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By Creating A Hostile Work Environment 

Former VP Resnick Alleged 2.5 Years of Harassment

2016 Suit Settled in 2017 With Non-Disclosure Language 

SullivanTimes Inquiries Met With Silence, Denials

Photo: Marc Baez, President & CEO of Partnership For Economic Development (2015 file photo)

A State Supreme Court, Sullivan County lawsuit was filed in February 2016 by Michele Resnick against Marc Baez, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Economic Development, alleging that for 2.5 years he sexually harassed the former vice president/director of marketing for the Partnership who later resigned. The suit was before Justice Stephan G. Schick. 

According to the suit:  "Although an internal investigation into plaintiff's complaint about the harassment confirmed that Baez had violated the organization's sexual harassment policy by creating a hostile work environment, the Partnership did not undertake appropriate remedial measures. To that end, the Partnership acquiesced in and condoned the harassment in violation of the New York Executive Law. Plaintiff also suffered retaliation for complaining about her work environment. As a consequence of that retaliation, plaintiff resigned her position. "

The Partnership's law firm, Jackson Lewis, had denied all the allegations in its reply -- but later settled the case.  

Reached Thursday morning, Resnick said she had no comment. The SullivanTimes also left a message for Baez via Jennifer Clayton in the Partnership office, as well as James Bates, the current chair of the partnership. Former Partnership chairs Jacob Billig and Karen Fisher did not respond to to our multiple inquiries over the past two months. Bates and Fisher are members of the Partnership's Governance Committee that deals with ethics. Today (Thursday, July 18), Billig declined comment when reached at his law office. Fred Stabbert, publisher of the Democrat, served as chair of Partnership Board for four years and currently chairs the Partnership's marketing committee. He was chair of the Partnership in 2013. The suit alleges that Resnick complained directly to Stabbert but that it was not taken seriously. 

Resnick also alleged in the suit that when Billig was elevated to chair of the Partnership in January 2015 , she brought her complaint to him and Billig proceeded to retain an outside investigator named Rebecca Maison in February 2015. 

According to the suit, "Maison's investigation (completed in March 2015)  corroborated Plaintiff's sexual harassment complaint." 

Billig then sent Resnick a memo on March 18, 2015 confirming that "Marc Baez exhibited behavior towards you that violated (the Partnership's sexual harassment) policy, " according to the suit. But when Baez retaliated against Resnick for her complaint, Resnick alleges that the Partnership did not take any action. Resnick resigned in October 2015. 

The SullivanTimes was first made aware of the allegations two months ago by a source with knowledge of the situation. That source at the time told us that a settlement was reached but that both parties -- including the entire Partnership Board -- signed off on the settlement that included non-disclosure language that prohibited them from discussing it.

The SullivanTimes, over the past two months, has called and emailed multiple Board members asking them about the allegations. Most did not return our phone calls and emails and some defended Baez, including two who said they did not believe he could act that way. 

County Manager Josh Potesek, an honorary director of the Partnership, is featured prominently on the Partnership's webpage in a video touting its work.  The County allocated $125,000 for the Partnership in its most recent budget.  Potosek -- through Dan Hust, director of communications for the County -- declined comment. The Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) sent $18,750 to the Partnership for the first quarter of 2019. 

Among the allegations made in the suit were ongoing sexually suggestive remarks. They included: 

"Let's get it over with - let's go in the closet."

"You know it's going to happen - you are so uptight - you need sex."

"Let me see your ____."

"Everyone wants me, I don't know why you don't." 

"I will show you what a real man is like" 

Resnick's lawsuit further alleged that Baez said that Resnick's success at increasing membership in the Partnership was the result of "sleeping around." 

The suit was discontinued in February 2017 in a stipulation signed by Stephen Bergstein, the attorney in New Paltz who represented Resnick and Greg Riolo, the attorney for Jackson Lewis (White Plains office), representing the Partnership. 

The original lawsuit can be found at www.facebook.com/sullivancatskillstimes 

Admits to Being Completely Blind in Right Eye

Says He Saw Kids But Could Not Avoid Hitting Them

Attorney: State Police Reports Shows Driver Inattention and Excessive Speed

Father of Devin Zeininger: Kantrowitz Could Have Hit The Brakes If He Saw Them

This is a portion of the motorist accident report that was signed by Issac Kantrowitz and submitted to DMV. 

ROCK HILL - Retired Town of Fallsburg Judge Isaac Kantrowitz told the New York State Police that an SUV crossed over the double yellow line on Glen Wild Road, which distracted him, and that caused him to hit pedestrians Devin Zeininger and Justin Finkel on June 2 in Rock Hill. He also told police that he was completely blind in his right eye that is a prosthetic device. 

Zeininger, 16,  and Finkel, 14, were killed in the incident that reportedly occurred at 3:19 pm.   

This is all according to the Department of Motor Vehicles Accident Police Accident report obtained this morning by The SullivanTimes.

The description of the accident reads as follows: 

"Justin Finkel, Devin T. Zeininger, and James D. Blair were walking Southerly with traffic on Glen Wild Road in the Town of Thompson. Operator of V-1 Isaac Kantrowitz traveling Southerly on Glen Wild Road fails to observe the males walking stating that an oncoming SUV was passing over the double yellow line causing a distraction. Kantrowitz subsequently strikes J. Finkel, and D. Zeininger from behind. Both males were propelled several yards down the roadway coming to rest in the Western ditch. V-1 then exits the West shoulder of the roadway striking the ditch and coming to rest. Due to impact, and massive internal injuries both males were deceased upon impact. J. Blair was not struck by V-1 and was uninjured. While conducting field sobriety testing on scene it was discovered through observation, and admissions by Kantrowitz that he has a prosthetic right eye causing him to be completely blind in that eye. " 

Kantrowitz also signed a motorist accident report that was transmitted to the DMV in which he stated "saw the kids in road on my side and could not avoid them. Had no place to move over went into ditch. "

The report makes no mention of the speed of Kantrowitz's vehicle (2018 Hyundai) or if any traffic tickets were issued. 

The SullivanTimes has reached out to Troop F of the New York State Police for more information about the SUV that Kantrowitz says crossed over the double yellow line. The SullivanTimes also reached out to attorneys for both victims' families late this morning. Mark L. Schuh, the attorney representing the family of Justin Finkel, said by phone that he could not comment on pending litigation.

Gregory Sobo, the attorney for the family of Devin Zeininger, late Friday said: 

"I am happy that the state police recognized that the the two causes of this tragedy are driver inattention and unsafe speed."  Sobo pointed out that two boxes checked on the accident report showed these two "apparent contributing factors," which is language used by the DMV. 

Kevin B. Zeininger, father of Devin, told TheSullivanTimes late this morning that "if he (Kantrowitz) saw them, why wouldn't he hit the brakes?" Zeininger also did not seem to believe Kantrowitz's claim that there was an SUV, calling it "imaginary." He added that District Attorney Jim Farrell as well as the Fallsburg Police Department and the Department of Motor Vehicles should be held accountable since they had the paperwork from previous accidents in which Kantrowitz was the driver.  

Bill Finkel, the father of Justin, said late Friday that he agrees "100 percent" with what Kevin Zeininger told The SullivanTimes. "I am repulsed and disgusted," Finkel said after reviewing the accident report. 

As previously reported here, Kantrowitz, 86, has had four motor vehicle accidents in three years, including one in December 2018 on Glen Wild Road when he struck and seriously injured another pedestrian. 

Farrell, who is running for County Court Judge, has declined comment on the June 2 accident and the other three incidents involving Kantrowitz. 

The June 2 accident occurred at 3:19 pm as the boys were walking home from the antique car show at The Sullivan Event Center. 

The State Police investigation is pending.

Historic 1800s Barn Destroyed

No Injuries To Residents or Firefighters

JEFFERSONVILLE- A major fire broke out around 10:15 pm tonight at Hilly Acres Farm on Sander Road in Jeffersonville. It is one of two Hilly Acre Farm properties in Jeffersonville.

The Hahn family, owners of Hilly Acres, is shaken up but physically okay.

Michael Hahn, 27, said they lost about 400 chickens in the same barn that was built in the 1800s and where both his grandfathers milked. A building adjacent to the chicken barn that houses cattle had Hahn concerned but they are safe.

The fire was mostly brought under control at about 11:40 pm and the barn - also full of hay - was destroyed. There are no reported injuries to any firefighters or residents.

Tanya Hahn said the family was busy the past few days making much of the now-destroyed hay for some 75 cows on the property. Firefighters were still dousing the hay bales at 2 am on Wednesday.

She added that her husband, Andy, was in the barn about one hour before the start of the fire.

"Fires are a farmer's biggest fears," Tanya Hahn said. The farm has been a family operation since 1955. Their chickens and other products are well known at multiple local farmers markets.

Among the fire departments that responded included Callicoon Center, Jeffersonville, Hortonville, Youngsville, White Sulphur Springs, North Branch and Roscoe.

The Sullivan County Fire Investigation team is also here.


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