was a sweetheart deal or whether the employee was unfairly held hostage, at significant expense to the district, until a particular benefit was provided”? Because it is a fact the the public are thinking and wondering this, and were doing so even before this settlement was reached.
Committee for Election Equality January 27, 2014 at 06:45 PM
Mayor Sack, when did Kerry Ann Law begin her representation of Gail Topel notwithstanding the Administration's directive to reassigned teachers to refrain from speaking to parents of students in their class? When did Richard Slack's name first appear as a possible appointed candidate for Rye City Council? What was the date of your first conversation with Richard Slack, or Laura Slack, if any, pertaining to appointing Richard Slack to the City Council? Who were the other candidates and what were the criteria you used to ultimately select the husband of the BOE President for appointment to the City Council? Did you have any conversations with Laura Slack or Kerry Ann Law pertaining to the settlement of the case of Gail Topel. Did Kerry Ann Law ask your advice or otherwise seek your counsel on the terms or language of the Topel settlement? To the best of your knowledge, did Laura Slack direct, condone, or otherwise encourage BOE to approve the "sweetheart" deal for Kerry Ann Law's client in exchange for her husband's appointment to the Rye City Council? To the best of your judgment, do you think it was proper for an elected Mayor’s spouse to negotiate settlement with a BOE president, the husband of which you had just appointed, or had planned on appointing to the Rye City Council? Your filling in of the time line will go to great lengths in refuting the facts of the Fox statement, if at all possible. Rye United ran on a platform of and was elected on its promise of openness, transparency, and honesty and an answer to the aforementioned question would go a long way towards fulfilling those promises. Thank you.
Charmian Neary January 27, 2014 at 10:48 PM
Clarita -- you can't stay away, can you? So first you say : "It is sad that the two remaining teachers have no connection to the mayor or his friends." Then when Bob Zahm points out how on the face of it illogical that remark is, you come back with: "There are many kinds of connections, Bob." So which is it, are the two remaining teachers orphans, bereft and forlorn, or do they have connections in the district as well? Have their husbands, for example, run for the council seat to which Richard Slack was appointed? Have they taught any children of past or present school board members or council members? An association is not evidence of culpability, right? It's a matter of ethics, Clarita.
Bob Zahm January 27, 2014 at 11:44 PM
@PSL - should you not be directing your questions to the lawyer involved and not the mayor just because he's the mayor and it makes for more attractive headlines? Joe - hopefully - knows nothing about the terms / timing of his wife's work for Gail Topol.
Bob Zahm January 28, 2014 at 08:09 AM
Sorry, PSL, but you should be harassing no one. The person to address is the lawyer involved, not their spouse.
Bob Zahm January 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM
In this instance, PSL, you would be questioning the lawyer involved. Not someone who, apparently, has no involvement in the issue.
Eric Kamander January 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Charmian Neary, I think Clarita is clearly referring to connections resulting in a specific conflict of interest. Are you suggesting another conflict of interest?
Eric Kamander January 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Bob, Doesn't the fact that the mayor has refuted Ed Fox's "allegations" opened the door to questioning his involvement and understanding of all involved in the potential conflict of interest?
tedc January 28, 2014 at 01:12 PM
Eric a little info for you. The City Council ‘vacated seat’ selection this month was a competitive one. Multiple people requested and got council interviews. Then a vote was taken. FIVE elected officials voted unanimously for both Mr. Slack and Mr. Mecca (and if they want to stay on the council then they will need to face a public election this coming November). Perhaps you’d like to know if there was a private straw voting round before the public one and if not how the consensus was formed that Slack and Mecca would be unanimously supported in the public vote on TV and others would not. I’d like to know about that also but not from the angle of casting suspicion on anyone on this matter. On other matters – oh yeah, there’s lots of recent history of cruel crimes for money at our city hall – believe me. But here the allegations that this seat was personally dictated solely by Joe Sack are I think unsupportable – unless Mrs. Killian, Mrs. Bucci, Mrs. Brett or Mr. McCartney would like to attest otherwise. And I doubt they will.
Bob Zahm January 28, 2014 at 02:27 PM
Eric, Given that the Mayor was mentioned, possibly. Given that the Mayor decided he needed to protect his good name, possibly. However, the questions to be addressed should then focus on his involvement, not the activities of his wife.
Eric Kamander January 28, 2014 at 04:53 PM
Ted, I don't see any ambiguity in Ed Fox's statement. Whether or not there was any wrongdoing, the appearance of impropriety is obvious. You think it is a stretch that the mayor could influence the votes of the city council?
Charmian Neary January 30, 2014 at 01:29 AM
Eric Are you trying to make Clarita make sense?
Eric Kamander January 30, 2014 at 05:45 PM
Charmian Neary, I was trying to explain to you what makes perfect sense to me. (And I was trying to do it without attacking anyone.)
Committee for Election Equality January 30, 2014 at 08:57 PM
My name is Patrick Stephen Lamont and I live at 1095 Boston Post Road. Some of you know me personally, others have engaged me in casual conversation, and I would venture to guess the remainder of you may have heard of me. If so, you will know that, professionally, I am the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Iviewit Holdings, Inc., a video technology company that holds the patent rights to the most important inventions in the history of multimedia technology and that I am the holder of a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Economics from SUNY Binghamton ranked 2nd in my class with a cumulative G.P.A. of 4.03, an M.B.A. in Finance and Accounting from Columbia Business School, and a J.D. with concentrations in Intellectual Property and Debtor Creditor Law from Columbia Law School. What some of you might have missed is that as of October 1, 2013 I am the Chairman of the Committee for Election Equality, a duly formed committee in the City of Rye, County of Westchester, and State of New York (Index No. W-4178 at the Westchester County Board of Elections the filings of which are matters of public record, in other words they are OPEN, TRANSPARENT, and HONEST) with a mandate of ensuring all that is righteous in Rye City government. We have just watched the meeting of the Board of Education of January 28, 2014 – and what a DISGRACE it was, another Rye first. You have a 10 year Trustee of the Board, Edward M. Fox, Esq. a Partner in a national law firm and one of the brightest and most level headed Trustees Rye has ever seen, and he has a concern, he senses an “appearance” of impropriety where the Webster’s Online Dictionary defines “appearance” as “the way that someone or something looks; ”a way of looking that is not true or real.” Yet, five members of the BOE have the audacity to publically disparage Mr. Fox for his concerns veritably attempting to quash his First Amendment rights from Belanger, to Repetto, to Pasquale, to Glassberg, and to Weber who should be ashamed of themselves – DISGRACEFUL. In addition to your assaulting remarks, you complain about: timing, where timing is of no moment here; you complain about venue where we all know if Mr. Fox did not express his concerns in a public meeting, you would be the only ones that knew about while you conveniently cloak yourselves behind self fashioned privacy policies where no Federal or State law lists personnel employment matters as a right to privacy – only recognized by the Supreme Court as protecting a general right to privacy within family, marriage, motherhood, procreation, and child rearing ("Right to Privacy Law & Legal Definition", US Legal. Retrieved 17 October 2013), and we suggest you look it up; and you complain about evidence and here it is – is Joseph A. Sack the Mayor of Rye, FACT – is Kerri Ann Law the spouse of Mayor Sack and co-counsel to Gail Topol, FACT -- is Laura Slack the President of BEO, FACT -- is Richard Slack the spouse of President Laura Slack, and recently appointed Councilman, and that is a FACT – Councilman McCartney’s claim of introducing Richard Slack is irrelevant.
Committee for Election Equality January 30, 2014 at 08:57 PM
The statement of Edward M. Fox, Esq. a Partner in a national law firm and one of the brightest and most level headed Trustees Rye has ever seen, chose a timing of which is of no moment here, chose a venue to publically voice his concern for reasons stated above, and he points to FACTS – not assumptions, not conjecture, not maybe it is maybe it is not – FACTS, and he asks the BOE to get to the bottom of it – so, GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT, before some agency, some group of people, some committee forces you to get to the bottom of it. In short, the statement of Mr. Fox was OPEN, it was TRANSPARENT, and was his HONEST concern as a Trustee, as a spouse, and as a parent. The present Administration campaigned on and was elected on a platform of OPENNESS, TRANSPARENCY, AND HONESTY, and as Trustees, the holders of property, authority, and a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another have a similar mandate. Clearly, the only party who hangs his hat on those qualities in these regards is Mr. Fox. The Webster’s Online Dictionary defines “appearance” as “the way that someone or something looks; ”a way of looking that is not true or real,” where rather than six Board members and 7 members of the City council asking Mr. Fox for an apology, look in the mirror tonight and think about whether you thirteen owe Mr. Fox an apology.
dita von struedel van trappyodel January 30, 2014 at 11:31 PM
PSL - what is the procedure for initiating a recall vote for Mr. Sack? I'm appalled at the sleaze, especially after all of the relatively minor stuff with French and Otis that dominated the discussion for years. I thought Mr. Sack was supposed to be open and transparent. Not the case.

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