Talk of the Sound has learned that a garbage truck, the only red garbage truck in the City or School District fleet, was never registered by the School District and was driven for years without proper registration, license plates or insurance.
The registration and plates on the vehicle were registered to the Village of Pelham Manor, NY. Sources tell Talk of the Sound that the truck was purchased five years ago from Pelham Manor. For reasons that are unclear the transfer of ownership of the truck was never done.
New Rochelle Board of Education officials declined to comment on the matter.
The same truck first came to the attention of Talk of the Sound last February. On the night of the "sleep with the fish" death threat, the red garbage truck was parked on Cliff Street in an area at the end of the street adjacent to the school district yard. There has been no explanation from school or city officials as to how or why the district was permitted to fence off a public street for their own use.
New Rochelle spokesperson Kathy Gilwit told Talk of the Sound the red garbage truck is in the City yard for maintenance and would not comment on the registration issue, referring Talk of the Sound to the New Rochelle Board of Education.
Garbage trucks have been at the heart of the Westchester Country District Attorney investigation of the New Rochelle Department of Public Works which has centered on Fleet Manager Richard Fevang. The initial invoice inspected by DA investigators last summer was for work supposedly done to perform welding on a City garbage truck. Once investigators confirmed that no work had been done despite a $12,000 invoice from a vendor in the Bronx.
The New Rochelle school district stopped sending vehicles to be repaired by the New Rochelle DPW after a previous DA investigation from 2001 to 2006, also centering on Fevang. The exception has been garbage trucks due to the inaccessibility of garbage truck mechanics in the area. As a result when a school district garbage truck needed repairs the truck was sent to a vendor recommended by Fevang. Sources tell Talk of the Sound the vendor charged the district $18,000 but no work was done on the vehicle. Subsequently, the truck broke down and was replaced. Only one company, a Fevang vendor in the Bronx, submitted a bid, for $180,000. In December 2009, when the Board of Education asked Assistant Superintendent John Quinn why only one bidder responded to the RFP for the garbage truck, Quinn stated that there was only vendor in the area that had vehicles that matched the specifications in the RFP. Asked how the specifications were determined, Quinn told the board that he relied upon the recommendations of the New Rochelle Department of Public Works.
John Quinn relied on Richard Fevang to recommend a vendor to "repair" the truck and to develop the specifications to buy a new truck where only a Fevang vendor could bid on the RFP. This is the same Richard Fevang who, when caught ordering parts for a school district vehicle drive by former Schools Superintendent Linda Kelly and then installing the parts in his own car, caused the district to discontinue its practice of sending all its other vehicles to the City Yard.
The rat hole goes yet deeper.
Sources tell Talk of the Sound that after the Fevang/Kelly incident, the District began to send their vehicles to another mechanic in New Rochelle but later stopped when the person responsible for outsourcing vehicle maintenance work became upset after getting a $600 invoice for work done on his personal vehicle. This person responded by directing work to a different mechanic. Both service companies have had past brushes with the law; actually more than "brushes". The person responsible for outsourcing the vehicle maintenance work is, according to knowledgeable sources the owner of the "Bob Cox sleeps with the fish" boat. Multiple sources have told Talk of the Sound that the person who wrote the threat is the son of the boat owner, also a district employee. This would be James Bonanno and his son.
As the Westchester County District Attorney investigation continues to expand, investigators might want to take a good long look at the increasing evidence of connections between Richard Fevang and the New Rochelle City Yard on E. Main Street and James Bonanno who runs the New Rochelle School District Yard on Cliff Street with a particular eye towards what has been going on with the school district garbage trucks and where the school district has been sending vehicles for repair in the years since the Fevang/Kelly incident ten years ago. If they hurry, investigators might even find the private security camera system installed by Bonanno without the knowledge of Assistant Superintendent John Quinn who is not known for spending much, if any time, at the Cliff Street yard.
Some of this was touched on at the last Board of Education meeting where board members Jeffrey Hastie, David Lacher and Deidre Polow peppered Quinn with questions about the Buildings and Grounds department of the school district. Quinn was speaking on behalf of the B&G department which, alone among district departments and school buildings, does not appear before the Board of Education to present their annual report of Goals & Objectives. Quinn dodged questions for over an hour as Board of Education President Sara Richmond and Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak squirmed in their seats, with Organisciak repeatedly signally for Quinn to stop answering questions and sit down. Among the questions asked were a series about school district vehicles including one as to whether all district vehicles are marked to indicate they are property of the New Rochelle school district.
The answer is "no" as demonstrated by this recent video. The video was taken on April 6th at 3:23 PM at GSP coordinates(40.928700,-73.764800) which is near the Guitar Center in Larchmont, NY. The driver is a New Rochelle school district employee. He is wearing a blue shirt with a New Rochelle school district logo. He is parked illegally in a handicapped parking spot. The vehicle is an unmarked City School District of New Rochelle van.