It could happen to you.
SYSTEMIC FAILURE IN SOUTHEASTERN QUEENS FOR ITS CONSTITUENCY
By RICHARD C. IRITANO
Dear QUEENS-POLITICS Editor:
My name is RICHARD C. IRITANO, and I live in Ozone Park, QUEENS, New York. For more than three years (and far longer with previous administrations), I have been unable to demand justice from my city councilman, Eric Ulrich, or state assemblyman, Michael Miller. I have presented documented evidence to both politicians, of whom I am a constituent, regarding cover up, corruption and sabotage, where an investigation had commenced with the New York City Department of Investigations in May, 1993 that was never completed—and mysteriously and abruptly aborted without notification. That public watchdog probe was supposed to address how the New York City Transit Authority made knowingly false, fake and inflammatory information about myself, when they chose to state in writing to the Department of Labor that I had falsified records, documents and company sign sheets. Transit Authority management wrote to the DOL in an effort to block my entitlement to collect unemployment insurance benefits, where only days earlier, on April 18, 2013, I was told that my provisional services were no longer required—only three months after I received my fourth promotion in five years. I was never told in person that I falsified any records, and worse, the woman who hired me in the last promotion that I was supposed to receive (but never did), had no authority to hire me, and insisted that I sign in at 8:00 a.m. daily, then disappear for the day until 4:00 p.m. when my day ended, so that management would not detect that I could be questioned if they should pay a visit to her office. I was forced to comply but had written a daily diary about this betrayal of trust that she entangled me into. (She retired honorably—I, the “whistleblower” was left to rot in obscurity.
The Transit Authority never showed up in court after their multiple allegations that I falsified records, and I therefore won my unemployment benefits retroactively. Before I ever stepped foot into an unemployment office, I immediately complained to the MTA Office of the Inspector General (State of New York), and their General Counsel, Michael Boxer. Mr. Boxer ignored the corruption and cover up, contradicted firmly established evidence and failed to investigate for three solid years from April, 1989 when I requested an immediate investigation. The MTA only took action after I was forced to sue under an Article 78 Proceeding to seek, reinstatement, back pay and attorney fees, whereupon the Transit Authority admitted in court that they were not aware of my falsifying any and all documents. For three solid years, this city agency (and inspector general’s office that is governed by New York State), continue to conceal evidence that could have restored my job, career, pension and retirement benefits, but chose to look the other way, while I had to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending myself in court for charges that never existed, and that were exposed to the MTA Inspector General after an oral argument hearing on May 9, 1991 revealed the deception and cover up. The Appellate Court Chief Justice Rosenbaum called the actions of the Transit Authority and MTA unconsciounable, and prepared a ‘bench order’ for the Transit Authority to immediately expunge my department and central personnel files from any false and inflammatory information that suggested there was any misconduct committed by me. The Transit Authority complied in writing on the next day, May 10, 1991, but I never was able to see my personnel files—despite several Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests that were sent by certified mail. The corruption, cover up and sabotage were never addressed by the Transit Authority, or its parent company, the MTA and its Inspector General’s Office where General Counsel Michael Boxer has always been wholly aware of the dishonesty perpetuated by the MTA. Whereas Michael Boxer could have recommended immediate reinstatement that could have made me “whole” again, he chose to conclude his own internal report that was three years delinquent by stating that, “Serious questions are raised about Mr. Iritano and record falsification,” which was simply not true, and firmly supported by the Transit Authority’s complete reversal of all misconduct allegations against me during oral argument in Appellate Court, Second Department, on May 9, 1991.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn (whom I contacted in writing in August, 2006), Councilman Eric Ulrich and Assemblyman Michael Miller have collectively known about these charges for more than three years. In fact, my story has been profiled twice, on September 30, 2010 in The Queens Chronicle, and in April, 1998, in The Forum of Queens. Ms. Quinn’s patronage mill administration has created a hostile environment with me that betrays public service, and Ms. Quinn herself has contradicted the facts and mission of the City Council in the initial letter that she sent to my home address, dated August 31, 2006, where she clearly states that, “The Council is committed to ensuring that the laws and practices of city agencies are fair and just. This extends to the terms and conditions of employment, termination of employment, and decisions on pensions.” Clearly, my case of dishonesty, sabotage and official city misconduct fall in line with Mr. Quinn’s written purview. In fact, Assemblyman Michael Miller wrote a letter to Ms. Quinn in September, 2012 (and I am still waiting to see it, despite multiple requests), supposedly questioning the jurisdiction of the City Council with regard to their failure to demand a completed investigation by the Department of Investigations (that DOI investigators and officials initiated in May, 1993, but failed to complete), and Ms. Quinn’s own role to initiate her own, independent investigation, as her August, 2006 letter clearly states. When Mr. Miller showed me the reply to his letter to Ms. Quinn, dated December 6, 22012, it yet again contradicts her initial letter to me from six years ago, suggesting that her office cannot help me, despite an incomplete investigation by DOI investigators, intimating that the Transit Authority is a state governed agency (I maintained a CITY pension with New York City Employees’ Retirement System, and the agency that I worked for is the MTA New York City Transit). Ms. Quinn continues to ignore these firmly established facts, and Mr. Miller still hasn’t sent a rebuttal reply to her office, despite meeting with Mr. Miller on Monday, December 17, 2012, and urging him to respond, with my assisted help in composing an evidentiary letter (with document attachments). Moreover, Mr. Ulrich’s office has repeatedly refused to meet with me (after an initial meeting that took place at his Ozone Park headquarters, on Monday, October 4, 2010, that followed my profiled story in The Queens Chronicle a few days earlier, on Thursday, Sepbember 30th), and do his job (which is a dereliction of public duty, and a clear violation of the oath of public office that he swore to uphold). Likewise, Michael Miller is wholly aware of the evidence and Eric Ulrich’s failure to investigate by re-ordering a completed investigation by the New York City Department of Investigations, but won’t take any action of his own to help me reverse this travesty of justice and retaliatory sabotage. Mr. Miller has accompanied me to Albany, in September, 2010, to meet with former Governor Paterson’s labor relations director, Jeffrey Mann, who squarely blamed this cover up on city government (where I once had a pension with NYCERS, before I was frozen out of the system after five inactive years). Likewise, Eric Ulrich and his former chief of staff, Bart Haggerty (whose brother John embezzled nearly one million dollars from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reelection campaign (and was convicted last year followed by mandatory prison time that he will be serving this year), continued to blame the State of New York, where the MTA Office of the Inspector General has jurisdiction, (where they continue to ignore the corruption, cover up and evidence (that firmly supports my case) with impugnity. Hence, the state blames the city; the city blames the state, and I have been left to rot for nearly 24 years, despite solid and indisputable evidence that should have been able to ascribe blame, punishment and official city and state misconduct to the management who conspired to stall, delay and ignore solid evidence that my case wholly supports—based on a body of evidence that has never changed, to my complete advantage of honesty, transparency and full disclosure.
When clear abuses of “Taxation Without Representation” are evident, public service officials like Ulrich and Miller, of whom I am a constituent, refuse to take action and do what they are paid in a position that demands their challenge to authority, and to question, remedy and address any concern of a constituent, where does someone like me turn to for help, action, accountability and a proper, completed investigation? My employment record has been spotty in an environment of under paid, underemployment ever since this debacle infected my life and destroyed my standards of living, without the security of my earned and deserved pension, health insurance, and independence as my family and me continue to languish in deeper levels of beggary, obscurity, quiet desperation, helplessness, hopelessness and local government anarchy. I deserve representation from the public servants whose purview includes representation to me as a constituent with a solid cause of action. My lawyer, Robert Ligansky, proved willful misconduct by the Transit Authority, and failure of the MTA to properly investigate, and when the MTA finally completed their intentionally delayed investigation from April, 1989 to September, 1992, there still was no firm resolve or recommendation for restitution from Michael Boxer and the MTA Inspector General’s Office, where I was a total victim of a corrupt, dishonest, dishonorable and disloyal bureaucracy—despite a full reversal of all previous allegations against me by the Transit Authority that was revealed in Appellate Court, Second Department, on May 9, 1991, where my lawyer and me personally witnessed their on-the-record testimony and reversal. I don’t need another lawyer—I need my local representatives to demand a fair, honest, thorough investigation without further delay, and to question both the Transit Authority and MTA Office of the Inspector General’s Office (and Michael Boxer), who don’t seem to be accountable to no one, because they appear to be exalted.
I would greatly appreciate some urgently needed help from Republican Committee Chairperson, Phil Ragusa, City Councilman Dan Halloran and anyone else who can offer reliable help, in lieu of the epic failure, apathy, arrogance and cowardice that have been solidly present throughout my debacle with Eric Ulrich and Michael Miller (and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., and his predecessor, Serfin Maltese). I can be reached at my home number, 718/835-6948. My cell telephone number is 917/837-2573. Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office telephone number in Ozone Park is 718/641-1591; Assembly Michael Miller can be reached at his Woodhaven office at 718/805-0950. Both representatives have offered nothing beyond neverending stress, anxiety, and a “delay, deny, and hope that you die” bureaucracy. With so many scandals of corruption that effect and relate to constituents like me who have practically had to beg for proper representation with regard to honest, ethical city and state government leadership, I should not have to lose my pension, present and future because of false, fake and failed leadership—and the very public representatives who have collectively been the obstacle to fair labor practices and treatment, that now overshadow any corruption and misconduct by the Transit Authority and MTA. The hurdles keep getting bigger for me to jump over, while politicians throw their hands up in the air and feign cluelessness. I am disgusted, fed up and betrayed by corrupt, dishonest and hostile leadership. Please respond with urgently needed help.
RICHARD C. IRITANO
107-41 107th Street
Ozone Park, New York 11417
917/837-2573 (cell telephone)