When Chris Diagnostic on East Main Street refused to waive a $600 invoice for vehicle repair services on a vehicle owned by James "Jimmy" Bonanno, a supervisor for the New Rochelle Board of Education, Bonanno became irate and threatened to move school district repair business under his control to another mechanic. Bonanno is a supervisor of the Cliff Street yard in the Buildings and Grounds department. He is owner of the boat on which his son, also a Board of Education employee, painted the words "Bob Cox Sleeps with the Fish" next to an image of a skull and crossbones.
"He wanted work done for free and I don't do that sort of thing," said Chris Dowling, owner of Chris Diagnostic, a vehicle repair service and Shell Oil service station. Soon after the threat was made Bonanno stopped sending work to Chris Diagnostic.
Bonanno reports to John Gallagher of Service Master, a private company which manages Buildings and Grounds for the New Rochelle Board of Education. Gallagher has received numerous complaints about Bonanno but refused to take action against him.
In taking the business away from his company, Dowling said Bonanno made it quite clear that there was no point in complaining to Gallagher because Gallagher does not tell Bonanno what he can and cannot do even thought Gallagher is his direct supervisor.
"I do work for the school district already," continued Dowling. "I've done work on Richard Organisciak's school district vehicle. I don't need that kind of business coming from Cliff Street."
Dowling said he later learned that Bonanno took school district vehicle repair work to New Rochelle Truck Repairs, a truck mechanic business located at 12 Beechwood Avenue, around the corner from the Cliff Street yard. An inspection of the premises at 12 Beechwood Avenue last week by Talk of the Sound confirmed the presence of school district equipment at New Rochelle Truck Repairs.
New Rochelle Truck Repairs and the property at 12 Beechwood is owned by John Balascio of 8 Theresa Lane in Harrison, NY.
Reached for comment, Balascio confirmed that he was doing vehicle work for the New Rochelle Board of Education, work referred by James Bonanno.
"I know Jimmy," said Balascio "but I don't know what transpired with Chris".
Balascio confirmed information provided by Talk of the Sound sources, that he has prior arrests. A check with the New Rochelle Police Department shows the records have been sealed but knowledgeable sources tell Talk of the Sound that one involved the sale of fireworks and the other involved the sale of stolen property.
"I made some mistakes," said Balascio. "Does that prevent me from doing work?"
Balascio said he does not believe his prior arrests should make any difference.
"There are a lot of people who work for the City of New Rochelle who have prior arrests," said Balascio.
Asked if he had any arrangement to provide free services for Bonanno's personal vehicles, Balascio said he had not done so and would not do something like that. Balascio added that he has been asked about expanding the work he does for the Board of Education by taking on vehicles from the district's Grove Street garage.
The New Rochelle Board of Education did not respond to a request for comment.