Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Why Is April 14 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Board Of Directors Meeting Being Held In Executive Session With The Public Excluded From Attending And No Prior Public Session For Community Comments? Are Purported RIOC Employee Whistleblower Allegations Of Corruption Or Apparent Firing Of Community Affairs Director On Secret Agenda?

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet 5:30 PM Thursday April 14, via video conference. The sole Agenda Item is in executive session meaning that it will be held with the public excluded from attending. According to RIOC:

Chair’s Motion for Executive Session 

1. Discussion of the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation..

Unlike most RIOC Board meetings, there is no Public Session scheduled prior to the April 14 Board meeting for the residents to comment on community issues. I've asked RIOC several times why there is no Public Session for tomorrow's Board meeting but have not received any response.

Could the RIOC Board meeting secret executive session be about the allegations of wrongdoing leveled against RIOC President Shelton Haynes and other members of the RIOC executive staff?

As reported March 28:

A document was published on the OPNLTTR web site dated March 26, 2022 purportedly shared by a group of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) employees raising serious allegations of wrongdoings against RIOC President Shelton Haynes and certain members of the RIOC executive staff...

... Click here to read the full document.

 Among the allegations are:
  • Misappropriation of state funds
  • Covering up a negligent death
  • Mismanagement of the AVAC System
  • Cronyism
  • Fraud
  • Abuse of power
  • Predatory Behavior/Grooming and Fostering a toxic work environment
  • Disability Discrimination
  • Violating NYS equal employment laws
  • Violating NYS ethics laws: JCOPE (title 19/disclosure of outside activities) 

The group of purported RIOC employee whistleblowers making these charges call themselves NYS We Deserve Better.

NYS We Deserve Better has a Twitter feed.

There has been no public comment from RIOC about these allegations.

Or could the RIOC Board meeting secret executive session be about the apparent firing of long time RIOC Director of Community Affairs Erica Spencer-el, who was also named the Director of Communications last year.

On April 1, I asked RIOC Public Information Officer Amy Smith:

I've been told that Erica Spencer-El was fired by RIOC. is this true? When was she fired? I'm told it was last Friday. If not true, please indicate it is false.

I've been told that RIOC Public Safety Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso and at least one other PSD officer escorted Ms Spencer-El from RIOC. Is that true? Please indicate if it is false.

As Director of RIOC Communications & Community Affairs, her status is of concern to Roosevelt Island residents and organizations.

Ms Smith replied later that day:

... please be advised that RIOC does not comment on personnel matters with the public.

Emails to Ms Spencer-El at RIOC which previously were delivered have been undelivered this past week.

Stay tuned.