Have you ever been annoyed with your teen neighbor's drone antics to the point where you tasked three of your work employees to help you, uh, draft an anti-drone ordinance? Well, that's what a former NYC official did, according to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board. Shirvahna Gobin, who was the Department of Correction's Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Planning, also admitted that she convinced Nassau County police officers to arrest the teen and his father, "prominently displaying her DOC badge and telling them she had been 'at the Mayor’s Office' earlier in the day," per the COIB.
Gobin lived in Bellmore, and in 2017 she made 13 complaints with the police when neighbor Shel Delgado, then 14-years-old, would fly his drone. Although the police said flying the drone was legal, Gobin involved her Correction staff. From the COIB settlement:
f. In or about April 2017, I instructed a DOC Project Coordinator, who was my subordinate, to perform several drone-related personal favors for me. At my instruction, the Project Coordinator spent seven to nine hours of time when he was required to be working for DOC:
i. Drafting a form letter to the Hempstead City Council advocating for a change to Hempstead's drone laws;
ii. Assembling hundreds of pages of supporting materials for a form drone advocacy letter; and
iii. Providing me with feedback on an anti-drone speech I intended to deliver.
g. In or about April 2017, I instructed a DOC Principal Administrative Assistant, who was my subordinate, to research New York State laws related to drones. The Principal Administrative Assistant spent approximately seven hours of time when she was required to be working for DOC to do this personal research for me.
h. From April to July 2017, I instructed a DOC Director of Project Management, who was my subordinate, to perform several drone-related personal favors for me. At my instruction, the Director of Project Management spent approximately fourteen hours of time when she was required to be working for DOC:
i. Reviewing and editing six variations of the form drone advocacy letter the Project Coordinator had written;
ii. Compiling a list of ten "Recent High-Profile Drone Mishaps";
iii. Researching the Federal A vi at ion Administration's rules on drones; and
iv. Reviewing, editing, and formatting a PowerPoint presentation advocating for banning drones in Hempstead.
She also asked her subordinates to sign their names on an anti-drone petition.
By July 2017, Shea Delgado apparently used a hose to spray water on a security camera that Gobin had installed. This prompted Gobin to tell her colleague at the Correction Department, the Chief of Health and Safety, that she "feared for [her] family's safety" and accepted his offer of a security detail.
"In response to my call, at approximately 4:30 p.m. on July 26, 2017, the Chief of Health and Safety assigned five officers from DOC's Emergency Service Unit ("ESU") to act as a security detail at my home. Two of these officers were quickly recalled to Rikers Island to assist in an emergency search for an escaped inmate; the other three remained at my home until they were relieved by four other ESU officers, who took over my security detail at 6 a.m. the following morning. In total, approximately 55 hours of DOC employee time was spent on the security detail."
On July 19th, 2017, Gobin insisted that Nassau County police officers arrest Shea and his father, Ron Delgado. In the settlement, she stated that, "I identified myself to the NCPD officers as a DOC Deputy Commissioner. Throughout the period in which NCPD officers were present at my home, I prominently displayed my DOC badge around my neck without an official DOC purpose for doing so. I also told NCPD officers that I had been 'at the Mayor's Office' earlier in the day and did not 'need this kind of nonsense.'"
According to the Daily News, Shea Delgado pleaded guilty to damaging the security camera and "was ordered to pay $189 for a new one and complete 18 hours of community service." Gobin appeared at his arraignment while wearing her DOC badge.
Gobin also accused the teen of calling her and her husband racist slurs. Delgado's mother told Patch, "My 14-year-old son did nothing to this woman. All he did was fly his drone."
Gobin also admitted in the settlement that she asked Correction subordinates to design dinosaur stickers for her son's fourth and fifth birthday party. When one of the employees said she was busy with Correction-related work, Gobin told her she was being "ridiculous"—and then when the employee showed her design, Gobin said, "HATE IT!!!" and asked for a redesign.
After the Daily News ran stories about her altercations with the Delgados and use of Correction staff, Gobin was forced to resign in 2017. Now, two years later, the Conflict of Interest Board decided to fine her $20,000, noting, "In assessing the appropriate penalty for this case, the Board considered the high number of violations committed by Respondent and that one of those violations was referencing her City position and wearing her badge in conjunction with the arrest of a minor with whom she had a personal dispute. Respondent was a high-level law enforcement officer who should be held to a particularly high level of compliance with the conflicts of interest law."
However, Gobin claimed to Patch that she only admitted to the various violations to put the "nightmare" behind her: "There was no winning with this case and I did not have billions of dollars to go back and forth in litigation with them, and I settled so I could move on with my life." She added that she was considered action against the city.