No Request for Proposal; No Transparency; No Public Knowledge
Yonkers Powerful “Friends and Family” Network Continues to Thrive Behind Closed Doors
YONKERS, NY — April 4, 2017 — Sources with direct knowledge who requested anonymity last week advised, as corroborated thereafter through other sources in the know, that former New York State Supreme Court Appellate Justice Robert Spolzino has gained employment with the Yonkers Board of Education Department as its YBoE Corporation Counsel. The “family and friends” network member is said to be employed at a minimum sum of $1-plus million and/or more; open ended by the billing the City of Yonkers (CoY) has permitted him. No Request for Proposal (RFP) was demanded, whether by protocol through the Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE) Board of Trustees or not, or whether a requirement through the City of Yonkers Board of Contract and Supply (YBoCS) is demanded or not, the deal done!
The Yonkers Tribune was notified that Spolzino’s hiring was neither divulged to the YBoE Board of Trustees, nor to the Yonkers City Council membership. There are however a divergence of “stories” being told over these shenanigans. Some among the knowledgeable sources refute those who claim not to have been told yet in actuality have been made aware. They cling to feigning knowledge of what really has transpired.
Yonkers Tribune learned that Spolzino’s employment was accomplished at the behest of former Senator Nick Spano cajoling his brother Mayor Mike Spano to engage the legal services of Robert Spolzino. Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin was on board in support of Mayor Mike Spano hiring Spolzino. It is a given that Liam McLaughlin has been carrying Nick and MikeSpano’s water for many years. The Yonkers Board of Contract and Supply (YBoCS) did not scrutinize nor hire Spolzino. So who did? And why? It remains a mystery how the hiring was accomplished. What is certain is but it was!
Looming very large over promoting employment of Robert Spolzino are historical dots that can be traced to former Senator Nick Spano. Spolzino was counsel for Nick Spano when Spano was Westchester County Republican Leader, and was also counsel when Nick Spano was New York State Senator.
Since the hostile takeover of the independent YBoE was consummated, Mayor Mike Spano validated the merger by asserting that removing duplicate services among the two entities would save the YBoE $10 million every year. Since Yonkers Public Schools District Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada returned from Albany, NY, approximately two weeks ago, Yonkersites have learned the YBoE Department is in the hole to the tune of $38 million. WHat happened to the savings?
Those who are knowledgeable over the circumstances that brought about Spolzino being hired to counsel to the YBoE suggest Spolzino, employed by the respected Wilson Elser law firm from October 2009 until March 2017, an eight-year tenure, recognizing his personal worth, bolstered by $5 million in yearly billings, approached the Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP law firm to become a partner in the firm. They showed no interest. Miffed and disgruntled, Spolzino approached Smith, Buss, & Jacobs LLP, a Yonkers-based law firm, hoping to entice them to make him a partner. Smith, Buss, & Jacobs LLP were seduced by Spolzino’s hefty $5 million in billings. Spolzino is now a partner at Smith, Buss, & Jacobs LLP.
It does seem curious to contemplate why Wilson Elser would acquiesce to Spolzino departing their firm without a counter offer. While the story is credible for the most part, the prospect of holes in the telling of this Swiss cheese tapestry suggests some connecting dots are yet to be revealed or recognized.
It is most credible that legal eagle Spolzino, having earned an impeccably elite educational resume from The George Washington University, AB,History: 1976 – 1980, and St. John’s University School of Law, JD, Law: 1980 – 1983 can and will likely be engaged with specific responsibilities to assist Mayor Mike Spano’s interest in Extending Term Limits, to direct the Public Private Partnership concept in resuscitating the dilapidated school buildings infrastructure, among other concerns of governance, and economic development. Issues that can gain traction or become vulnerable to the vicissitudes and contentious political contests ahead.
While the prospects for Yonkersites continue to diminish under the aegis of Mayor Mike Spano, the Spano brand continues to rise many times over upon their behalf with Liam McLaughlin on tow, but little or nothing for the public interest.