Archive for the ‘The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch’ category

The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch, June 20, 2016 – By George J. Marlin

June 20, 2016

A commentary in three parts

Part One – On Temperament

The Macmillan Dictionary defines temperament as one’s basic character and one’s tendency to be happy or angry.  In other words, one’s natural predisposition.

To be an effective member of Congress—be in a position to truly serve one’s constituents and their interests—one must have the natural predisposition to get along with the other 434 members of that body, particularly floor leaders and committee chairmen.

The first question Democratic voters must answer before they cast their primary vote for a 3rd Congressional candidate to represent them in the November election is:  Does Jon Kaiman have the temperament, the natural predisposition to effectively represent them in Congress?

During Kaiman’s tenure as North Hempstead town supervisor, he managed to offend scores of constituents.  On one occasion, he publicly berated a Catholic priest for referring to Jesus Christ at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.  He made headlines when he purportedly got into an altercation at a Jets game and when he even managed, by playing with his cell phone, to aggravate music legend Art Garfunkel at a concert, (hardly a bridge over troubled waters!)

Kaiman has also had intemperate outbursts with North Hempstead town council members and with NIFA members when he chaired that State financial control board.

When a member of the NIFA board, I was on the receiving end of one of Kaiman’s vulgar intemperate outbursts.  On December 31, 2013, I wrote him a letter that I released to Newsday concerning the incident.  Here are the salient parts of the text of the letter:

I am sure you recall that on Saturday, October 19, 2013, in the conference room of the County Executive, I endured, within earshot of County and PBA officials and in front of NIFA staff, your vulgar and boisterous verbal tirade directed against me. Frankly, I found your foul-mouthed outburst unprofessional under any circumstance, let alone in a public building and in the presence of NIFA staff.

I have also learned from sources outside of NIFA about your crude order to NIFA general counsel at a December meeting with County and PBA officials that was disgraceful, violated the rules of civility and put NIFA at risk of being considered a hostile work environment.

To tell NIFA counsel to “shut the f*** up” as he was attempting to give advice cautioning you about conversing and negotiating in the presence of PBA lawyers who are handling litigation against NIFA is inexcusable and compounds the error of participating in that negotiation in the presence of opposing counsel.

Your fescennine verbal abuse, in my judgment, damaged the integrity of a State agency and diminished the reputation of a dedicated public servant who has devoted years to protecting NIFA and to giving sound legal advice to his board member clients.

You may have gotten away with coarse offensive temper tantrums when you were a North Hempstead township official but you are now not only a director of a State agency but an employee of the State’s Chief Executive, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and by the nature of those posts are expected to live up to a higher standard of civil behavior.

Advice the legendary Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, gave to freshmen congressmen in his day still holds today:  “Get along to go along.”  Based on his history, does Kaiman have the natural disposition to get along?  That’s what Democrats must decide on Tuesday, June 28.

Part 2 – On Judgment

When Judi Bosworth was sworn in as North Hempstead’s Town Supervisor on January 5, 2014, little did she know she inherited a government chock full of political hacks from the Kaiman era.

Let’s review:

  • Gerard Terry, who was paid $74,000 a year to serve as North Hempstead’s special counsel for the board of zoning appeals, was charged on April 12 with one count of tax fraud. He allegedly had unpaid tax debts of $1.4 million.  Judi Bosworth severed the Town’s relationship with Terry.
  • Concetta Terry, wife of Gerard Terry, resigned on June 6, 2016 as North Hempstead Deputy Clerk after it was revealed she failed to disclose her husband’s debts in her financial disclosure forms.
  • A North Hempstead secretary, Helen McCann, was charged on March 3, 2016, by the Nassau’s D.A. office of allegedly embezzling at least $98 thousand in fees paid in cash to the town’s Solid Waste Management Authority.
  • On March 14, 2016, it was revealed in Newsday that Helen McCann’s brother, Thomas Tiernan, the North Hempstead Highway Superintendent, “collected more than $134 thousand 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.” Newsday also reported that there were other Tiernan/McCann relatives on the township payroll.

What do all these people have in common?  They worked for Jon Kaiman when he was North Hempstead Town Supervisor, and were also key figures in his political organization.

I now understand why Kaiman, in an interview with the Queens Tribune published in its May 12, 2016 edition, told the staff writer he is “not afraid to embrace the word ‘crisis.’”  Because he is a poor judge of character, there has been a protracted crisis in the Town of North Hempstead’s government.  And because of his lack of attention to—or complicity with—County officials, he left Nassau County in a heightened state of fiscal crisis compared to its condition when he began as NIFA chairman.  Perhaps he isn’t afraid of crisis, because he is so prolific at creating or exacerbating crises.

Part 3 – On Hubris

Kaiman had the audacity to send out a flier to Democrats in the 3rd Congressional district comparing himself to President Franklin Roosevelt and President Lyndon Johnson.

President Roosevelt created Social Security which benefits about 60 million Americans today.

President Johnson created Medicare which benefits about 54 million people today.

And Kaiman believes he ranks with our 32nd and 36th presidents because he created an umbrella program in North Hempstead called Project Independence that offers informational and referral services “to meet the needs or solve the problems of our aging residents.”

Informational and referral services compared to the two largest social safety nets in our nation’s history.

What impertinence!  For Kaiman to compare his self-proclaimed accomplishment to those of Roosevelt and Johnson is beyond credulity.

* * * * *

Jon Kaiman—intemperate, vulgar, poor judge of character and conceited.  Is that the kind of person Democrats want to represent them in Congress?

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The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch, April 9, 2016 – By George J. Marlin

April 9, 2016

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?

Other questions:

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.

Questions:

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.”

Questions:

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?

Stay tuned…

The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch, March 5, 2016 – By George J. Marlin

March 5, 2016

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) comes under the state’s Public Authorities 2009 Reform Act, which requires board members, as fiduciaries, to act independently of elected officials and to give a “contemporaneous record” to NIFA officials of “any conversation in person or by telephonic or other remote means, or corresponding between any lobbyist engaged in the act of lobbying….”

Questions:

Mr. Kaiman:  Did you ever receive marching orders from a member of the governor’s staff concerning NIFA matters?

Mr. Kaiman:  Did you properly report meetings with lobbyists or other parties who attempt to influence any determination “by a public official … related to a government procurement?”

Mr. Kaiman:  Will you release your meetings/luncheon calendar for the period you were NIFA chairman? If you decline to do so, please explain?

Mr. Kaiman:  If you dined with a lobbyist or someone acting in a similar capacity seeking favor or action by NIFA, in a restaurant or a town-owned club (for example, Frank’s Steak House or Harbor Links), did you pay your fair share for the meal and adult refreshments and not a nominal amount?

The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch, February 23, 2016 – By George J. Marlin

February 23, 2016

On Saturday, February 20, 2016, Newsday reported, “The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery began sending out debt notice letters this month to applicants the agency believes were ineligible for housing rehabilitation and elevation money or received payments for the same work.

“About 25 to 30 letters will go out in the initial batch this month—mostly to applicants in Nassau and Suffolk counties—notifying people the state wants the money returned.

“The amounts so far in question range from $4,500 to $180,000….”

Andrew Cuomo is a tough task manager. He expects his appointees to work hard and get it right. So, the news that the Governor’s Storm Office would be requiring Sandy victims to return up to $180,000 could not have been well-received. Anyone who has ever worked with FEMA knows it is…slow. Slower than a sloe gin fizz. Slower than a North Hempstead building inspector. Hence, it is likely that FEMA told Kaiman and the State weeks ago that the State would have to “clawback” (in the vernacular) funds from Long Islanders.

Kaiman and his agency dropping the ball may explain Kaiman’s abrupt departure from State service and his bizarre Newsday telephone interview announcing his candidacy for Congress.

Residents of the Town of North Hempstead who lived through the scandals at the Town Building Department, subsequent arrests, lengthy trials and criminal convictions should not be surprised by this turn of events.

Questions:

Mr. Kaiman: You were paid $153,000 annually, to serve as Special Adviser to Governor Cuomo on Long Island Superstorm Sandy Relief. Under your watch, how and why did ineligible Long Island residents receive disaster recovery money?

Mr. Kaiman: What exactly did you do every day to earn your $153,000 annually?

Mr. Kaiman: Will you release your meetings/luncheon calendar for the period you were Special Assistant to Governor Cuomo on Long Island Superstorm Sandy relief? If you decline to do so, please explain?

Did you abruptly resign your Special Assistant post in February because you knew the Newsday story, “N.Y. Sends Out Letters: Sandy Victims owe $59 Million” was about to be published? Or did you resign because you feared you would be fired?

Mr. Kaiman: Will you publicly apologize for being asleep at the switch when you were Special Assistant on Long Island Superstorm Sandy relief?

Stay tuned….

The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch, February 11, 2016 – By George J. Marlin

February 11, 2016

The “Friends of Kaiman” Board of Elections disclosure lists on August 25, 2015, an expense at the CYMAX store for $1,481.43. According to the CYMAX website, this online retailer specializes in “quality furniture and home décor at unbeatable prices.”

Question: Mr. Kaiman, since you were a state employee and not a candidate for office at the time of the CYMAX purchase, why would “Friends of Kaiman” need to purchase $1,481.43 worth of furnishings? Did the furnishing go to a “Friends of Kaiman” office? If so, why is there no disclosure of rent paid for the office space in “Friends of Kaiman” filings? Or are the regular payments of $239 for “Public Storage” really payments for office space? If so, did you ever spend time there during state working hours? Also, Mr. Kaiman, please explain the September 4, 2015 “Friends of Kaiman” expense of $449 at Modern Office Systems. If the CYMAX and Modern Office System purchases did not go to a “Friends of Kaiman” office, where did they go?

“Friends of Kaiman” listed on October 2, 2015 reimbursement to Jon Kaiman of $650 for the purchase of a phone.

Question: Mr. Kaiman, since you were a state employee and not a candidate for office when the phone was bought, what was the purpose of the purchase? Did Adam Skelos text you on a “Friends of Kaiman” purchased phone or your state phone?

On August 31, 2015, “Friends of Kaiman” reimbursed Jon Kaiman $200, and there were no explanations for the reimbursement.

Question: Mr. Kaiman, why were you reimbursed $200? Please give details.

“Friends of Kaiman” disclosed in Board of Election filings between December 3, 2013 and June 8, 2015 that it paid for various breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings at restaurants totaling $1,784.74.

Question: Mr. Kaiman, since you were a state employee and not running for public office during that period, please explain the purpose of those restaurant meetings. Did you attend any of those restaurant meetings during state working hours?

Stay tuned….

The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch, February 2, 2016 – By George J. Marlin

February 2, 2016

In September 2013, Jon Kaiman resigned as North Hempstead Supervisor and accepted two appointments from Governor Cuomo. They were Chairman of the Board of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority and Special Adviser to Governor Cuomo on Long Island Superstorm Sandy Relief, a post that pays $153 thousand annually.

After Mr. Kaiman took up his new positions, his campaign committee, “Friends of Jon Kaiman,” lumbered on and made required filings with the N.Y. Board of Elections.

According to Board of Election filings, since Kaiman went to work as a state employee he continued to fundraise and there were numerous disbursements from “Friends of Kaiman” including (but not limited to):

1-18-14     Costco                                                        $548.12
1-19-14     Westbury Liquors                                   $394.08
1-19-14     Waldbaum’s                                              $199.99
10-1-15     Costco                                                   $1,500.00
10-5-15     Westbury Liquors                                  $238.80
10-8-15     Mineola Card & Smoke Shop              $383.41
10-13-15   Party City                                               $313.39
10-15-15   Great Neck Wine                                    $148.71
10-16-15   Great Neck Wine                                    $169.36
10-19-15   Westbury Liquors                                  $385.40
10-19-15   Triple Crown Sports Memorabilia   $1,000.00
10-20-15   P. Schneider Design Consultants     $2,305.00
10-26-15   Associated Supermarkets                   $108.99
10-26-15   Westbury Liquors                                 $164.97
10-26-15   Costco                                                       $574.59
10-27-15   Associated Supermarkets                 $181.72
10-29-15   Colbeh Restaurant                               $626.00
12-21-15   Costco                                                       $845.50

“Friends of Kaiman” disclosed in Board of Election filings that these expenditures were for “fundraising” purposes.

Questions:

Mr. Kaiman: Did you alert your employer, Governor Cuomo, or any of his staff members, “Friends of Kaiman” were holding political fundraisers?

Mr. Kaiman: Since you were not a declared candidate for office in 2014 or 2015, what was the purpose of the fundraisers? Was your mentor and friend, Gerard Terry, a guest?

Mr. Kaiman: How much money was raised at the fundraisers? If none, (as it appears) were the alleged fundraisers merely parties paid for by “Friends of Kaiman”? Where were the fundraisers or parties held? Were they held in your home?

Mr. Kaiman: Were purchases made by you for the fundraisers made during state government working hours? (Fifteen of these purchases were made on work days.)

Mr. Kaiman: Did you comply with Governor Cuomo’s executive order concerning political activity restrictions of state employees?

Mr. Kaiman: If your salary as Special Advisor on Long Island Superstorm Sandy Relief is funded in whole or part by Federal dollars, you are subject to Hatch Act rules which prohibit certain political activities. If you are covered, did you comply with Hatch Act rules and regulations concerning political activity?

This installment of The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch has focused principally on the food and beverage expenditures of the campaign committee (as well as one payment to a concern which generally sells signs and bumper stickers). A thorough review of “Friends of Kaiman” expenses is being performed.

Stay tuned….

The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch – By George J. Marlin

January 26, 2016

On Sunday, January 24, 2016, Jon Kaiman announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District. In a telephone interview—likely impromptu—with Newsday, he said: “I’m all in. I’m announcing now, declaring my candidacy and in coming days, I will open a committee and separate from my state job and NIFA.”

While announcing one’s candidacy over the phone to a reporter in the aftermath of a record-breaking snowstorm is bizarre, (ordinarily, such things happen with a podium in front of you and some supporters behind you) nevertheless, Kaiman’s announcement he will resign from his state posts is a good thing for the residents of Nassau County. As NIFA chairman, Kaiman turned the position from that of a fiscal watchdog to a deficit-enabling insider lap-dog. His self-proclaimed wage deal with the public employee unions has been a disaster. It has driven the County deeper into the red to the tune of $70 million annually.

Resigning as Governor Cuomo’s Long Island Hurricane Sandy recovery czar, is also good news. Since no one knows what Kaiman was doing to earn the $153,000 the post paid annually, no one will miss him and it will save over-burdened taxpayers money.

In the coming weeks, The Jon Kaiman for Congress Watch will inform voters about Kaiman’s record as a public servant.

As for today, here’s a question concerned citizens and other interested parties might ask Mr. Kaiman:

Recently, North Hempstead Democratic Chairman Gerard Terry revealed that he owed “some one million plus dollars” in federal and state back taxes. Terry, an attorney, blamed his failure to pay his taxes “more on personality than profession.”

Although Mr. Terry has been a mentor/sponsor of your political career and gave welcoming remarks at your last swearing-in ceremony as North Hempstead Supervisor in 2012 (and others before that), in light of Terry’s disclosure, will you publicly demand that he resign his party post and refuse to accept any contributions or other assistance from him to your Congressional campaign?

Stay tuned….