City submitted $2.1M claim for golf theft

By LIZ BUTTON

According to city documents obtained this week, the City of Rye filed a $2.1 million insurance claim last August to recover money allegedly stolen by former Rye Golf Club manager Scott Yandrasevich.

The number is viewed as larger than expected when compared to a February 2013 investigative report commissioned by the city, which said the theft was believed to have only amounted to “many hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The city hired the law firm Brune and Richard in October 2012 to conduct the probe, which was vague on the total of the alleged theft.

City Attorney Kristen Wilson filed the claim on Aug. 15, 2013, with Travelers, the city’s insurance carrier, for $2,154,106.16, according to the claim letter. The company has not yet made its coverage determination, Wilson said.

The letter was obtained on March 11 by Timothy Chittenden, a former Rye cop, through a Jan. 13 Freedom of Information Law request that was denied by the city multiple times.

Chittenden questioned why the amount of the claim was not publicized earlier as many residents requested the information for months after the investigation concluded.

The claim of $2.1 million over six years appears to run counter to the Westchester District Attorney’s assertion that Yandrasevich owes the city $271,120 from the period of Jan. 21, 2008, to Aug. 16, 2012. So far, the DA’s office has investigated only that four-year portion of the six-year period the city initially identified in its investigation.

Republican Mayor Joe Sack, who took the office in 2014, asked Wilson about the claim’s status on multiple occasions as a councilman during 2013. Sack said he found out the actual amount around the end of November 2013, when he approached Wilson about it and was given a binder of background material used to construct the claim.

Wilson said the entire City Council, which included former Mayor Douglas French and Deputy Mayor Peter Jovanovich, both Republicans, was eventually made aware of how much the city was asking for. However, she said, she does not recall the exact date the council was informed of the amount.

Yandrasevich, who resigned from his position with the city in January 2013, was arrested and charged with second-degree grand larceny on Nov. 19, 2013. He is accused of creating shell companies like RM Staffing to falsify purchase orders he submitted to the city. The bulk of the claim, Wilson said, are fraudulent transactions based on these invoices.

Wilson said there is still no coverage determination because the insurance carrier is not finished evaluating information, which she, interim City Comptroller Joe Fazzino and forensic accountant Bill Breen of Breen & Associates, continue to provide.

Breen’s company was hired by Brune and Richard to aid in the investigation and stayed on to work with the city.

CONTACT: liz@hometwn.com

 
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About Liz Button

Liz Button is a staff reporter for Hometown Media Group’s The Rye Sound Shore Review. Previously, she covered Bedford and Mount Kisco for The Daily Voice, an Internet-based, hyperlocal publication. She’s also written for Patch in her hometown of Trumbull, Conn., as a freelance reporter and fill-in editor. Preceding her time there, she worked in publishing in New York City. She is a 2008 graduate of Bowdoin College with a degree in English. Reach Liz at 914-653-1000 x20 or liz@hometwn.com; follow her on Twitter @ryesoundshore.