I-Team 10 Investigation: Arrest in county favoritism case

Posted at: 10/15/2013 5:20 PM
Updated at: 10/15/2013 6:11 PM
By: Brett Davidsen

The investigation into the county's use of local development corporations to award multi-million dollar contracts is coming to a head. On Tuesday, I-Team 10 saw the first, of what is expected to be a handful of indictments as business consultant Dan Lynch was charged.

The indictment names Lynch in a five year old incident that isn't related to the awarding of any contracts, but rather, to the purchase of a corporate tent at the Senior PGA Championship in 2008.

Dan Lynch pleaded not guilty late Tuesday afternoon in New York State Supreme Court to felony charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records. The state has been investigating Lynch and others regarding the county's use of two local development corporations to contract for public safety systems and for upgraded information technology.

LDCs are private, not-for-profit corporations created by governments to finance projects, but exempt from competitive bidding requirements.

Lynch had close ties to two companies that were sub-contracted by those LDCs. The investigation started with an audit by the New York State Comptroller's Office, which found irregularities in the contracts and questioned the savings to taxpayers.

The indictment that was unsealed in court Tuesday accuses Lynch of diverting money from one of those sub-contracted companies to pay for a $100,000 corporate tent at the Senior PGA. His attorney, Michael Schiano, says his client has been cooperating.

Michael Schiano, Lynch's attorney, said, "This is no surprise to us. We've heard this for the last actually year and a half that they've been investigating. My client's pled not guilty and we are looking forward to challenging the evidence in this case."

Last week, I-Team 10 reported that the county's chief information officer, Nelson Rivera, had resigned without explanation. His attorney confirmed to I-Team 10 that he represents Rivera in this criminal investigation. Also, I-Team 10 learned the Monroe County Water Authority has hired a criminal attorney to assist it in the state's inquiry.

Because there are so many ties to Monroe County government in this case, the prosecution is being handled by the New York State Attorney General's Office and a judge was brought in from Genesee County to hear the charges.

County Executive Maggie Brooks's statement: "An officer of a private company that serves as a sub-contractor for a public Local Development Corporation was today indicted on criminal charges. This comes as the result of an investigation in which Monroe County continues to cooperate. The County is now working closely with respected former State Attorney General and U.S. Attorney Dennis Vacco to explore all options to safeguard the continuity of our technology and public safety communications infrastructure. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect the continuity of updated communications technologies for First Responders while making whatever changes are deemed necessary to ensure the efficient and ethical handling of taxpayer dollars."