Former 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.