The Government of Putnam County is out of control. There are too many people making too much money for doing very little actual productive work. Virtually all appointments are based not on merit, but who you know or what favors you can call in. Almost every department and agency, with few exceptions, is run this way and the taxpayers are getting screwed. In Put Valley it’s particularly egregious under the iron rule of Bully in Chief Tendy who has dreams of attaining even more punitive power by someday becoming the Chief Prosecutor, aka the DA, where he will be able to crush his enemies with impunity. I can’t imagine that Adam Levy with all his faults is any worse than this tyrant.
I do believe that the man who would be DA – Bob-O would be much, much, much worse than Adam Levy, not even in the same universe. Would it seem, though, that the Hudson Valley Reporter was a political invention for the Levy-Odell faction of the Putnam Valley Grand Ole Boys?
That’s an excellent point. Seems like at least 2 of the former HVR staff now have beau coup jobs at the County. Check out this article from the March 2, 1014 issue of Lohud:
CARMEL – Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy has hired a public information officer to work at his office, paying the former newspaper editor with his own funds and without notifying the county personnel office, which screens workers, The Journal News confirmed.
Levy says the position saves taxpayers money, but County Legislator Sam Oliverio, D-Putnam Valley, called the move “bizarre,” questioning whether it’s legal to give someone access to confidential law enforcement records without county approval and whether it could create liability issues.
“The problem with it is that a regular person not employed by the county, not thoroughly vetted by the county, cannot have access to the District Attorney’s Office, which has highly confidential materials,” said Oliverio, who pointed out that the office handles pending criminal cases such as assault, rape and attempted murder.
“The bottom line is no elected official can hire their own people to be involved in the people’s work,” he said. “This blows my mind.”
Levy’s public relations firm in Manhattan, Sheinkopf Ltd., which had been issuing Levy’s news releases, would not say whether Michelle Carter, the former Putnam County editor of the Hudson Valley Reporter, was given a criminal background check. They also would not describe the process Levy uses to screen employees before they are given access to the office, which is tightly restricted.
According to county Personnel Director Paul Eldridge, prospective assistant district attorneys are subject to criminal background checks by Levy and the personnel office verifies their credentials, eligibility to work in the U.S. and other information.
Asked Wednesday about Carter, Eldridge said his office had no record of her, even though she started work on the first of the year, has two county email addresses and has been issuing office news releases on Putnam County letterhead. It’s unclear who set up her email accounts, but that is typically done by the IT department at the department head’s request, Eldridge said.
“Apparently, the D.A. filed the appropriate paperwork with the IT department,” Eldridge said.
County IT Director Thomas Lannon declined comment, referring questions to the county law department. County Attorney Jennifer Bumgarner, who has been asked by Oliverio whether Carter’s hiring was legal, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Asked whether she was given a background check, Carter said, “I’m a private contractor. To my knowledge, that’s not something that’s required.” Carter, who would not say what Levy was paying her, said she has no arrests or convictions and Levy was “well aware” of her background when he hired her. She said she works both in the office and remotely, but doesn’t have a designated desk and uses her own equipment.
“It’s not like I have unlimited access to things in the District Attorney’s Office,” she said. “I just do PR.”
It’s the latest issue for Levy, the son of TV’s Judge Judy Sheindlin. His office is under investigation by the state police and the state Attorney General’s Office Public Integrity Bureau for its conduct in the 2009 prosecution of former county sheriff candidate Andrew DeStefano for filing forged nominating petitions. Levy also has been under fire for reportedly disclosing grand jury information in a child rape case involving his former live-in personal trainer Alexandru Hossu, an illegal immigrant from Romania. That trial is set to begin next week.
Levy praised Carter and two county employees he recently hired in a news release issued after The Journal News inquired about Carter’s employment status. The two county hires are Assistant District Attorney Andres Gil and Lourdes “Lulu” Gonzalez, a bilingual investigator, fluent in Spanish, who has extensive training in investigating child sex crimes.
Carter has a “reputation as an honest and no-nonsense journalist who excelled at investigative reporting and uncovering the truth, no matter how much it was hidden by those who wanted it kept a secret,” the release said.
“The thought that anyone could besmirch, either directly or by inference, the honorable and impeccable reputations of any of my new additions is a new low, even in Putnam County politics,” Levy said in a statement Friday.
“My focus is on keeping the residents of Putnam County safe from violent and non-violent criminals, corrupt politicians, and the huge influx of heroin that’s killing our youth. My public information officer, Michelle Carter, will ensure that my attention remains focused on the good people of Putnam, and not the endless barrage of nonsense spewed by a few local politicos and their friends at the local tabloid paper.”
Law enforcement agencies often subject prospective employees to rigorous background checks. Job applicants, including civilians, to the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, must provide fingerprints, which are checked against criminal databases and their driver’s license, so their driving record can be researched, according to county police spokesman Kieran O’Leary.
Applicants also must provide three personal references, and three professional references, so a detective can interview them. Neighbors also are interviewed.
Putnam County Legislator Kevin Wright, a Republican, who is the county’s former district attorney, said it’s important to exercise “caution” before letting someone work at the prosecutor’s office and look at the files.
“There’s a great deal of highly sensitive information that is to be found in the files of the district attorney and I would hope that some appropriate vetting process was undertaken before anyone had access to that office,” Wright said.
“Access to those records, many of which are sealed by nature by (the) courts, is an area of concern.”
25 CONNECTTWEETLINKEDIN 5 COMMENTEMAIL
The landscape of Putnam Valley politics will change dramatically over the next 18 months. My prognostications:
November 2014: Oliverio loses his race for county executive. Whetsel wins her election and fills Oliverio’s seat on the county legislature.
Thereafter: The Town Board fills the vacancy (Whetsel’s seat) with Mike Raimondi. Tom Carano becomes chair of Planning.
Election timetable 2015: Tendy loses the GOP primary against Adam Levy. At this point, it is too late for Tendy to run for re-election as Putnam Valley supervisor; he is gone from town government. Oliverio and Mackay run against each other run for Democratic nomination for Putnam Valley supervisor. Oliverio wins primary, and wins general election against Annabi.
Net result: Tendy is gone, Whetsel is in Carmel, Oliverio is in Town Hall. Raimondi sits on the Town Board.
Willie- I think you pretty well nailed it. Hard to believe that a loser like McKay has any further political aspirations. He is a mean spirited, stupid low life who has no business as a “public servant.” In fact, I believe that the current town board is the most loathsome in the history of Put Valley. And given the time I’ve live here and been politically active, that’s saying something.
I’m not sure who you are Willie, but thanks for checking this blog and commenting. I wish that you would come out to some of the town board meetings and say something. Anything.
Whetsel is another one who should have been voted out years ago. She keeps her dubious tie to the NFP PV Residents group and that gives her some kind of street cred with the no nothing sheeple who currently reside in this God forsaken town.
Biggest problem of all- NOBODY CARES ANYMORE.
This is a younger, more affluent crowd that lives here. YOu can raise their taxes till the cows come home and they won’t say a peep. Don’t know where they get all their money, but they’ve got it and won’t be inconvenienced in any way by participating in the government that’s bleeding them dry. All for the greater glory of Bully Boy Bob.
I would have thought that they would give Wendy’s TB seat to Bill Gouldman if he loses. He is campaigning much more strenuously than WW, and is more affable, though he seems not to know anything at all about government.
The supposed rapist was acquitted. The case was so poor, it would seem that the reason it was prosecuted was to try to discredit Levy. Bob-O has lots of negative baggage, but a seeming good relationship with the press. The Cornu case was brought first in 1997, and the town lost at the Court of Appeals in 2000, The Town immediately resumed hostility. It was in remission for years because of Sam D. and a judge, but Tendy’s feuds know no bounds. The latest, keeping Cathy, the famed Doctors without Borders nurse, in the case, when she has no legal ability to do anything, wastes tax dollars, and it’s just mean. The handling of that case alone should disqualify Bob-O. I hear that Kaspar will be back in court again in August. Would we really want a DA who litigates for decades on end?
My impression has been that DA Levy will not be running again.
I had to let my personal trainer go. He was eating too much.
The Hossu case is about Bob-O’s only campaign issue.
The Cornu case has had a great deal of publicity over the years, and it will again for the Man who would be DA. The couple is older, they have had a remediation plan for years now, their removal from the house doesn’t seem to be vaguely legal and Bob-O seems lots meaner.
There is lots more. Bob-O documented his support of Leibell after the fall. It will all become significant for a DA race. Bob-O has a long history regarding his attitude toward the law.
If Levy chooses not to run for re-election as DA, I suspect that a candidate from the other side of the county will primary Tendy. Putnam County’s demographics favor candidates from the Mahopac-Carmel area in county-wide races because that’s where the voters are. I wouldn’t even count on Tendy’s having a reliable voter base in Putnam Valley since 35-40% of the town can’t stand the guy. Furthermore, a good candidate will be able to hang Tendy’s support for Leibell around Tendy’s neck like an albatross. Perhaps I am engaging in wishful thinking, but I envision a scenario where Tendy is gone from town politics.
I don’t think the Bully in chief (BIC) can hide his arrogance, no matter where you’re from. And that’s one thing nobody likes, an arrogant bully who by the way is also a liar. We have written proof, his own emails, that he personally launched the latest 3 year round of litigation against the Cornu’s. This has cost the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars while he ran his little vendetta against an elderly couple, one of whom works for the humanitarian organization Doctors without Borders. Not only that, but there are endless town board meetings that have been video taped, any one of which has a treasure chest of material that can be used against him.
Unlike his Supervisor position, the District Attorney is “exactly the job” he’s been looking for. I guess he must spend most of his time fantasizing about having a nice big office in Carmel. With Tendy, it’s always about having a bigger one.
Maybe we can put off building the Leibell Wing at town hall till after we see if he’s successful. No sense expanding his orifice unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Saturday Jul 5, 2014
PV Supervisor Confirms Run for Putnam DA
David Propper | Jul 03, 2014 |
It may be more than a year away, but Bob Tendy is wasting no time on working to attain the seat of Putnam County District Attorney in 2015.
Tendy, in an interview with The Putnam Examiner, confirmed he is going for the office of District Attorney when the seat is up for grabs in 2015, which would set up a primary with Republican incumbent Adam Levy 15 months from now if Levy chooses to run. Tendy, who is currently an attorney in private practice and the supervisor for Putnam Valley, hammered away at Levy’s alleged involvement in the Alexandru Hossu case and his frosty relationship with Sheriff Don Smith. He also stated the responsibilities of the DA’s position match well with his skill set.
Speculation has been rampant about Tendy seeking the Putnam DA post and he has been openly critical of Levy. The longtime Putnam resident said he plans on making a formal announcement about his run shortly after the Fourth of July weekend.
Tendy said residents in the county need to have “complete, unquestioned faith” in their district attorney, something Tendy believes is lacking in Putnam.
“I don’t like what I’ve been seeing from the District Attorney’s office,” he said. “I think it puts a black mark on law enforcement and I think it makes our county look bad. It makes the legal system in our county look bad.”
The main point Tendy brought up against Levy was his alleged involvement in the Hossu rape case, even though Levy recused himself from the case because Hossu was his personal trainer and friend. Levy has acknowledged paying for part of the defense fee for Hossu. Also, Levy’s brother-in-law, Daniel Mentzer, was hired as Hossu’s attorney after the prior lawyer left the case.
News media reports also indicated Levy was actively trying to inject himself into the case and the defense strategy, while also criticizing the Westchester District Attorney who prosecuted the case in emails to the former defense attorney Robert Altchiler.
The alleged involvement was enough for lead prosecutor Fred Green to ask the judge residing over the case to look into Levy’s actions, though Justice Lester Adler deemed nothing improper. Several local officials also called for the New York Attorney General’s office to investigate Levy and some even called for him to resign, including Tendy. It was never publicly confirmed if any investigation took place by the state.
Hossu was acquitted and some jurors said after the trial was over that he was “100 percent innocent.” Right now, Hossu is fighting against being departed back to his home country of Romania because when he was arrested his work visa had expired.
Tendy said it troubles him that not too many people have been discussing the case or scrutinizing Levy over the allegations. He even said he started considering running for DA once he read news reports about Levy and the case, but stated that’s not his only concern with Levy, also noting “that’s the most serious of them.”
Other concerns Tendy cited were Levy’s poor relationship with Sheriff Smith, the hiring of a personal publicist out of his own pocket that was originally done without county knowledge, and the resignation of chief assistant district attorney Christopher York, “which seemed to come out of nowhere.”
“There are a whole bunch of issues that should not be issues in a district attorney’s office that is running smoothly and professionally,” he said. “Too many.”
Levy declined an interview request through a spokesperson.
Commenting on the contention between Levy and Smith, Tendy said he believes the fault lies with Levy. Levy is suing Smith for $5 million over defamation of character for sending out a press release that clams Levy was interfering with the investigation of Hossu. In April, Smith filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against Levy for claims Levy made in a newspaper article about Smith.
Tendy said he has a “very good relationship” with Smith and even said he had a good relationship with Levy, and voted for him both times when Levy ran in 2007 and 2011, though both races were uncontested.
Tendy worked for the Manhattan DA’s office for four years up until 1993 and worked for a Wall Street firm for a year after that before getting into private practice as a criminal defense attorney, which is what he still does now.
Tendy said as the town supervisor, he’s has the administrative knack to properly run and organize the district attorney’s office. But one aspect of the job that might be different from how other elected district attorneys run their office is the idea Tendy would be going inside the courtroom to prosecute cases. District attorneys lose touch with the various workers involved in the legal system from police officers and the defense bar to court clerks and judges, Tendy said.
“You have to be willing to have some skin in the game, you can’t sit on the throne above it all,” Tendy said.
Currently, Tendy is filing the appropriate paperwork with the Putnam County Board of Elections, which should be done in the next few days and then an announcement will be held at a location to be determined. And then Tendy’s early bird start to his campaign will officially get off the ground.
“I’m very confident I can do an excellent job as Putnam County District Attorney,” Tendy said. “I think the job is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
Just noticed on Channel 12, News Westchester, that there was a video about the pub opening that featured MEO and the cast of characters that we are reading about. It all looks so positive and uplifting.