Sources with direct knowledge of a public corruption investigation in New Rochelle by the Westchester County District Attorney tell Talk of the Sound that Fleet Manager Richard Fevang is the sole focus of the pending grand jury indictment.
Several sources have complained that the DA's office appears to be singling out Fevang and ignoring siginificant wrong doing by other municipal employees. Some well-placed sources have speculated that this may be the result of political considerations by Janet DeFiore, a Democrat, who will need to support from New Rochelle Democrats when she runs for re-election. By laying the entire case at the feet of Fevang, the City can then claim they have got rid of the "one rotten apple" when they fire him to create the illusion that Fevang was a rogue employee and that no other municipal employees were involved.
DPW Commissioner Alex Turgis, while announcing the firing of DPW Deputy Commission Joseph Cotroneo on Friday, told department supervisors that Fevang would be fired as soon as a Westchester County grand jury indicts him, widely expected to happen in the coming week.
Brian Conway, head of the DA's Public Integrity unit, reportedly rejected a deal offer from Fevang's lawyer.
While the DA is confident they have built a "massive" fraud case against Fevang, these sources tell Talk of the Sound the DA will not charge any of the vendors that participated in Fevang's schemes to defraud the City of New Rochelle.
Although he was brought back to testify against Fevang a second time a week ago Friday, Mark Zulli, purchasing manager in the New Rochelle Finance Department will also not be charged despite his role in approving the fraudulent invoices submitted by Fevang.
None of the lower level employees who doctored paperwork on Fevang's orders will be charged.
The investigation began in earnest after investigators from the DA's Public Integrity unit travelled to New Rochelle to inspect vehicle "G-29", a New Rochelle owned garbage truck. An invoice submitted by ARS, a mechanical repair service in New Jersey, for $9,000 indicated welding work had been done on the truck. Mechanics hired by the DA's office inspected the vehicle and confirmed that no such work had been done on the vehicle. Despite the critical role G-29 played in kicking off the DA investigation, sources tell Talk of the Sound G-29 will not be part of any charges against Fevang.
DPW Deputy Commission Joseph Cotroneo was fired on Friday. Former DPW Commissioner Jeff Coleman resigned last summer, days after G-29 was inspected by DA investigators. Fevang would be the third high official separated from the department in the past year.
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