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The Strange Case of RIOC and the Missing LinkedIn Profiles


Missing LinkedIn profiles are not new at RIOC where secrecy and scrubbing the past are common among executives. But these activities accelerated recently, and each case is loaded with questions. Let’s take a look.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

First, What Is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service that enables users to connect with other professionals in their field. It can be used for professional networking, job searches, and recruiting.

The social site allows users to create a profile with their personal and professional information, which other LinkedIn users can view. There are also good groups and forums where users can discuss various topics.

So, why does RIOC have so many missing LinkedIn profiles? Each previously existed for select individuals. Why delete them?

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Who Are the Missing LinkedIn Profiles?

RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes

It should not surprise anyone – including Governor Kathy Hochul’s team in Albany – that Haynes’s once extensive profile vanished soon after The Daily began asking questions about its claims.

Largely a ghost on Roosevelt Island, surrounded by a protective band of loyalists, Haynes has left many questions unanswered. Did he really graduate from Hampton University as claimed? Why does the public record contradict his statements about his previous employment?

Whether he’s guilty of resume inflation or not, RIOC’s chief officer hasn’t helped his or the agency’s standing by scrubbing his previously available history.

The Daily submitted a FOIL request for Haynes’s resume, but it is currently subject to the improper minimum 30-day stall from RIOC’s legal department.

Assistant Vice President Altheria Jackson

Haynes’s longtime pal Altheria Jackson is another missing LinkedIn profile. Brought to RIOC via crony recruitment, Jackson leads more departments than any other manager but hasn’t any known experience other than loyalty to “the boss.”

Jackson pulls down over $150k yearly, although other employees say she shows up at the office no more than two or three days a week. She’s a high school graduate without any reported experience beyond secretarial work before Haynes brought her from Atlanta to New York.

Her LinkedIn profile vanished around the time when Haynes’s did, but it was nothing to brag about. The main thing of interest locally was her way back connection with Shelton Haynes, long before either landed six-figure salaries at RIOC.

Recent Missing LinkedIn Profiles

Assistant Vice President – Communications Akeem Jamal

Hired without public notice in August, Jamal’s profile on the popular social network disappeared shortly after The Daily published articles derived from details on it. It was especially noteworthy that those suggested that Jamal did not meet the minimum requirements RIOC posted for the job.

Now that profile is gone.

There were other concerns, including reckless driving resulting in three lawsuits, and a charge of drunken driving lodged after one injury-causing accident. We learned about those through media reports that neither Jamal nor RIOC control, and they remain on the record.

Former Staff Attorney Markus Sztejnberg

The interesting thing about Sztejnberg is his brief, but impactful term with RIOC. In a very short period, he managed the takeover of Public Purpose Fund Grants by an outside third party. The state agency’s own managers as well as the Roosevelt Island Residents Association were kicked out.

The results were brutal and appeared to carry out goals for revenge and rewarding loyalty to Haynes’s administration.

Suggestions were also made that RIOC hired Sztejnberg as leverage in a gambit ousting longtime staff attorney Arthur Eliav. Eliav may have been too by the books and honest for RIOC.

Sztejnberg soon left the state agency that never makes a mistake, and his boss, Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson and Haynes had a ready excuse for yet another abrupt departure. Sztejnberg left, they told the RIOC board, for a new job in private practice. He’d earn three times what RIOC could afford.

It was convenient. It made sense. Except that repeated checks on his now missing LinkedIn profile never reflected any such change. Over six months passed, and then, his online profile came down.

Conclusion: The Missing LinkedIn Profiles

It’s hard reaching conclusions when RIOC acts in the direct opposite of the transparency Governor Hochul promised but never, for the most part, delivered anywhere.

But concealing information has a purpose. It requires a direct act. And if the information’s good, why scrub it? A solid resume reinforces good choices made in hiring, and participation in LinkedIn offers genuine opportunities for professional growth.

So why are so many LinkedIn profiles connected with high-paying RIOC jobs missing?

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