Archive for October 14, 2009

The Kessel NYPA Watch, October 12, 2009 – By George J. Marlin

October 14, 2009


As we observe the first anniversary of the Kessel regime at NYPA, and since Richie disbanded the internal Inspector General function at NYPA, Street Corner thinks a primer on NYPA’s annus horribilis will be useful when the inevitable investigations begin.

1. How was NYPA Chair Michael Townsend able to vote on part of the NYPA money transfer to the State earlier this year but not the portion in which his upstate law firm had been hired to represent the Division of the Budget on the transfer documents? Did Townsend’s affirmative vote on one transfer which made possible the second transfer on which he abstained not call into question the entire matter? Is this in accord with State law and regs? With the Legal Canons of Ethics?

2. A related question—how was it that of all the hungry lawyers in the State of New York, Budget hired the firm of NYPA’s Chairman for this task? Propriety and avoiding even an appearance of impropriety would have called for some other lawyer to do this work. Did Kessel play any role in requesting or directing DOB that this work go to Chairman Townsend?

3. Has any past or present NYPA Trustee received health insurance since Attorney General Cuomo’s announcement that such coverage was illegal for unpaid, part time directors and trustee of State agencies such as NYPA?

4. Has any NYPA trustee received Kessel’s Knicks tickets or other sports tickets gratis from Richie?

5. Does Kessel pay fair market value for his game ticket when he travels to the Super Bowl each year?

6. Did Kessel play any role in directing business directly or indirectly to any NYPA trustee?

7. How much has NYPA given to charities not related to its core mission in violation of State law since Attorney General Cuomo’s determination that State authorities could not use public funds for such contributions? Has Kessel asked vendors, actual and prospective, to support events in which he receives a plaque, commendation or tchotchke?

8. What were the circumstances under which NYPA entered into sole source contract with Bank of America to issue an opinion blessing the turnover of hundreds of millions of dollars of NYPA funds to the State? Why was this sole sourced when lots of firms could do this work for over $100,000?

Street Corner Conservative notes that this is a partial list, some of which like Chairman Townsend’s interesting conflict kabuki and the BofA contract are a matter of public record and others of which were passed along by our readers. We thank NYPA staff for their suggestions and welcome further thoughts. As always, confidentiality will be strictly maintained.