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More Mystery Than Insight at RIOC’s Summer Board Meeting


Instead of insight, RIOC’s board added more mystery to the puzzles surrounding the agency’s operations and status.

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

It’s no secret that RIOC built a stonewall defense around itself in the last several years. They turn a cold shoulder on media requests and, according the court documents, perverted the freedom of information process.

This makes informing the community about programs and how its money is being spent, but RIOC justifies it as “controlling the narrative.”

It looks like this:

But we still try, although reading the tea leaves is an uncertain art.

More Mystery & A Summer Board Meeting

Calling an August board meeting is strange enough, but in progress, it got stranger.

First RIOC failed to provide proper public notice of the meeting as outlined in state law, just a posting on its funky website, less than one week in advance. Then, they worsened it by failing to post a link to the video version as promised.

The Daily listed the violations in an email to board chair Ruthanne Visnauskas and others. That prompted the posting of a link, but other failures went unaddressed.

When the meeting was finally called to order – a quarter-hour late – the mystery deepened because board president and chief executive officer Shelton J. Haynes was not in attendance.

Although the absence of the corporations CEO for such a high profile meeting is highly abnormal, chief counsel Gretchen Robinson conducted the public session without any reference to the missing leader.

She took the meeting immediately into executive session, meaning the public and media were ushered out. The online version fell into music and a set image.

For two hours plus…

“It’s a record for executive session,” one observer noted.

But when they returned, Gretchen Robinson was also missing. Her assistant counsel Gerard Ellis abruptly brought the meeting to adjournment.

Everyone filed out with even more mystery shrouding the super-secret state agency with zero regard for the public’s right to know.

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