Last month, I provided the data for a New York Post article, How NYC Does Not Tax the Super Rich , which describes how NYC’s most expensive apartment, a penthouse that recently sold for $100M, has an annual property tax bill of only $17k. In 2002, when Stark made Rochelle the first deputy commissioner, she asked COIB for letter giving her clearance for the appointment and the obvious conflict with her husband working at Finance. In January, 2003 as part of the reform process Stark appoints an outside real estate tax expert, Linda Yancey, as the new Assistant Commissioner of Real Property at Finance. By April 22, 2003, as reported by the N.Y. Daily News, Yancey had resigned in despair and had notified the City Council of her serious concerns about the property tax system and its lack of equity.
On September 8, 2003 DOI determines that Rochelle Patricof, first deputy commissioner at Finance, violated COIB law by invoving herself in matters that potentially affected her husband’s compensation as a Finance ALJ. In the fall of 2003 Stark begins a long running affair with Dara Ottley-Brown, a married female Finance employee who was working in the Bronx at the time.
At the very least, this is a violation of the city charter but also appears to be a pattern of Stark’s behavior with female Finance employees. It is hard to ignore the suspicion that Stark wanted back door control of the real property division. Finance Commissioner Martha E. Stark and Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn today released a report describing steps Finance has taken to reduce the risk of corruption in the property valuation process, and ways Finance will continue to improve the valuation process and make it easier for the public to understand.
If Ottley-Brown was competent, she would have gotten promoted on her own, of course, not at Finance. Stark proceeds to do extensive work for Tarragon during office hours, use her official position and letterhead, and use city resources and personnel, including Rochelle Patricof, to do her Tarragon work. On June 1, 2005 Stark demotes my wife from the position which she had earned on her own merits and without any help from me. At this point both Rochelle Patricof, the first deputy commissioner, and her husband, Allan, an administrative law judge, were working for Finance.
In March, 2005 Subordinate 2, a married female, starts to work at Finance as a college aide at $12.50/hr in the executive office. In September, 2005 in response to an anonymous email from an alleged Finance employee I notified the Law Department that Stark was involved with two female Finance employees, Dara Ottley-Brown and Roberta Hand. At the time Vincent Green was the I.G. for Finance and Stark was supplying resources to DOI.