Morally Bankrupt, RIOC Again Puts It On Display


Governor Kathy Hochul’s gift to Roosevelt Island, a morally bankrupt RIOC administration, keeps on giving. This time, it’s on display again as her team of overpaid underachievers greedily scoops up public credit for the work of real doers. The scene was an award from the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, honoring the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse’s restoration.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

“Good Grief !! Make them stop !! Please !! At least make The Guy From Yonkers (Akeem Jamal) AND The Newest Guy (Bryant Daniels) acknowledge the folks who actually did all the real work…” pleaded one long-time Roosevelt Islander.

The exasperation was shared.

“I saw an Instagram post of Prince Shah and Gretchen Robinson accepting an award today for the Lighthouse work,” another insider complained. 

His anger rose…

“No mention of Thomas Fenniman, Judith Burdy, Susan Rosenthal, John O’Reilly or LiRo. Those f—-rs in the picture had zero to do with the project. None… What an insult to the people who really contributed to the Island. Shameful.”

Before the Morally Bankrupt Swept In

Thomas Fenniman at work on the Roosevelt Island Visitor Center kiosk.

The real hero of restoring the historic lighthouse is Thomas Fenniman, a meticulous architect who has been part of multiple projects on Roosevelt Island. He has worked on the Visitors Center Kiosk and the slate roof restoration of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd as well as the Lighthouse.

His attention to detail in authentically restoring the Lighthouse earned praise as the project rolled out… but not from Hochul’s Team RIOC. With them, it’s as if he never existed.

And historian Judith Berdy shares equal credit for her tireless efforts at historic preservation. As with the Lighthouse, she’s often the muscle behind getting things done in the community. And she’s not limited to history concerns. She’s currently working on planting dozens of new trees around the Island.

Without former RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal, who set up the money for the project and got it rolling, no awards would have been shown off by anyone. She also got snubbed.

The actual work was completed by crews overseen by Owner’s Representative LiRO along with then Chief Financial Officer John O’Reilly. Would it have been too gracious giving them a nod too?

But No, RIOC Takes the Low Road Again

Morally bankrupt, RIOC released a brief blurb as an “advisory” for residents. But that was only after an international press release showered themselves with credit.

Again, RIOC faced the world with amateurish screaming headlines: “PRESIDENT & CEO SHELTON J. HAYNES ANNOUNCES…”

Chop-Chop, the King!

(Before they embarrass the community again, can someone tell Team RIOC that all caps reads as screaming over the internet?) Amateurs…

“It was an honor the accept this award on behalf of RIOC and all of my outstanding colleagues who helped us complete this multimillion-dollar rehabilitation project,” said Prince Shah, Director of Capital and Planning Projects.

No mention of the doers who actually made it happen. Glory to the king…

Shah had little or nothing to do with the Lighthouse Project but more, of course, than Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson.

Haynes reverted to his Seldom Seen Shelton mode and skipped the ceremony. Someone wrote a blathering quote for him, but if he wasn’t there, he doesn’t count.

We can all thank Governor Hochul for the moral bankruptcy that protected political patronage gets us. Keep her in mind for the next election cycle.

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