The Kessel NYPA Watch, January 30, 2011 – By George J. Marlin

Kessel Uses Public Money to Buy Long Island Love.

A public authority such as NYPA is required to spend and account for public money in a responsible manner.   That obligation applies to sponsorships and contributions to chambers of commerce and not-for-profits, too, regardless of how worthy their mission.   NYPA officers and board members have an obligation, a legal mandate, to spend every dollar wisely.

Thus, the CEO of a state authority that spends tens of thousands of dollars hundreds of miles far from the authority’s facilities and business with no business relationship with NYPA other than feathering his hometown has broken his obligation to be a prudent fiduciary and, perhaps, State law.

Street Corner has analyzed the sponsorships and contributions of NYPA under Richie Kessel’s leadership and is appalled.  The issue is whether there was some business reason for Kessel to give to the Merrick or Bellmore chambers of commerce and other Long Island entities beyond the fact they’re located in his hometown.

Here’s what NYPA’s own records reveal.

First, some context is required.  Long Island accounts for 2-3% of NYPA load.  There is a small NYPA facility in Holtsville in Suffolk County, far from Richie Kessel’s affluent South Shore hometown.  But the bulk of NYPA’s facilities, personnel and, as Senator George Maziarz points out, profits, is located upstate.  So, one would expect that 99% of NYPA’s sponsorships would be directed to the upstate communities that suffer the burdens of large facilities in their towns.  Street Corner has no issue with donations to the Massena Fire Department or to the Bassett Hospital in Schoharie County.

But surprisingly, an outsize percentage of NYPA sponsorships go to Long Island entities located in Kessel’s hometown or associated with him, often those that “honor” him for his “service.”  In the first half of 2010 (NYPA delayed its response so long that when the request was made the second half of 2010 was already underway) alone, over 10% of NYPA’s sponsorships in those six months went to Long Island entities with whom Kessel has a relationship.  Over $24,000 NYPA dollars went to those Long Island chambers of commerce and environmental groups in just six months.  That’s about 6.7% of the NYPA dollars for that period.  So, NYPA under Richie Kessel sent to affluent Long Island towns and chambers and similar groups at a rate 3 times to 5 times what Long Island might have received if sponsorships were made on a pro rata basis based on load.  Even there, one would expect that Holtsville in Suffolk County to receive some Kessel love.  But alas, since Richie doesn’t live and shop there, no sponsorship-payola for Holtsville. 

Finally, as a sign of the disciplined spender that Kessel is the rate of giving to Long Island in 2010 increased nearly 100% on an annualized basis.

Here is the NYPA 2009 and 2010 Contributions Report

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40 Comments on “The Kessel NYPA Watch, January 30, 2011 – By George J. Marlin”

  1. dennis king Says:

    this richie has to go and i mean fast cant wait for john dyson to get back of helm. white plains and every sallary members are now using flex days by direction of richie. that equals up to every one geting five more weeks vacation a year that is unheard of now with the state in financial turmoil. also the buffalo officae is a scam, he puts a former trustee their and pays her six figures just call and see who is at that office. the governor has to open his eyes and see that this guy is wrong for nypa. what about in white plains where he has all the long island people he brought to nypa enough that office should be closed and brought to buffalo where it belongs.

  2. NorthCountryFarmer Says:

    Senate Energy Committee meeting Tuesday at 930am. Sen. Maziarz has two bills on agenda. One requires that half of all additional power from improvements and upgrades at the Niagara project shall be allocated to businesses located within 30 miles of Niagara project. Second requires one trustee of PASNY be a resident of St. Lawrence County and another to be a resident of Niagara County. Can’t be good for Kessel.

  3. PASNYOldtimer Says:

    These are tough times and NYPA’s not immune but Dyson loves NYPA and isnt rejoining board to allow Kessel to merge it with LIPA or NYSERDA. Dyson will not stomach any of that. He is a man of integrity who doesnt need this job or to feather any nest

  4. StayUnited Says:

    pasnytech is right. Whether you work in massena or WPO, we have to stay united and remember that we’re all better off when Kessel goes and the LI crew with him. Kessel wins when we’re not together

  5. pasnytech Says:

    Some interesting comments posted here. But I’m saddened to see some people bashing White Plains and tarring us all with the same brush. Some of us work long hours, with no extra pay, no overtime, no clean up time. And yes, we aren’t all snow-bunnies who enjoy driving large 4x4s in snow drifts. My job isn’t worth risking my life for. You’re a fool if you think NYPA senior management gives two rats about you driving in the snow in Niagara.

    So let’s keep the goal clear here – expose Kessel and the FOKKERs, and stay united as a company that really does know how to operate, given a chance.

    If we start to turn on each other, then Kessel will have won anyway.

    -Pasnytech

  6. EnoughofKessel Says:

    will the board and the authorities really allow this all to go on with no punishment, no censure of Kessel and the LI crew, no prohibition against future wrongdoing? Check the second half of 2010 contributions very carefully

  7. Niagara Hawk Says:

    Is it true that Kessel is so smart about the power industry that he manages to lose money at night running the 500MW Plant while other privately owned generators in Astoria are able to cycle off at night? We here at Niagara are always making money for NYPA and carrying the dead wood and political hacks from downstate.

  8. Niagara Hawk Says:

    One way to get rid of political hacks from Long Island, NY City, and Westchester is to sell the building in White Plains and move everyone to the Niagara Project. Our children are graduating from college and they have to leave town in order to find jobs. Yet NYPA generates 2,000 megawatts here as compared to zero in Westchester, 500 megawatts in Astoria and 165 megawatts in Holtsville. The proceeds from the sale of the White Plains building can be used to lower the electric rates for business customers in Niagara. I would also expect all the high salaried political hacks will quit their jobs and the savings from the headcount reduction could be used to lower the electric rates for all Power for Jobs customers. Not to mention that there would be more productivity from headquarters because we don’t go home early or open late because of snow. The wimps in the WPO can’t handle six inches of snow while we here in Niagara have no problem driving on a foot of snow.

  9. JETSFan Says:

    Folks–now you know why Kessel didnt want a real in house IG. The judge that was named two years ago would have blown the whistle and Kessel would be out on the street

    • Phil Mihiney Says:

      JETSFan,
      The judge that was supposed to replace that corrupt state police joke turned out to be just as, or even more corrupt during his background investigation. That is why he walked away from the job, to avoid embarassment in the press. Ask Dicker, he knows. And NYPA Wounded, Joe is just a sellout who turns on his friends if it suits his career. ETHICS? What a joke, there are very few in power right now at NYPA that have even the hint of ethics. Did Vinnie ever get the background screening contract? Did Pat try steer it to him? Did Dom or Lori ever pay the price that innocent others did for Wiese’s transgressions? No, that’s right, the politically connected seem to think they are above the law and can do anything they want. Maybe they are right, they all got away with it. Not even slaps on the wrist, how sad for the honest hard working people of NYPA (the majority), that the connected minority get away with it. Come on Andy! Clean up the Power Authority!!!

  10. JoeyPots Says:

    Battery Park guys got the boot for $100,000 in bad contributions? Kessel does that in a week. Where is the justice?

  11. NYPA Wounded Says:

    If all these corruption are going on at NYPA, then what is Joe the ethics guy doing? The ehtics guy at NYPA sent letters to employees that they can not accept a cup of coffee from vendors but the same guy did not know that a state police colonel was running a political spying operation in the WPO. Maybe the ethics guy knows all about the corruption at NYPA but is being paid to look the other way.

    I remember when Vinnie and Carey was running the NYPA, lots of money was going to Peekskill organizations, even after NYPA sold IP3. Let’s face it, NYPA money was squandered by every political hack to promote themselves or their boss in Albany. They also created phony jobs for their friends and relatives and they rarely leave long after their god father had been booted out. For example, Carey’s nephew is still employed at WPO which explains why NYPA headcount is higher than other electric utilities based on megawatts generated.
    Wasteful spending by senior management is a NYPA tradition that will not change unless a top crony ends up in jail. Unfortunately the non union employees will pay the price of all these political gifting because there is no money left for cost-of-living increases. The union employees may not have college degrees but they are far smarter than the college grads in WPO.

    • Phil Mihiney Says:

      Don’t forget where the corrupt state police “colonel” came from. Do I need to remind you? PEEKSKILL!!!! And by the way, isn’t he in business with Vinnie now, some sort of background screening company that bid on a NYPA contract? Gee, who put Pat in her position after they screwed John, an honest guy who wouldn’t play their games. Guess you owe Vinnie big time Pat. And didn’t the state police “colonel” get lots of his friends high paying spy jobs at NYPA? Andy, you did nothing about it as AG, now DO SOMETHING AS GOVERNOR, you talk the talk, now walk the walk!!! CLEAN UP NYPA!!

    • bstone4@twcny.rr.com Says:

      So, the union employees don’t have college degrees? What planet are you on? A lot of us have degrees, and there are a lot of positions that are REQUIRED to have degrees. I do agree that we are (in some cases) smarter than others that have degrees. Most plans that come from White Plains are not relevant to the sites. And we have Management positions that have no college degrees who don’t have any common sense either and are RUINING our company!

  12. ResistanceIsFutile Says:

    There once was a blowhard named Kessel
    Whose head is one big empty vessel
    The FOKKERS he hired
    Should really be fired
    ‘Cause NYPA is now one big Mess-el

    Sorry about the last word. Not many things sound like “Kessel” – which may be a good thing 🙂

  13. LookatThis Says:

    At Battery Park authority the Chairman and the CEO were both fired. There is hope

  14. JustAskin' Says:

    wake our snoozing board. Will Como fire them all for ignoring Kessel’s wrongdoing?

  15. NYPANed Says:

    Hey Street Corner there is one really BIG long island doantion in second half of last year Kessel doesnt want you to know about

  16. RiddleMeThis Says:

    How is IG report on improper donations by Battery City different than what Kessel has done here?

  17. AmazingWhatYouFind Says:

    State IG blasted Battery Park City authority for some of same things Kessel does. In November 2010 IG issued report that said:

    Battery Park City Authority Reins in Lavish Spending in
    Response to Inspector General’s Report
    New Chairman Ends Free Rides, Cuts Parties

    New York’s Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) squandered more than $300,000 on parties,
    gifts, and free lunches, as staff complained of favoritism by top executives, a report released
    today by Inspector General Joseph Fisch concluded.

    The Inspector General targeted wasteful spending of public funds from 2005 through 2008 on
    items from $100,000 on executive lunches to $16,000 open-bar parties and $100,000 in
    inappropriate charitable donations, including a gift to Auburn University Foundation, in
    Alabama.

  18. WatchingtheParade Says:

    Peeps around Rocco I the TAX COLLECTOR say he is worried about what he does when NYPA gig comes to an end. There is a new TAX COLLECTOR back on LI and his town cant hire too many more hacks.

  19. VeryInterestingIndeed Says:

    Kessel and Dyson in cafeteria yesterday for lunch. Dyson has now been in cafeteria as many times as kessel. Richie looked worried

    • NYPARealism Says:

      Let us not forget that Dyson cannot work miracles.

      New York’s Fiscal Year 2012 begins on April 1, 2011, and the budget deficit for that year is currently at $9 billion.That number is expected to rise, growing to $13.5 billion in 2012-13 and almost $15.6 billion in 2013-14.

      If you guys think raises and new construction is in the cards, you need a reality check. Dyson is here to slim us down and eventualy merge us with whatever redundant authority is out there(NYSERDA\Debt ridden LIPA).

  20. OldTimer Says:

    Long islanders looking very concerned. very concerned

  21. WPOStaffer Says:

    anyone notice when Kessel was in the office yesterday (a rare thing these days) that he looked terrible and bloated? Pressure must be intense

  22. FriendofAndre Says:

    Marlin why dont you file another FOIL asking for health insurance for former NYPA trustees and asking for contributions for second half of 2010 and for those outside the board procedures. Act quickly

  23. WilliefromHarrison Says:

    Dyson was in the house today with Kessel for several hours

  24. DistraughtinWhitePlains Says:

    Was Mr Dyson in the office today?

  25. PASNYAccountant Says:

    if you include the Stoney Brook gift and the other Long Island gifts given by Kessel and Dejesu NYPA has been very good to Long Island. Where is the outrage?

  26. PASNYAccountant Says:

    I work in accounting and the list they gave you is not complete. It excludes gifts and donations that Kessel or Tom Dejesu made outside the procedures set up by the board. Surprise–most of those improper gifts went to Long Island and downstate. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth

    • ResistanceIsFutile Says:

      To PASNYAccountant and Beancounter: I appreciate your efforts in providing complete disclosure and exposing the truth (and any risks you take in doing so). Thanks

  27. Beancounter Says:

    I looked at the list of sponsorships and donations. List omitted a big one for Long Island. Kessel gave half a million NYPA bucks to Stony Brook University in Suffolk County last January. it is suspicious that Kessel omitted the largest single NYPA giveaway ever. Obviously, no surprise that Long Island got the dough

  28. HarryfromHicksville Says:

    DEC and other State employees have been laid off and Cuomo may lay off 10000 state workers so why isnt Kessel hriing these people rather than hacks from LI and around the state?

  29. NYPAHistorian Says:

    Ms Cusack had health insurance as NYPA director for many years. The difference is that Kessel continued it and then turned her into an employee after Cuomo said health insurance for authority directors wasn;t kosher

  30. DistraughtinWhitePlains Says:

    Watching Richie Boy destroy this place is depressing. Dyson can’t get here soon enough. The conflicts and graft and corruption are sickening

  31. frustrated nypa employee Says:

    George just want to clarify that Merrick is only 26 and 34 miles away from two of NYPA’s facilities located on Long Island.

    Also can you focus how much money has been spent in the Buffalo area by any chance. Seems that the people of Buffalo keep extending thier hands. nice to spread this around the state a little.

    Also NYPA still cuts that huge check each year to the NY Governors office and he places it in the “general fund” would like to see where that money is spent as well.

    I am in no way sticking up for Richie boy but please if your going to focus on one thing you should be upfront and expose all of the frivoulous spending through out the state.

    Also looks like polotics as ussual starting all over again. We alread are seeing the floodgates open and here come all the Cuomo political hires. Kessle and Patersons people are not even out yet.

  32. InquiringMinds Says:

    What about Ms Cusack Helath insurance provided by Kessel? what about the magic of converting an independently appointed and Senate confirmed trustee into an community relations hack overnight? Lots of questions here

  33. ResistanceIsFutile Says:

    Yes Kessel must go, but who is going to call animal control to have him extracted. Surely the Trustees have gotten so used to the foul odor of graft that they don’t notice anymore.

    If you were to watch videos of recent trustee meetings on the public nypa.gov website (drink some Starbucks before you do), you’ll see that Richie pontificates for 10 minutes (what could be said in 2 sentences) on how great the rest of the state perceives NYPA and how it is such a vital part of the economy. As the COO, Quiniones speaks for 30 seconds max with nothing of any value to say.

    Nary a trustee questions ANYTHING on the agenda because the emperor has spoken. None of them will say anything about Richie because they are clueless or puppets of both. Employees are just keeping their heads down and just trying to keep what they have (a decent job w/benefits).

  34. used and abused Says:

    Can’t begin to say how this makes NYPA employees feel. All of this money given away for what appears to be no business purpose at all. This while freezing the salaries and promotions of non-union employees who worked endless hours for years trying to maintain the very infrastructure that Kessel seems intent on tearing down. The man is New York politics at it’s very worst and should be viewed with same contempt as Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate. If the new “prince” of NY had a pair at all this man would be gone by now.

  35. UpstateJonny Says:

    I’m appalled at this. Contributions to Long Island by NYPA. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of waste. Kessel must go


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