The whistleblower assault on Shelton Haynes, loaded up in an anonymous letter, features a gloves off attack on his handling of the Swift Emergency Care COVID Testing Site. The writers are so incensed over it, they led off with it as general complaints went specific. Much was off base or out of proportion. But in this case of “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” there is an awful lot of smoke. This is Part Three.
by David Stone
The Core of the Whistleblower Assault
“In January of 2021, RIOC opened a COVID-19 testing site managed by Swift Emergency Care, P.C., a company founded solely with the purpose to defraud RIOC, and run by Dr. Christian Bannerman,” the whistleblowers say. But there is no concrete evidence or documentation.
At the same time, there is so much questionable and documentary evidence that it could fill a book in itself. So much it would overwhelm everything else.
As we reported last year, RIOC’s response to our FOIL request exposed a raft of questionable activities involving the Swift site. And that relied on a clumsy partial response. After we published, RIOC clammed up, refusing a request for many missing documents.
Already, there was clear evidence of “unconventional” purchasing decisions, attempts to cover up improper spending, failures at monitoring expenses and falsified documents. RIOC, it seemed, had gone back with picks and shovels to cover many misdeeds.
Once RIOC slammed the door on other documents they are legally obliged to share, we put a package together for the state’s Inspector General. We believe an investigation is ongoing.
Some New Information from the Whistleblowers
Follow the links above for detailed accounts, but the whistleblower assault includes items we didn’t know about when we published.
Swift Emergency Care stated that they were reporting test results first to New York State, then corrected it to New York City. However, in searching both public and private reporting platforms, no data for the site was found.NYSWeDeserveBetter/Saturday, March 26th, 2022.
On a practical level, this may make the most noise. While COVID-19 raged, city and state working off statistics, RIOC’s partner – allegedly a close friend of President/CEO Shelton Haynes – appears to have withheld critical data.
This resonates because numbers offered to the board by Haynes’s handpicked coordinator of the Swift Operation, Mary Cunneen, never made sense. And observation made them absurd. Inflated and unverifiable. It may also explain why Swift did not leave any official records. You can’t disprove what doesn’t exist in reality.
A Quid Pro Quo?
Reviewing the whistleblower assault, we stumbled on something else.
A deal Haynes cut with Hudson-Related, agreeing to $1 rent for 524 Main Street, which RIOC rolled over to Swift Emergency Medical, may have been a trade off. Here are the facts.
After the New York Public Library pulled up stakes, moving to its new location a few doors down the block, 524 Main sat idle. Hudson-Related found no one interested in the space. It made sense to offer the location as essentially a painless contribution to the cause of fighting COVID.
NYPL had been paying about $26K annually for the site, making its departure a big hole in Hudson-Related’s income. But a not so unpredictable solution was found. Instead of renewing its 45 year old lease at 591 Main, RIOC took much smaller space at 524 soon after Swift closed up shop. There were repercussions with the state crowding nonprofits out of the Cultural Center, compensating for the now inadequate office.
There was a lot worse, though. RIOC agreed to pay $76,000 per year for their new offices. That’s right – triple what the last tenant paid without a single whiff of competition. And you can add in thousands piled on for renovating the new space and decommissioning the old.
The whistleblowers are right in calling this scandal into the open, but to their credit, it’s even worse than their write up, which they have now released online.
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