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Corruption alleged at Long Island school

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  • RSYOSH@aol.com
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7336199 Corruption alleged at Long Island school Audit reveals more than $11 million embezzled, misappropriated By Rehema Ellis
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 4, 2005
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      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7336199

      Corruption alleged at Long Island school
      Audit reveals more than $11 million embezzled, misappropriated

      By Rehema Ellis
      Correspondent
      NBC News
      Updated: 8:34 p.m. ET March 30, 2005

      Roslyn, N.Y. - Roslyn, Long Island is a well-to-do community in New York, home to some of America's finest public schools — 3,500 students are educated here, on a $70 million annual budget.

      For 12 years, Frank Tassone was superintendent. "I think people felt comfortable around him because they believed in him," says Kim Flom, the president of the Roslyn High School PTA. "They trusted him."

      They trusted him when he publicly pledged to fix the mess when his assistant superintendent was accused of stealing $250,000, writing school checks to cover her personal bills."We're fully cooperating with the district attorney's office," Tassone told WNBC-TV in May 2004.But shortly after that, a startling development occurred: Tassone himself was arrested, charged in what's been called one of the worst thefts ever from a public school system."I've never seen this kind of greed and systematic misappropriation of money," says New York State comptroller Alan Hevesi. "[He was] taking money from the kids."A state audit revealed that $11.2 million was siphoned, benefiting at least 29 people. $2.4 million allegedly went to Tassone alone, including $16,300 spent at Tiffany's, $7,550 for custom tailoring and $45,114 in mortgage payments on a home in Pennsylvania.The report also says Tassone traveled extensively on Roslyn's dime — to Puerto Rico, Cancun and Thailand. $43,184 was spent on flights to London, most likely, according to auditors, on the Concord.

      Tassone's attorney told NBC News some expenses were legitimate and he disputes others. He says Tassone's contract "doesn't say whether he has to swim across the ocean or take the Apollo 13."

      Roslyn school officials say in spite of the alleged theft of funds, they still send 95 percent of graduating high school seniors to college. That continued success may have been one reason, they say, very few people thought to question how the school district's money was being spent.Criminal allegations involving school budgets have recently led to convictions of school officials in Pattonsburg, Mo., East Detroit and Elizabeth, Colo."This country is set up so that lay school boards make policy," says Roslyn school board president Stanley Stern. "Well, you must also train those boards so that we can make appropriate policy and then be sure that it's enforced."Parents in Roslyn learned that the hard way. "It's a price we had to pay," says Kim Flom. "A terrible price, but in the end we will all be better."Roslyn is a community better prepared now, like its students, to ask tough questions and demand thorough answers.© 2005 MSNBC Interactive

























































    • cynthia vaillancourt
      You all may remember that three years ago there was a hint that something was amiss - when the asst. to the supt. was allowed to repay embezzled funds and
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 4, 2005
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        You all may remember that three years ago there was a "hint" that something was amiss - when the asst. to the supt. was "allowed to repay embezzled funds and retire early" with no referral for prosecution and no public discosure of the event. (at the time the BOE settled for $250k of what has turned out to be almost $5mil)
         
        At the time issues of "personnel privacy" were raised to explain why it was OK for the BOE to keep this all secret -
         
        - in hind sight some have acknowledged that "pride in the high performing system" discouraged introspection --
         
        - and early calls for closer examination were blasted as "damaging to the reputation of the system".
         
        One of the proposed remedies to safeguard against future occurances includes a provision for individual citizens to bring legal action against those who fail in their fiduciary duties.
         
        Cindy Vaillancourt
         
         
         
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: RSYOSH@...
        Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 10:19 AM
        To: howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [howardpubliced] Corruption alleged at Long Island school
         
        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7336199

        Corruption alleged at Long Island school
        Audit reveals more than $11 million embezzled, misappropriated

        By Rehema Ellis
        Correspondent
        NBC News
        Updated: 8:34 p.m. ET March 30, 2005

        Roslyn, N.Y. - Roslyn, Long Island is a well-to-do community in New York, home to some of America's finest public schools — 3,500 students are educated here, on a $70 million annual budget.

        For 12 years, Frank Tassone was superintendent. "I think people felt comfortable around him because they believed in him," says Kim Flom, the president of the Roslyn High School PTA. "They trusted him."

        They trusted him when he publicly pledged to fix the mess when his assistant superintendent was accused of stealing $250,000, writing school checks to cover her personal bills."We're fully cooperating with the district attorney's office," Tassone told WNBC-TV in May 2004But shortly after that, a startling development occurred: Tassone himself was arrested, charged in what's been called one of the worst thefts ever from a public school system."I've never seen this kind of greed and systematic misappropriation of money," says New York State comptroller Alan Hevesi. "[He was] taking money from the kids."A state audit revealed that $11.2 million was siphoned, benefiting at least 29 people. $2.4 million allegedly went to Tassone alone, including $16,300 spent at Tiffany's, $7,550 for custom tailoring and $45,114 in mortgage payments on a home in Pennsylvania.The report also says Tassone traveled extensively on Roslyn's dime — to Puerto Rico, Cancun and Thailand. $43,184 was spent on flights to London, most likely, according to auditors, on the Concord.

        Tassone's attorney told NBC News some expenses were legitimate and he disputes others. He says Tassone's contract "doesn't say whether he has to swim across the ocean or take the Apollo 13."

        Roslyn school officials say in spite of the alleged theft of funds, they still send 95 percent of graduating high school seniors to college. That continued success may have been one reason, they say, very few people thought to question how the school district's money was being spent.Criminal allegations involving school budgets have recently led to convictions of school officials in Pattonsburg, Mo., East Detroit and Elizabeth, Colo."This country is set up so that lay school boards make policy," says Roslyn school board president Stanley Stern. "Well, you must also train those boards so that we can make appropriate policy and then be sure that it's enforced."Parents in Roslyn learned that the hard way. "It's a price we had to pay," says Kim Flom. "A terrible price, but in the end we will all be better."Roslyn is a community better prepared now, like its students, to ask tough questions and demand thorough answers.© 2005 MSNBC Interactive



























































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