The Ramapo Central School District elections are over and done with although I still see election signs in various places throughout the district. Five people vied for three spots on the RCSD Board with Craig Long and Maryilyse Haward being reelected and newcomer to the Board but long-time RCSD PTA volunteer Amany Dgheim won the third spot. Congratulations to the winners.
Airmont resident Joseph Gravagna knocked on many, many doors and came in a distant fifth with fewer than half the vote total of the winners but apparently Gravagna has the support of shadowy organizations and individuals who have proven to be very difficult to track down—so difficult in fact that Gravagna apparently doesn’t even know who some of these folks are.
Gravagna had a very vocal supporter in one Samuel Kosanovich who claimed that the Ramapo Central School District knew two years ago that Novartis was pulling out of Suffern. If true, that would be a very big deal indeed—and one that I wanted to follow up on.
Kosanovich wrote two Letters to the Editor that were published by The Rockland County Times that to put it politely, were unkind and in many respects untrue. We were also told that Sam Kosanovich posted a number of obnoxious ‘Vote for Joe’ type-messages on various Facebook pages include the page of another candidate. These posts were removed so we are unable to independently verify these allegations.
The issue is that nobody seems to know who Sam Kosanovich is.
That’s right, it would appear that there is a very vocal political supporter who nobody seems to know and who nobody seems to have ever met! This sounds like something from the MTV show Catfish where people involved in online relationships try to find out if the person they are chatting with really exists and if the claims they make are true. So we decided to dig a little deeper to try to find out just who Sam Kosanovich is so that we could get more information on his views and opinions and perhaps some insight as to whether or not RCSD did indeed know two years ago that Novartis was leaving.
Samuel Kosanovich has a Facebook page that was started on December 15th, 2013 that lists him as being born on April 5, 1966 and that he lives in Airmont it appears since, well whenever and forever—apparently he’s a life-long resident of Airmont and has just six Facebook ‘friends’. Facebook also lists one other Sam Kosanovich who appears to be a minor who likes sneakers, amateur wrestling and paintball. We won’t include screen shots of the Sam Kosanovich because he appears to be a minor and he’s not the Sam in question.
According to People Finders, there are six people in the United States named Samuel Kosanovich and they range in age from 62 -99 years old and some of these listings may be duplicates. The minor most likely doesn’t come up on People Finders because well, he’s a minor. Incredibly our 48 year-old Sam Kosanovich did not show up at all.
So we kept looking for our elusive Sam using the tools we have at our disposal. Somebody put up a website in support of Joseph Gravagna’s candidacy so we started there.
The website, www.joeknowsramapo.com ripped current school board members and highlighted a number of negative issues. Funded by the “Airmont Society for Change” we Googled this organization and well, and as you can clearly see from the screenshot, the only mention we found was on the “JoeKnowsRamapo” web page. Apparently this organization is as elusive and shadowy as Sam Kosanovich.
We did a whois lookup on the domain name. It was created on May 10th, 2014 and updated on May 9th, 2014. I know this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever but it is what it is Internet wise. The registrant is private so we can’t see who actually registered the domain. Why wouldn’t ‘Sam’ or whoever owns the domain name want to incur the expense to keep its ownership private especially since their fingerprints are all over it?
We are fairly confident that the domain was registered on May 9th, 2014 because the ‘recent site activity’ log shows that our buddy Sam updated the home page eight times on that date. In fact Sam was the only person to update the web page until one “Joe Wilkes” showed up on May 15th to update the website.
Clearly we had to keep looking, so we did.
We decided to visit the Rockland County Clerk’s website; surely there is some record of Sam there.
Yet again, we came up empty.
Wait!! Sam is urging people to vote! Surely he is a registered voter right? Wrong again! Using the information provided on Sam’s Facebook page and both Airmont zip codes, 10901 and 10952, still no Sam Kosanovich registered to vote in Rockland County!
At the age of 48 and being a life-long resident of Airmont, surely Sam has a driver’s license! After all, this isn’t New York City where people can live their entire lives without driving, this is the ‘burbs where most people drive! And yet when we inquired, the New York State DMV has no record of Sam having ever being licensed to drive in this state.
How about Sam’s Facebook photo? We conducted an image match search and we finally found Sam!
Except Sam isn’t really Sam; Sam apparently is Kyle.
That’s what we thought too.
The image that ‘Sam’ uses on Facebook appears to have been taken on 16-12-2006. The image was used on a blog called “What Did Omar Say” in June of 2008. http://whatdidomarsay.wordpress.com/2008/06/
The Omar in question is actually reporter Omar Villafranca who now works at CBS in Dallas. Mr. Villafranca identifies the person in the image as his friend “Kyle” a photojournalist from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Why is “Sam-I-Am” using Kyle from Tulsa Oklahoma’s photo? I have no idea however at this point; I was beginning to think that Sam-I-Am is really Sam-I-Ain’t but we’ll come back to the image in a few moments.
Fake photo, no voter registration, no driver’s license, no records with the county clerk’s office, private domain registration, nothing on People Finder; finding Sam isn’t looking very good.
The Rockland County Times ran two letters to the editor from Sam Kosanovich on March 6th, 2014 and again on May 15th, 2014. Dylan Skriloff is also Facebook friends with Samuel Kosanovich so surely the Rockland County Times must know who the ever-elusive “Sam” is so we called Editor Dylan Skriloff to find out. Unfortunately Dylan was not available both times we called.
Don’t think that we’re picking on the Rockland County Times because we aren’t. We were duped in the past by one “Wayne Chadick” who sent in a scathing letter speaking out against the Wayne Avenue project in Suffern. Unfortunately for “Wayne” someone pointed out that the name was actually a made up conglomeration of a nearby intersection—Wayne and Chadick Avenues. We tracked “Wayne” down and indirectly outted the guy. We didn’t name names but let’s just say that there was far more bark than bite in the guy and we never heard from “Wayne Chadick” again. People send things in and being small businesses, we can’t always scrutinize people the way I have scutinized “Sam Kosanovitch” in this instance and the truth be known, we would have probably been taken in by Sam as well.
We also decided to see just what “Joe Knows” about Sam Kosanovich so I called and spoke with Joe Gravagna himself. Joe told me that he doesn’t have any idea who Sam Kosanovich is either. “My Facebook, my Twitter and my website I have nothing to do with” said Gravagna, “I had nothing to do with that, that was some group that was supporting me and I have don’t know who they are. Someone put up a website for me, Facebook and a twitter page and did my signs and I don’t know who they are” continued Gravagna.
This was getting downright frustrating. How can a person have a Facebook page, write letters to the editor, set up a website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, pay for and distribute signs for a political candidate and yet there is no trace in the usual places and I can’t find the person?
So I dug even deeper and I finally found Kyle! The same Kyle I mentioned above? That’s the guy! But not just the photo and his name mentioned in the blog, I found the actual guy. The photo used of “Sam Kosanovich” is Kyle and I tracked him down to the mid-west where is lives and called Kyle on the phone.
Yes, the image that “Sam Kosanovich’ used for himself is actually an image of Kyle. Yes Kyle was a photojournalist and yes Kyle knows Omar Villafranca.
No, Kyle’s alter ego is not named Sam Kosanovich, No, Kyle has never lived in Airmont and has never built a website, Facebook or Twitter pages or purchased election signs for Joe Gravagna. Kyle didn’t write the letters to the editor, Kyle does not know how “Sam” found his photo nor has he ever agreed to allow “Sam” to use the photo to create a fake persona.
Yes, Kyle did give me permission to use his photograph in this article. (Great ‘stache by the way)
As many answers as I did manage to find, there still remain a number of unanswered questions:
Who wrote the letters, created a website, Facebook & Twitter pages and paid for, distributed and ultimately removed election signs for Joseph Gravagna? Who is behind the “Airmont Society for Change”? If I were Joe Gravagna, I would want to know the answers to these questions too.