FELIX FESTA MIDDLE SCHOOL NATATORIUM POOL
Whose Pool is It?
Letter: To Editor Rockland Voice
Subject: Conflict of Interest, Pool Monopoly, Financial Losses, Protectionism, and Pandering to Personal Interests
Introduction Closing of Congers Elementary School – Financial Accountability
On February 5, 2015, the Clarkstown Central School District Board of Education announced the closing of Congers Elementary School and a corresponding redistricting of students within the district. The reason, after a 60-minute diatribe by Dr. Thomas Morton, boiled down to three basic factors: i) fiscal stress on the district, resulting from years of financial mismanagement; ii) reduced enrollment rates which, it should be noted, are estimated to further require school closings and redistricting, and iii) an inability of the District to obtain State Aid, except for “critical repairs” because of what is deemed by the State to be wasted space within the district.
In other words, and assuming the validity of all statements made at that meeting, the State demands that the District tighten its belt if it is to obtain additional state aid; and the decision to close Congers Elementary was, by decision of the Board, one of the ways of accomplishing this goal. While some might disagree with my summary, or might have phrased it far more eloquently than I, that was my takeaway.
At that meeting, Dr. Thomas Morton acknowledged that if the current trend continues, it will likely be necessary to close additional schools and redistrict further. While no timeline was given for future decisions, like me, many speculate that it will not be long before another school is faced with this same level of uncertainty.
More Bond Money – $30,000,000.00. A Gratis Engineer’s Analysis – Gratis? “Nothing is ever free.”
At the meeting of February 26th, 2015 three major issues were discussed: i) energy usage, which was apparently addressed as a response to my question at the meeting of Feb 5, 2015; ii) another bond to pay for critical repairs, which was set forth in a three stage approach, with a total estimated cost to the community of approximately $30,000,000 plus a convoluted strategy regarding interest. In a show of mathematical gymnastics, John LaNave suggested that the end result would be net-net for the district after State Education Department (“SED”) subsidies were factored in. I am not here going to even attempt to make sense out of that circus of financial acrobatics and can only hope that he elaborates at some point; and iii) an engineer’s report which would confirm that the repairs suggested in the bond would not compromise the structural integrity of any of the buildings being repaired.
Wendy Adolff inquired about the costs for that report and Mr. LaNave first stated that he did not have them. When Ms. Adolff then asked that the issue be tabled because: a) she could not support hiring an engineer without knowing the costs to the community and b) she wanted the opportunity to gain greater familiarity on the subject. Mr. LaNave’s response was that the cost would be minimal because the engineering firm would be doing the analysis “at no cost to the district“, in other words, gratis. Mercifully, a few members of the BOE recognized the potential for conflicts with an engineering firm working “for free”. Kevin Grogan thankfully commented, “No one does anything for free.” Mr. LaNave, in a twist on his initial statement, revised and revisited to establish that the costs would be “minimal to the community“. After some back and forth, a cap was placed on that report at $4,000.00. At a vote on the subject Mr. Grogan was the only sitting Board Trustee with the wherewithal to vote against accepting services gratis, obviously understanding that everything is quid pro quo, in other words, “nothing is ever free”. I applaud Mr. Grogan for recognizing the clear and unequivocal potential for a conflict of interest in accepting, gratis, or even at reduced rates, a report from an engineering firm, who even Mr. LaNave acknowledged had an ulterior motive in its willingness to do a free analysis. He referred to it as the firm’s investment. I wonder, contemplating the future of the District, if the engineering group is going to expect favors in return for that report; or alternatively if Mr. LaNave has a connection to the firm that he is not divulging.
Will the Issue of the Pool Pricing and Financial Losses be Addressed? Apparently Not…
When I again asked if issues like the financial losses at the pool would be addressed, and if the Board would entertain proposals for fee adjustments at the pool, Mr. Aglioloro responded that it was his understanding a report had been completed several years ago showing that the FFMS Pool fees are within market rates; but that he would suggest Mr. LaNave conduct another report on current market rates. The figures attached hereto took all of about one-half hour to obtain through a series of telephone calls to the entities referenced. More interesting, however, Mr. Aglioloro then deflected the question, towing what has always been the party line, that we would not infringe upon the rights of Clarkstown taxpayers to use the pool at certain times (a right I argue Mr. Carlucci has ridden roughshod from the get-go). The mere fact that I have contended and can mathematically substantiate that non club/team member taxpayers are currently paying higher fees to swim at FFMS than they would pay to use the pool as members of a club/ team already encapsulates my concern that Trustee Carlucci’s hold on the FFMS Pool is trampling on the rights of Clarkstown taxpayer swimmers. I would further suggest that re-directing a question of rate increases by even raising the issue of hours and Clarkstown resident rights is an avoidance technique, confirming that the BOE is unconcerned by the current losses generated by Trustee Carlucci’s club’s unfettered pool use. Mr. Aglioloro clearly plans to continue to protect Trustee Carlucci’s financial interests. Mr. Aglioloro’s casual belittling of the issue only affirms my contention that District financial losses matter less to the BOE, than protecting Trustee Carlucci’s use and abuse of his position to his own financial benefit and the detriment of the taxpayers.
A Fiscally Accountable Response Not Reflecting Carlucci’s Most Protected Status Could have Been…
A fiscally accountable response, in my view, should have been that the Board is going to take affirmative steps to reduce losses; and of course the Board would entertain proposals, provided however, those proposals did not harm the interests of Clarkstown resident swimmers. Instead and to reiterate, Mr. Aglioloro simply affirmed my suspicions that the Board would rather protect the financial interests of one of its own than act in a fiscally responsible manner, which would unquestionably necessitate raising the fees for all clubs/teams that use the pool across the board.
Were we Blind-sided in Advance of that February 5, 2015 Meeting and Will We be Blindsided Again? As a community, we were both blind-sided and not blind-sided.
On the one hand, the residents of the District were blindsided by the final decision to close Congers Elementary School. The community voted on a bond to fix structural damage to a school which, at the time, it was claimed would re-open and be operational after repairs were made. The bond, to those of us who voted in favor of it, was a leap of faith. It implied a promise to those in the Congers Elementary School district that they were being protected. On the other hand, documents allegedly available on the Clarkstown Central School District website may have indicated something to the contrary. On the one hand, we were/are led to believe that the District is doing everything in its power to cut costs and “tighten its belt”. On the other hand, there are so many glaringly obvious areas where costs could be cut and losses diminished such, for example, the artificially deflated fees paid by outside clubs/teams to rent the FFMS pool. Despite clear mathematical calculations which indicate that profits could be turned, simply by increasing pool fees the BOE has chosen to protect one of its own so we as a community are being pick-pocketed with our eyes wide shut.
Opening our Eyes, a Glaringly Obvious Place to Start in Changing the Fiscal Landscape: The Felix Festa Natatorium Pool Financial Loss and the Bond Paid until 2023
In 2004, a bond was taken out for the purpose of building a pool within Clarkstown Central School District, specifically referred to as the Felix Festa Natatorium pool (“The FFMS Pool”). Within the context of the bond, it was understood by the community voting on the bond that Clarkstown residents, both adults and families, would have access to FFMS Pool for swimming purposes and that FFMS Pool would be rented out to outside clubs, teams, etc. to raise additional revenue. I have been waiting on a FOIL request from the District to obtain the copies of the actual bond. According to the Profit and Loss Statement (“P/L”) as of the eight months ending 2/28/2014 and in 4/30/24, the Total Operational Expenditures of the FFMS Pool were $270,096.00 and $337,998, respectively, and the Operational Expenditures in Excess of Pool Revenues was ($55,398) and ($76,969) respectively. In other words the FFMS Pool operates at a loss and that loss is increasing. Following a conversation with the former Superintendent of Schools, it was her understanding that the FFMS Pool has always operated at a loss, though that was based upon recollection. According to the same summary with regard to the bond, “Note: Estimated Annual Building Aid on the pool construction project is $368,479 and the average annual principal and interest payment associated with the bonds issued for this purpose is approximately $998,488 through 2023.” The Clarkstown taxpayers will be repaying the bond until 2023.
Covering the Shortfall Re-evaluating Fees and Pool Use in 2010, 2012 and Now –
To even the most inept of us, one would think that since the FFMS Pool is running at a shortfall, it would make perfect sense to re-evaluate the financial architecture of the pool, revenues versus expenses and make some serious changes. It would seem to be fiscally responsible to confront the losses and reverse or revise policy so that the FFMS Pool could be a source of revenue. Attempts at doing so have been repeatedly stymied, as they were by implication on February 26th.
Introduction – Meet Trustee Robert A. Carlucci
In 2010 Trustee Carlucci ran for a position on the Board of Education, boasting to those in his inner circle at the time that he was securing his position for the purpose of protecting the interests of his Condors Swim Club of Clarkstown, Inc. (the “Condors”). To date he has been superbly successful in that endeavor, benefitting financially to the detriment of Clarkstown taxpayers. He has used his position as Trustee on the Board of Education to secure support for the Condors’ unhindered use of the FFMS Pool at below fair market value rates. He has utilized any and all resources at his disposal as a Trustee to protect his financial interests, including but not limited to:
a) casually ignoring State BOE Rules and Administrative Regulations regarding not only conflict of interest of elected officials but also regarding even the appearance of impropriety, both of which should have severely limited his Condors’ use of the pool once he took his position as Trustee of the BOE.
b) trying to remove a District employee whose goal was to act in the best interest of the community.
c) falsely accusing members of the community of alleged crimes;
f) guaranteeing that he both pays significantly below fair market value rates for his use of the pool and has optimal use of the pool, together amounting to thousands of dollars in net revenue.
2010 The Olive Branch and Tacit Acknowledgement that the Instatement of Trustee Carlucci Created a Potential Conflict of Interest or the Appearance of a Conflict of Interest
In 2010 immediately following the election and installation of Trustee Carlucci, the rates for use of the pool were raised (primarily as a symbolic olive branch to signify to the community that Trustee Carlucci’s Condors was not getting favored treatment). It is my understanding, though subject to confirmation, that at the time of his installment, the Condors had been and was paying a contractual flat rate. Trustee Carlucci was required to repay arrears which the Condors owed the District, and was therefore subsidized by the District, for past fees (the amount of which is subject to confirmation). Trustee Carlucci was also required to sign an agreement with the BOE stating that he had no further financial interest in the Condors, that he was not involved with the Condors, that he did not coach the Condors and that he would not act on behalf of the Condors. The exact wording of that agreement has been FOIL’ed and remains the subject of speculation. On Friday, February 27, 2015, resulting from a FOIL request, I received the letter dated June 21, 2010 attached hereto which may or may not have been the contract signed with the Board. If the attached letter is the actual contract referred to herein, Trustee Carlucci’s behavior may be all the more egregious. However, the “exceptions” were not included so there again, one can only speculate. Its very existence, however, is tacit acknowledgement by the CCSD BOE of the potential for a conflict of interest, the appearance of impropriety and the desire to avoid it.
2012 – The Condors Unhindered Use of the Pool and Trustee Carlucci’s Control Over the Prices Being Paid for that Use
In 2012 the issue of financial losses incurred by the FFMS Pool was raised again, not only in the context of fiscal mismanagement but also in the context of preferential use of the pool by the Condors. At issue at that time was a culmination of the following: a) the financial implications of the unfettered and unhindered use of the pool by the Condors, b) the methodology used in dividing pool time, c) the inconsistency between the District’s time-allocations and the market practices at time, d) the continuous and contentious battle between clubs vying for FFMS Pool time, each of which claimed protectionism, improper influence and undue favors being bestowed upon Trustee Carlucci; and e) the willingness of all of the teams to come to some amicable agreement in dividing pool time, except for the Condors whose members were rabidly against either limiting Condors’ use of the pool, sharing the pool or paying on a revised fee structure. At the time, Chris Serra noted in an email attached hereto that all of the other facilities rented by Clarkstown were divided on a pro rata basis, except for the pool because the Condors were unwilling to come to an amicable agreement.
Moreover, in 2012 Chris Serra, both acknowledged the “financial hardship” faced by the community, the pool in particular, and proposed alternatives which would have both increased revenue for the pool and established a fair-use policy, consistent with the methodology used for other District facilities which are rented to competing organizations, on a pro-rata basis. Not only was that proposal all but ignored, Chris Serra’s position was questioned (at that time and in early 2013) by Trustee Carlucci through letters written to the Board of Education by his son, J.P. Carlucci, the figurehead President of the Condors. Trustee Carlucci has used his position to guarantee that the Condors be given unhindered, unobstructed and unfettered use of the pool at below prevailing market rates, to his financial benefit and to the detriment of every Clarkstown resident. Despite claims to the contrary, and a signature on a contract which says more by its very existence than by its content, signed to theoretically avoid a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety, he has always been and continues to be active with the club, a financial beneficiary of the Club and a sitting Trustee of the CCSD BOE. His Condors’ dominance of the FFMS Pool is not only lining his pockets but doing so at the expense of each and every taxpayer in Clarkstown who is paying off the bond.
Conflict of Interest – Trustee Carlucci’s Personal Gain versus Fiscal Responsibility:
Interestingly, in the section of the P/L from 2/28/2015 statement entitled “Pool Revenues by Contract” – Condors – $129,190.00; Sharks – $36,795.00 and Phoenix Aquatics $15,625.00 are the three main renters of the pool both for club practice and for swim meets. Were the hourly fees charged to be increased across the board, all of the renting clubs and organizations would be affected proportionally to their use, which is the position I support. Were the fee structure to reflect a charge for the entire pool which is twice that of one-half of the pool, three times that of one-third of the pool, or four times that of one-fourth of the pool, the Condors, currently the only club regularly renting the entire pool, would be affected to a greater extent than the others. This has not been the approach I necessarily advocate. Either way, however, the Condors would be required to pay additional fees to the extent of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year more than they are currently paying to rent the pool. Trustee Carlucci stands to lose the most. He will not support making a change and if the February 26th BOE meeting sets the standard, he has garnered the support of the BOE, at least that of Mr. Aglioloro.
Artificial Price Deflation – The Clarkstown Community is Subsidizing the use of the FFMS Pool by the Condors and Lining the Pockets of Trustee Carlucci
The issue of the significant gap between the prevailing rate of pools in and around this area per hour per lane (calculated as an average of $27.22) and the rates paid by the Condors per lane per hour (approximately $11.00) has been heavily researched and requires little time to obtain the necessary information to calculate. Pools are generally rented per hour per lane whereas at FFMS Pool is rented by blocks of one-third, one-half or the whole. According to the attached spreadsheets, at the prevailing rates, the FFMS Pool would bring in revenue of approximately $400,000.00/year rather than succumb to continued losses. I suggested prevailing rates should apply to any and all clubs and teams who rent the pool, without favoritism to anyone. However, persons associated with the Condors vehemently object, some questioning the research and others the motivation. If you don’t trust the research regarding current market rates, than raise the rates of the full pool so that renting the entire pool costs three times more than one-third of the pool or two times more than one-half of the pool. Ironically, that would adversely affect Trustee Carlucci’s pockets more than any other team or club since his is the only club that rents the entire pool. My response to anyone questioning motivation is simply that it is irrelevant when it would benefit the entire Clarkstown community. It seems to me that raising the fees paid by clubs and teams renting the pool, across the board, is a no-brainer. Trustee Carlucci likely does not agree because, while the entire Clarkstown community would benefit from fiscal responsibility and financial accountability, while his pockets would substantially lose some of their lining. Regardless there are endless possible solutions would which generate revenue to the District. My guess is that he would pass these costs to the Condors’ membership which is why, particularly those non-resident members of his club object to the idea.
Condors’ Preferential Pool Rates and Unhindered Pool Use. How are Pool Rental Rates and Distribution of Space Determined for use of the Natatorium Pool?
In Clarkstown, rental of the facilities, both in terms of rates and in terms of hours/percentage of use is governed by Policies 3511, wherein renting organizations are divided into 4 groups: a) school sponsored organizations; b) not-for-profit, in-district organizations; c) not-for-profit, out-of-district organizations; and d) out-of-district, for-profit organizations. Not for profit is defined (within the text of the policy) as a 501(c)(3) entity (or other non-profit) but is defined on the permit specifically as a 501(c)(3) organization. An in-district organization as written in Policy 3511 is an organization whose membership is comprised of mostly in-district residents.
Preferential Pricing for Group B Clubs – The Condors, Through Some Tricky Maneuvering is a Group B Club:
Condors is currently considered a Group B club, one that is a not-for-profit and one that is in-district and is thereby deemed entitled to preferential pricing. I would argue that, on the basis of district policy and consistent with the distinction between types of not-for-profit entities, the Condors cannot be qualified as a not-for-profit. I would further argue that until there is a consistent and unimpeachable method of differentiating in-district versus out-of-district status as it relates to swimmers, that the Condors’ in-district status is questionable.
Clubs Registered as Not-for-Profit 501(c)(3) Organizations – Condors is a 501(c)(7) Entity Yet it Still Gets Preferential Treatment as a Not-for-Profit, Approximately $40,000.00/year… Semantics?
Trustee Carlucci’s Condors Swim Club is registered in the State of New York and Federally as a 501(c)(7) organization. The CCSD District manual 3511 states that to be deemed a group B or C entity, an entity must be a 501(c)(3) entity, or somewhat ambiguously “other non-profit”. The 501(c)(3) designation is almost always required for preferred status in the public school setting because it specifically relates to organizations which act for educational purposes. The CCSD permit request requires, unequivocally, that an entity be registered as a 501(c)(3) entity. Trustee Carlucci’s Condors has signed that permit for well over 6 years representing in no uncertain terms that the Condors is a 501(c)(3) entity. I contend that the money derived from reduced pricing on the basis of not-for profit status (difference of approximately 1,000 hours x $40.00/hour) should be refunded back to the district because the Condors is not a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity.
The same issue of preferential pricing on a 501(c)(3) basis was raised in 2012 by a Clarkstown resident, and I raised it more recently. By email I was thanked by CCSD attorney Warren Berbit for bringing the issue to his attention, unabashedly ignoring the fact that it had been brought to the District’s attention nearly 3 years earlier. In what I can only term semantic manipulation, the misrepresentation by the Condors was brushed off as an inconsistency in district policy which needs to be fixed. I contend that the requirement that an entity be a 501(c)(3) entity is distinctly important because of the demonstrable differences between the two types of entities, most importantly that a 501(c)(3) entity is open to the public and for the benefit of the community and a 501 c7 entity is a closed entity and not intended to benefit the general public.
Not for Profit Status for the Purpose of Distributing Flyers Within the District limited to 501(c)(3) entities but still permissible for Trustee Carlucci’s Club
The District policy which affords an entity the right to distribute flyers throughout the District states specifically that a club/organization be defined as a 501(c)(3) entity without any ambiguity. The Condors has been distributing flyers for years, despite it having been brought to the attention of the District that the Condors does not satisfy that requirement. As a result of flyer distribution, the Condors has been wildly successful in advertising to the community, both for the purposes of the team and for the purposes of Trustee Carlucci’s learn-to-swim program, which he audaciously touts as a district program. This is simply another example of his improper influence.
Preferential Pricing and Preferential Use for In-District Entities, what does it mean to be in-district? Can Trustee Carlucci’s Condors Swim Club be defined as in-district based upon its tax designation?
The Condors not only get preferential treatment on the basis of tax status but also on the basis of being what is referred to as in-district. According to Policy 3511, an in-district organization is one whose members are comprised of the greatest number of in-district members. The spirit of this requirement is clear and from my perspective goes without reproach. The question remains, however, how do we define in-district?
The Condors has claimed and continues to claim that it has somewhere between 450-650 member swimmers on this side of the Hudson River (depending upon who you ask, what statistics you look at, which FOILed e-mail you refer to, etc. etc). For the purposes herein, I will assume that the Condors has 500 members (though I use that term loosely) on this side of the Hudson. The Condors has claimed and continues to claim that greater than fifty percent of its membership is comprised of Clarkstown resident members, thereby justifying preferential treatment on that basis. In 2012 this became a point of contention because: a) the Condors was not providing a written report of its membership count when other clubs/teams were required to do so; b) verbally the Condors was limiting its membership count for in-district reporting purposes to only those swimmers on this side of the Hudson while other clubs/teams were advised that membership was determined by a count of the entire club/team roster; and c) the Condors was manipulating its numbers to include learn-to-swim students who are not actually members of the club but rather casually come in for lessons. An attempt to come to some clear and consistent policy determination in this regard, relevant to the town in terms of pricing, put an employee’s job at risk.
Protecting the Financial Interests of Trustee Carlucci and the Condors to the near peril of the person in Clarkstown with the unenviable task of Scheduling Pool Hours.
Since membership numbers is a component of determining reduced fees, a clear and consistent policy was and continues to be requested by all clubs and teams competing for time at the FFMS Pool. What defines membership, uniquely for the purposes of swimming, should always have been swimmers who are registered with USA Swimming/Metro Swimming, as was acknowledged by Chris Serra in 2012. His solution, found in numerous correspondence from that time, was to rely upon USA Swimming/Metro Swimming (the swimming governing body) to determine what defined membership, since the purpose of the pool rental by competing clubs at the time was, after all, to cater to competitive swimmers. Moreover, USA Swimming/Metro Swimming member swimmers are insured through their membership fees to those governing bodies. Trustee Carlucci vehemently objected to this as a means for defining membership and, of course, the idea was summarily dismissed. Furthermore, at that time and again in 2013 Trustee Carlucci’s son wrote scathing emails to the Board in an effort to have Chris Serra removed.
Inconsistencies between the Condors Swim Club’s Tax filings, its Membership Numbers and its Not-for-Profit Status, integrity?
Not only am I bothered by the flippant response I received when I pointed out the discrepancy between the District Policy 3511 and the associated permit with regard to preferential pricing, and the fact that the District is not abiding by the requirement of its permit requests when it comes to the Condors Swim Club, I am bothered by the integrity of the CHAR 500 Charities returns filed with the NYS Office of the Attorney General Division of Charities, as they apply to the Condors Swim Club. Either the Condors has inflated its membership count for the purpose of obtaining preferred member status and/or it is underreporting on its IRS 990 filings [NYS charities filings 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; 2011 FF Pool and 2012 FF Pool.] The numbers are simply incongruous.
Membership Numbers – Do the Tax Returns of the Condors Swim Club Reflect the Reported Numbers?
As previously stated, I will assume that the Condors indeed has 500 members on this side of the Hudson River alone (and I will ignore whether the Club actually has a majority of its membership in-district). It should be noted that the Condors also boasts facilities out of Westchester Community College and out of Yonkers. The Condors charges on average $2,200.00 for each member swimmer, accounting for sibling discounts. If you calculate simple numbers, revenue for membership should equal $1,100,000.00. However, this is not the amount the Condors lists on its last several years of IRS tax filings [NYS charities filings 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; 2011]. In fact, if my assumptions are correct, this amount has been grossly understated on the last several years of tax filings. Please note, the Condors hosts eight swim meets per year, another benefit bestowed upon Trustee Carlucci, each of which can net between $10,000 and $20,000 over the course of an entire weekend, a formidable percentage of which is from cash transactions. The Condors also boasts a well-attended learn-to-swim program. This information is not reflected (based upon the tax returns). Moreover, and referring only to the last filing, the Condors claims 83 employees. However, the website shows far fewer coaches. I wonder if he is including those supporters who pander to his interests as employees. I wonder if the list of employees includes employees of the Robert Alan Agency. One can only speculate.
Not-for-Profit 501(c)(3) versus 501(c)(7):
For those of you who are still reading and have not simply drowned in information, not only in very simple terms do the 990 IRS tax filings not reflect the Condors boasted membership numbers, not only do those returns overstate expenses and the number of employees, but I question whether or not the Condors is engaging in activities which are in violation of its tax status. I raise a few of those issues here:
- A 501(c)(7) entity is a closed-member entity. It is not open to the public. This is important because the spirit and purpose of giving preferential treatment to Clarkstown residents is inconsistent with a closed-member entity. Any contention, therefore, that the Condors Swim Club is acting in the best interest of the most Clarkstown residents is contrary to its purposes as an entity.
- A 501(c)(7) entity cannot sell services or products to non-members. Ostensibly, any learn-to-swim program is inconsistent with this type of entity unless there is significant finagling going on in regard to membership, etc or unless each and every member of the learn-to-swim program is listed in the membership numbers. Were that to be the case, not only would the Condors be earning a $2,200.00 membership fee from each learn-to-swim member, but it would also be earning the fees it charges for that program. This, too, is inconsistent with the IRS tax filings.
- A 501(c)(7) entity cannot sell products to anyone but members. The Condors Swim Club has sales of its paraphernalia available on its website and sells food, heat sheets and other items at swim meets. If I am not mistaken, this is both in violation of its tax status and not reflected on the tax returns.
Conclusions: Conflict of Interest, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Impairment of Independence of Judgment in the Exercise of Official Duties, Use of Position for Personal Gain, Costs to the Taxpayers… Let’s Ignore the IRS 990 Issues…
It is my contention that there is a clear and unequivocal conflict of interest between Trustee Carlucci’s position as a BOE Trustee and his Condors’ use of the pool as his own, without any obstacles, hindrances, or shackles. It is my position that the Condors’ unfettered, unhindered and unshackled use of the FFMS Pool does not cater to the needs of the many, but conversely and unequivocally severely financially detriments the many while lining the pocket of one, Trustee Carlucci. That is, idealistically assuming that he is not garnering BOE support through financial maneuvering… I don’t want to touch that…
I believe that it behooves Trustee Carlucci to act in the best interest of the Clarkstown community to whom he owes a fiduciary duty, even if it is to his personal detriment. Were I to be sitting in his shoes, I would be actively and loudly advocating a raise in fees charged to rent the pool, across the board, if only to shut me up.
It is my position, though not addressed in-depth earlier, that Clarkstown resident swimmers should not be paying more to swim in the pool than they would be if they were members of a team or club. While this would inherently change if prices were raised across the board to renting clubs, I also contend that fees charged to Clarkstown resident swimmers should be reduced. In fact, letters from the community in this regard have been largely ignored, I surmise, because the fees Clarkstown non-club/team member swimmers have been paying until now subsidize the Condors’ use of the pool.
It is further my position that benefits bestowed by a public school on a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization are justified and have their basis in the very definition of such an entity. A 501(c)(7) entity is distinctly different and should not be entitled to the same preferential status in a public school setting because it is not, by its very definition, a public entity. The Condors should therefore be required to reimburse the Clarkstown community for each hour of preferential pricing it has received since its 501(c)(7) status was first raised in 2012, if not earlier. This amounts to approximately $40,000.00 per year.
Finally, I contend that each member of the BOE who has allowed this pattern of self-interested behavior to continue, whether by passive complacence or active protectionism, is not only complicit in increasing the deficits of the Clarkstown community, which add up daily, but perhaps also in Trustee Carlucci’s incongruous tax filings and the implications related thereto.
Julie D. Globus
Sabharwal, Globus & Lim LLP
Telephone: (845) 634-2250
[Rockland Voice does not take any editorial position on the matters raised in this letter. We note that the issue of the use of this pool has been raised at a recent Clarkstown Central School District Board meeting.]