City of New Rochelle Makes Criminal Referral to Westchester County District Attorney in Building Inspector Extortion Scheme

Written By: Robert Cox

TinoD AbruzzoFormer New Rochelle Building Inspector Tino D’Abruzzo is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation involving the New Rochelle Police Department and the Westchester County District Attorney, Talk of the Sound has learned.

City Manager Charles B. Strome tells Talk of the Sound that this past June a person came forward a complaint involving New Rochelle building inspector Tino D’Abruzzo. The person was directed to the Buildings department, Police department and the Office of the Corporation Counsel and the City began an investigation. The New Rochelle Police and Westchester County District Attorney’s office were immediately involved. At the next City Council meeting, members were informed in executive session of the complaint against D’Abruzzo and the City’s response to that complaint, said Strome.

While Strome would not discuss the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, Talk of the Sound has learned that D’Abruzzo is alleged to have engaged in an extortion scheme — failing property owners on building inspections and then seeking bribes in exchange to “fix” the inspection. Confronted with the allegations, D’Abruzzo resigned rather than face an internal administrative investigation.

On July 19th, the City of New Rochelle issued a statement, saying “Tino D’Abruzzo resigned on Thursday. At the time, the City was prepared to pursue administrative action based on failure to perform his duties.”

“City administration’s responsibility is to investigate the matter from the perspective of the employee’s employment with the City”, said Strome. “Any criminal allegations are appropriately referred to the Police Department and the District Attorney’s office.”

Sources tell Talk of the Sound, the New Rochelle Police Department met with District Attorney prosecutors in September and both area seeking additional cooperation from potential victims of the extortion scheme.

The investigation into D’Abruzzo came at about the same time the Westchester County District Attorney was handing down a 66-count fraud indictment against former New Rochelle DPW Fleet Manager Richard Fevang. Fevang plead guilty last month and will be sentenced in January.

D’Abruzzo worked previously for New Rochelle as a housing inspector. After conditional promotion to the position of building inspector and code inspector, D’Abruzzo was required to pass a civil service exam. He failed the exam twice, according to one source. Under New York State Civil Law, an employee with a provisional appointment must pass the exam after no more than three attempts.

Tino D’Abruzzo was known to spend the good part of most work days at the Sound Shore Fishing Club on Union Avenue in New Rochelle. The Sound Shore Fishing Club has known mafia connections. According to New Rochelle police, in 2009 club manager Vincent “Vinnie Limo” Zarcone was brutally attacked by two men armed with a meat cleaver after running up a $30,000 debt. While Maurice Mann held him in a bear hug, Christopher Calise hacked at his wrist, almost completely severing the hand. All three are connected to major crime families in the New York area.

D’Abruzzo was part of the New Rochelle Cabaret Task Force, a combination of various City and County officials that make surprise inspections for a range of code violations, often resulting in very large fines. While a member of the Cabaret Task Force D’Abruzzo was employed by Spectator’s Pub, a Cabaret license holder. When task force officials learned that D’Abruzzo was employed by Spectator’s Pub he was removed from his position on the task force.

RELATED: New Rochelle Building Inspector “Unexpectedly Resigns” Following Allegations of Extortion, Soliciting Bribes

6 thoughts on “City of New Rochelle Makes Criminal Referral to Westchester County District Attorney in Building Inspector Extortion Scheme”

  1. on the take
    If this former building inspector is proven to have done this, the city should go back to every permit he signed off on and check if there was any hanky panky. all the money he is accused of taking if its proven he should have to return.

  2. Enough is Enough
    No more business as usual. It’s time to make some changes. Like the manager of a prize fighter or a new coach on a football team, we need someone to come in and break things down to the bare bone and start all over again. We need to start training in New Rochelle for the prize fight of our lives. Our families, our lives, our homes and our taxes rely on it. Start from the basics. Do a review of all job descriptions, members of management and staff. Then evaluate their skills and qualifications for the jobs. Make sure there is no duplication of services. Put policies and procedures in place or just follow up and enforce the ones we already have. Make sure we have the right players on the team. I said team and that means working together. No Democrats or Republicans. We need to be New Rochelians.

    Once this is done, put into place the checks and balances needed to insure everyone is doing their job from the Mayor and City Manager to the DPW workers on the streets. Inspect what you expect. Every member of the management team should be expected to do weekly employee ride with evaluations. That Includes the Mayor and City Manager. A short field report should be done. This would give the necessary feedback giving the council and the employee’s supervisors a summary of their experience. Give an employee an ear and it is amazing what you would hear. Give both positive and negative feedback and where they can improve or we can improve. Many of your best ideas come from the streets not the office. The Mayor and The Council members should go out in their districts and get in the field with the work force and see how the jobs are done. Yes that means getting on garbage trucks or ridding with a street sweeper. Get in touch with the employees and the public which is lacking in this city. Build a team with open and two way communication. You would be amazed at the time and money saving ideas that are out there in the hands and heads of the people who already work for the city.

    I believe we do have the talent and resources necessary to have a great city once again. As the saying goes, “It Takes a Village”. Well, we need to step that up a bit. Be a part of the solution and not the problem. We have a chance to clean things up around here and win this fight of our lives. Be a corner man not just a spectator looking for blood.

    “Common Sense for the Common Good”

  3. The City is in big
    The City is in big trouble.
    How about those 2 guys in the basement of City Hall.
    Why do the City of New Rochelle paying these guys.

  4. The best & brightest need not apply to work for New Rochelle
    How in the world did he fail the civil service test twice & still get the promotion?

    If these are our standards, obviously the best & brightest need not apply to work for New Rochelle.

    1. He got the job because he was
      He got the job because he was a “legal” resident of NR. That seems to be the main qualification for getting a job there. That, and you have to get past Jeanett Medina who only cares if you have a utility bill. Other than that, Dillinger could get a job there.

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