New Rochelle Council Member Accused of Smearing Boys & Girls Club at Candidate Forum

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — You know your campaign has hit rock bottom when the otherwise affable Clubhouse Director of the New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club, and recently elected school board member, is calling you out as a stone cold liar on Facebook.

“Maybe he would be more informed if he could come around more often and not just during election time,” said William Iannuzzi, the Clubhouse Director and Director of Summer Camp for the New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club.

“Most of what he said was untrue and was outright false in regards to the cost, who we serve and who rents out the club,” he said.

Trangucci, echoing Donald Trump, repeatedly called for a “New Rochelle First” policy to restore the club to what he says it was like fifty years ago.

“Nothing he said was remotely accurate,” said Ianuzzi who accused Trangucci of making “false” and “untrue” comments to “attack” the Boys & Girls Club. “It’s very disheartening to see a public official make false comment like this.”

At issue, towards the end of Monday’s Candidate Forum at City Hall, New Rochelle Council Member Louis Trangucci turned a question about the candidates’ vision for New Rochelle’s youth into an attack on the leadership of the Boys & Girls Club.

Iannuzzi had organized a civic education program for club members, some of whom were in the audience to hear answers to questions the group had prepared.

“For the past week members of the teen program have been researching candidates and coming up with questions to submit at (Monday night’s) debate,” explained Ianuzzi who said the members was interested in hearing what each candidate had to say.

“The question could have been uplifting and instead I felt (the answer) to be petty and unnecessary,” said Iannuzzi. “The question wasn’t about the club…Councilman Trangucci used it to make false comments and attack the Boys & Girls Club.”

Trangucci claimed the Boys & Girls Club summer camp cost $350 for a kid for a week.

The 2019 Boys & Girls Club Summer Camp serves 100 children at a listed price of $250 a week which includes lunch each day and trips to cultural centers, amusements parks and the Saxon Woods Pool. Not all children pay the list price.

“We raise money to provide camp scholarships,” said Lutonya Russell-Humes, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle. “A considerable number of our campers come on scholarship.”

Iannuzzi also took issue with Trangucci’s claim that the Boys & Girls Club was “mostly focused on renting out their facilities for use by youngsters outside New Rochelle” and “the facility is run by people who rent out the Boys & Girls Club a lot.”

Contrary to Trangucci’s call for a “New Rochelle First” policy, the New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club became a non-profit in 1963 and its stated mission on its tax forms makes clear it is not just for New Rochelle kids:

The Boys and Girls club of New Rochelle promotes the physical, mental, moral and social well-being of the boys and girls of New Rochelle and the surrounding areas by providing such means of recreation, amusement and educational support as seems most likely to achieve such ends.

The New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club served 3,685 kids in 2018, according to Russell-Humes.

“Kids served from other communities are served in their home schools,” said Russell-Humes. “The one exception is approximately 20 middle school low income students from Mamaroneck who participate in our middle school summer enrichment program at Remington.”

“They, along with 20-25 students from New Rochelle, attend the six-week program that focuses on STEM activities. That fee is $275 for the six weeks. They meet three days a week 10-2. Otherwise, the kids served in both city-owes buildings are residents of New Rochelle.”

“The facility is run by people who rent out the Boys & Girls Club a lot,” claimed Trangucci.

“Rentals are only allowed when there is no programming,” said Russell-Humes. “Rental income allows us to raise funds to meet the needs of our kids.”

“We charge $150 per hour for parties and $100 per hour for sports events. The gym is all we rent,” she added.

Trangucci took credit for the new turf field at Columbus School and the new playground at Feeney Park

“I took City money and school money to make a new field at Columbus School,” said Trangucci.

He is taking credit in his mailers.

Trangucci had nothing to do with the construction of the U-10 turf field at Columbus which was built by the New Rochelle Board of Education primarily using a $500,000 transfer to capital from the school budget. The Boys & Girls Club has applied for $250,000 in federal CDBG funds which has yet to be be transferred to the school district. No transfer of funds can take place until the City and School District put in place a Memorandum of Understanding.

The Community Development Block Grant is a program of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development which, according to its web site. “allocates funds to the vulnerable in our communities based on a a formula comprised of several measures of community need, including the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing, and population growth lag in relationship to other metropolitan areas.”

In New Rochelle CDBG funds are directly primarily to poorer neighborhoods in District 1 and District 3.

“The City put up $250,000 of Community Development Block Grant money, “said City Manager Charles B. Strome. “We are finalizing an MOU with the District which will detail school and community use. “

“Boys and Girls club use will be included in the community use,” added Strome. “MOU should be before City Council in November or December at the latest. 

The agreement will allow the Boys & Girls Club to use the field after school hours and on weekends.

EDITOR’S NOTE: this article originally referenced a statement made by Trangucci regarding allocation of stipends. Information provided by the City of New Rochelle was in error so we have removed that information from this article. Trangucci has requested his annual stipend be transferred to the Boys & Girls Club each year since 2013, the stipend of amount of $2,000 was increased to $5,000 in 2017.