Talk of the Sound Podcast S01E21

Written By: Robert Cox

Show Notes for April 27th, 2020.

Talk of the Sound Podcast is Hosted by Robert Cox, Produced in conjunction with

The show is based on live interviews of Robert Cox by Bob Marrone, hosting of Mornings with Bob Marrone. You can listen live every Monday between 9:00 am – 10:00 am. The interviews are collected each week and edited into the Talk of the Sound Podcast.

In this episode, Bob Marrone and I take on the HBO Film Bad Education and its relevance to the Sound Shore Community and New Rochelle in particular.

Frank Tassone

BACKGROUND: Frank Tassone graduated from Iona College. He became an English Teacher, obtained gradate degrees including his doctorate from Columbia University Teachers Colleges. He was a Principal within the Mahopac school district, then Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for the Levittown school district until 1998 then Superintendent of Rye Neck School District until 1992 before he became Superintendent of Roslyn Union Free School District from 1992 to 2002. Tassone came to Roslyn with a goal, he said, to make the district “as cost-efficient as possible.”

In a newspaper article, then-Levittown superintendent Herman A. Sirois said he could not disclose the circumstances surrounding for Dr. Tassone’s departure because of the confidentiality issues. An audit at Tassone’s previous school district, Rye Neck, finds the same company at the heart of the charges against Tassone billed the district over $20,000.

The scandal involved school officials, 10 former and then-current board members, and at least 25 family and friends.

Tassone officially retired in 2002. His annual state pension is $173,495.04. Tassone has received over $3 million in pension payments far exceeding the amount he stole as Superintendent of Roslyn. He will continue to receive $14,000 a month until he dies.

IMDB: Bad Education (2019)

Director: Cory Finley
Writer: Mike Makowsky
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Ray Romano, Alison Janney

HBO’s Bad Education Was Inspired By the Biggest School Embezzlement Case in US History

The Unbelievable New York School Scandal That Inspired Hugh Jackman’s New Movie

From the archives: How the Roslyn school scandal, depicted in ‘Bad Education,’ played out

Four Indicted in Roslyn School District’s Financial Scandal

Former Schools Chief of Roslyn Gets 4 to 12 Years in Fraud

Steal Millions, Go to Jail, Retire on a $14,000 Month Tax-Payer Funded Pension

The Bad Superintendent

(Rye Neck) School District Audits Bills After Arrest Of Educator

New York State Comptroller Audit Roslyn Union Free School District Anatomy of a Scandal: January 1, 1996 – June 14, 2004

Tassone claimed to have been a widower to a woman—reportedly keeping an old wedding photo in his office—he was in a domestic partnership with a man

Freddie Dean Smith kept a picture of himself in a Philip Exeter Sweatshirt and a picture of George Edward Chalmers Hayes on his credenza. In 1954 he was the lead counsel on Bolling v. Sharpe, the companion case to Brown v. Board of Education

\School board President William Costigan said that board members relied on the advice of an attorney and the district’s independent auditor in deciding to allow Gluckin to retire quietly in 2002.

Roslyn did not require that all checks carry two signatures

Friends and Family Network

The district’s internal auditor from 1992 to 2003 was the brother of a friend of Tassone

Debra Rigano of Rye Neck/Mamaroneck is Pam Gluckin’s niece and was the accounts payable clerk under Gluckin.

Gluckin’s son was issued a Rosyln School District credit card.

The district destroyed 27 boxes of documents in April 2002. The board president, William Costigan, said he was told by the former assistant superintendent of human resources that Tassone has authorized a routine shredding of outdated documents.

John Quinn spent his last summer as Assistant Superintendent for Business & Administration in New Rochelle shredding documents.

WordPower billed the Roslyn district for amounts varying from $400 to $14,000 since it began doing business with the district in 1993. Under state law, contracts less than $20,000 are not required to go out for public bid.

After Tassone’s arrest. Rye Neck district commissioned a private firm to examine his expenses from July 1989 until June 1992, when he was that district’s superintendent. The current Rye Neck superintendent, Dr. Peter Mustich, who was an assistant superintendent for business under Dr. Tassone, said that the audit found ”nothing significantly out of line” and that the district’s prompt examination of Tassone’s expenses ”should allay any community concerns.”

Of course, any failure in Rye Neck under Tassone would be a reflection on Mustich.

Auditors for Rye Neck also found that Word Power, a company owned by a “roommate” of Tassone’s, billed the district $23,442 for publishing work during the three years Tassone worked there. The relationship between Word Power’s owner, Stephen Signorelli, and Tassone was not disclosed to district officials.

Dr. Mustich said the district received appropriate goods and services from Word Power, but said it was not convenient to continue doing business with the company after Tassone left.

Robert Cox
Publisher and Managing Editor
Talk of the Sound

Talk of the Sound Radio & Podcast

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