RIOC Board Threatens A Conway Ekpo Zombie Return. Can We Stop It?


At RIOC’s June board meeting, President/CEO Shelton Haynes mumbled about a “clerical error” causing the Conway Ekpo zombie’s exit from the board. Without explaining a word of it, he then threatened a January return, pending Senate approval. It was chilling, New York State dysfunction in full spring bloom.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

From our point of view through Zoom, not a single person gasped nor did any board member so much as raise an eyebrow. Maybe we’re all just jaded and accustomed to the shenanigans of the Haynes/Hochul era at RIOC.

You don’t have to look far. From his LinkedIn Profile, anyone can see that Conway Ekpo is an energetic professional, a lawyer focused on venture capital and crypto investing. No slouch.

Just last week, he posted about his employer:

“Proud to see Brex listed as one of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 most influential companies of 2023. Congratulations to all of my fellow co-workers!”

So, why did a Conway Ekpo zombie fill a seat on RIOC’s board for three years, then send chills down the spine of Main Street by threatening a return?

Was it the real Conway Ekpo joining Haynes at the Sportspark ribbon-cutting or a replica?

Three Years of the Conway Ekpo Zombie

Ekpo joined RIOC’s board in the waning days of Susan Rosenthal’s presidency and worked flawlessly through the Haynes/Hochul era. But he missed a few board meetings, and it made little difference.

Board meeting after board meeting, he agreed that he was present, adding to the quorum, and then, he consistently voted in the affirmative, without comment, on everything that came up. No joke, here. His whole dreary tenure is recorded and posted on RIOC’s website.

Several reasons were posited explaining his presence and behavior.

  • Nothing good on TV on Thursday nights
  • Couldn’t stand watching the Yankees/Giants/Jets lose again
  • It was canasta night at his home
  • The assumed person in the chair was an actual zombie

The last seemed most plausible, but the enduring mystery is why he wants a second round. It ranks right up there with the mysterious “clerical error” as the best nonsense Albany has to offer.

Everything meaningful happens behind closed doors in Albany and at RIOC in the Haynes/Hochul era. You never know who’s pulling what strings and especially not why.

But Time Brings Hope

For now, the Conway Ekpo zombie is off the board and can’t pop back in before January. That’s because the Senate, which must approve RIOC board appointments, is out of session until December.

In the meantimes, a community that cares about controlling RIOC, its excesses and secrets, has time for pleading, appealing, begging Governor Kathy Hochul to either empower the real Conway Ekpo or nominate a replacement who doesn’t return to a pod in the basement between board meetings.

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