Rooted out of its bunker by the lawsuit, RIOC continues along the low road, their cowardly denials now in public. “Defendant denies each and every allegation…” is the refrain chanted back at Mohammed Chowdury, the 21-year-old who drowned in Sportspark. Sure, it’s a lawsuit and different rules apply, but isn’t this RIOC’s stance on all the failures?
(RIOC’s response is attached below.)
by David Stone
The Roosevelt Island Daily News
Here’s what we do know.
A 21-year-old man from Bayside, Queens, Mohammed Chowdury, died from drowning in the Sportspark Pool. According to a video shown to her by Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown, former RIOC Public Information Officer, Amy Smith, swears that lifeguards employed by the state showed the “extreme negligence” claimed in the lawsuit.
A reliable informant told The Daily that at least some of the lifeguards were stoned on weed, accounting for their hapless behavior in the emergency. They never noticed the victim’s distress signals nor his sinking to the bottom of the pool. Other swimmers brought him up and performed CPR.
We also know that, under the supervision of President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes, measures were taken to shroud everything about the incident in secrecy. Haynes’s executive team edited a press release composed by Smith into meaningless drivel.
Multiple sources report that Haynes himself put an immediate gag order in place. Any conversations about the drowning must be verbal, never written. As far as we know, since no written report exists, leaving the incriminating recording as the best evidence.
Behind the cowardly denials are facts suggesting motives apart from avoiding crushing financial losses.
Haynes’s longtime friend, Altheria Jackson, was directly responsible for oversight at Sportspark. Reporting to Haynes, she’d been recruited from Atlanta, Georgia, by him and given executive responsibilities far beyond her training and experience.
But RIOC also bases its denials on a claim that Chowdury’s injuries were “caused in whole or in part by the culpable conduct” of the victim. He knew the situation at the pool, RIOC’s attorney says, and “voluntarily assumed” the risks.
If “Yuck!” doesn’t quite cover it, there’s this: the lawsuit invents some unnamed “third person or persons” who caused injuries leading to the drowning. But who are they? What did they do?
That’s the peak of the cowardly denials.