Rosenthal offers details not previously known.
Only a week after the “cabal” attacked and Cuomo’s henchman ran a “sham investigation,” she was fired without notice. A surprise hour-long phone call was her only opportunity to mount a defense.
On Friday afternoon, June 19th, 2020, after vigorously leading RIOC through the worst of the COVID crisis, three Cuomo henchmen, whose names you’ve never heard, fired her over the phone.
Not only that, they ordered her not to return to her office and said her belongs would be delivered.
How a spineless board failed…
In recent years, RIOC’s board consistently capitulated to every whim coming out of Albany, but as Rosenthal’s lawsuit reminds us, only they have the power of hiring and firing.
But Team Cuomo fired Rosenthal without any involvement by the board, and making matters worse, they selectively released the news to the New York Post.
“…besmirching a more than 45 year long exemplary career,” the Rosenthal lawsuit says. Grabbing “some cheap publicity on Juneteenth,” they threw her “under the proverbial bus.”
State law does not give them that authority, but the board, which does have the authority, idled, never investigating on their own. The RIOC legal team joined the jiggling parade of the spineless, not once raising an issue.
In fact, an emergency meeting of the board was called after Team Cuomo’s hatchet job, without required public notice and with no records posted. But it was not for dismissing Rosenthal. It was for naming her successor.
One thing the Rosenthal lawsuit leaves out: nothing in these events suggests any kind of emergency. An investigation, much as the board launched in wrecking RIYP, could have been started, objectively and legally.
Instead, RIOC’s legal team and board simply ducked, allowing grandstanding by Cuomo on an honored African-American holiday.
One firewall against external abuse surrendered, it got worse.
The Rosenthal lawsuit gives elected officials a pass, but we won’t…
The filing makes clear that both state assembly member Rebecca Seawright and city council member Ben Kallos reached out to Rosenthal with condolences.
Kallos previously and publicly called her “the best RIOC president ever,” and according to the lawsuit, Seawright echoed that.
But where’s the muscle? Where’s the public support?
Further reinforcing fears that we sadly elected folks who represent Cuomo first, not us, neither spoke out.
Seawright is investing millions collected from Albany in fighting for reelection, and Kallos has been running for Manhattan Borough President since the Stone Age. Both are beholding to Cuomo, not constituents, and it showed.
State senator José Serrano? Are you kidding?
Rosenthal lawsuit conclusion…
Rosenthal’s lawsuit shines a glaring light on the mechanics of corruption streaming down from Albany.
Can it get worse than disgracing a loyal public servant, overriding laws and responsibilities, just for cheap publicity? Maybe.
Never underestimate the strong arm of Andrew Cuomo.
But there’s promise too. Conspiracies hate sunlight and fresh air, and this catastrophe has both.
When your shipment of spines fails to make it to the warehouse on time, you slump in public. As RIOC’s hopelessly namby-pamby board has.
The Rosenthal lawsuit, by exposing years long shenanigans — on the public’s dime — may ignite change. It’s needed.
And whatever you believe about Rosenthal’s performance as president/CEO, she deserved better.
And so do we.
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