Thursday, April 26, 2012

Paul Marks and Martha Stark

Paul Marks is a lawyer at the Law Department. He represents the city in disputes with city employees. Marks represented the city in a defamation case that I brought against the NYCERS Board of Trustees and Department of Investigation in 2005.

In September 2005, my attorney notified Marks of the following allegations against Martha Stark, the Finance Commissioner and chair of the NYCERS Board of Trustees (The charge was made by an alleged Dept. of Finance employee):

  1. That Stark had been involved with Roberta Hand, an assessor at the Finance Department. Hand was subsequently indicted for bribery by the US government.
  2. That Stark was involved with Dara Ottley-Brown, another Finance Department employee. In January 2004, Stark had promoted Ottley-Brown to the position of Assistant Commissioner of Real Property, a crucial post at Finance.
  3. That in the spring of 2005, Stark and Ottley-Brown had improperly interfered with the tax assessment of the Met-Life Building. In May of 2005, Tishman Speyer, NYCERS, and TRS purchase the Met-Life Building for $1.74B. Stark was chair of both pension boards at the time.

The allegation about the Met-Life Building is a serious charge and has the potential for a major political scandal. The allegation gave specific name s of Finance Department assessors who were being allegedly pressured to alter the tax value of the property.

There was never any indication that Marks took any action on these allegations except to protect Stark from answering questions about her relationship with Ottley-Brown. In April 2009, the NY Post finally confirmed that relationship and the Mayor publicly asked the Dept. of Investigation (DOI) to investigate Stark. DOI has not yet reported the results of that public request.

In May 2006, my attorney notified Dan Castleman, the then chief of investigations at the Manhattan DA’s office, about these allegations.

On September 13, 2006, the City Council confirmed the mayor’s appointment of Ottley-Brown as one of the two non-technical commissioners at the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals. This ended Ottley-Brown's "career" at Finance. In spite of the publicity concerning her relationship with Stark, Ottley-Brown is still at the Board of Standards and Appeals.

Marks sat through Stark’s memory meltdown at her deposition in November 2006.

Marks sat through Bratcher’s false testimony at her deposition.

In addition, Marks handled Karen Mazza's deposition and was aware of evidence that Mazza, a lawyer at NYCERS, tried to destroy incriminating emails concerning Mazza’s communication with Baksh/Ramsami during Baksh’s hiring process at NYCERS.

Marks was also aware of evidence that Carol DeFreitas, a DOI investigator, cooperated with Mazza in trying to hide that evidence and that DeFreitas actually got her paycheck from the Finance Dept. (Stark) and not DOI.

In addition, Marks submitted Kin Mak’s false affidavit about his mythical email search. Mak is an IT worker at NYCERS. Mazza and DeFreitas had pulled him into their attempt to hide the incriminating email evidence.

My attorney notified Marks that the affidavit was false based on the physical impossibility of the statements in the affidavit.

It appears reasonable to conclude that Marks chose to participate in criminal activity in order to shield the city from civil liability in a pending defamation case.

City employees should find it intriguing that their taxes help pay the salary of this “company” lawyer.

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