This column I wrote appeared on April 28, 2016 in Long Island Now and in Blank Slate Media newspapers.
Archive for April 2016
This column I wrote appeared on April 14, 2016 in Long Island Now and in Blank Slate Media newspapers.
Item 1: On March 14, 2016, Newsday reported:
Jon Kaiman, the former chairman of Nassau’s financial control board, approved an $8 million contract being used in part to install artificial turf at some county ball fields even though control board members never voted for the deal and have blocked past proposals to pay for artificial turf.
Kaiman, a former North Hempstead Town Supervisor who recently stepped down as chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, in January 2015 signed off on an $8 million two-year “requirements” contract for the LandTek Group of Amityville.
Under NIFA guidelines, the chairman is allowed to approve contracts of up to $5 million; the entire NIFA board must approve deals costing $5 million or more.
But Kaiman … said he understood the contract was for $4 million and was not aware that it included installation of turf fields.
For Kaiman to state that he thought the contract was only for $4 million and not $8 million, and that he didn’t know it was for artificial turf means one of the following: He was derelict in his fiduciary duties for not properly reviewing the LandTek contract. Or he was not sharp enough to understand the contents of the contract. Or, he knew what he was reading and chose to ignore the fact that he did not have the authority to approve the contract. Which is it Mr. Kaiman?
Mr. Kaiman, when you were North Hempstead Supervisor, did you ever approve contracts with the artificial turf vendor, LandTek Group?
Mr. Kaiman, when you were North Hempstead Supervisor, did you ever dine or have cocktails with the LandTek Group salesman, Marty Lyons, a former N.Y. Jets football player? Did you ever play golf with him? Did you ever attend professional sporting events with him? If so, did you pay your fair share and not a nominal amount?
And, as required by the State guidelines governing public authorities, did you give a “contemporaneous record” to NIFA officials of “any conversation in person or by telephone or other remote means, or corresponding between any lobbyist engage in the act of lobbying…” as it relates to this item (or any other, since you were known for being “cooperative” with the County and its spendthrift leaders)?
Item 2: On March 14, 2016, Newsday revealed that North Hempstead Highway Superintendent Thomas Tiernan “collected more than $134,000 in overtime in the past five years, making him the only Town Highway Department head on Long Island to be paid for working extra hours.” In addition, Tiernan’s total compensation, for overseeing 274 miles of town roadway was $178,537 while Brookhaven Township’s Highway Superintendent was paid $98,534 for overseeing 1,675 miles of town roadway.
When you were North Hempstead Supervisor, did your Highway Superintendent Thomas Tiernan, ever raise campaign funds for your committee, Friends of Kaiman? Did he ever seek contributions for your campaign committee from vendors who had contracts or service agreements with the Town of North Hempstead?
In other related developments, on March 4, 2016, Newsday reported that Helen McCann, who served as a secretary in your office when you were North Hempstead Supervisor, was recently indicted for embezzling “more than $98,000 in cash fees from the town’s Solid Waste Management Authority.” While that occurred after your term as supervisor, we noted that Newsday also reported that McCann is Tiernan’s sister, and that there were other Tiernan/McCann relatives on the Town of North Hempstead payroll when you were supervisor including at least one under Tiernan’s own supervision. Did you know and approve of such obvious conflicts of interest and nepotism?
Item 3: In the wake of the Gerard Terry scandal, Newsday revealed on February 27, 2016, that “Despite a 1990 North Hempstead requirement that town party leaders complete the annual [financial disclosure] forms ‘there is no record of the town ever requesting that party leaders file financial disclosure.’”
Mr. Kaiman, when Newsday asked about the North Hempstead requirement that was not enforced during your tenure as Town Supervisor, you said, “First I’m hearing of that.”
And in a recent News Times Newspapers interview concerning the financial disclosure issue you said that the “25 year-old requirement of town political leaders to file disclosure forms was at one point determined to be unenforceable.” You added, “When I came to be town supervisor there was no culture of doing it, so I was not aware of it. It was just simply not there.”
Mr. Kaiman, when you took office as Town Supervisor in 2005 did you perform any due diligence concerning requirements of Party officials who work for the town? Didn’t the Town Attorney brief you on rules and regulations that applied to Town employees, vendors and consulting services? When you served in prior official capacities in the Town of North Hempstead and the Town’s Democratic Committee, didn’t you inquire if there were any rules, regulations or disclosures that applied to Town employees and political leaders?
Let’s further review this quote of yours: “When I came to be Town Supervisor there was no culture of doing it, so I was not aware of it.” Mr. Kaiman, why didn’t you go against this warped culture? Mr. Kaiman, as a lawyer and a former judge (albeit, a former North Hempstead Traffic Court Judge), why didn’t you make an effort to learn the rules of disclosure and then insist on enforcing them as your successor Judi Bosworth is presently doing? If Supervisor Bosworth can enforce them, why couldn’t you? Or are you just a member in good standing if not the principal leader of the warped culture?
This article I wrote appeared on The Catholic Thing web site on April 2, 2016.
This column I wrote appeared in Long Island Now and in Blank Slate Media newspapers on March 31, 2016.