Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NYC Department of Investigation – Can You Trust DOI?

In the spring of 2009, two and half years ago, I reported to both the Department of Investigation (DOI) and the NYCERS trustees an act of perjury (deliberately giving a false statement under oath) by Felita Baksh (aka Ramsami) during a sworn DOI interview.

In response to my notice, one of the trustees, the former Public Advocate, asked that DOI investigate the matter and report back to the Public Advocate and to me. The Public Advocate was the only party to take any action or acknowledge my allegation. In response, DOI notified the Public Advocate that it was forwarding the matter to the Department of Finance IG for review. DOI did not notify me of this action but the Public Advocate did.

I provided all parties with a copy of the verbatim testimony of the DOI interview of Baksh from July, 2004. The interview was given under oath. In a very careful manner, the DOI interviewers gave Baksh a second chance to correct her original false testimony after warning her that she was under oath. She did not change her testimony. The false testimony related to the help Baksh received from Karen Mazza, a staff attorney at NYCERS, in regards to Baksh’s fraudulent appointment as HR director at NYCERS in 2004.

You might be wondering how DOI managed to miss this almost certain act of perjury during one of its own interviews. In 2004, DOI chose not to make a verbatim transcript from the audio tape of the interview. DOI chose, instead, to allow the lead investigator, Carol DeFreitas, to make a summary from the audio recording of the interview. DeFreitas was not one of the DOI investigators who interviewed Baksh. DOI had put her in charge of the investigation even though she was only a temporary employee recently on loan from Martha Stark. DeFreitas was actually a Department of Finance employee receiving a pay check from Finance and not DOI.

Subsequently, DeFreitas became involved with Mazza in an effort to hide the extent of the help that Mazza gave to Baksh. In addition, Mazza pulled another NYCERS employee, Kin Mak, into the cover up. Mak, an IT staffer, enabled Mazza to hide incriminating emails but not before Mak made copies of all the emails that pertained to the events surrounding the investigation.

Those copies are safely tucked away at Mak’s home in Pennsylvania. Those emails, I suspect, cast a wide net and have crippled the investigation into the Baksh perjury charge because of the people implicated by the emails.

I previously reported all of this in a series of postings: perjury, DOI, and sleeping trustees.

Recently, in response to a FOIL request for DOI’s closing memo for the investigation of the perjury charge, DOI refused to release any information. DOI claims that the information is exempt under FOIL because it would be an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” and it was “compiled for law enforcement purposes and would identify a confidential source or reveal confidential information relating to a criminal investigation”.

It is clear that the perjury charge against Baksh is public record. There is no personal privacy to protect in this case. If DOI finds that this public charge is untrue, it should at least clear Baksh’s name. But I am very certain that DOI found the charge to be true. It appears that DOI does not want to deal with the charge and the web of corruption that goes along with it.

The majority of DOI’s work is allegedly for law enforcement purposes. DOI is claiming the closing memo would identify a confidential source. That can’t be it. I publicly supplied them with all the information they need to reach a conclusion on the charge. In addition, after two and half years, I don’t think that there is any criminal investigation going on. It is completely reasonable to conclude that DOI is protecting one or more people.

Unfortunately, DOI has not given a report on the investigation to the Public Advocate or to me.

Even more unfortunately, the current Public Advocate has made no effort to obtain the closing memo from DOI even after being questioned about the investigation.

In closing, the perjury allegation is almost certainly true and therefore, almost certainly the NYCERS trustees are allowing three criminals to continue to work at NYCERS. This raises suspicions about the judgement and integrity of the trustees.

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