New Rochelle Board of Education: Criminal Enterprise Masquerading as an Educational Institution - Part XVIII

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New Rochelle Board of Education: Criminal Enterprise Masquerading as an Educational Institution - Part XVIII

March 16, 2015 - 19:32
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I have prepared my article on Mauro Zonini’s $28,000 sink hole but I am setting it aside because I want to give the district one last chance to produce the paperwork that purports to document the work done by Zonzini. I made a FOIL request today and either they are produce the records or acknowledge they have no records. In either case, I will then proceed on the first of many scams involving Zonzini and Gallagher.

In the meantime, I was reminded the other day that despite having made a Freedom of Information request a year ago for the infamous Aramark contract last February I never did get the contract. What I did get was a blank template and confirmation that no Aramark contract was ever signed about 9 months after Aramark was awarded the district contract in May 2013. I made a new request for a contract and was amazed to see that after all that attention last year, the district still failed to signed the Aramark contract in 2014. It was signed in January 2015 and approved by the board in February 2015. All of which begs the question, on what legal basis was the district making the more than $1 million in payments to Aramark without a contract?

I have gotten word of developments on my previous reporting and responses from two people who were the subject of past articles: Jason Hilton and Patrick Clark.

I got another letter from Pat Clark, the former district electrician who had nothing good to say about Scott Empara. He has nothing good to say about Scott Benevento, another district electrician working under Empara. I might add that his mother, Adrienne Benevento, is an office manager at City Hall and his brother, Todd Benevento, works for T&G Electric, one of Gallagher’s favorite contractors for many years.

Clark writes:

You talked about Scott Empara from the electrical department lets talk about Scott Benevento another piece of sh— like Empara. In his own words he has told everyone in the district that he has stolen more toilet paper and garbage bags that will last him and his family a lifetime. This is kept at his cabin in the woods in upstate. His mother who works at city hall. He often seen carrying a big gym bag with him everyday plus a large lunch box which hides stolen stuff. He is always seen with a large tool bag that he carries from school to school for also taking things. Putting things in the back of his truck dark colored Toyota or Nissan with a large cover. When he thought people were not looking he load up. Often seen taking items that he must be selling to his brother at T&G how did T&G get the work from the board of ed. Maybe he’s in it with the a—— Empara and the other bosses in charge.

Word is out that Jimmy Bonanno and Louis Apicella are back working for the School District as is the VRI investigation never happened — welcome to the world of Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne and Board President Lianne Merchant. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I also heard from Jason Hilton who worked as a cleaner in several schools and then under Jimmy Bonanno.

Hilton stated during our discussion that he accompanied Phil Rosetti on a trip to Pascap on district time to sell scrap metal taken from the district but sold to Rossetti’s account at Pascap. Also on the trip to was Willie Clark.

Hilton objected to the characterization of him by Jimmy Bonanno and Little Jimmy. Hilton admitted that he plead guilty to assaulting Jimmy at the Stop & Shop on Palmer Avenue. He disputed the claim that he assaulted a teacher.  To support his point, he provided a letter dated January 3, 2011 sent to Donald Conetta, then-principal at New Rochelle High School

My daughter (J.H.) asked me to go with her to her class because her teacher (Eric Hedman) told her to get your father because of a phone issue they had. J.H. said that her phone fell on to the floor and that she picked it up and put it on her desk which at that time Mr. Hedman told her to give him the phone, and J.H. said to Mr. Hedman I do not feel comfortable giving him her phone. Mr. Hedman told her he was going to write a referral up and call her mother J.H. said my father is right up stairs ill go get him. When I arrived at Mr. Hedman’s class I asked him what the problem was he explained and I told mr. hedman that was what J.H. was taught to not give her phone to anyone but me if she ever had a problem with her phone. I Jason Hilton told Mr. Hedman that this wont happen again the phone just feel and she picked it up she was not talking or texting on the phone. Mr. Hedman demand she hand over the phone and I told him she will not hand the phone over I will take the phone I'm her father and the person who owns the phone, at which point Mr. Hedman said to me your wrong for teaching her this way at that point I and my daughter got offended J.H. said to Mr. Hedman with all do respect I was the first one in your class, the first one done with my work when my phone fell I was not using my phone at this point Mr. Hedman leaned over and pointed at J.H. and said so what! You're not special I Jason Hilton put his hand and finger down out of my daughters face and told him don't you ever point in my daughters face and don't you ever talk down to her she is a child you're a teacher your suppose to teach, teach not talk down or disrespect a student. At this point I was furious at his attitude and demeanor now I told Mr. Hedman that two weeks ago while I was bring my daughter her lunch to her class that when I walked in the teacher was standing up in front of the class on his phone this is during class remind you during class I said to Mr. Hedman how do you expect the kids to follow the rules if the teachers don't. At that time my daughter said that's right there is a rule of conduct book that we all are suppose to follow Mr. Hedman’s response was teachers have important business to conduct on their phones and I said no you're not better then the kids, custodians or anybody else in this building we are all suppose to follow the rules. A matter of fact when my uncle was on his death bed two years ago I received a phone call telling me to hurry up and come see him before he passes away Mr. Starvaggi (Asst. Principle) saw me on the phone told me to get off, long story short I was called Into Conetta’s office with my union rep and was disciplined for the phone. I told Mr. Hedman the rules are only enforced when they want them to be, how is it during a class which you get paid to teach are you allowed to be on your phone in front of the class talking and nothing happens to you the rules once again apply to all staff members Mr. Hedman told me I was wrong and that he will deal with this later and said to me and J.H.thanks for ruining my class I said Jehovah shalom have a good day. Mr. Barbosa took her phone a few minutes later, me and Mr. Barbosa had a talk and Mr. Barbosa told me that justice was served that he showed Mr. Headman the phone and said I have it. My question to Mr. Barbosa was how is it justice if Mr. Hedman was not reprimanded for his pointing in J.H.s face and talking down to her and me 1 told Mr. Barbosa I was writing this up. At which point mr. Barbosa said to me fine but you know J.H. has to go to Mr. Hedman’s class tomorrow and the next day, etc. I was shocked to hear this from a house principle insinuating that if I wrote this up there may be problems between J.H. and Mr. Hedman I told Mr. Barbosa I know what you're getting at but Mr. Hedman has a job to do and if he doesn't do his job and makes it personal I would file a law suit against the board of ed. And the high school for allowing this type of mentality. For Mr. Barbosa to say that shows that the school allows this type of actions when writing people up .I told Mr. Barbosa I’ve been in this school for a few years and always see injustice done and that I'm fed up, something has to be done about this mentality. We have had to workshops the last two years did any one learn from these classes? I hope this situation and this mentality changes and gets resolved quickly I am very upset that this is accepted at the board of ed. And high school never have I seen a teacher and administration so cold to the kids and parents this is unacceptable close to child neglect I hope this never, never happens to any child or parent again.

Sincerely, Jason A. Hilton


Mr. Conetta

Mr. Quinn

Mr. Organisciak

Mr. Barbosa


I leaned today that the incident with Scott Empara keeping guns at Grove Street occurred in 2012 and that the guns were discovered by Anthony Rigos, as I reported, but that the inciden involving the Fire Department being called to Grover Street was a seperate matter. I am going to edit the original article on that to reflect this information.

NEXT: New Rochelle Board of Education: Criminal Enterprise Masquerading as an Educational Institution - Part XIX

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