Experience has come through my investigative roles:
- Investigative reporter
- Private investigator
- Intelligence analyst
- Intelligence officer
- Intelligence manager
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR/INTELLIGENCE ANALYST
In my role as the chief intelligence officer for New York City’s Post 9/11 remediation and recovery of a large swath of Downtown Manhattan, a primary objective of the independent monitors was to detect any effort by unscrupulous business people and members of organized crime to engage in business ventures and otherwise victimize the city’s effort to clean-up and dispose of building debris left by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Among other findings, this investigative effort identified and disclosed the role of a major figure of a New York City crime family, whose company was barred and subsequently prosecuted for tax violations.
During another private sector assignment, my intelligence gathering and investigations supported civil litigation involving a U.S. Navy financed housing development on Staten Island. The investigative results revealed a conspiracy by the leaders of two New York City crime families to influence the award of construction contracts to businesses controlled by organized crime.
Background investigations conducted during the government effort (1990 to 1996) to rid New York City’s school construction program of organized crime-influence successfully barred many unscrupulous contractors and businesses dominated by organized crime and corrupt labor union officials. These complex investigations often targeted so-called alter ego business firms – uncovering scenarios in which spouses, sons or daughters were placed as “fronts” to conceal the ongoing role of a convicted or indicted company principal.
One of the earliest examples of my experience in uncovering tax-supported fraud and government corruption was in the investigation of federally financed employment program. Federal money disbursed to municipal agencies through a county account paid for concrete and materials to built and improve municipal properties. A reporter’s examination of records for time-stamped concrete deliveries revealed significant evidence that public workers were dispatched to perform jobs on privately-owned backyard patios and swimming pools during hours they were also compensated by the municipal payroll. A school trustee’s lawsuit against the reporter and his newspaper employer, filed to refute an allegation concerning his property improvements, was withdrawn following discovery and depositions.
Whether the subject of a background investigation is an individual or a business, prudent strategy relies on knowledge of the subject’s industry or business interests as viewed through the prism of experience and investigative work, supported by access to an extensive number of knowledgeable contacts.
The strategy begins with a road map for inquiry, built from an understanding of the subject’s business interests, either through my experience of more than thirty years of investigative work or through consultation with an array of business intelligence contacts. For this process, I rely on my years as an investigative newspaper reporter, government intelligence director, and manager of private investigations.
DUE DILIGENCE EXPERIENCE
Much of my experience was gained through my role in private investigations conducted on behalf of Thacher Associates LLC, New York City, and The Investigative Group, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Through my work with these firms, came the experience of conducting complex legal investigations; inquiries in support of due diligence assignments for financial institutions and business corporations; and background investigations into persons and businesses in support of civil litigation objectives, including background on persons chosen for deposition or interrogatories.
Thacher Associates has become a leader in the New York City area as a consultant to large public and private building programs. Much of its reputation is due to the design and execution of effective screening tools, designed and managed by professionals, expert in the analysis of business intelligence.
Due diligence in the private sector often relies on the initial search of commercial databases. A second phase introduces the importance of the review and analysis. A seasoned investigator uses data retrieved from database sources to develop information from confidential sources. Once primary data is squeezed and sorted, human sources are often key to connecting the dots and completing a comprehensive profile.
In government, as intelligence director for the Inspector General of the New York City School Construction Authority, I managed a unit of analysts responsible for screening thousands of companies and their principals seeking approval to do business with the construction agency. The critical tool for this process was a prequalification application required to be completed by each vendor. Each application was carefully vetted by my unit, under the close supervision of the Inspector General, a lawyer who also served as a vice president of the construction agency. The School Construction Authority’s prequalification system drew national attention and praise for its effectiveness as a due diligence tool and risk management measure. While most contracting firms were approved after the extensive screening process, many hundreds of vendors were denied prequalification for failing to meet the agency’s standards for integrity or because of misstatements and false filings detected by thorough due diligence.