The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts: Final Summary with All Raw Transcripts

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts: Final Summary with All Raw Transcripts

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (August 19, 2022) -- I am now publishing here all the raw transcripts from the New Rochelle Board of Ethics investigation based on my ethics complaint.

The newsletter is being sent first to paid subscribers at 2:00 pm on Friday August 19.

This newsletter will be unlocked for free subscribers at 9:00 am on Saturday August 20.

If you are a free subscriber and do not want to wait a day consider supporting my work as a paid subscriber.

I have a few thoughts to share on these transcripts and what they tell us about the City of New Rochelle.

As I noted in my first article in the series:

It would be difficult to present a single coherent, digestible narrative of all that is going on in the transcripts where different witnesses are being asked about different elements of my ethics complaint, so it is necessary to come at this haystack of information to find the needles buried deep within it.

To help readers sort all this, I am including a Table of Contents listing titles/links for each article in the “Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts” series and links to my past reporting on these matters, as well as the various documents and exhibits.

Basically, this article is the culmination of all of my reporting on the ethics violations to date. It is all that I began reporting on six months ago involving New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, as well as Council members Yadira Ramos-Herbert and Sara Kaye who both supported Bramson and in doing so, joined him in violating the City Charter, a misdemeanor under New York State law.

The matter is now in the hands of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, which has begun to put the case before a Grand Jury. It is hard to imagine, provided the evidence and testimony gathered in response to my ethics complaint, much of it contained in the transcripts linked below, that the Mayor of New Rochelle will not be indicted on a public corruption charge — using his public office to obtain something of value (a job worth over $200,000 a year, over 5 years, plus excess pension benefits over his lifetime, all totaled worth just under $3 million) — and misdemeanor charges for violating the City Charter. Any resulting plea agreement would certainly include Bramson leaving office and being barred from future public office in New York State.

Readers have asked me when the Grand Jury might decide. The process is secret, so there is no way to know, but there was a start date, a Grand Jury subpoena for records at the end of June (with documents returnable by July 1). I would expect that some witnesses deposed by the ethics board would be called to testify before the Grand Jury. I expect to hear if that is happening, and I have not heard that, so I expect there are still some ways to go. As a guess, after Labor Day but before Thanksgiving.

I have spent that past six weeks meticulously sifting through hundreds of pages of transcripts from a series of hearings where depositions were taken as part of an investigation following my ethics complaint filed on March 20, 2022.

When you became a paid subscriber to Words in Edgewise on Substack, this is the sort of effort you were supporting, so thank you to my paid subscribers.

Words in Edgewise is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

The Advisory Opinion was delivered on June 16, 2022.

To prepare the series of articles published under the heading “Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts”, I read through the transcripts at least a half-dozen times. As I went I marked up each of the PDF documents containing the 13 transcripts (12 witnesses, Strome testified twice) by color-coding sections on topics such “Development Commissioner” or “Gill Appointment” or “Alisa Kesten” then painstakingly copying and pasting the OCR’d text in each section into a word-processing file, then cleaning up the text (anyone who has ever worked with OCR’d documents with small font knows it can be messy), then formatting it, labeling the various sections by sub-topic, grouping them, then repeating the process for each topic and sub-topic for each person deposed by the ethics board. Once that was done I assembled the various sections into separate word-processing files, gave them titles and began writing what became the published articles.

Needless to say, this was a time-consuming process which is why some articles took a long time to get ready for publication, especially the “Development Commissioner” and “Gill appointment” articles.

I did all of this work because it was the only way for readers (including prosecutors at the DA’s office) to sip from the firehose of information, filtered by my unique knowledge about these matters to provide context.

These depositions are, after all, the result of my ethics complaint which is based on my reporting over the last several months, so it is something only I could do. It is why you, as a reader, can now see the pattern of the questions in the interrogatory prepared by Peter Miesels — the answers by each respondent grouped under various question. It is why you can clearly see who is contracting other respondents, and who is contradicting themselves.

As I trust is clear to readers, my reporting is well-sourced and exceedingly accurate. It is why the Mayor and his defenders have been silent about any public criticism of my reporting. There is no way around the fact the Mayor (and Ramos-Herbert and Kaye) did wrong and are now being held to account.

While these are all crimes, there can be no doubt that Bramson opened himself up to a perjury charge when he said he never discussed with members of Council considering candidates from the non-profit sector. He did. On March 8. There are six witnesses to this — all the other members of Council. Mostly, the mayor is not outright lying in his testimony but, as noted previously, is offering a masterclass in deception. His testimony, especially when compared to Strome and Gill, has more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese left in a roomful of rats.

Ramos-Herbert deserves special mention, given the deeply mendacious nature of her testimony. She demonstrated a unique capacity to tell multiple lies in a single sentence. She would certainly not survive a grilling under oath by an aggressive ADA armed with a keen mind and a transcript of her highly contradictory ethics board testimony.

From the first article in this series:

The most notable lie is both in the transcript of her testimony, and an interview of her by the Journal News — that she was not the Mayor’s “third vote” in his attempt to pressure the City Manager to rescind his appointment of Kathleen Gill as Deputy City Manager. Other witnesses provide testimony that indicates she is the third vote. The Mayor himself repeatedly talks about 3 votes while also acknowledging that Fried, Tarantino, Hyden and Lopez were a hard “no” on the Kathleen Gill matter. There are 7 members on Council, which leaves Bramson with two, Sara Kaye and Yadira Ramos-Herbert. She is clearly lying, and the DA should press her on this point.

Complete Transcripts

The witness list includes a total of 12 witness but 13 transcripts as Strome testified twice:

  • City Manager Charles B. Strome
  • Mayor Noam Bramson
  • Corporation Counsel and Deputy City Manager Kathleen Gill
  • Human Resources Commissioner Robert Yamuder
  • Development Commissioner Adam Salgado, Council member Martha Lopez
  • Council member Albert Tarantino
  • Council member Yadira Ramos-Herbert
  • Council member Ivar Hyden
  • Council member Sara Kaye
  • Council member Elizabeth Fried
  • Monroe College President Marc Jerome (in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District)

NOTE: most of the transcripts in these PDF files use small font sizes. Compressing the PDFs would significantly degrade the resolution, making them hard to read, so most of these files are large (some over 1 GB). If you click the links to open in a browser, it may take a couple of minutes to open. Some readers may prefer to download the files on their device and then open them that way.

Transcripts by date:

April 1, 2022: Chuck Strome

April 4, 2022: Liz Fried, Noam Bramson

April 8, 2022: Sara Kaye, Robert Yamuder, Ivar Hyden, Martha Lopez, Yadira Ramos-Herbert

April 12, 2022: Chuck Strome, Kathleen Gill

May 2, 2022: Adam Salgado

May 6, 2022: Marc Jerome

Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Series

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Part I: New Questions About New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, et al.

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Part II: Mayor’s Pursuit of New Rochelle Development Commissioner Position

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Part III: New Rochelle Mayor Plots to Rescind Gill Appointment

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Part IV: Mayor Seeks to Install Former Campaign Manager as Puppet City Manager

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Part V: Plan D and the BID

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Part VI: Noam Eats a Cucumber

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Part VII: A Failed Coup

The Noam Bramson Ethics Transcripts Part VIII: The Mayor Gets Himself a Lawyer

(reverse chronological order)

Ethics Board Advisory Opinion on New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson

New Rochelle Mayor Threatens Legal Action to Block Ethics Referral to Westchester County District Attorney

Republican Steven Leventhal, Ethics Attorney for New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, Has Had His Own Ethics Issues

As Ethics Investigation into New Rochelle Mayor Moves Closer to a Final Report, a Shocking New Violation Has Emerged

New Rochelle Mayor Improperly Sought Appointment as Development Commissioner in Violation of City Charter

New Rochelle Mayor Testifies for 1 1/2 Hours Before Ethics Committee on Alleged Misdemeanor Charter Violations

New Rochelle Mayor Angling to Elevate Former Bramson Campaign Manager to Bramson City Manager

Plan D: Why Is New Rochelle Mayor Pushing to Put Friends of Noam on Downtown BID Board?

Former New Rochelle Councilwoman Breaks Silence on “Waterboarding” by Mayor Noam Bramson over 2013 Echo Bay Vote

Real Estate Conference’s Deep Dive into New Rochelle Development Turns on the Mystical Mayoral Power of Noam Bramson

Noam Bramson Brings His Ted Lasso Theory of Government to New Rochelle

Ethics Investigation into New Rochelle Mayor Gets Underway with City Manager Called as First Witness

New Rochelle Board of Ethics Complaint – Noam Bramson, et al.

Amendment to Ethics Complaint – Noam Bramson, et al.

Strome Memo to Bramson

ICMA Ethics Opinion

Read more