- Rich Klein
EDITORIAL: DOHERTY JUST PILOTED A SECRET 120-YEAR LEASE OF COUNTY AIRPORT
Updated: Dec 30, 2021
Editor's Note: After publishing a first draft of this editorial, The SullivanTimes received a copy of the lease agreement.
Rob Doherty, Michael Brooks, George Conklin III and Nicholas Salomone Jr. thumbed their noses at fellow legislators today when they all failed to show up for an emergency meeting of the County's Public Works Committee this morning. They are all members of that committee and their absence meant there could be no quorum.
Brooks, Conklin and Salomone have rarely missed legislative meetings run by Doherty so it's clear this was a political move engineered by Doherty to hide from the truth.
The meeting was called by Public Works Committee Chair Joe Perrello to discuss how Doherty (on December 6) signed what amounts to a 120-year lease deal with Eli Rowe, president of Hatzolah Emergency Air Response Team for extensive use of the Sullivan County Airport - without the knowledge of other legislators until after it was signed. (Rowe lives in Queens and in Fallsburg).
County Attorney Michael McGuire notarized Doherty's signature but was reportedly not aware of the deal until it was signed. Likewise, County Manager Josh Potosek was also reportedly left in the dark about the contract details.
Aside from them, it might have been helpful if Doherty actually proofed what he signed: Hatzolah will lease the airport for $18 per year? A source this afternoon told The SullivanTimes that it was supposed to read $18,000 per year but that could not be immediately confirmed.
Committee members Alan Sorensen (by video) and Ira Steingart did show up with Perrello, as did two other legislators, Luis Alvarez and Nadia Rajsz.
The public has still not seen the contract and it has not been filed with the County Clerk's office. A resolution approved by the Legislature in September discussed the preliminary agreement between the County and Hatzolah.
The four cowards who did not show up today represent yet another example of why they are unfit to serve - and why Doherty must be prevented from continuing as chair of the body for another two years.
A section of the lease agreement from Page 35 says that the lease was executed by a resolution of the Legislature. That is untrue.
Below is the original resolution passed by the Legislature in September. However, there is nothing at all in the lease about the Sheriff's Office and Hatzolah's role in helping that office with public safety.