Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bernardo Watch: Conflict of Interest, Anyone?

A conflict of interest is defined as a situation in which a person has multiple interests, one of which could potentially corrupt one of the others. And if you want to see a textbook example of this, plain as day, take a look at David O'Halloran and the weight he's throwing around as the head of the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency. O'Halloran, for example, has been using his position as chairman to go after developer Steve Aaron. Just last week, Aaron was hauled before the IDA to pay an allegedly delinquent tax bill (see previous post on the subject). Aaron bit the bullet and paid, despite what appears to be unequal treatment at the hands of O'Halloran.

For example, the Bernardos are also IDA loan recipients, in this case for their Skatetime 209 business in Accord. The funny thing is, they too are under an "action plan" by the IDA, as Skatetime's jobs claims -- the number of jobs the IDA was told Skatetime would provide to the local community -- have never really added up. Thus, the IDA has Skatetime on this list (along with Aaron and a few other developers). According to minutes for the IDA meeting this past August, there were a number of issues with Skatetime:
TLB Management (Skatetime 209)
o Jobs issue - specifically the interpretation of what a full-time equivalent employee is
  • Subsequent to this application the Agency has defined a full-time equivalent employee so that situations such of these no longer occur
o This year they reported the equivalent of 12 full time employees
o The project created a destination venue and has generated tourism activity for the county
o Independent contractors should be defined as the federal government is looking at this to generate more tax revenue
o Currently the extent of the PILOT, sales tax relief, and mortgage relief is based on the type of project and the number of jobs - there is a Matrix in place
 • In the past, when some of these projects were started, it was not as clear from a legally enforceable standpoint - our actual agreement did not make the number of jobs created a legally enforceable provision in the way it does now
 • If there is a default now, we have a Project Benefit Agreement, that if they do not make their job levels we can claw-back these benefits
 • The older projects did not sign the Project Benefit Agreement
o Currently under-performing with their job numbers
o ACTION PLAN: No further action at this time - they will remain on the list. CEO Matteson will follow up via telephone regarding the independent contractor issue.
In other words, the IDA took no action against the Bernardos, though it did decide to go after Aaron. I wonder why this could be? Oh, maybe it had something to do with the fact that O'Halloran is good buddies with the Bernardos. It's O'Halloran, after all, who is holding the Friends of Terry Bernardo fundraiser at Hillside Manor on February 28 at 7 p.m. RSVP to O'Halloran at (845) 853-4967 if you're interested in attending. This is also the same David O'Halloran who is angling for a position on the newly constituted Ulster County Local Development Corporation, a position over which the Bernardos -- totally coincidentally, I'm sure -- wield an enormous amount of power. This conflict of interest, in fact, has begun to rankle some of the folks in the opposition:
As members of the Ulster County Legislature stand ready to appoint their representatives to the Golden Hill Local Development Corporation Board, Minority Leader David Donaldson has made his own suggestions as to eligibility.

Anyone that is affiliated with any hospital has a potential conflict if placed on the LDC board, Donaldson wrote in a letter to all lawmakers sent by email.

As an example, he said that Ellenville Regional Hospital President Steven Kelley and County Industrial Development Agency President David O’Halloran should be disqualified as candidates, Donaldson said. Any member of the IDA should not be on the board as they may be involved in both the sale and possible financing which he said may create a conflict.

Donaldson, a Democrat said he also agrees with Health Committee Chairman Robert Aiello, a Republican, that anyone who is a licensed real estate agent should be excluded for consideration because they could use their position to help steer a sale of the property.
The Bernardo Junta, of course, sees nothing wrong with this. Hey, if everyone makes a little cash on the side, what's the big deal? Right?:
Republican Legislature Chairwoman Terry Bernardo, though, said the county has “highly qualified resumes from across the county” including experts in finance, healthcare and human services. “While Legislator Donaldson plays politics, we will be working to ensure qualified people sit on the LDC,” she said.

Bernardo said the legislature will review all resumes and make a collective decision. “I care about a fair, non-politicized process which allows everyone who is interested to be considered fairly.”
Yep. Fair and balanced. It's all good, as long as elected officials don't -- gasp! -- engage in politics (which is rather an odd suggestion, given their chosen profession), and the Bernardos get to appoint their handpicked flunkies to these plum positions.


  1. Oh come now -- I'm sure the upstanding Bernardos fixed their employee problem. Their IDA application stated they'd create 20 full-time jobs. Can you imagine??? If they have 5 full-timers, including Len and Terry, I'd be shocked. Where is the IDA on this one? Oh, that's right -- they're trying to say that Skatetime now qualifies for the tax break as a tourism destination. Good to have a buddy like O'Halloran on your side.

  2. wasn't bernardo the one who wrote to a tourist magazine saying that the girl scouts had to leave Pinegrove Ranch because of bed bugs. Now there best friends. or should we say bedfellows

  3. "The same David O'Halloran who is angling for a position on the newly constituted Ulster County Local Development Corporation"?

    Shocking, I know. The Bernardo cabal is bent on a mission to take over Ulster County and seems to be accomplishing its goals.

  4. Well lets take a look at who created the Reublican demise. I look at Senator john Bonacic. The party chairs wife works for him. His chief of staff doesn't live here but has a $50,000 no show job as attorney. The Senator doesn't live here and lives in a county that he represents very little of. (For a reason I'm sure)he broke his pledge on redistricting and got Ulster all chopped up. Now that the party is all broke he will leave town. Not for another county but for another state since he owns a home in where Arizona!!!!! If he runs in NY ever again it will be to soon let everyone in the new district he created know the damage he can do before its to late

  5. I have been following the entire "Bernardo scandal" for quite some time now - since Mr. Bernardo's failed attempt to gain control of Ulster County through his failed County Executive candidacy. (yes, I am aware that I committed an English faux pas by using the word "failed" twice in that sentence - however, I have now won a bet that I couldn't use the word Bernardo and the word failed twice in the same sentence.) If Mrs. Len Bernardo owes Mr. O'Halloran a nice cushy postion (sounds like he needs one with the above mentioned bed bug issue) she should also owe the same to all of the Town of Rochester voters (her "neighbors") that she bamboozled by leading them to believe that she actually cares about Rochester or the people of Rochester (aka: taxpayers) based on the lack of action in the IDA action plan. The thing that amazes me the most about all of this is that there are people who are actually shocked by Len Bernardo's coup d'├ętat of all of the Ulster County political parties/organizations. It seems that many were too late to realize that this sweet little couple with their two adorable pups were positioning themselves since Mr. Bernardo's failed attempt to gain the control that he hungered for with his failed County Executive candidacy. (yes, I did it again - I wonder do I get to collect twice on the bet!?!?) By what I have been reading in the news and on the internet lately it seems that this sweet little couple are beginning to fall from grace as the taxpayers/voters are beginning to see how self serving and corrupt they really are. Please, I discourage any standing ovations for this act because I dread to see what they might do for an encore. Popcorn and soda anyone?

  6. I think I got it!! All these little guys with the big egos( Bernardo, Chapman, Paretes, Ronk) all must have a hold on O'Halloran (a pretty big guy) by what nicely put is the short hairs and are squeezing him about some shelton in the closet or something he wants. Squeez hard so we can find out what it is. Money for Bonacic maybe according to 9:28

  7. conflict of interest the new chief of staff i.e. attorney is now wrinting resolutions for the county that are state resolutions? Vote on retirement tier? Chief of staff in Albany the chairs personel attorney now having the county address state issues.WTF

  8. O'Halloran will get the appointment as will Perfit who O'halloran controls with the IDA. Can the IDA get involved in the deal? ANother conflict or I'm sure the attorney will say no way!! ARROGANCE that what we call it