Former RIOC CEO Susan Rosenthal’s response came after over three years of virtual silence during which she spoke up only in lawsuits. “I was saddened to see that the Island made the news once again recently,” she said, “with a lawsuit that was filed by Mr. Haynes against State officials.” Residents, she added, asked her to make a statement.
by David Stone
“Haynes,” of course, is RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes who last week filed a conspiracy theory-laden lawsuit against several state officials. But it wasn’t just the state that he and co-plaintiff, Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson, torched.
In essence, using comically inaccurate numbers, Haynes and Robinson accused me of leading a “racist backlash” against them after Rosenthal was fired. Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Senator Liz Krueger, they say, are “Rosenthal allies” who endorsed racist attacks.
Krueger told Crain’s New York Business that, until seeing the lawsuit, she never heard of Rosenthal. Seawright did not address the Haynes/Robinson lawsuit directly.
Our joint efforts though, they say, succeeded in ruining RIOC morale when state overseers refused to let them defend themselves.
Rosenthal, despite claims to the contrary by Haynes and Robinson, faced intense scrutiny by The Daily over lease violations in Manhattan Park, destroying the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, contaminated water fountains and unlicensed work at The Sanctuary.
Like it or not, Rosenthal took questions and defended hers and RIOC’s work. Bunker mode took over just months after Haynes took her chair.
Susan Rosenthal’s Response
We will add Rosenthal’s complete statement later, but for now, some details.
“I feel compelled to address Mr. Haynes’s attempt to rewrite history and misappropriate my accomplishments during my tenure on the Island as his own,” she writes. An associate from her attorney’s office forwarded the message to local media.
The criticism did not stop there.
“Further, and contrary to what has been reported, I want to make it clear that I never authorized or consented to Mr. Haynes working on or being compensated for any non-RIOC employment.”
This matters because we discovered, documented and reported to the Inspector General one clear violation that’s under investigation. There may be more.
“We were always required to fill out a form and request a written authorization after legal review,” one employee noted. “Jaci Flug (then General Counsel) was a stickler when it came to outside activities. Every year, the legal department would circulate emails reminding everybody that outside activities have to be reported.”
“Lastly, I want to express my deep appreciation for the support I have received from the RI-community,” Rosenthal said.
Here is her complete statement:
I am honored to have had the privilege of serving as Roosevelt Island’s General Counsel and CEO for five years, and I am proud of what was accomplished during that time. The past 3 years, since my termination, resulting from unsubstantiated allegations and a politically influenced decision, have been marked by challenges and legal battles. Nevertheless, I still deeply care about the well-being of the Island and have been following the news since my ousting.
I was saddened to see that the Island made the news once again recently, with a lawsuit that was filed by Mr. Haynes against State officials, and I feel compelled to address Mr. Haynes’ attempt to rewrite history and misappropriate my accomplishments during my tenure on the Island as his own. The residents know the truth.
Further, and contrary to what has been reported, I want to make it clear that I never authorized or consented to Mr. Haynes working on or being compensated for any non-RIOC employment.
Lastly, I want to express my deep appreciation for the support I have received from the RI-community.Susan G. Rosenthal