Robert Doherty’s desperate attempt to shift blame and other Facebook rants

Robert Doherty with FB post

Sullivan County Legislature chair Robert Doherty exposed confidential information from a Sullivan County Board of Ethics investigation during a Facebook tiff late last Friday. In so doing, he breaks Sullivan County Government ethics rules and possibly New York state law.

A Board of Ethics complaint was filed against long-time District 6 legislator and past chair Luis Alvarez following his conversations with Health and Family Services commissioner Stephanie Brown. Alvarez, whose wife was a resident of the Brown-supervised Care Center at Sunset Lake, discussed with Brown the Center’s failure to report to him serious health events experienced by Mrs. Alvarez including a hospitalization and a COVID-19 diagnosis.

County medical practitioners reached by Democratic Group confirm that the communication breakdown described by Alvarez, and not disputed by Brown, is an obvious breach of clearly-defined Care Center protocol.

Sullivan County Legislature chair Robert Doherty exposes confidential information from Board of Ethics investigation on Facebook last Friday night.

The complaint charges the Alvarez communication with Brown is abusive.

The dubious ethics charge notwithstanding (one violation in the charge brought against Alvarez was dropped by the ethics board and witnesses, one a county legislator, to the referenced conversation between Alvarez and Brown will deny Alvarez’ use of the c word), the very fact that last Friday Doherty made public elements of a complaint before the county Board of Ethics is, itself, unethical and if proved to be an abuse of power, unlawful.

New York lawyers contacted by Democratic Group confirm that Mr. Alvarez, the accused in the proceeding, and his lawyer Michael Sussman are free to speak publicly about the complaint, whether to reveal its existence or to report particulars of the complaint.

The Sullivan County Legislature, the adjudicator, is restricted in disclosing information collected by an entity working under confidentiality statutes, in this case the Board of Ethics. Confidential information collected during proceedings regulated under New York State confidentiality statutes is confidential. And the release of such information by a public official outside of the adjudication of the claim, is unethical and very possibly unlawful.

At one point during his Friday night Facebook communication, Doherty states, “apparently there were several witnesses,” suggesting that he does not have direct access to confidential information held by the Board of Ethics and contradicting a post from a few moments earlier (“I find the calling of one of our female employees a ‘c—‘) which demonstrates his access to and his public disclosure of just such confidential information.

The whole matter is confounding. Intentionally so.

The Alvarez charge bursts into public view exactly when Doherty and his Republican legislature are under fire on a number of fronts. Intense public outcry over Doherty’s determination to privatize the 4-star rated Care Center at Sunset Lake has only grown as The Grand Healthcare Systems, a New York nursing care management company with abysmal Medicare service ratings and a U.S. Dept. of Labor rap sheet as long as a night shift, was selected as a finalist by a local development corporation headed by Doherty-appointee Lowell Feldman, himself a failed owner of nursing care facilities, to take over Care Center management.

Doherty’s now-its-on/now-it’s-off plan to privatize the county’s Certified Home Health Care Agency (CHHA) smack in the middle of a raging pandemic and at the start of the largest county-wide vaccination initiative to date has baffled and enraged.

Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association releases Empire State Development data showing Sullivan County leading all New York counties for tourism growth for second a second year. Sullivan County Legislature chair Robert Doherty seeks to cancel the county’s contract with the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association in a meeting of the county legislature today.

And Doherty’s drive to pull the contract with the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association, the entity that drove “…the fastest growing county tourism spending in New York State” two years running, according to Empire State Development, is on today’s bloated Legislature calendar.

Doherty’s attack on yet another successful county service provider begs explanation.

Or it all begs diversion.

Diversion which Doherty’s Facebook food fight on Friday is meant to accomplish. There is “a desperate attempt to shift blame..” within the Sullivan County Legislature.

But it wasn’t Luis Alverez on Facebook last Friday night tossing around the c word.

Sullivan County Legislature chair Robert Doherty discusses allegations of ethics violations on the part of a fellow legislator on Facebook last Friday night. One ethics violation charge in a two-charge complaint against Luis Alvarez has already been dropped. Today during Sullivan County Legislature public hearings, another Sullivan County legislator who witnessed interactions leading to the complaint will contradict assertions by Doherty.

Read more from Democratic Group here.

Feldman and Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation entertain failed Grand Healthcare

The unlikely convergence of a capital and a care center

SullCo sale of care center stalls

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