This commentary I wrote, Marlin: Conservatives should support Cuomo initiative, appears on the Long Island Business News web site.
Archive for May 2009
Notes and Asides
It now is readily apparent that Richie Kessel directed FOIL staff at NYPA to violate the law and delay disclosure of legally required information to hide his whereabouts. Street Corner Conservative filed its initial FOIL request on February 17 of this year requesting Kessel’s phone logs, calendar and physical whereabouts. Kessel had FOIL staff reply on February 24 that they “will advise you whether your request will be granted or denied on or about March 10, 2009.” The next NYPA response (March 10, 2009) stated that Street Corner Conservative would be contacted on or about May 6, 2009 on the status of the request for Kessel phone logs, calendar and physical whereabouts. Then on May 6, 2009, Kessel’s phone records were transmitted and on May 18, 2009—three months after the original FOIL request was filed, the seven-page Kessel calendar was made available. As for the details on Kessel’s physical whereabouts, FOIL staff stated in the May 18, 2009 correspondence that “the record responsive to this portion of your request is being reviewed and we will contact you on June 1 to advise of the availability of such records.”
Now, Street Corner Conservative is not one to complain or whimper about minor miscues or immaterial issues. Here’s why this matters:
For a guy who casts himself as a roly-poly consumer advocate committed to protecting the little guy, Kessel in fact hides the ball from taxpayers, the media and our elected representatives when that serves his interests and those of his Long Island political patrons. Here’s one example that should trouble NYPA’s Board, upstate media and State electeds of both parties. When Kessel was advocating for windmills off Jones Beach on the south shore of Long Island, he pronounced that the project would cost about $300 million. After rumors surfaced that the cost estimates were ballooning Kessel repeatedly refused to provide cost information to Newsday. Newsday at first played nice, continued to be stonewalled and then resorted to FOIL. Faced with the legal requirement to now disclose the data, Kessel’s LIPA at last confessed that the project would in fact cost over $800 million and would raise LI electric rates even higher. After Kessel was sacked by Governor Spitzer and after the true costs were revealed, Kessel’s successor killed the project. And now at NYPA Kessel takes advantage of Earth Day to announce…windmills…in the Great Lakes.
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As NYPA dribbles out the information about Richie Kessel’s schedule, phone calls and whereabouts, Street Corner Conservative offers the following tidbits about Richie:
Consistent with what our correspondents tell us, when he does appear in White Plains or other NYPA facilities around the State, Richie arrives late, leaves early and is mostly concerned about promoting himself at press conferences. He spends an awful lot of time on Long Island for a fellow running a White Plains-based energy agency serving primarily upstate and WNY customers.
He has many conversations with registered lobbyists like Long Island warhorses, Al D’Amato and Jerry Kremer. A final tidbit, Richie has been intent on placing windmills upstate from the first days of his tenure.
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Our intrepid correspondents at NYPA tell us that Richie Kessel and his band of Long Island insiders are working full time on a scheme to buy the Long Island power plants owned by Keyspan in the event LIPA passes on such opportunity as our NYPA correspondents tell us is becoming more likely.
The following scenario derived from that inside information should scare NYPA customers, bondholders, rating agencies and those who care about upstate.
Here’s what Street Corner believes could happen: in the event LIPA determines not to buy the old, tired LILCO plants, Kessel will leverage the pristine NYPA balance sheet, borrow billions and buy at premium prices the old Keyspan plants. He’ll claim that rates will be cut by some unproven double digit percentage based on creative use of tax exempt financing and exemption from federal corporate income tax in NYPA’s hands. He’ll then run for County Executive based on this latest “success” once Tom Suozzi leaves for greener political pastures.
THE KESSEL COUNTDOWN: 586 DAYS UNTIL RICHIE KESSEL IS FIRED BY THE NEW GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.
This article I wrote appeared on The Catholic Thing web site on May 22, 2009.
This commentary I wrote, Marlin: With Foley in office, every LI business is fragile, appears on the Long Island Business News web site.
Street Corner Conservative received from NYPA this week several of our February 17, 2009 FOIL requests. We are told the remaining requests, which include Kessel’s “schedule and/or calendar kept and compiled on a daily basis,” will be released on May 14, 2009.
Street Corner Conservative researchers are presently reviewing the data received and we will be reporting back to readers in the near future.
Today, May 10, 2009, Street Corner Conservative filed with NYPA the following FOIL request:
May 10, 2009
New York Power Authority
Office of the Secretary
123 Main Street
White Plains, NY 10601
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am a taxpayer and resident of the State of New York and pursuant to New York Public Officer Law and the provisions of the regulations of the New York Power Authority (NYPA) adopted pursuant to the Public Officer Law (21 NYCRR Part 453), I demand access to the following records by email to me if possible:
1. Phone logs of calls from and to the President and CEO of NYPA from February 13, 2009 through and including March 31, 2009;
2. Phone logs of cell phone calls from and to the President and CEO of NYPA from October 14, 2008 through and including March 31, 2009;
3. Information as to each NYPA facility or office the President and CEO of NYPA was physically present in during each business day of the period from February 13, 2009 through and including March 31, 2009;
4. Logs and records of each beginning point, each intermediate stop and each ending point of each vehicle, including without limitation each GPS device associated with or installed on each such vehicle provided by NYPA or paid for by NYPA or used to convey Richard Kessel for each day (whether or not a business day) from October 14, 2008 through and including March 31, 2009;
5. Logs and records of each beginning point, each intermediate stop and each ending point of each vehicle, including without limitation each GPS device associated with or installed on each such vehicle provided by NYPA or paid for by NYPA or used to convey Richard Kessel’s driver provided by or paid for by NYPA for each day (whether or not a business day) from October 14, 2008 through and including March 31, 2009;
6. Logs and records of each beginning point, each intermediate stop and each ending point of each aircraft (including planes, fixed wing aircraft and helicopters), including without limitation each flight manifest and flight log associated with or installed on each such aircraft (including planes, fixed wing aircraft and helicopters) provided by NYPA or paid for by NYPA or used to convey Richard Kessel for each day (whether or not a business day) from October 14, 2008 through and including March 31, 2009;
7. Information and records as to discussions, memoranda, financial and analyses and information as to the costs, effect on electric rates and financial and/or environmental benefits of a possible wind power installation in any water known as the Great Lakes whether or not any such record was created by or on behalf of NYPA.
If all of the records I have requested cannot be e-mailed to me, please inform me by e-mail of the portions that can be e-mailed and advise me of the cost for reproducing the remainder of the records requested.
If the requested records cannot be e-mailed to me due to the volume of records identified as responsive to my request, please advise me of the actual cost of copying such records onto a CD-ROM, if that is possible.
Please advise me of the cost of providing paper copies of the requested records.
If my request is deemed to be too broad or not to reasonably describe the requested records, please contact me via e-mail so that I may clarify my request and, when appropriate, please advise me as to how NYPA records are filed, retrieved, or generated.
If for any reason any portion of my request is denied, please inform me of the reasons for the denial in writing and provide the name, mailing address, and e-mail address of the person to whom an appeal should be directed. Thank you for your expected cooperation.
Very truly yours,
George J. Marlin