NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Talk of the Sound has obtained police records under a Freedom of Information request that show Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne was aware of terroristic threats to assassinate specific school district employees by an electrician working-foreman employed by the district as far back as September of 2014. Osborne took no action until last week after a second incident was reported to police and has denied a request for additional security at one elementary school.
On May 5, 2015, Osborne recommended to the school board that Scott Empara be ordered to undergo psychiatric testing to determine his fitness to work in the school district. The board adopted a resolution to that effect last Tuesday.
On December 19, 2014 New Rochelle police responded to City Hall following a call from Joseph Williams, Assistant to the Superintendent for Human Resources.
Williams told police that Scott Empara, under investigation by the district for corruption, had stated that he was “going to shoot up the place if he was fired”.
Williams added that another employee, Joseph Nardozzi, an electrician working under Empara, reported that three months earlier Empara stated “there is a new reign in the district, people are losing their jobs and if I lose my job I’m going to bring my gun and shoot up the place.”
Nardozzi claims Empara said “there is a couple of people I’m going to put a bullet in”.
Williams told police that this incident was brought to the attention of Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne who “just wishes to document” the incident.
Williams told police he did not wish for NRPD to contact Empara at the time and that he would contact NRPD if there were any problems. No investigation of Empara was undertaken by police.
On April 30, 2015, there was another incident involving Empara making terroristic threats but neither Williams nor any other administrator in the district contacted NRPD as had been indicated would happen in the December 2014 police report.
Instead, later that day, Nardozzi went to NRPD headquarters on his own and followed up on the previously reported threats. This appears to have forced Osborne’s hand.
Nardozzi told police that earlier that morning, while working at New Rochelle High School he was having a conversation with Scott Empara outside at the loading dock area at the high school.
In his complaint, Nardozzi stated that Scott Empara became angry after believing that another employee was staring at him. Nardozzi reported that Mr Empara stated, "I better not find out that I have six months to live because I'm coming back and taking a bunch of these people out. I'll load up everything I got and blow them away".
Nardozzi stated that he immediately notified Artie Rivera, his boss. Rivera is an Aramark consultant who serves as Director of Buildings & Grounds. Nardozzi reported that Rivera advised him to notify the police.
Sources tell Talk of the Sound that Nardozzi expressed frustration that having gone through the chain of command the first time with no results he was willing the second time to go directly to the police.
Readers have contacted Talk of the Sound to share stories about Empara that paint a picture of a long-troubled individual. These people are afraid of Empara and did not wish to be identified. Talk of the Sound is not able to independently verify these stories. Given the circumstances — Empara’s behavior and attempts by Dr. Osborne to cover them up over the past year — we feel it’s in the best interest of the community to share what we have been told and let readers decide.
- Empara’s father was Joe Empara who worked for the school district for 23 years; a former work colleague recalls that Joe Empara claimed that Scott Empara once put a gun to his father’s head.
- Scott Empara was out of control as a youth to the point that his family was afraid for him to attend New Rochelle High School. The mother moved with him to Gilbao, NY and remained there for four years while Empara attended high school in Gilbao and the father remained working in New Rochelle.
- Empara threatened to kill his wife and child on multiple occasions. In once instance he fired a gun out a window to show he meant business.
- Empara owns a large collection of guns, including handguns.
Under New York State law, a licensee who owns two homes in separate counties cannot obtain pistol permits in both counties; an application for a pistol permit can only be made in the county in which the applicant primarily resides. For Empara, that would be Westchester County. Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni has confirmed to Talk of the Sound that Empara does not have a pistol license.
In New York it is a class A misdemeanor to possess a pistol without permit, punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. It is a class C felony, classified as a violent felony offense, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years, to posses a loaded firearm without a permit, outside of person's home or place of business.
Talk of the Sound has previously reported that Empara kept his gun collection at his office on school property at 88 Grove Street. In 2012, this information along with photographs of the weapons was provided to John Gallagher, former Director of Building & Grounds, by Anthony Rigos. Both Gallagher and Rigos were Aramark consultants working in the New Rochelle School District at the time.
Talk of the Sound has learned that Schools Superintendent Osborne has been telling board members that this report is untrue. It is unclear how Osborne would purport to know this considering that Anthony Rigos left working for the school district in March 2014, several months before Osborne began working in the District and has never spoken to Rigos. The only other source of information would be John Gallagher who is highly unlikely to be a reliable source of information. Gallagher was requested to be removed by Aramark from New Rochelle by then-Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff in July 2014 after two separate investigations into widespread corruption under and involving Gallagher (including Empara). In either case, Gallagher and/or the District would be admitting that they had knowledge of felony gun possession on school property and took no action to report the matter to police or discipline Empara or both if they were to admit knowledge of Rigos complaint to Gallagher.
Talk of the Sound has learned that Osborne recently denied a request for extra security at Barnard Childhood Center. School employees at Barnard have expressed concern that Empara, who lives just two doors down the street from the school, might enter the school seeking to carry out his threats to shoot people by going after his ex-wife who is a teacher at the school.
Talk of the Sound has confirmed that at least two of the people on Empara’s presumptive “hit list” were never notified of Empara’s threats.