This article I wrote appears on The Catholic Thing web site on February 24, 2009.
Archive for February 2009
The Richie Kessel NYPA Watch, February 25, 2009 – Street Corner Conservative Demands To Know Where’s Richie Kessel?February 22, 2009
Street Corner Conservative.com has filed a request under New York State Freedom of Information Law with the FOIL Officer of the New York Power Authority requesting certain public records of NYPA relating to the whereabouts during business hours of the peripatetic CEO of NYPA, Richie Kessel, who is solely focused on spending time in his native habitat, Nassau County.
Specifically, Street Corner Conservative has demanded access to Kessel’s schedule, phone logs and information about NYPA’s proposed merger with LIPA that Kessel has been pursuing.
Street Corner Conservative will keep its readers informed of NYPA’s response to the FOIL request.
The following is the text of the letter sent to NYPA’s FOIL officer:
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. Copies of the schedule and/or calendar kept and compiled on a daily basis by or on behalf of the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NYPA from September 23, 2008 through and including February 13, 2009;
2. Phone logs of calls from and to the President and CEO of NYPA from September 23, 2008 through and including February 13, 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 September 23, 2008 through and including February 13, 2009;
4. Information and records as to discussions, memoranda, financial and analyses and information as to any proposed merger, consolidation, combination or other transaction of any kind between or among NYPA and the Long Island Power Authority created (whether or not by or on behalf of NYPA) from September 23, 2008 and through and including February 13, 2009.
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
Richie Kessel permitted Governor Paterson and Albany legislative leaders to raid $476 million from NYPA to fund the state’s operating deficit.
The governor’s Department of Budget has not disclosed if NYPA will be repaid and the enabling legislation does not specify a loan interest rate or payback date.
In agreeing to hand over the money, Kessel has acted egregiously. Instead of being the ratepayer’s champion and shouting it’s wrong to plunder their treasury, Kessel told The Buffalo News: “It’s a voluntary contribution we’re making. If NYPA didn’t do this, they’d have to get funding from someplace else.”
What a lame rationale. Apparently, it never entered Kessel’s head that he has a moral obligation to protect the financial interests of NYPA ratepayers and bondholders. If there’s surplus money he’s supposed to use it to bring down electric rates or pay down bonded debt – not hand it over to his political masters.
Richie Kessel has always been more concerned with preserving his job and issuing self-congratulatory press releases than standing up for ratepayers. As Chairman and CEO of the Long Island Power Authority, he took his marching orders from political bosses and lobbyists. As a result, Long Islanders pay the highest electrical rates in the nation.
NYPA employees and ratepayers should be aware that last week Kessel hired LIPA’s vice president of Government Affairs, Thomas DeJesu, to do the same post at NYPA. DeJesu, a minor Long Island political hack, is reputed to be the cousin of New York’s unelected Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli.
Using NYPA money as a “one shot” revenue to balance the state budget is an outrageous abuse of power. NYPA ratepayers and bondholder trustees should voice their outrage over Kessel’s fiscally irresponsible act. If they don’t rein him in, Kessel will run NYPA into the ground just as he did LIPA.
This commentary I wrote, Marlin: Kessel to blame for the power authority’s woes, appears in the February 13, 2009 edition of the Long Island Business News.
This article I wrote appears on The Catholic Thing web site on February 11, 2009.