A document was published on the OPNLTTR web site
dated March 26, 2022 purportedly shared by a group of Roosevelt Island
Operating Corp (RIOC)
employees raising serious allegations of wrongdoings against RIOC President Shelton Haynes and certain members of the RIOC executive staff.
Among the allegations are:
- Misappropriation of state funds
- Covering up a negligent death
- Mismanagement of the AVAC System
- Abuse of power
- Predatory Behavior/Grooming and Fostering a toxic work environment
- Disability Discrimination
- Violating NYS equal employment laws
Violating NYS ethics laws: JCOPE (title 19/disclosure of outside
This morning, I sent an email to RIOC President Shelton Haynes asking for
comment regarding the allegations:
… As related specifically to the Swift Emergency Covid Test Site, do you
have any comment on the following allegations:
- Haynes shared internally and publicly that Swift Emergency Care was an
OGS vendor and recommended by New York State, which was not the case.
- It was shared by Haynes that “emergency funds” were approved to use for
all activities to operate the site including renovations of the
storefront (brokered by Hudson Related), equipment, furniture, signage,
and fees to the doctors. These purchases, however, are listed under
different line items in the RIOC budget.
- Swift purchase orders totalled $53K a month and they demanded payment be
received in five days rather than RIOC’s Net 30 requirement. When this
“unique request” was flagged, Haynes bullied staff into meeting the
As related to the Sportspark Pool drowning death, do you have any comment
on the following:
Covering Up a Negligent Death at Sportspark Pool
On Sunday, May 16th, a swimmer at RIOC’s Sportspark Pool died due to
negligence of RIOC lifeguards and personnel. Upon learning of the death,
Haynes quickly and quietly met with RIOC Public Safety Department Chief,
Kevin Brown; Deputy Director of RIOC Public Safety Department, Anthony
Amoroso; Assistant Vice President of Administration (formerly the
Director of HR), Tajuna Sharpe; General Counsel (formerly the Internal
Controls Officer), Gretchen Robinson; and the Assistant Vice President
of Special Programs & Operations (formerly the Director of
Operations), Altheria Jackson.
Video footage of the incident shows that RIOC lifeguards were not at
their assigned posts and not paying attention to the pool. For this
reason, it was other swimmers in the pool who took notice of the young
man, who had been in distress for so long that he had sunk to the bottom
of the pool.
Video footage also shows that poolside efforts to revive the young man
were chaotic, with members of the public administering CPR before any of
the lifeguards. The lifeguards on duty that day were either fired or
left due to the traumatizing incident.
In the weeks following the death, staff working closely with Haynes were
threatened and verbally told not to email any correspondence related to
the incident and that all discussions and communication about it would
be done over the phone, only, per advisement from General Counsel
(formerly the Internal Controls Officer), Gretchen Robinson.
As related to executives receiving overtime pay:
Historically, executives were not qualified to receive overtime pay.
Changes made specifically to the employee handbook to benefit Haynes and
other executives to receive overtime pay for board and committee meetings,
and community functions held after normal business hours and on the
Haynes has been known to secretly record conversations with staff,
including the former President, Susan Rosenthal. In 2019, Haynes recorded
Rosenthal speaking to him with explicit racially charged language, where
Rosenthal referred to him by the “N-word”. Instead of reporting
Rosenthal’s behavior and the incident to Albany, Haynes shared the
recording with a select group of minority subordinates to gain sympathy…
There has been no response from RIOC at time of publishing.
Prior to the document being posted on the public
website, it was sent to Roosevelt Island elected officials included
Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright
NYC Council Member Julie Menin.
Asked to comment of these allegations, a spokesperson for Assembly Member
Rebecca Seawright reports:
The office received a document via an anonymous email on
March 21. The document has been referred to the New York State
Inspector General’s office for review.
NYC Council Member Julie Menin replied:
Any and all allegations of wrongdoing must be taken with extreme
seriousness and I expect the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation to
provide a statement addressing the concerns outlined in this
document. All claims must be expeditiously and thoroughly
investigated and the public must be apprised of the results of the
The Roosevelt Island Daily first reported existence of this
letter last Friday.