NEW ROCHELLE, NY — When Council Member Lou Trangucci, the Republican incumbent, was elected to New Rochelle City Council in District 1 in 2007, he portrayed himself as a corruption-busting, taxpayer-protecting, man-of-the-people. During his first few years, Trangucci inveighed against corruption and 30-year tax abatements given to developers who donated money to fund the political campaigns of his opponents.
What a difference a few years makes.
By 2013, as Trangucci’s failing pet food business in Larchmont went under, Trangucci had his hand out to anyone willing to throw him a lifeline. He cozied up to developers, car dealerships, Iona College and anyone else willing to do him or his family a favor or feather the family nest or take him on a golf outing. Things got so bad that Republicans at the County level became concerned that Trangucci might get himself caught up in a then-ongoing Federal corruption investigation. To avoid a major scandal, Trangucci was given a job working for Westchester County under the Astorino administration, a job he retains today under County Executive George Latimer where he makes $67,629 working for the Westchester County Public Works Department, according to the See Through New York website.
The federal investigation resulted in two corruption convictions including Mauro Zonzini, a local contractor with business before the City of New Rochelle and a former member of the New Rochelle Police Foundation with close ties to Trangucci patron, former New Rochelle Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll.
Since the arrival of Luiz Aragon as New Rochelle’s Development Commissioner, about the same time, in February 2013, Trangucci has voted to approve every new proposed development project in downtown New Rochelle: every zoning, parking and traffic change. Trangucci voted to approve the Downtown Overlay Zone and every aspect of the City of New Rochelle’s partnership with RXR Realty. Trangucci approved The Standard, 360 Huguenot, 277 North, 26 Garden Street, The Millenia, The Printhouse, Church and Division Tower and every other proposed development in the downtown. He did not vote “no” once, on any of them.
Trangucci even approved extending a Memorandum of Understanding with Twining Properties that left the company in control of the New Rochelle Armory after years of opposing developer-control of the Armory. Peter Parente, his brother-in-law, has led the Save Our Armory group for more than a decade. Trangucci voted to approve a plan to convert Huguenot Street and Main Street from two-way to one-way traffic having supported a similar change on Church Street and Lawton Street.
This might explain the shocked faces around City Hall when less than a month before election day Trangucci told the Journal News he now opposed downtown development.
“If we had to go back and I know what we know, I would vote no,” Trangucci told LoHud report Mario Marroquin.
This was just days after Trangucci supported the construction of 11 Lawton Street, the largest-ever mixed-use development in the city’s history which includes two towers, 143 condominiums, 453 rental units, and a 190 room hotel and 627 on-site parking spaces.
That is a lot of “no votes” to undo, well over 100 of them, many of them recent.
At the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum a few days later, Trangucci went further, calling his own vote on the two-way traffic on Main and Huguenot “a mistake” that will result in “disaster” because, he now says, emergency vehicles will be unable to navigate past double-parked cars.
If that were even true, how is it something Trangucci knows not but did not know when he voted to approve the change (and all the funding and procedural votes that followed, including in the past few weeks)?
It’s enough to make you wonder whether Trangucci even bothers to read the resolutions he votes on.
Trangucci who railed for years against 30-year tax abatements took campaign money from developer Lou Iacopetta after pushing through a 30-year tax abatement for Iacopetta’s development, The Craft Building, in 2017.
Trangucci took an illegal campaign contribution from Greg Gonzalez in June, was forced by the GOP to return the money in July, then pushed for the City to expand the Hospital Zone around Montefiore Hospital in September to include three properties owned by Gonzales and a partner whose firm employs Trangucci’s son-in-law as a real estate agent; Philip Sidoti, the husband of Diana Trangucci, Trangucci’s daughter.
Trangucci took money from Lou Grosso, another local developer.
Trangucci took money from Rella Fogliano after voting to approve a project for her to build a new firehouse and build a high rise building on the site of 1 on Harrison Street.
Trangucci not only votes for developers his campaign is primarily financed by developers. Quite a turn around from his early days.
When Talk of the Sound began looking into Trangucci’s campaign finances a large contribution for an odd amount ($1,441) from a woman connected to Regina Maffei suddenly disappeared and was replaced with a smaller transaction, below the $1,000 campaign contribution limit for a city council race.
One rather obvious connection in all this is between Trangucci and Pat Carroll’s police foundation.
Greg Gonzales is listed in 2017 tax returns as the Vice President of the New Rochelle Police Foundation. Regina Maffei is on the Police Foundation. Rella Fogliano’s employee at MacQuesten Development, Joseph Apicela, is on the Police Foundation.
If there is a center of political graft and corruption in New Rochelle it is the New Rochelle Police Foundation. Its current and past members read like a rogues gallery: Mauro Zonzini (now a convicted felon for a bribery-kickback scheme involving the New Rochelle Board of Education who had his pistol permit revoked for using a Police Foundation “badge” to impersonate a police officer), Anthony Piliero (arrested by the FBI for a murder-for-hire scheme, tried, acquitted, then arrested again for a “bust out” scheme, a common tactic in the organized crime world where a business’ assets and lines of credit are exploited and exhausted to the point of bankruptcy, he was tried and, this time, convicted for Obstruction of Justice for filing fabricated affidavits in federal court).
Other characters from around New Rochelle involved with the police foundation include restauranteur Jimmy Rodriquez and Alvin Clayton, car dealers Dominic Lia and Sal Pepe, Municipal Civil Service Commissioner Dominic Procopio, and former New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority Executive Director Steven Horton. All long familiar to our readers.
Trangucci’s son, Louis P. Trangucci makes a whopping $112,810 working for the New Rochelle Police Department, according to the See Through New York website. Louis P. Trangucci was given preferential treatment in hiring when his name was selected from the police department civil service list ahead of candidates higher up the list.
Theresa Trangucci operates an unlicensed bakery with her daughter Angela Trangucci out of Lou Trangucci’s house at 40 Edgewood Park without a Westchester County permit and without being subjected to Westchester County Department of Health inspections in a neighborhood zoned residential by the City of New Rochelle.
Angela Trangucci, now Angela DiBuono, is married to Frank DiBuono. They live at 58 Acorn Terrace in District 2 but changed their voting address to 40 Edgewood Park in order to cast votes for Lou Trangucci in District 1.
Frank DiBuono was the owner of Larchmont Thrift and Consignment Shop which closed several months ago. The Larchmont Loop is reporting that customers are complaining that Frank DiBuono and his mother Diana DiBuono were taking in items for assignment, selling them online and keeping the money.
Customers of the store at 134 Larchmont Avenue, which opened in September, 2017, say they brought in often expensive items to consign, and were later unable to reach the owner to see if they had sold. Then, say several people, they discovered their belongings for sale or already sold on Poshmark.com, an online site selling designer clothing and shoes. A Mamaroneck woman recounts on social media that she consigned a Gucci watch and Tiffany ring to Larchmont Thrift and Consignment Shop owners Frank DiBuono and his mother Diana DiBuono of New Rochelle.
“Two months passed and still no check. Closed doors, the phone number wasn’t correct. I put notes on the door a few times but nothing happened!,” she writes.
Lou Trangucci’s son, the police officer, is married to Kristina Mirabile, the daughter of Vincent Mirabile, a retired New Rochelle Police Detective who owns and operates Cousins Cigar Lounge. Talk of the Sound readers are familiar with Mirabile, also known as “Scumbag Vinnie” for his history of engaging in charity fraud, holding events outside his cigar store purporting to raise money for pediatric cancer victims and leukemia and lymphoma patients. His last event was ostensibly held to benefit a charity created by Chris Greco, a New Rochelle Police Officer, who sources, say, is planning a run for City Council in 2023, after he retires from the NRPD.
At the LWV Forum, Trangucci claimed he had been endorsed by the New Rochelle Police Department prompting city officials to issue a statement denying any such endorsement. Trangucci was endorsed by Chris Greco, President of the New Rochelle Police Benevolent Association not the police department.
At the same event, Trangucci took credit for the new U-10 soccer field at Columbus Elementary School which was built and is owned by the New Rochelle Board of Education. Trangucci had nothing to do with initiating the construction of the new field.
Theresa Trangucci, Lou’s wife, is the sister of Peter Parente who is currently facing a felony weapons charge and has been arrested and convicted of a variety of crimes related to drug use, domestic violence and contempt of court. Parente tested positive for cocaine and THC while in the Marines and was reduced in rank as a result.
Lou Trangucci nominated Peter Parente for membership on the New Rochelle Veterans Advisory Council but was forced to request his removal after Parente posted a hate-filled, xenophobic rant against muslims and hispanics in which Parente proposed to stand armed post at the city limits of New Rochelle to keep out illegal immigrants.
Ironically, Lou Trangucci has sought to portray himself as an advocate for the same people his brother-in-law proposed “exterminating” like “cockroaches”. At the LWV Forum, Trangucci said that after Donald Trump was elected, he gathered hispanics for a meeting with the New Rochelle Police Commissioner to make clear that the City of New Rochelle and its police department to do not enforce immigration law which he said was “good”.
“They didn’t want a sanctuary city because they want safety just like everyone of you want safety,” said Trangucci. “They don’t want people who are criminals running around our neighborhood.”
“That is one of the things they stressed to the police department, to make sure these criminals are picked up.”
The term “sanctuary city” refers to municipal jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with the national government’s effort to enforce immigration law.
At the time Trump was sworn in as President, Mayor Noam Bramson explained the City’s position on federal enforcement of immigration.
“The City cooperates with ICE only with respect to individuals in custody for criminal acts other than immigration violations,” said Bramson.
In other words, New Rochelle does limit cooperation with the national government’s effort to enforce immigration law so to that extent it is a “sanctuary city” although city officials have disputed applying that term to New Rochelle.
It is not true, however, that New Rochelle cooperates with ICE with respect to individuals in custody for criminal acts other than immigration violations.
On July 27, 2018 Jose Olmos, 29, an illegal immigrant from Mexico murdered Nurten Seljuk, a 66-year old homeless woman in New Rochelle, whose lifeless body was found near the New Rochelle Armory. She died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries and asphyxiation.
“Jose Olmos-Torres, an illegally present citizen and national of Mexico, was previously removed from the U.S. as an expedited removal on two separate occasions in 2009,” said Rachael Yong Yow, Public Affairs Officer for ICE New York. “At some point thereafter, Olmos-Torres illegally re-entered the U.S. in violation of immigration law for the third time.”
Between 2009 and 2018, Olmos returned to New Rochelle and was arrested by New Rochelle Police on September 19, 2016. He was charged with Assault-3rd, a Class A Misdemeanor. At the time of this arrest, Olmos was in the county illegally, for the third time, living at the Oasis homeless shelter at 19 Washington Avenue, but was not reported to ICE for a criminal charge that was “something other than an immigration violation”.
Trangucci and Bramson have endorsed a sanctuary city policy that allowed Olmos to avoid deportation in 2016 so that he was in New Rochelle in 2018 to murder Seljuk.
Christina Parente, Peter Parente’s sister, is married to Jason Rudolph, owner of Upscale Limousine Luxury Car Service Corp.
Rudolph purchased a house in Sutton Manor, at 189 Farragut Circle, in 2016, which he used for a commercial purpose. Neighbors complained to Rudolph who is alleged to have used rude and foul language, threatened legal action against neighbors who complained and let them know he was related to Lou Trangucci. Neighbors then made complaints to City officials.
“They are running a limo business from their home and parking their vehicles in their driveway,” wrote one neighbor. “Their drivers come here and park on the street and pick up a limo. This goes on at all night.”
There is plenty more we could add to the list but it should be clear that Lou Trangucci has used his position on City Council to obtain a job for himself, advance the career of his son, and intervened on behalf of numerous members of his family and extended family while ignoring City Code and County Law in his home while an elected official in the City and an employee of the County.
Has New Rochelle has had enough of the Trangucci-Parente Melodrama? Voters will tell us on Tuesday.