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Why RIOC can’t count… Or is it just more lying?

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Why can’t RIOC count or keep track of figures it feeds a community it apparently thinks too dumb to keep track? Their ultra secretive COVID rapid testing site’s driving the whole crew into yet another rut filling up with dishonesty. It’s gross, and it should be embarrassing.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

My dentist shared a story, reflecting on the fact that both our dads were accountants.

A company looking for a new accountant, asked job candidates a simple question: “What does 1 + 1 equal?

First candidate said, “3,” and didn’t get the job.

The second did better. “2,” he said, but he wasn’t hired either.

The third and winning candidate looked the interviewer in the eye and said, “Whatever you want it to equal.”

Which of the three would be most comfortable working for RIOC?

In an April 22nd, RIOC committee meeting, Mary Cunneen told the board that the Swift Rapid Testing Site averaged 566 weekly tests. They’re open four days; so, that’s 141.5 per day, close to 15 in and out every hour.

Casual observations suggested some creative counting, but RIOC never said where the numbers came from. This made them hard to verify or debunk.

But we checked the NYC Department of Health’s weekly reports, which track by resident ZIP Code. They showed totals well under that for Roosevelt Island, and that count included Cornell Tech where everyone working tested daily.

Other local residents tested regularly at Health & Hospitals, as they had from the beginning, as well as at NYU Langone.

In fact, the DOH’s counts barely budged when Swift opened.

Cunneen also said they’d paid Swift $319,750, through March, and requested another $140,000 for April and May. June was not certain yet since the wane of the pandemic was unpredictable, then.

And digging into RIOC’s financials revealed at least $75K more invested in revamping the old library for special use.

So, how did they come up with much different numbers at their Operations Committee, last week? They didn’t match up.

And why did the video suddenly disappear?

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Why can’t RIOC count? June 2021 Edition

For the committee meeting, which until today was available on RIOC’s site as a video*, president/CEO Shelton Haynes took over for Cunneen. That doesn’t imply some new kind of math, but it might as well.

(Note. Thanks to our friends at The Roosevelt Islander, we located the missing video on Vimeo. The screenshot below comes from there.)

Do the math with us.

As of the week just prior to the meeting, the Swift Rapid Testing Site, which opened January 21st, operated for 20 weeks. That takes into account a one week closure while the business transferred across the street to RIVAA Gallery.

So, 20 X 566 = 11,320 tests.

Hmmm…

Because Haynes, backed by a pre-arranged PowerPoint display, cited a total of rapid 8,707 tests. No one on the detached board blinked.

Oh, and another thing… While asking the board to confirm that “you know” his staff worked closely with all the appropriate state agencies, guaranteeing everything was on the up and up, Haynes said RIOC paid Swift only $345,000 so far, making a lie of Cunneen’s numbers in April.

The meek and compliant — or complicit, if you prefer — board members, David Kraut, Michael Shinozaki and Howard Polivy, played along. Some of them actually graduated high school but, like RIOC, can’t count either.

I’m willing to donate a hand calculator to any of them in need. And to Shelton Haynes and his staff. Call me.

Conclusion: RIOC can’t count, but we can…

Our Freedom of Information request for details on the whole, mysterious deal awaits a reply. But since information was obviously all cued up last week, why haven’t they coughed up on the FOIL yet?

Do the facts have more than the two versions we’ve seen so far? And which will they use?

In honesty, we do not expect RIOC to provide all the details included in our request and demanded by law, but we will report on whatever we do get.

And we’ll try figuring out how this special state agency ether can’t count or get their stories straight.

But it’s will remain mysterious why this bumbling and dishonest agency exists without oversight. Or, really, at all.

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