The Kessel NYPA Watch, September 27, 2009 – By George J. Marlin

Kessel: Dangerous During the Paterson Interregnum

Oddly, the dangers that Richie Kessel poses to the state’s economy, especially upstate, and electric consumers, both wholesale and retail, are heightened by Governor Paterson’s new position looking up from under the Obama bus.  Paterson, our accidental Governor, is now a lame duck a full fifteen months before his successor takes office.  As a result, Paterson’s leverage has dissipated and as his lackluster, lackadaisical administration winds down, career pols like lame duck Kessel, suddenly faced with both a lack of adult supervision from the Governor’s office and wary of being back in the political wilderness in the new Administration, (whoever is the next governor of our troubled state, will find it hard to justify keeping a political operator like Kessel in a reform government) will reward favored friends and lobbyists and enhancing their “legacies.”  Someone like Kessel who is seemingly unconcerned with state finances or the long-term consequences of their actions and focused solely on what fills his narcisstic impulse will commit NYPA and state taxpayers and ratepayers in ways that cause long-term harm and cost.

Observers of Richie at LIPA will remember his fevered pitch of activity in the last two years of the Pataki Administration.  Kessel pushed on the tremendously expensive wind mill project off Jones Beach, fudged about its true cost and forced Newsday to do a FOIL request for the actual cost data.  It was only the commonsense of his LIPA successor that led to a serious analysis of the costs and a decision to abandon Kessel’s folly.

It was also during the Pataki lame duck period that Kessel skirted state law by serving as both Chairman and CEO of LIPA.  Cleared by the state IG who found that Kessel was properly paid—not the real issue—Kessel ran amok bestowing favors on the politically connected.  

NYPA now faces the same fate.  Just as in Tudor times, the period between kings (in this case, Governors) is a hazardous one for princes and common men alike.  Upstate electric users should fear the consequences of more Kessel giveaways made while Paterson and his weak staff polish their resumes.


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7 Comments on “The Kessel NYPA Watch, September 27, 2009 – By George J. Marlin”

  1. Phil Mihiney Says:

    The internal IG was fair and ethical? What planet have you been living on???? He was a vindictive, evil man who targeted innocent employees that only had the audacity to disagree with him. He thought he was above the law just like his buddy Elliot. He was questioned in a Federal Grand Jury and claimed the fifth amendment, after which he should have lost his job with the State Police. He was saved by his good buddy George. Google the name and educate yourself before you make statements like that. Oh wait, you must be one of the people he brought in to NYPA at high paying jobs to spy and report on other employees.

  2. NYPA Long-timer Says:

    Let it first be said that I think Kessel, and to a slightly lesser extent, Quiniones, are killing NYPA. The sooner they are gone, the better.

    However, I can’t agree with the sentiments of Colleague. The former Chief Risk Officer was an awful hire from the start on many levels. As for the former IG – fair and ethical???…you can’t be serious!

  3. Beatenand bruised Says:

    Don’t be so sure that Kessel will be gone with Patterson. He has already assured us that he has Andrew in his pocket.

  4. Colleague2.0 Says:

    Remember that not only did our Chief Risk Officer get thrown under the Kessel bus but that Kessel got rid of our internal Insp General so that his actions are now subject to no scrutiny. Plus, our Chair is a Pataki holdover who is beholden to Kessel. This is a recipe for conflict and fraud.

    • Colleague 2.5 Says:

      Someone finally sees why they got rid of the Internal IG – he was much too fair and ethical.He was pushed out by anonymous letters written by corrupt and disgruntled employees, not the AG. The honest and hard-working people at NYPA know that.

  5. Colleague Says:

    We had a Chief Risk Officer….and he pushed back on some of Richie and Gil’s strange and wrong stuff….and look what happened to him. Why didn’t our NYPA board look into that…and why don’t we have a new one. Why would anyone take on the job now after what Richie and Gil did to the first one….who was pretty good and respected. How are we going to pass the next 5 yr state audit since the lack of any risk management process was a big finding in the last one. Where is the state AG on Richie and Gil’s cronyism hiring ??

  6. PASNY Tech Says:

    What a perfectly timed article. Someone in authority (preferably the IG in Albany) should ask the following question: Why has Richie demanded that ALL hiring at NYPA go through him. Nobody is allowed to hire without his approval first (for any job, any site). NYPA people are too scared to move. And where IS our Risk Director?

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