City Council Member Lou Trangucci stepped forward Friday as the person who brought forward the complaint which led to the investigation of the New Rochelle Department of Public Works by the Westchester County District Attorney. The complaint has kicked off the biggest corruption investigation in recent New Rochelle history, a months long investigation of the New Rochelle Department of Public Works by the Westchester District Attorney’s Office of Public Integrity. Talk of the Sound broke the story in September.
Trangucci called the DPW workers who came forward as “the real heroes”. On WVOX, Trangucci described how DWP workers came forward with evidence that fraudulent invoices were submitted by a New Rochelle vendor. After he approached the DA’s office with the information, Trangucci was asked to provide additional invoices and related records. He requested the records from City Finance Commissioner Howard Ratner who declined to make copies of the invoices. Undeterred, Trangucci took two boxes full of records and spent several hours photocopying them before turning the copies over to the District Attorney. Trangucci would not discuss details of the investigation because it is still pending but Talk of the Sound has learned that the District Attorney is close to moving the case forward shortly after tomorrow’s elections.
The subject of the investigation is Richard Fevang, the Fleet Manager for the City of New Rochelle and the City School District of New Rochelle. Fevang has a history or problems and was investigated previously in 2001 after he submitted phony invoices for work on the a car driven by then-Schools Superintendent Linda Kelly. At the time, the DA declined to prosecute Fevang.
As reported in the fall, it was Trangucci who stood for hours at a photocopier, meticulously copying a large number of DPW files. Word that DPW records were being copied in bulk spread like wildfire around City Hall and soon thereafter DPW Commissioner Jeffrey Coleman resigned.
Trangucci declined to discuss why he took the highly unusual step of bypassing the City Manager and Police Commissioner and going straight to the Public Integrity division of the District Attorney.