City Manager Scott Pickup spent a lot of time last winter trying to protect former Rye Golf Club general manager Scott Yandrasevich from being exposed as a massive fraudster. He failed.
Through his own actions, Mr. Pickup himself was found to be so dishonest by the public that they demanded the city council remove him from the RGC investigation. Now he's running Yandrasevich's club–far worse than Yandrasevich ever did.
GALANTE REMOVED FROM POOL PROPOSAL PROCESS
While Mr. Pickup was starring in YouTube videos, Gary Galante, who managed the pool at RGC for the last several seasons, was contacting companies asking them for proposals to manage the pool: A, B, C.
Before he'd get too far, Pickup would abruptly inform Galante that he would no longer be handling the pool proposals.
INVESTIGATORS REPORT IS RELEASED
Shortly thereafter, the Rye Golf Club independent investigative report was released. It showed Pickup had approved millions of dollars to RM Staffing, that he ignored an auditor's report warning of bidding and inventory deficiencies at Whitby Castle, and that he fully "understood" he lied about the vetting RM Staffing.
GALANTE GETS AXED FROM POOL OPERATIONS
Before March would come in like a lion, Galante would be out of the pool operations all together.
LOPOLITO HIRED AS GM, TOSSED FROM POOL TOO
Enter Jim Lopolito, who was hired as the club's interim general manager. Pickup contracted Lopolito to manage the entire facility–including the castle, pool and golf operations for eight months–for $63,000/yr.
However, within weeks of starting his job, the new general manager would be stripped of his duties managing the pool and golf operations by Mr. Pickup–at the recommendation of golf commissioners.
Before you could say April Fool, Scott Pickup had estranged his new general manager and the only experienced pool manager he had, Galante, from helping him negotiate a pool contract.
PICKUP: COMMISSION WORKED ON CONTRACT WITH ME
At the August 5th city council meeting, Pickup said, "We worked cooperatively with the pool–with the commission, with the pool committee…" blah blah.
Most commissioners have told us they've discussed various pool proposals, however, they said, they did not approve the contract signed by Pickup.
The RGC Commission meeting minutes show no record of the commission passing a motion to award the contract signed by Mr. Pickup.
COMMISSION RAISED CONCERNS AS TIME RAN OUT
Quite the contrary, according to multiple commissioners, they raised substantial concerns to Mr. Pickup. One commissioner said he was asking if outsourcing the entire pool operation was the best option. Another raised concerns if the number of lifeguards was adequate. Others asked if corporation counsel had reviewed the contract.
But time was ticking. Even Pickup admitted, "we were under some pressure to get the contract underway for 2013." The pool was due to open May 25th, it was May 15th... and Pickup had nothing.
Commissioners recall Mr. Pickup responding to their inquiries by saying American Leisure was the best fit and that they had "a proven track record." He added that the contract had been revised numerous times and pointed out that the contract was "$40,000 less" than the previous year.
PICKUP'S SHOCKER: GALANTE TO MANAGE POOL COMPANY
On May 16th, Pickup and American Leisure Activities signed a $160,000 pool maintenance contract.
Even though the agreement provided fans paid for a Certified Pool Operator to replace Gary Galante, Mr. Pickup notified American Leisure, that Galante would help oversee the pool management company.
POWER STRUGGLE ENSUES OVER POOL
The relationship quickly devolved into an impossible power struggle between American Leisure and Mr. Galante, each feeling they'd been put in a hopeless situation that was destined to fail.
American Leisure argued they were contracted to run the pool and that Galante was interfering with the operations. Galante argued he was only doing what his boss instructed him to do.
Pickup acknowledged as much, without mentioning he made the decision to outsource the CPO, "Well, they had a CPO and there were issues–some relationship issues between that person and the person on staff."
The result was a disastrous experience for pool members who complained of poor water quality, too few guards, a clueless CPO, an unstaffed first aid station, umbrella stands that were mowed over and dangerous, and more.
PICKUP'S 'BARE BONES' LIFEGUARD STRATEGY EXPOSED
At a July commission meeting, Galante explained how American Leisure repeatedly fell short of their duties, failing to provide the number of guards the city had contracted for, which was 7, plus one floater. View video here.
Later, Commissioner Art Tiedemann (who ran the pool years ago) and Mr. Galante, both agreed that about 10 to 12 guards would be the optimal number to effectively cover the pool.
PICKUP TO GALANTE ON GUARDS: 'DO MORE WITH LESS'
When Mr. Galante was asked why the city only contracted for eight lifeguards, he hearkened back to January when he was originally tasked with soliciting proposals. Galante said he was told "we spend too much money," and that he was instructed to "do more with less."
He then described the lifeguard coverages in the contract with American Leisure as being the "bare bones minimum" required by code.
Following the meeting we asked Mr. Galante who instructed him to staff the pool with the absolute fewest guards required by law.
"Scott Pickup," he said.
By late July, the relationship between American Leisure and Mr. Galante had spiraled out of control. Commissioners and staff were continuing to field complaints–the pool operations were a disaster. The commission was haranguing Pickup to fix his mistake.
Under pressure, Pickup insisted American Leisure fire the CPO that was contracted for. He then "re-instated" Galante as the pool's CPO. But it was too late, damage done.
Pickup's poor and possibly vindictive decision to contract for only the minimum number of guards required by law–and his placing Galante in a position that conflicted with the Certified Pool Operator–blew up in the club's face.
NEW COMPANY HIRED, OLD COMPANY NEVER FIRED
With members and commissioners still clamouring, Pickup executed another contract on July 29th with United Fitness, Sports and Pools, for the last five weeks of the season–at $80,000. Jim Lopolito actually signed that contract as Pickup was reportedly traveling in Ohio that day.
The plan was to have United Fitness start on August 1st. The only problem is, the City of Rye never gave proper notice to terminate the contract with American Leisure, so United's start date was pushed back.
COPS CALLED TO RGC TO REMOVE 'UNWANTED VENDOR'
With chaos in the air, on Monday, August 5th, at approximately 6:21am, two pool companies showed up at Rye Golf Club, each claiming contractual rights to work at the pool. So Galante called the cops.
TERMINATION LETTER SENT ONE DAY IN ADVANCE
Galante showed Rye Police a termination letter to American Leisure written by city attorney Kristen Wilson. The letter was dated and delivered Sunday, August 4th–only one day beforehand.
According to the contract between American Leisure and the City of Rye, the city can terminate the contract by giving notice setting forth the details of a material breach of contract. It further states that American Leisure has 10 days to cure, or to begin to cure such breach, or they have 7 days to dispute the city's claim of breach and to request arbitration.
It appears the city did not afford American Leisure that contractual courtesy.
According to the Rye Sound Shore Review, Wilson said the transition between the two pool companies is “a work in progress” and that the city would “rather not have to litigate.”
INCOMPENET MAN SPENDS MORE THAN CON MAN
Last year, Scott Yandrasevich spent $193,000 on RGC's pool management contract–and he provided many more lifeguards–between 13 and 17. This year, Scott Pickup spent $240,000 on two contracts, and never provided more than 8 lifeguards, who barely showed up for work.
As Scott Pickup continues to damage RGC.