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.”
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.