Last week a New York Supreme Court judge dismissed Susan Rosenthal’s lawsuit against RIOC and the state on technical grounds. The lawsuit dismissal cited filing in the wrong court, the judge ruled, more than a year after the litigation began. It should have been filed in the Court of Claims, he wrote.
by David Stone
Rosenthal sued RIOC as well as its Albany handlers after she was fired via press release in June 2020. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s hitman, Rich Azzopardi, told the New York Post that the grounds were sexual and racial misconduct.
But the abruptly unemployed Rosenthal contested her dismissal as RIOC President and CEO, not because she lost her job, but because Team Cuomo smeared her in a racially charged act on Juneteenth, that year.
Juneteenth recognizes the day in 1865 when African Americans in Texas learned that slavery had ended two and a half years earlier with the Emancipation Proclamation.
Rosenthal is white, her successor a black male, Shelton J. Haynes.
While the causes for firing Rosenthal were unclear for months, as the case wore on, we learned more. But most jarringly, several sources insider RIOC shared accusations that Haynes had secretly taped telephone conversations with Rosenthal and used the recordings to undermine her authority before playing them back for state investigators.
Comments on the Dismissal
“On a broader note, no matter how weak I thought her case was, its dismissal is still disappointing,” a RIOC insider asked to comment told The Daily.
“It will serve to embolden Shelton & Co. into thinking that they can get away with their nefarious activities. It will also support Shelton’s narrative to Albany and the Board that all the claims against him are bogus and ultimately will get dismissed.
“As such, Susan’s loss is a net negative to the general struggle to cleanse RIOC of corrupt leadership.”
But Rosenthal’s attorney, Steven Storch was adamant: “We intend to appeal this latest decision and also prosecute all remaining claims to clear Susan of the false accusations against her.”
Analysis of the Lawsuit and Its Dismissal
An attorney familiar with RIOC and legislation governing it shared thoughts with us. His analysis was sharply critical, although he conceded that he had not been following the case closely.
Here’s a summary of what we learned.
Susan’s attorneys should have known better because she was RIOC’s General Counsel and President/CEO for several years.
It would seem she should know better than to (initially) bring Article 78 to her issue; fail to file a Notice of Claim under RIOC’s enabling legislation requirements; and sue non-RIOC state workers in the Supreme Court, among other things.
While it is true that the Court of Claims does not have jurisdiction over RIOC, Susan was also suing the “Albany Defendants,” who were her main defendants in her lawsuit.
Following the Lawsuit Dismissal, Rosenthal Still Wants To Clear Her Name
Our resource feels that Rosenthal’s case is not strong. But Rosenthal believes otherwise, and her determination to clear her name motivates her.
Because she was an “at will” employee, the Board of Directors, not Governor Cuomo, was free to fire her at any time with or without cause. Instead, in a racially electrified act, Cuomo sent his hitman out trashing Rosenthal on preposterous grounds.
“Susan doesn’t have a racist bone in her body,” one RIOC executive who worked closely with her told me.
Not one reasonable person in the world thinks she does. The false narrative was fed by insiders working to overthrow her, and Governor Cuomo feasted on it for minority votes.