Failure to submit paperwork by Ulster Public Defender’s Office cost county $2.5 million

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KINGSTON – An apparent failure by the Ulster County Public Defender’s Office to file six years worth of documentation to the state has cost the county almost $2.5 million in funding that it should have received from the Office of Indigent Legal Services.

County Executive Patrick Ryan revealed that information following a multi-year analysis of the public defender’s office.

“This is a fundamental failure of leadership within, and oversight of, the public defender’s office,” according to Ryan, who said he accepted the resignation of Public Defender Andrew Kossover on Friday and appointed First Deputy Public Defender Clifford Owens as interim public defender.

Andrew Kossover

Ryan said he is working with the state to process claims for past work “and ensure that we follow all the guidelines to properly claim for these funds in a timely fashion in the future.” He said they are confident that they will be able to recoup “a significant portion of the previously unclaimed funds.”

The county executive will also ask County Comptroller March Gallagher to conduct a comprehensive review of the past six years of the public defender’s finances.