Last year the city endured a drawn-out debacle when Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim refused to approve the co-pay for an insurance settlement. The conflict was ugly, marked by false attacks by Kim against Marilyn Rivers, the director of Risk and Safety. Ultimately, Kim conceded to a federal judge that the city had no authority over the settlement, and the insurance company was finally paid. You would think Kim and the Council would have learned from this experience. You would be wrong.
As Yogi Berra once observed, “it’s deja vu all over again.”
One would have hoped that after having served two terms on the Saratoga Springs City Council as Public Safety Commissioner and now having spent over a year in office as Mayor, that Ron Kim would have at last begun to understand how the city’s insurance coverage works. After all, as he always likes to remind us, he is also a lawyer. Unfortunately, Kim is once more resisting paying a deductible due to Traveler’s Insurance for a case settled against the city.
The Latest Insurance Case
In 2019, Kenneth Wilkins fell on ice in front of city hall. He made a claim against the city. Travelers Insurance defended the city in the suit and ended up settling the matter for $65,000.00. The city’s Travelers insurance policy requires the city to pay a $25,000.00 deductible.
On March 13, 2023, Kim was presented with the following resolution to authorize the city’s payment of the deductible due to Travelers Insurance. As the document below shows, City Attorney Tony Izzo signed off on the resolution writing that it “appears lawful and proper.”
Mayor Kim signed off on the resolution, and then, for reasons unknown, he asked for the document to be returned to him, scratched out his signature, and decided he would bring it to the Council.
The resolution was on the Mayor’s agenda for the March 21, 2023, City Council meeting. In a bizarre twist, the Mayor announced it would not be considered in his agenda but would be dealt with at the end of the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, Kim announced that the Council was going into an executive session to deal with a matter from Risk and Safety. As the matter of the co-pay had originated from Risk and Safety, presumably, the resolution was the focus of the executive session.
When the members of the Council emerged from the executive session, Kim announced that no action had been taken during the session. It is simply stunning that Accounts Commissioners Dillon Moran, Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi, and Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino said nothing (Public Works Commissioner Jason Golub was absent). Sanghvi and Montagnino had supported Kim in the previous fiasco, and they are apparently doing it again.
What Is Going To Happen To The City’s Insurance
What insurance company will want to put up with this kind of behavior, and if there is one, what will they charge?