NEW ROCHELLE, NY — On Monday, November 18th Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo became directly involved in the investigation of New Rochelle head football coach Lou DeRienzo despite claims to the contrary by New Rochelle Board of Education President Amy Moselhi at a recent school board meeting. This according to police and schools records seen by Talk of the Sound.
For reasons that remain unexplained, Feijóo acted on behalf of a woman who filed a decades old claim alleging unlawful contact between the student and DeRienzo, a head football coach and teacher with 30-years of service to the District. The complaint was later dismissed by the Yonkers Police Department following a week-long police investigation that ended today after Talk of the Sound made the investigation public yesterday.
Talk of the Sound asked Feijóo a series of questions about her role in the criminal investigation of “Coach D” which she initiated but did not receive a reply (follows).
Feijóo’s direct involvement in the case, including effectively filing a criminal complaint against DeRienzo with the New Rochelle Police Department, contradicts statements made to football parents, community leaders and anti-Feijóo activists by Board President Amy Moselhi, in an impromptu gaggle in the Webster School auditorium immediately after a highly-charged school board meeting last Tuesday.
“The Board of Education does not conduct the investigation,” said Moselhi.
Asked about Feijó’s involvement, Moselhi said “she’s not in the investigation directly. It’s administered by central administration. It involves building level administration, HR.”
Feijóo contacted the New Rochelle Police Department on Monday, November 18th and received a reply on Tuesday, November 19th.
The board meeting at Webster was held on Tuesday, November 19th where Moselhi claimed Feijóo was not directly involved.
“You cannot be more directly involved than calling the cops on the coach,” said Bishop Fetson Leak, one of the people Moselhi addressed in the post-meeting gaggle last Tuesday.
Asked about her statement Tuesday night, Moselhi did not reply.
Records seen by Talk of the Sound show Superintendent Feijóo called the New Rochelle Police Department on November 18th to report that a woman had contacted her and provided her details of allegations against DeRienzo: that they went back to 1988, that the woman claimed her memories had been suppressed, and that seeing DeRienzo in the news caused her memory to return, that she remembered unlawful contact between her and Coach DeRienzo when she was a student in the Yonkers School District.
Talk of the Sound will not publish the exact nature of the allegations or the woman’s name.
DeRienzo moved from the Yonkers School District to the City School District of New Rochelle in 1988. Except for a two-year stint at SUNY-Purchase, DeRienzo has worked for the New Rochelle Board of Education ever since.
Feijóo provided the name of the woman, her contact information, and a description of the woman’s allegations to New Rochelle police.
Following that call from Feijóo, NRPD detectives contacted the woman and set up a meeting with her at 11:00 a.m. the following day, November 19th, the day of the board meeting at Webster.
NRPD detectives interviewed the woman briefly then referred her to Yonkers police.
After the New Rochelle Police Department concluded their investigation, Police Commissioner Joe Schaller notified City Manager Charles B. Strome of the outcome, who them emailed Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo.
Since you contacted the PD on this woman’s behalf, I am forwarding this to you on a confidential basis.
On Monday November 25th, Coach DeRienzo met for 6 hours with school district lawyers from Ingerman Smith including Gus Mountanos, Human Resources Executive Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools Peter Scordo, FUSE President Martin Daly and FUSE lawyers and DeRienzo’s lawyers.
Later that night, after a special meeting of the school board to receive a de-brief of the six-hour meeting from Ingerman Smith, Board Vice-President Paul Warhit addressed a group waiting for the board meeting to end, a group that included Westchester County Legislator Damon Maher, NAACP New Rochelle Branch President Minister Mark McLean, NAACP New Rochelle Branch Education Committee Chairperson Miriam Decime and several others including this reporter.
Warhit said when the truth came out about Lou DiRienzo all those people who criticized the School Board would owe him and his fellow board members an apology. Asked by this reporter whether the Board intended to issue a statement as to whatever it was he was talking about he said, “no”. Asked how the public would come to know what he said would warrant an apology from the board’s critics, Warhit said DiRienzo could tell the public.
Talk of the Sound has received multiple reports that lawyers from Ingerman Smith and Lou DeRienzo are working on a separation agreement which, based on past experience, would contain a non-disparagement clause that would preclude either party from bad-mouthing the other, although the board and its administration have a history of unilaterally violating such non-disparagement clauses
Talk of the Sound Media Inquiry to Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo:
I am working on a story that will say you acted on behalf of the woman who made a complaint to Yonkers PD against Lou DeRienzo.
Specifically, that you took it upon yourself to call the New Rochelle Police Department to effectively file a police complaint on behalf of the woman resulting in her being interviewed by NRPD Detectives and their advising her to contact Yonkers PD where she did file a complaint which today was dismissed as being without merit.
Can you explain why you would get directly involved with a criminal investigation of Coach DeRienzo?
Why would you contact the NRPD about an alleged incident in Yonkers?
On what basis did you determine the woman and her allegations were credible enough for you to lend the prestige and weight of your position as Superintendent of the City School District of New Rochelle to her and her allegations?
Who representing the District met with her or spoke with her or otherwise evaluated her credibility?
On November 19th, Board President Moselhi told members of the public that you were NOT directly involved in the investigation of Coach D. How do you square that statement with your direct involvement in the Yonkers matter on November 18th? Did you tell the Board of your direct involvement in the Yonkers matter prior to Ms. Moselhi’s remarks? It seems either you failed to notify the Board of your role in what became a Yonkers PD criminal investigation or Ms. Moselhi was misrepresenting your role as regards the investigation. Can you speak to that?
Why did you believe it was appropriate for you as Superintendent to act on behalf of the woman who filed a complaint with Yonkers PD?
Publisher and Managing Editor
Talk of the Sound
UPDATE 12/3/19: NRPD STATEMENT ON FEIJOO CALL TO NRPD ON 11/18/19
“The call was received by the Police Department at approximately 6:25 pm. No other details are being released by the PD regarding the phone call.”