The Kessel NYPA Watch, February 20, 2011 – By George J. Marlin

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 various activities and policies of the C.E.O. of NYPA, Richie Kessel.

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 today to NYPA’s FOIL officer:

New York Power Authority
Office of the Secretary
123 Main Street, 15-M
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. Information and records as to contributions, grants, donations, sponsorships, payments and purchase of tickets (collectively, “Expenditures of NYPA Public Money”) to or from not-for-profit entities, colleges, universities and research centers (collectively, “Recipients of NYPA Public Money”) from NYPA or any subsidiary or affiliate for the period July 1, 2010 through and including December 31, 2010;

2. Information and records as to whether each Expenditure of NYPA Public Money to each Recipient of NYPA Public Money from NYPA or any subsidiary or affiliate for the period January 1, 2009 through and including December 31, 2010 was processed in full compliance with NYPA board or entity policy and procedure for Expenditure of Public Money;

3. For each Expenditure of NYPA Public Money which involved purchase of tickets for an event held outside a NYPA facility, provide the names and relationship to NYPA of each person who used the ticket purchased or acquired by or through the Expenditure of NYPA Public Money;

4. Information and records as to health insurance coverage or benefits or indemnification against health insurance liability or reimbursement of expenses of any such health insurance coverage provided now or at any time in the past to any present or former NYPA Board member;

5. The names, titles and salaries of each person hired by NYPA since September 30, 2008, excluding union members covered under a collective bargaining agreement with NYPA. Provide in addition to name, title and salary for each such hire whether

          a. the hire was to fill an existing vacant position/title as specifically reflected in the annual budget approved by the NYPA Board;

          b.  the vacancy was posted internally and/or externally; and

          c.  the position was newly created and did not exist prior to the hiring of such person;

6. The names, titles and salaries of each person who has been promoted to vice president or above by NYPA since September 30, 2008 and the three year salary history of each such person, excluding union members covered under a collective bargaining agreement with NYPA. Indicate whether each such promotion was considered by or approved by the NYPA Board; and

7. The names, titles and amount of increase in salary of each vice president or higher who has received a raise in his or her salary since September 30, 2008, excluding union members covered under a collective bargaining agreement with 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

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22 Comments on “The Kessel NYPA Watch, February 20, 2011 – By George J. Marlin”

  1. Employee-in-the-dark Says:

    Based on some of the postings below, I was not aware that while most employees were under a salary freeze, Kessel was paying hush money to COO, RM’s, EVP’s, SVP’s, VP’s, Directors and other select friends of Kessel. While all these corruption is going on, there is an internal document that expects 40% of the current employees will be able to retire within the next five years. According to the same document 13 people left who are at level 6 or higher and the cost to replace them were estimated at $3 million. In addition, 10 employees retired early accepting a retirement penalty. All of these facts should have been known to NYPA HR ten years ago and the Kessel cronies who came in three years ago. I would say that past and present EVP’s, SVP’s, VP’s, COO’s, and CEO’s were sleeping on their jobs while earning big bucks. The citizens of the state of NY should sue all these political cronies to recover damages from their habitual practice of fraud, waste and abuse. It is time to bring back Dyson and Schoenberger to show these incompetent maggots how to be a good public servant. The managerial skills of hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil MUST STOP.

    • Upstate Hydro Says:

      I thought you made a lot of good points until you said to bring Schoenberger back. Isn’t he the guy who couldn’t run a company so he brought in the FOCUS group to help out? Don’t you remember that?

      Out of the FOCUS project came the management team that we have now – you know – the team that has allowed Kessel to push them around. Welz, Agnes. Gryzlo, Tartaglia, Turner, etc, etc.

      Sad

  2. Albanywatcher Says:

    Sen Maziarz getting ready to hold hearings on NYPA and Kessel. send your questions and leads to his office in the district or in Albany. All leads and suggestions welcome

  3. PennyPincher Says:

    Just months after being picked from the trash can of State energy history by Paterson, Kessel announced once again that wind was the answer. He was quoted in Jim Heaney’s story in the Buffalo News in April 2009, “’The potential for wind [power] in the Great Lakes is extraordinary,’ said Richard M. Kessel, president and chief executive officer of the New York Power Authority, who announced the undertaking at Buffalo’s Erie Basin Marina. ‘This is going to happen. This is workable. This is feasible,’ Kessel said. “

    How did Kessel know that if he was announcing a request for expressions of interest that day in April? Notice not a word about cost or effect on electric rates. Nor a word as to how in the course of a few months Kessel had reached this multi-billion dollar judgment. Kessel was from the get go dead set on reviving his “reputation” and creating his “legacy” after Spitzer fired him and then killed Kessel’s beloved Jones Beach wind project because it was too expensive for Long Island. Here’s the link to the Buff News story:

    http://www.buffaloniagara.org/Home/About_BNE/PressRoom/2009Archive/April/PowerAuthoritypushes1billionlakesidewindfarm

  4. RiddeMeThis Says:

    if Obama and Cuomo have frozen salaries how does Kessel get away with giving raises to his friends? it is common knowledge that Kessel wanted to give raises of 3% to 3.5% from even the Paterson Admin knew enough to stop that. When will the madness stop?

  5. STL Worker Says:

    Every Regional Manager was included in the group that got a huge raise. The amounts were between $30-$50K. Not bad hush money. It’s so corrupt it sounds like its right out of a Patterson novel.

    It makes talking out of both sides of your mouth a lot easier.

  6. JustSaying Says:

    Look Mubarak gave up. The guy in Tunisia gave up. Maybe Qaddafi will give up soon too. It’s only a question of time before the lying and the dissembling and the favors catch up with Richie and his reign of incompetence will end peacefully. Then lambs shall lie down with lions, cats and dogs will become friends and NYPA shall return to normalcy.

  7. snowbird Says:

    Lessons Learned:Someone asked – How does this happen?
    1. Richie brings in his goon squad to enforce his every demand.
    2. Richie buys the trustees with their pet projects, such as the Buffalo waterfront project and office space (which he fills with do-nothing jobs) (Heck he is still buying off LIPA trustees with VP jobs for their spouses who have no qualifications.)
    3. Takes care of all existing VPs who ‘play along to get along’ (all of whom knew what was going on). Promotes only ‘play along to get along’ no-threat staffers and people with connections. This is especially true of the so-called ‘Watchdogs’ of NYPA. Although I have another species in mind: the controller (speak no evil); the ethics officer (hear no evil) and the chief auditor (see no evil).

    They all knew what he was doing was wrong; and said and did nothing.

    Why does he do it?
    Richie is a fake, phony and a fraud who gives the noble profession of ‘public servant’ a bad name. He only cares about his own glory. He (and his kind) works under the premise that by the time anyone figures out what is really going on, he will be long gone and on to his next scam.

    Gene, David and Vinny were no different, just not as bad. NYPA has been on this downward slide since Schoenberger was forced out by Patiki.

    Maybe Mr. Dyson can bring back some of the Pre-95 folks to get back NYPA’s dignity and get it on the right track again.

    • colleague 1.0 Says:

      We had a pretty decent watchdog once…maybe Dyson can get the first chief risk guy to come back….at least he stood up to Richie….of course he was also rewarded for it by being the first one Richie threw under the bus …..all the other senior staff and VP’s saw it ….. and since the sleep-ees oops I mean Trustees did nothing about it…well…which pretty much explains their silence.

      • No Fan Of Kessel Says:

        Once again, the former “chief risk guy” was a complete buffoon. Perhaps you benefited personally from his time here, but rest assured, all of us that had to deal with him knew that he was a disaster. With that said, I’d take him back over all of these FOKs in a second.

  8. WestchesterTommy Says:

    Kessel doesnt know how to run an electric company but he did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. What a mess Patterson gave us

  9. PauliePower Says:

    someone should look at lawyers, consultants, lobbyists, etc for GLOW, Solar and Hudson River bidders. Lots of FORK (friends of richie kessel)

  10. AbusedUpstate Says:

    This request is going to expose more than just Kessel’s past abuses. Let’s see how much money Agnes has thrown at the new EVP, SVP, and VPs in Power Gen before she was given the boot from HR.

    George, you should also have included the Directors in your request. They were somehow given merit increases during a time of salary freezes for the rest of us. Trickle down corruption at its finest.

  11. Zeppolemaven Says:

    Hey Richie I want to start a street fair in Hicksville can I get some NYPA money for the fair? 5 large ones should do to start.

  12. ElvisLives Says:

    Maziarz and Dyson and others should investigate how staff has interfered with and rigged the RFP process for Great Lakes Off Shore Wind and Solar projects. Now, that’s worthy of a serious look see

  13. JusttheFactsMa'am Says:

    here is the sum total of what Kessel told the board and public about the big four projects according to the Dec 2010 board minutes

    100 MW SOLAR INITIATIVE
    President Kessel said that the 100 MW solar initiative, the largest solar initiative in the history of the state, is progressing on track; discussions with prospective developers are continuing and staff will submit a
    recommendation to the Board for approval of the projects for this initiative by the first quarter of [this] year. The completion goal for this initiative is 2014.

    GREAT LAKES OFF-SHORE WIND PROJECT
    President Kessel said that the Authority is in the final stage of discussions with the developers regarding the Great Lakes Off-Shore Wind project and that staff will submit a recommendation to the Board for approval
    of the winning developer(s) the first quarter of [this] year. The completion goal for this project is 2015 or 2016.

    LONG ISLAND / NYC OFF- SHORE WIND PROJECT
    President Kessel said that staff is continuing discussions with Long Island Power Authority (“LIPA”), Con Edison and the City of New York regarding the Long Island/New York City Off-Shore Wind project. He said that the project is not ready for formal solicitation and he will keep the Board informed on its progress.

    HYDRO QUEBEC
    President Kessel reported that the feasibility study for the new transmission line from Canada through Massena has been completed. He will provide further report on this to the Board early [this] year.

    Everyone feel better now? Who needs projections or cost estimates or effect on balance sheet or….?

  14. Samantha Says:

    wonder whether the Long islanders are lawyering up right about now

  15. DannyBonaduce Says:

    buzz is that NYPA credit rating will get close look from credit agencies. All these big deals with Kessel at the helm are spooking them

  16. joey585 Says:

    I expect Richie and the gang to stonewall on this FOIL for as long as they can get away with it

    • Phil Mihiney Says:

      They are probably shredding and erasing right now, and then they will claim the information is not available. Dog ate my homework!!! Again?? Keep at it Mr. Marlin, sooner or later the truth will prevail and all these leeches will be held accountable. Hang in there honest NYPA employees, the times they are a changing. Hopefully soon.

  17. used and abused Says:

    You are going to expose a lot more than just Kessel’s abuses.

  18. NYPAObserver Says:

    well this FOIL should be interesting and well-timed for Maziarz hearings on NYPA


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