Just How Drunk Was New Rochelle City Civil Service Employees Association President John Caldararo on July 24th?

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Just How Drunk Was New Rochelle City Civil Service Employees Association President John Caldararo on July 24th?

August 15, 2010 - 01:57

JohnCaldararox150.pngWhen Talk of the Sound reported on Thursday that John Caldararo was arrested with a blood alcohol level of 0.4 of 1%, we only knew from the City web site that Caldararo was a Senior Building Inspector.

Thanks to a reader's comment, we now know that John Caldararo is not just a buildings inspector but the President of the New Rochelle City Civil Service Employees Association or CSEA. Had we known, we would have certainly led with that information as the CSEA, a unit of AFSCME, represents a very large number of New Rochelle's municipal employees.

This might explain a series of comments posted to the original story defending Caldararo or seeking to minimize the issue. These supporters are insisting that a DWI Arrest is a private matter (it isn't), calling him an "asset to our city" (he isn't) and minimizing the seriousness of the case (comparing a BAC of 0.4 of 1% to having a glass or two of wine).

That last one got us thinking. In New York State, like many states, a BAC of .08% of 1 is considered intoxicated. So, just how drunk was John Caldararo that he blew a ".4"?

To help run some numbers and get a sense of how many beers, glasses of wine or shots of whiskey he would have had to drink over the course of the day to get his BAC that high, we used an unofficial Blood-Alcohol Content Calculator.

Let's deal with the idea of one of Caldararo supporters that a .4 is similar to drinking a glass or two of wine at a barbecue. If a man of average weight drinks 2 four ounce glasses of wine over two hours at a cookout he will have a BAC of 0.15, not even remotely close to being legally intoxicated.

Caldararo stands 6' 4" and so figure he weights 250 pounds. He was pulled over at 7:40 PM on a Saturday so to create a scenario to test, let's assume for a moment he began drinking before lunch and kept on drinking steadily all day for a total of 8 hours.

A 250 pound man drinking just beer for 8 hours would need to consume 36 beers - a case and a half.

A 250 pound man drinking just wine for 8 hours would need to consume 40 glasses of wine - six and a half bottles of wine.

A 250 pound man drinking just 80 proof Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey for 8 hours would need to consume 43 one ounce shots - just under two bottles of whiskey.

If you cut the drinking time to 2 hours, he would need to consumer 36 1-ounce shots of whiskey or a little over 5 bottles of wine or 30 beers. However he was mixing and matching, Caldararo was doing some Olympic-caliber drinking that day.

To put this in context, take a look at this widely known table of known effect of alcohol at various BAC levels.


The effects of alcohol are greatly influenced by individual factors; some people become intoxicated at much lower blood alcohol levels than others. In general however, the results below are usually a rough interpretation …

0.02 — 0.03 BAC: No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness. Depressant effects are not apparent.

0.04 — 0.06 BAC: Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of reasoning and memory, lowering of caution.

0.07 — 0.09 BAC: Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self-control are reduced, and caution, reason and memory are impaired (in most provinces and states .08 is legally impaired and it is illegal to drive at this level). At this level of impairment, the typical reaction time of a driver is doubled, from 1.5 seconds to 3.0 seconds. You are now 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident than if sober.

0.10 — 0.125 BAC: Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired. Euphoria. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle at this level of intoxication in all states and provinces. At this level of intoxication, you are 15 times more likely to be involved in an accident than if sober.

0.13 — 0.15 BAC: Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria* is beginning to appear.

0.16 — 0.19 BAC: Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a "sloppy drunk." At this level of intoxication, you are 30 times more likely to be involved in an accident than if sober.

0.20 BAC: Feeling dazed/confused or otherwise disoriented. May need help to stand/walk. If you injure yourself you may not feel the pain. Some people have nausea and vomiting at this level. The gag reflex is impaired and you can choke if you do vomit. Blackouts are likely at this level so you may not remember what has happened.

0.25 BAC: All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falls or other accidents.

0.30 BAC: STUPOR. You have little comprehension of where you are. You may pass out suddenly and be difficult to awaken.

0.35 BAC: Coma is possible. This is the level of surgical anesthesia.

0.40 BAC and up: Onset of coma, and possible death due to respiratory arrest.

In other words, if Caldararo's arrest is just a case of bad luck, another wise normal person who happened to have one too many before hitting the road then by all accounts he should be in a coma or dead. Instead he managed to drive his 2004 Acura onto the Southern State Parkway. There is only one logical conclusion: Caldararo is not a social drinker and, by all evidence, a raging alcoholic.

In fact, since we first ran our story, numerous tips have come in that Caldararo is well known for his heavy drinking. Sources tell Talk of the Sound that Caldararo is known to drink during the middle of the work day, drive city vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and has been banned from at least one establishment in New Rochelle over this drinking. Further, that the reason he was "promoted" out of his position of buildings inspector was, in part, related to concerns that as part of his job he was driving around in a city vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and that his has been the case for a lot longer than this past July.

How Caldararo intends to deal with the personal side of his alcohol problems is his business but his sitting behind the wheel of a City-owned vehicle is everyone's business.

A final note, there are four CSEA units in New Rochelle

  • New Rochelle City #9173
  • New Rochelle Cross Guards #9173-01
  • New Rochelle Library #9173-02
  • New Rochelle Housing #9176

Readers will certainly remember New Rochelle Cross Guards #9173-01 President Rosetta Pegues who was interviewed by the Journal News after Talk of the Sound first reported that guards were being paid for guarding corners at midday where no children crossed due to a shift to full-day kindergarten program the year before. Few crossing guards were bothering to stand their midday posts, others were found sitting in their cars or on lawn chairs reading books.

"They can't take if from us. We can't let them." Pegues told Hannan Adley, then of the Journal News, when asked whether guards should be getting paid for manning empty street corners while firefighters were being fired due to budget cuts.

UPDATE: Below is a copy of the court records on file with the Unified Court System

Caldararo DWI BAC.jpg

There are 23 Comments

Mr. Cox: I am truly embarrassed by my action and would like to apologize to my family, friends and the City of New Rochelle. I have been a dedicated City Employee for over 25 Years and have always tried to help, I have been a member and /or President of most service organization in town.What I did was wrong and I will pay for my actions, it will be something I will carry on my heart for the rest of my life. I can only make a promise to my family and friends that it will never happen again.I just need to clear up (2) two wrong statements in your blog, The alcohol content I was arrested for was .10 not the .40 you stated the court papers showed, I have them if you would like to see them.That is still considered impaired and I should not have been behind the wheel of a car. 2nd. I have never drank on the Job and have never been banned from any bar in New Rochelle or anywhere else. I would like to thank everyone for their concern. I truly would like to express my sorrow to my family and friends for putting them through this ordeal.I just thank God no one was hurt but me.

John Caldararo

Robert Cox's picture

Mr. Caldararo,

The court records state that your BAC was 0.4, as we have reported.

I have updated this post with a screen capture from the record system of the Unified Court System of the State of New York to clarify any confusion on this point.

Let me add that, of course, I am more than willing to review any documents in your possession. You can contact me through this web site and I will meet with you and review them.

Thank you for your apology and honesty.
Hopefully, you and your family get past this without further BS from the so called "reporters" on this site.
As far as Mr. Cox, he's the one who owes you an apology for his inaccurate "reporting", especially if your account is the accurate one. Mr. Cox makes "mistakes" all the time with his "rants", which are usually derived from his continued insistence on using his notoriously unreliable "sources" who are nothing more than "rumor mongers".
How anyone takes this guy seriously is beyond me. But, it is HIS site, so I guess that gives him the right to say what he wants, how he wants, as long as it furthers his personal vendetta against city workers.
Back to the point, not that I really believe you owe anyone an aplology, but your apology is accepted, at least by this citizen. Good Luck.

Robert Cox's picture

As I have noted in my reply to Mr. Caldararo, the article is correct. He was arrested for DWI on July 24th, he did plead guilty on August 10th and the court records do show that he had a BAC of 0.4 which is five times the legal limit.

The articles I wrote on Thursday was based primarily on information obtained from the Suffolk County Police, the Suffolk County District Court, and the Suffolk County District Attorney. The screen capture from the web site of the New York State Unified Court System is quite clear that the BAC was 0.4, as originally reported.

The reason the readership of this web site continues to grow is because readers trust that we have properly researched and sourced our stories. We have never had to retract a story and no one has ever come forward and been able to demonstrate that a story we reported was wrong.

As for the notion that reporting the news constitutes a "vendetta" against City workers, you are going to have to better than that. I have never even met Mr. Caldararo, as should be clear from the fact that I was unaware of his connection to the CSEA until after I ran the story.

Well, the numbers provided by you (.40%) seem proof enough, but you never printed it in the first place. John C stated he has proof showing .10%, obviously very different. Either way, as he stated, he had no business getting behind the wheel. Let's see what court papers he produces to you.
Also, my main concern here would be if anyone drives a city vehicle under the influence which you insinuated John C has been doing with the statement, "tips that have come in". Mr. Cox, that is hearsay and borderline liable! You have to do better than that!! Provide proof, as you did with the court records, otherwise stop spreading rumors. I need to do better? What does Rosetta Pegues or her statement from last spring have to do with this story? John D's position as CSEA President should of sufficed in your article but it was a chance for you to take shots at other issues and inflame your agenda. Ms. Pegues statement from an unrelated story has nothing to do, at all, with this story.
As far as your claim: "We have never had to retract a story" I remember a banner headline last year that stated something to the effect of "Dozens of Ursiline Students Arrested for Drinking..." Well, nobody was "arrested" and you retracted the statement and say they were returned to the school. That retraction was found on the sidebar which nobody probably even saw. As far as the rest of your statement, "and no one has ever come forward and been able to demonstrate that a story we reported was wrong" Well,I just did. Your statement means nothing and should show your readers you have an agenda. Nobody has come forward to demonstrate that the supermarket tabloid headlines of "Aliens Have Landed" are wrong either.

Robert Cox's picture

Just kidding!

Seriously, I see no reason to continue to debate this matter further.

You and Mr. Caldararo called into question the basis for my report that he was arrested with BAC of 0.4 and, as I had reported and you apparently now accept, that was based on records from the New York State Unified Court System which I have demonstrated by posting a screen capture from their database.

I get it that Mr. Caldararo is your friend and, of course, no one wants it known in their community that they are arrested for any reason and you want to defend him but this is news. The New York State Police posts news of these sorts arrests on their public information web site (restricted to accredited media so do not bother searching for it) and Talk of the Sound monitors the stories on a minute by minute basis. Of course, we are going to report it just as, I imagine, the Journal News is going to report it.

No disrespect intended but it is a waste of my time to banter back and forth about this when even Mr. Caldararo has come on this site to publicly acknowledge his arrest and issue an apology.

As for the Ursuline story, we did not RETRACT the Ursuline story. We issued a correction and will always issue a correction if we find our story is in error just like any newspaper.

For those who were not aware, about a year ago a bunch of Ursuline students got in trouble for drinking on the morning of their Ring Day ceremony. We initially reported that they had been arrested -- based on reports from neighbors -- but later confirmed with NRPD that they had been left in the custody of a very upset principal at Ursuline who took matters into her own hands.

We issued a CORRECTION but there was no need to RETRACT the story because the girls were drinking in a neighborhood near the school, the neighbors did call the police, the police did come and they did round up all the girls and remove them from the scene just as we reported. It is correct to say that I should have confirmed the details with NRPD before reporting the story.

There was a "banner headline" but the banner was to announce the correction not the arrests and we went back and added a link to the correction in the original story and added an update to the headline to make it very clear that the story had been corrected -- all far more than would every be done by the Journal News or New York Times.

Dozens of Ursuline Students Arrested in Early Morning Roundup (SEE CORRECTION BELOW)

We never want to make an error and my response was to make it a point to always do my best to make sure to get incident reports, arrest reports, mug shots and court records before we run the story. All of this was done in the case of Mr. Caldararo and is being done currently in another matter of which you are perhaps aware involving DPW. In Caldararo's case, I spent a good deal of time over two days reporting out the story and gathering records from various agencies. As you can see, the basis for the BAC figure in my report is records on file with the New York State Court System as submitted by the Suffolk District Court. These are not the only records I have as should be clear from reading the original report.

As for as the records he says he has, I have already said that I am more than willing to meet with Mr. Caldararo. As you seem to know him perhaps you can mention I would like to meet up with tomorrow night after work over at Posto on Division Street.

I am sure he knows the place.

I'm sure it's a typo, but you erroneously state "John D's position as CSEA pres...". To be clear I have never been the president of the CSEA. Not big deal, however, I write under the name of John D on this news site and wouldn't want anyone to confuse me with John C.

As an aside, no stable person "accidentally" gets into their car when in this condition. You can verify it with any substance abuse counselor. If the public at large were to truly see the devastation to families, and if they could feel the sense of loss experienced by those affected by drunk drivers, there would be jails full of convicted offenders. To say thank God no one got hurt is an absurdity. At the very least, Mr C is slowly killing his own family through his behavior. I would posit, thank God he got caught, maybe he will now get the help he needs. If someone wants to kill themselves, there's plenty of ways to do it that wouldn't involve others. The minute you threaten innocent bystanders, you lose your claim for sympathy and compassion.

Incapable of performing his duties does not in any way demand that I have to pay for his shortcomings. Nowhere else would that burden be shared by others. There are plenty of other avenues to help him keep his job. Hire his own driver, take it out of his pension, take up a collection, let a family member (wife, girlfriend, brother, sister, or what have you) do the driving, but don't dare make a senior citizen on fixed income, or an unemployed taxpayer, or any other citizen share his self imposed burden.

The debate is over. For the record, I never defended John C and don't know him personally. As a matter of fact, I kept forgetting his last name and that is why I kept refering to him as John C. To me, a lamen, the definition of a retraction is a correction. At least you stated you should of checked the facts first. I hope you remember that in the future. Thank you.

Dear Mr.Cox,

I don't think that what you are doing to other city employees is ethical. You destroy theirs lives and accuse many people for doing things that they do not do. EVERYBODY makes mistakes in their lives and we should not condemn them. Many of these people are married and have children and you destroy their homes by bringing issues to the internet for all of New Rochelle to see. You should consider what topics you put on the internet for all to see.

Thank You

Robert Cox's picture

They reported this story as well.

You think someone's home is "destroyed" because we report they were arrested and later convicted of drunk driving. Seems to me the person who drove drunk is the problem not Talk of the Sound.

Mr Cox,

I don't know the accused, I don't know you.

Your actions are as bad as the accused. Shame on you as much as shame on him.

Get a grip on life and put your time into something more positive. Too often you come across paranoid and with an axe to grind.

Roberta the Postperson

Mr Cox,

I don't know the accused, I don't know you.

Your actions are as bad as the accused. Shame on you as much as shame on him.

Get a grip on life and put your time into something more positive. Too often you come across paranoid and with an axe to grind.

Roberta the Postperson

Robert Cox's picture

Let me get this straight?

You think a citizen media news site reporting that a City employee has to be chauffeured around by another City employee at a significant cost to the taxpayer because he was arrested for DWI with a BAC five time the legal limit and had his license revoked is somehow the moral equivalent of that person driving on the highway while intoxicated, basically playing Russian roulette with his own life and every other man, woman and child on the road around him?


You think it is not news that the President of one biggest unions in the City of New Rochelle is arrested?

What exactly is it that your propose? That crimes like these be swept under the rug because it hurts someone's feelings?

I can assure you that I am far more concerned that residents of New Rochelle do not have to pay thousands of dollars for Mr. Caldararo to have his own personal chauffeur because he managed to get his license revoked. I am far more concerned about the people that are endangered by drunk drivers. And I have not the slightest concern over Mr. Caldararo's "feelings" about the matter.

Over the past year we have had a police officer drive drunk and then flee the scene of the accident she caused, leaving her victim injured alone on the road. We have the head of the school district's transportation office arrested for flipping her car after crashing into three other cars. Now we have the head of the CSEA arrested for DWI. Elsewhere in the area there has been numerous arrested of cops for DWI. Last year we had the horrible crash on the Taconic with a drunk driver killing multiple people including other people's children and her own. Out on Long Island, a limo driver drove drunk going the wrong way and decapitated a young girl. We had a woman killed her on Shore Road by a drunk driver.

Shall I continue?

To compare reporting the news to a person who knowingly puts the lives of others at serious risk is not just ridiculous but idiotic.

You want "happy talk" then read the Journal News and leave the real news to grown ups.

Mr Cox,

You certainly could go on and list dwi after dwi until you turn blue in the face. Your attempt to link those to this is nothing more than an attempt to pull out all the stops.

Allow the courts to deal with this matter. Your personal witch hunt is harmful because you are sadly not in the know.

What happens to him happens.

When will you stop? Will you point out all the gays on the police force and call for their resignation? How about those that smoke pot and work in the schools? What about the crossing guard that is sleeping with her boyfriend out of wedlock?

None of these matters are for you to decide.

I guess reporting on the armory and le count square isn't sexy enough and you need something scandalous like this to look at. Maybe it's your disgust of unions and union leadership? Maybe it's a personal vendetta?

It's nothing more than trash mag reporting.
You point out several Roberta the Postperson

Robert Cox's picture

I have no idea how you from our reporting an arrest and conviction of a building inspector to outing gays on the police force or crossing guards having pre-marital sex but if some gay cop is having sex with a crossing guard that is not my concern unless they then hook up with a school teacher who is smoking pot and the three of them get so high they drive a police cruiser into a tree.

The point is it is noNe of your business. As a citizen of new Rochelle if an employee has a dwi or fits in any of the above mentioned categories bye I could care less. A dwi is not grounds for removal of job and this seems to be your agenda. Where will you stop?

roberta the Postperson

Mr.Cox: Any time you would like to stop by City hall (I know you know where it is) during my lunch hour between 12:30 and 1:30, I will be glad to show you the true documents regarding my arrest. As for meeting at Posto's on Division Street, I will be having dinner there this week with my friend of 20 years Joseph Napolitano( The Owner) and would not want to be disturbed. While you are in City Hall you might want to speak with Paul Vacca the Building Official About my personnel record, which all of your statements are extreamly wrong.

John Caldararo

Robert Cox's picture

Mr. Caldararo,

As I have stated a few times since last week I will be happy to meet and review whatever records you care to share.

I am prepared to come there today. In fact, I was just at CIty Hall a few minutes ago but will come back if you get this note in time. I left you a message on your voicemail

As for your personnel records, I am not terribly interested in them but if you wish to formally authorize their release to me I will review them. This is not typically something that is made available to anyone outside a close circle of people at City Hall but I imagine that you can authorize the release of your own records. I will leave it to you to sort out the legal issues regarding their release to me.

Senior Building Inspector John Caldararo addressed his mistake, humbly apologized to all and sundry and clarified reported numerical error of blood alcohol content.
This unfortunate lapse in judgment, publicized due to Mr. Caldararo's position with the City, should now be laid to rest in the public forum.
While the incident may appeal to those hungry for any excuse to vilify City employee's, this cannot erase or diminish the many years of dedicated service Mr. Caldararo has provided. Nor does it alter his dedication in providing leadership to the members of the CSEA.
John Caldararo has taken resoponsibility for his actions and publicly apologized, exhibiting a strength of character which is increasingly rare. Henceforth, let us all respect the privacy of the Caldararo family.
John Caldararo has always been a gentleman, accessable and helpful in a professional capacity, admirable in his volunteerism and an asset to the City of New Rochelle.
We are all human and make mistakes. How we handle them is what defines our character. Your apology for this unfortunate incident took courage (legal consequence aside)and therefore accepted by me. My only hope is others may follow suit.

Robert Cox's picture

Mr. Caldararo did not "clarify" anything about his BAC at the time of his arrest.

He stated on this site that his BAC was .10 and that he had papers he was willing to show me. I offered to meet him. He has not responded to that offer. So, his unsubstantiated claim remains just that...unsubstantiated.

In the mean time, to address his statement and at least one other commenter I posted a screen grab from the NYS Court records which clearly show that our report was and is accurate -- that according to court records his BAC was .4.

If Mr. Caldararo or his lawyer wish to dispute .4 v. .1 then they should take that matter up with the Suffolk District Court not Talk of the Sound.

In short, nothing has been "clarified" with regards to the BAC. He has made a claim he has not backed up; we wrote a story that we have backed up. End of story.

I personally have no problem with a story being reported, regardless of profession, as long as the facts are verified.
What I have a problem with is the writer reporting the story and editorializing at the same time.
A good reporter will run the story based on facts and leave their personal opinion out of the story. A good reporter will use terms like "allegedly" and "appears".
A good reporter may write an editorial when it is identified as such, but the writer's "opinion" in said editorial still must be based on verifiable facts.
The two styles, if you will, must be kept separate whereas the reader can decide, on his own, his own opinion.
Mr. Cox' "style" is to report a fact (most of the time), then add his opinion in the same atricle. An example of this "style" from this report or editorial:
"These supporters are insisting that a DWI Arrest is a private matter (it isn't), calling him an "asset to our city" (he isn't)"
The first part of this sentence is fact, the second part is opinion.
That is why Mr. Cox' "reports" often lack credibility, in my opinion.
As far as the other replies regading John C being "outed". Like all public officials, an arrest is fair game. As Mr. Cox said, and I agree, it was reported in other media outlets. The difference is the reporting styles. If you want more credibility, read credible reporters.

Robert Cox's picture

First, let me see if I can possibly express just how little I care about your opinion of my writing. There. Now let me flush the toilet.

As for the rest...

You quoted a comment not an article. A comment is always going to be an expression of opinion, by definition.

It is no longer necessary to use the word "allegedly" AFTER a criminal is convicted. The charge is no longer an allegation my dimwitted friend but a fact proven in court.

As for your puritanical notions of what constitutes a "good" reporter are about two decades out of date. Reporters these days are encouraged to show more opinion in their reporting.

If you don't like my reporting and/or my opinion why read the site? Start your own site. write your own articles. In the mean time, bugger off, if you are so unhappy.

Of course, that is not your point, right? The issue is not how I report a story but that I report it all.

On a more serious note I would address the issue of how a news outlet obtains or loses credibility. In this country we purposely protect a free press. It is not contained in a footnote or an appendix but rather in the FIRST Amendment to the Constitution.

In some countries like Egypt a reporter must obtain a government license to be a reporter. If the reporter writes something the government does not like they take away the license. Same on a larger scale for an entire newspaper. This sort of thing goes on all over the world.

A big part of what makes America great is our commitment to free speech and a free press.

Since there is no government agency the doles out credibility certificates, each publisher or broadcaster has to build up their own credibility.

The way that is done is by building a trust relationship with readers, over time.

Talk of the Sound has done that over the past two years or no one would read the site.

In a case like this all the whining over the story on John Caldararo from a handful of readers just confirms to the rest that the story struck a nerve.

The truth hurts, right?

Mr. Cox, I expected nothing less than name calling and "fluff" for your response. It's ok though, I'm a big boy, I can take it.
If reporters were encouraged to give their "opinion" editorials would no longer exist. Basic PRINT reports do not contain opinion, just verified facts. So what, we disagree. Your readers can decide on their own after reading both posts.
My response was an example of the free speech you keep reminding everyone of. Aren't I entitiled also? I meet the requirments of your site to post and am respectful doing so. Just because I don't agree with everything you post (aka your agenda), I get labeled a "dimwit"? If you don't like my opinion, if your so unhappy, don't respond to my posts! I wasn't looking for your blessing. I was responding to another poster, again, expressing my opinion about your writing "style". And, using my right to free speech, it appears I'm the one who struck a nerve. The truth does hurt, dosen't it?