Says she is a victim of “false accusations”
By Kevin E. Foley
Libby Pataki resigned on Friday (March 11) as Putnam County’s tourism director, following a report in February in the Journal News that prompted an investigation by the state attorney general into the county’s nonprofit tourism organizations.
There was no official news of her departure, but as in the past, she announced her plans to the Putnam County News & Recorder, a friendly venue that has chastised the Journal News and tax reporter David McKay Wilson for reporting the story. The Journal News documented that two non-profits set up to promote the county to tourists did not have functioning board of directors, an apparent violation of state law. Pataki was paid by both groups, including one that she established to accept tax-deductible donations.
In a previous interview with the PCNR, Pataki called the allegations “wrong and unfair,” without elaborating on any inaccuracies. “I regret that my last months on the job were marred by false accusations by a single reporter out to promote himself and harm the county,” Pataki charged in the PCNR on Friday. “Public life, as I well know, is rife with slings and barbs, but this has been disappointing.”
The Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau gets some $250,000 a year in taxpayer funds annually and paid Pataki $70,000 annually. The Putnam Tourism Corp., which Pataki established in 2012, apparently without the knowledge of the county executive or legislature, paid her a second annual salary of $50,000 as its part-time executive director.
“I respect Libby’s decision,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell in a statement. “I thank her for her service, and I wish her well. I did not have any advance notice of this but I understand she has been under a great deal of fire lately, much of it unfair, but I understand.”