More Real Estate Developer Campaign Contributions Fill Coffers of New Rochelle Council Member Who Once Decried Candidates Taking Developer Money

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — New Rochelle Council Member Louis Trangucci accepted yet another campaign contribution from a real estate developer with business dealings with the City of New Rochelle, according to campaign finance records seen by Talk of the Sound.

Rella Fogliano contributed the maximum $1,000 to Trangucci’s campaign on April 24, 2019. Fogliano owns MacQuesten Development and MacQuesten Construction Management. She lives in Pelham, Her businesses are headquartered in Mount Vernon.

Trangucci has supported every resolution ever put forward to the New Rochelle City Council to award deals to MacQuesten Development.

On June 20, 2017, Trangucci voted to approve a $110 million dollar deal for MacQuesten Development. The project entails building a new fire station for the City at the site of the old Post Marine Supply at 65 River Street, tearing down Fire Station #1 located at 45 Harrison Street and construction of a proposed 27-story, 282-unit mixed-use building on City property at 45 Harrison Street along with a four-story parking garage.

At the time Fogliano was awarded the $110 million Fire Station deal she said construction would begin in the first quarter of 2018. Almost two years later, not a shovel-full of dirt has been turned at either 45 Harrison Street or 65 River Street. In the meantime, the owner of the Post Marine Supply site has been operating as an illegal truck depot, with Trangucci’s knowledge, for the past few years.

Fogliano, a woman Westchester Magazine once called “the Empress Of Housing”, was also given a $72 million deal by the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority to build the 228-unit Heritage Homes, in part on City property. Trangucci voted to approve that deal as well.

Fogliano is represented in New Rochelle by MacQuesten Development Managing Director Joseph Apicella. He was the public face of Cappelli Enterprises for decades and has sat on the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District even during periods when the companies he worked for had no ownership stake in the downtown area. Apicella is Vice Chairman of the Westchester County Democratic Party. He is married to New12 investigative reporter Tara Rosenblum.

Talk of the Sound previously reported that Trangucci accepted an illegal campaign contribution from Greg A. Gonzalez, another real estate developer with business before the City Council.

Trangucci took $2,500 from Gonzalez on June 20, 2019, according to campaign finance reports filed with New York State. It was the largest individual campaign contribution ever taken in by Trangucci in his 12 years as a candidate for elective office. The New York State Board of Elections limits individual campaign contributions to $1,000 for New Rochelle City Council races.

People associated with the Trangucci Campaign dismissed accepting an illegal campaign contribution in excess of the $1,000 limit as an “honest mistake”.

For years, Trangucci excoriated New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson for accepting campaign contributions from individuals associated with Forest City/Ratner which sought to develop waterfront property along Echo Bay.

After Republican Party officials learned of the illegal campaign contribution to Trangucci by the developer, they directed Trangucci to return the money. Trangucci refunded $1,500 of the $2,500 on July 9, 2019 claiming after 12 years as a City Council member he was unaware of the $1,000 limit on campaign donations.

Talk of the Sound has also reported on October 11th that Trangucci failed to file a required 32 day Pre-General campaign finance report with the New York State Board of Elections which was due October 4, 2019. Trangucci belatedly filed the report on Friday, claiming after 12 years as a City Council member that he was unaware of the 32 day report deadline.

People associated with the Trangucci Campaign dismissed the failure to file the required campaign finance disclosure report as an “honest mistake” and “thanked” Talk of the Sound for “reminding” the campaign to file.

Talk of the Sound also reported that Trangucci failed to file an “Additional Independent Expenditure Reporting 24 Hour Notice” to report the $2,500 contribution. During “24-Hour Notice Periods”any contribution or loan which exceeds $1,000 must be reported within 24 hours to the New York State Board of Elections Campaign Finance. The June 2019 24 Hour Notice Period occurred between June 11, 2019 and June 24, 2019. Trangucci took $2,500 from Gonzalez on June 20, 2019. To date, there are still no “24 hours notices” from the Trangucci campaign on file with the New York State Board of Elections.

People associated with the Trangucci Campaign did not address the failure to file the required 24-Hour notice nor Trangucci’s new-found reliance on real estate developers to fund his re-election bid.

Trangucci, the Republican incumbent in District 1, is facing off against the Democrat challenger, Martha Lopez in the general election on November.