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hiring, Meissner had proposed the idea of paying Rosenthal, whom he had developed afriendship with, to serve as THA Comptroller on a per diem basis, but that the THA Board hadrejected his proposed
arrangement because it viewed it as “Rosenthal being greedy” in wanting
to collect earnings on top of his pension. Pombrio advised that although he was ostensibly hersubordinate, Meissner resisted her efforts to improve the control environment at the Authority or
accede to her supervision. Pombrio‟s description was corroborated by Mario Musolino, who
then served as THA Executive Secretary, w
ho stated that Meissner “made life miserable” for Pombrio. Substantially due to Meissner‟s behavior, Pombrio voluntarily resigned her position in
July 2006.At the time Pombrio vacated her THA Comptroller position, the THA was already late inits submission of a
major financial report to HUD critical in its quest to remove the “troubledhousing authority” des
ignation HUD had placed on the Authority. With Pombrio gone, Meissnerproposed hiring Rosenthal as a consultant to compile this report. As a new open competitive
examination had not yet been scheduled, Musolino agreed to Meissner‟s proposition to hire
Rosenthal for a short duration for the limited purpose of composing this time-sensitive report.Rosenthal was subsequently retained to perform the same limited service for the 2006 HUDreporting.
Upon Musolino‟s resignation from the
Authority, in March 2007, Meissner wasappointed THA Executive Secretary and on December 7, 2007, entered into a two-year contractwith the THA. With Meissner now serving as Executive Secretary, Rosenthal continued to billthe THA for services, not merely for the two months anticipated in order to complete the HUDreport, but for approximately three years, totaling in excess of $207,000 in payments andreimbursements.
Indeed, upon Meissner‟s assumption of the Executive Secretary position,
Rosenthal expanded his role far beyond his limited agreement with Musolino to essentially
encompass the duties of the THA‟s Comptroller, a full
-time competitive Civil Service position,even declaring himself on numerous official THA documents and correspondence as theA
uthority‟s “Acting Comptroller
” In addition to remuneration for personal services, payments
to Rosenthal during this period by the THA also included $16,000 in advances andreimbursements, authorized by Meissner, for purported expenses including air fare, hotel staysfor conferences in Florida (where both Rosenthal and Meissner maintain second homes) andBoston, gift cards, meals and mileage reimbursement. Moreover, despite the THA providing himoffice space and equipment, Meissner allowed Rosenthal to bill the THA for ostensiblyperforming consulting services from his home in Florida, where he routinely spent severalmonths throughout the year.During the entire period he earned over $200,000 from the THA, Rosenthal also receiveda public pension. As a member of the Retirement System, Rosenthal was not legally permittedto earn salary over the $30,000 statutory limit as a public employee without approval of the CivilService Commission. Furthermore, although as a Tier 1 member of the System he could enterinto a legitimate consultant contract with a public employer, any such contracts are required to bein writing and pre-approved by the Retirement System to ensure that the employment was truly a
consultant arrangement and not designed to circumvent the proscriptions on “double
contained in New York State law.