I attended the meeting of Sullivan County’s Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation (LDC) on 3/31/22. As usual, an agenda and packet had been posted only a few hours before the meeting, in …
I attended the meeting of Sullivan County’s Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation (LDC) on 3/31/22. As usual, an agenda and packet had been posted only a few hours before the meeting, in violation of Open Meetings Law. Only three of the original members of the five-member board formed in September 2020 (to sell our county nursing home and home health agency) were there, besides Michelle Huck, who was still the recording secretary in spite of having resigned from the LDC last November.
The first business was to pass a resolution paying $18,670 to Walter Garigliano’s law firm. Was it just me raising my eyebrows? Walter is also counsel for the Sullivan County Industrial Development Association, which has an application from the LDC for a PILOT grant to pay the taxes of the Sullivan County Care Center (ACC), which the LDC now owns (the ACC was tax-exempt while county-owned.) Isn’t that, maybe, a conflict of interest for Mr. Garigliano, representing both sides? Of course, the firm of Harris Beach also works for both, and lawyers can legally represent opposing sides if both sides have informed consent, or if different lawyers from the firms represent the parties.
As a taxpayer, I’m uneasy about the ethics of this situation. It looks a lot like some guys are having their cake and eating it too, on my dime. The next resolution passed was to pay a fee of $1,000 to the IDA. All the spending on this had been unnecessary before the LDC was formed.
After approving the budget, which all goes to pay the ACC’s taxes, Bill Chellis made it clear that he will no longer serve on the LDC when his term is up in June. Mr. Feldman commented that they probably wouldn’t throw a party for him.
Finally, Mr. Feldman reported that he had phoned the administrator of the ACC to find out how things were going, as a landlord. The administrator had said everything was going great. At that point, there were protests from the public, three of whom have relatives living at the ACC, and the meeting was rapidly adjourned.
The LDC members stayed to hear the public, off the record. The daughter of a resident at the ACC talked about her father’s unwashed condition and the staff’s lack of enforcement of his oxygen orders. She berated Mr. Feldman for making unrealized promises to persuade her father to transfer to the ACC, including a single room. Mr. Feldman admitted that he had already received a complaint from Assemblywoman Gunther’s office.
Catherine Scott then described how last weekend, there were two aides on a unit with 37 patients, where her mother lives. She stated that there were too few staff (including the National Guard) to adequately care for the number of patients, with a census of 95, and that conditions there are worsening under Infinite Care Management.
Lise Kennedy lives in Neversink, NY.
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