Ulster County public defender resigns after investigation showed failure to seek $2.5m in state reimbursements

New Paltz Attorney and Ulster County Public Defender Andrew Kossover. (File photo by Lauren Thomas)

Attorney Andrew Kossover, the Ulster County public defender since 2006, resigned this week after an analysis showed the office failed to seek $2.5 million over six years in state reimbursements. During that time, the county budgeted and spent $1.9 million that could have been reimbursed but was instead absorbed by county taxpayers, according to a release from County Executive Pat Ryan.

The public defender’s office “repeatedly and inexplicably failed to submit routine and required paperwork” to the State Office of Indigent Legal Services to receive that funding, according to a release from the county executive’s office. “This is a fundamental failure of leadership within, and oversight of, the public defender’s office. We are also working to understand how this disappointing failure in oversight was not identified and remedied sooner.”

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He said the county is working with the state to process claims for past work and believes it will be able to recoup a “significant portion” of previously unclaimed funds.

First deputy public defender Clifford Owens has been appointed interim public defender.

There are 8 comments

  1. Dwayne

    Interesting. Shouldn’t the County Comptroller have detected this in something close to real time? I wonder if there’s some kind of subplot regarding the one-time infamous Hein-Auerbach feud (both parties to which have moved on).

  2. Only Conservative In Town

    I wonder where the money that they will try to get back will go? I can’t imagine that the tax payers will get anything back.

  3. E A

    Six years? How long has jeweler store salesman HEINES been gone? Thought Titlist Mike had everything under his control.

    If Ryan wasn’t really a GOP Trumper this would never have seen the light of day. All beware

  4. Patchman

    The State has committed to the Hurrell-Herring settlement reforms which are extended statewide. Serves as a standard for all counties. The not so new legislation(2017) authorized the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services to implement Hurrell-Herring reforms statewide. Six years ???? The community and the taxpayers deserve transparency.

  5. Patchman

    Question: Does the County have a NYS required assigned counsel plan?? Non-compliance for six years ? Is the public defender mentioned , the administrator of such plan? System failure across the board , Court system, County Administrators, and public defenders office. They all dropped the ball.

  6. Roadshow Magic.

    Public Defenders never have the funds they need to perform their work. They carry huge case loads, and lack the money to adequately defend with clients.

    Or so we’ve been told.

    The Ulster County PDs sure could have used that $2.5M over the past six years. Let’s hope that these attorneys are properly compensated for their vital work, and that they have sufficient money to mount adequate defenses for their clients.

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