More tricks and evasions as Rosenthal fights back in two lawsuits

More tricks and evasions as Rosenthal fights back in two lawsuits

We haven’t updated in a while, but tricks and evasions rolling out of Albany suddenly lit up Susan Rosenthal’s RIOC lawsuits, last week. RIOC execs and board seem frantic over keeping their secrets and invest in extraordinary tactics for the task.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News


On June 16th, 2019 — Juneteenth — Governor Cuomo’s Albany insiders fired RIOC president/CEO Susan Rosenthal, terminating a three year tenure in mid-flight. Top advisor Richard Azzopardi fired off a missive, exclusive to the New York Post, accusing her or sexual and racial misconduct.

Azzopardi omitted any details, and the Post ate it up like a scoop. Which it wasn’t, and the Trump-loving newspaper played more tool than media.

“Rosenthal’s firing took place hurriedly and harshly on Juneteenth, a day celebrating the end of slavery in America. The termination of Rosenthal, a white woman, was nothing more than a misguided effort by respondents to publicly and deliberately highlight the importance of that day,”

Susan Rosenthal lawsuit contesting her dismissal.

But it was worse than that.

First, releasing details in that way violates policies set up by the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER), and it presaged others exposed in charges pending against the governor himself.

As bad as that was, other misconduct eclipsed it.

“Any member of the corporation may be removed by the governor for cause, but not without an
opportunity to be heard, in person or by counsel, in his defense, upon not less than ten days’ written notice.”

RIOC enabling legislation, as amended on January 13, 2006.
Susan Rosenthal
Susan Rosenthal

Rushing toward Juneteenth, Cuomo rolled right over Rosenthal’s “opportunity.”

Her defense waited until filing her first lawsuit.

RIOC’s tricks and evasions, step one

Rosenthal’s lawsuit was a withering attack on Albany chicanery. Team Cuomo finessed a racist attack, solidifying support from a Harlem-based coalition of his most devoted backers.

The legal filing proved the initial charges against her as flimsy as papier mâché in a thunderstorm.

Surprisingly, Team Cuomo agreed, but that’s when tricks and evasions first blew up the game.

Like manna from heaven, a whole new slate of charges tumbled into Albany’s headset. They accused Rosenthal of the grossest misconduct, but where did these all come from?

At best, the charges circulated around 591 Main Street implicate multiple managers as derelict, never having reported them as GOER requires.

But where did they come from? And why did they instantly appear only after the initial accusations failed?

Albany, unsurprisingly, never says.

And now, with more feverish tricks and evasions in play, they may never have to.

Susan Rosenthal says, “Show me.”

Denying the accusations vigorously, Rosenthal demanded that RIOC’s lawyers show their evidence.

Discovery is the phase in a civil lawsuit where litigants share their evidence with each other. It creates a level playing field, sets the stage for trial and avoids gotchas later on.

Rosenthal’s attorneys at Storch Byrne moved for “limited discovery,” letting her see what’s stacked up against her. A judge approved that motion in May, and secrets behind her firing came due for exposure in June.

But, in yet another surprise, that didn’t happen.

Instead, tricks and evasions electrified, the state moved for dismissing the whole case. None of the discovery items saw the light of day.

What was so awful they scrambled to keep everything under wraps?

In fact, Rosenthal attorney Steven Storch was shocked. He’d been working on a call for sanctioning RIOC and the state for ignoring the call for limited discovery.

Now, he went back to work, clearing the smoke blowing out of 591 Main Street and the Second Floor in Albany.

“Respondents’ failure to produce the items order by the Discovery Order was not
inadvertent,” Storch wrote.

He called for a halt to the tricks and evasions fouling the lawsuit.

Conclusion: What the tricks and evasions try hiding

Considering the consequences of their actions, it’s strange that neither the state nor RIOC ever presented a single piece of evidence. Not one since firing their chief executive, even after claiming a thorough and fair investigation.

A single investigator handled telephone only interviews with a half-dozen employees but is never clear about who said what. Call notes were never produced, and there’s not a single sworn statement by any witness.

And so, in fact, there is no tangible evidence against her.


So, how can she defend herself or try restoring a reputation build over decades in legal practice?

But there’s one glaring absence floating like a fantasy above all the others.

The state’s investigator says she heard a tape on which Rosenthal committed some abuses used against her. An unnamed (of course) employee made the recording without her knowledge, the state alleges.

But now, they can’t find it.

Made by an employee on the job, the tape is RIOC’s property, if it exists at all or ever did. And it’s possible someone tampered with it. Otherwise, why all the tricks and evasions at avoiding discovery?

If you’ve got conclusive evidence, show it and be done with it.

If it’s open and shut, why not open it?

Arguments are set for September.

Also from the Roosevelt Island Daily

  • Wishes Come True: Seawright and Serrano Propose Strong Residency Requirements for RIOC
    This afternoon, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Senator José Serrano jointly announced a proposed law including residency requirements for RIOC. Such changes have been on the wish list for Roosevelt Island activists for a decade. by David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News Determined to enhance community/RIOC integration while promoting a responsive board have been
  • Coming up: MSTDA Teen Theatre’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”
    The Roosevelt Island Daily News Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance announces the opening of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in the Howe Theatre, running Jan 28-30, directed by long-time MSTDA director Jacqueline Lucid. The National Theatre’s Olivier and Tony Award® -winning production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in
  • Tasty Eating, Handling Pain: This Week’s New Zoom Programing from the Carter Burden Network
    While the CBN/RI Senior Center remains closed by the COVID surge, the Carter Burden Network pitches in, lining up easy access online programs. Here’s what’s on tap for this week… The Roosevelt Island Daily News More from the Roosevelt Island Daily davidstone1313 See author's posts
  • RIOC’s New Tram Shutdown Comes with Unintended Humor
    The new Tram shutdown cuts back to single cabin operations and comes with a taste of Henny Youngman-esque humor. It’s not on purpose though, and the expected miscues repeat. by David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News About the new Tram shutdown On Sunday, January 23rd, a next phase of Tram maintenance reduces service to
  • Hard winter weather sweeping in, but New York City will miss the worst of it
    by David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News New Yorkers got through the extreme cold weather for which Governor Kathy Hochul issued an alert on Saturday. Residents did fine. Or, for Buffalo Bills fans, better than fine as the team ignored frigid temperatures on the way to a 47 -17 win over New England on

Written by:

805 Posts

View All Posts
Follow Me :

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: