Originally published on June 5, 2012
In the September 10, 2009 issue of Shawangunk Journal, the profile of a legislative candidate bombastically headlined Bernardo’s Golden Vision for District 1 tells us that “Terry Bernardo seems to have the Midas touch; every project she commits herself to, translates into gold – whether it’s her hugely successful Pilates studio… or the popular roller skating rink Skate Time 209 she owns with her husband, Independence Party chair Len Bernardo.”
Too bad Shawangunk Journal wasn’t into any investigative reporting. Just by scratching Bernardo’s claim they would have discovered that all that “translating into gold” was done at taxpayers’ expense.
TLB Management, the name under which Terry and Len Bernardo operate Skate Time 209, has not met employment promises made to gain financial benefits through the Industrial Development Agency (IDA). The agency granted the business tax exemptions in excess of $100,000. It is public knowledge that at one time Skate Time 209 employed only one full-time worker and about a dozen high school students on a part-time basis, not the 14 full-time equivalent positions Bernardo claimed in his annual filings with the agency, and shorter still of the 20 jobs (paying $20,800 each) they promised when granted the tax breaks.
Despite the outrage expressed in our conversations, IDA chairman David O’Halloran kicked the can down the road, and did nothing about this breach of contract.
Here is what caught my eye in the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency’s minutes of August 17, 2011 meeting, regarding TLB Management (Skatetime 209):
- Jobs issue – specifically the interpretation of what a full-time equivalent employee is
- This year they reported the equivalent of 12 full time employees
- Currently under-performing with their job numbers
- ACTION PLAN: No further action at this time – they will remain on the list
Last year – before elections! – Terry Bernardo promised to be a watchdog for our taxpayer dollars. David O’Halloran, Chairman, Town of Rochester Republican Committee, vouched for her: “Terry is a small business owner and will take good care of taxpayer dollars.”
As the 2012 Chair of Ulster County Legislature, Terry Bernardo squandered taxpayers’ money like there was no tomorrow. With 33 legislators, the 2011 Ulster County Legislature adopted budget was $361,837. With 10 fewer legislators at $10,000 a year, the 2012 Ulster County Legislature budget should have been $261,827. Instead, Terry Bernardo brought it up to $451,030. That’s $189,203 of taxpayer money wasted by Terry Bernardo to reward with jobs and increases some of the people who helped her get in the chair’s chair: Langdon Chapman, Fawn Tantillo, Vicky Fabella, Sandy Mathes, Lisa Mance, Frank Reggero.
Terry Bernardo’s golden vision, as well as her taxpayers’ watchdog impersonation are accurately depicted in the illustration above.
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco