FBI subpoenas 5 school district for data on lawyer

There are 149 comments on the Newsday story from Feb 15, 2008, titled FBI subpoenas 5 school district for data on lawyer. In it, Newsday reports that:

A federal grand jury in Central Islip has opened an investigation into possible fraudulent financial double-dipping at five Long Island school districts, according to several sources.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Newsday.

Greenlawn Taxpayer

Englishtown, NJ

#68 Feb 16, 2008
Sickandtired wrote:
<quoted text>
Dragone was there for 30 years...
There's not enough money for Driver's Education.. but taxpayers can pay for this guy's retirement ?
I hope the FBI is reading...
And Mr. Dragone has been hired by Roslyn school district. Contact him at his Roslyn School district email address and express your concern about his relationship with Laurence Reich while at Harborfields. I certainly will. And don't stop with Dragone, get ahold of all the other past and present characters in administration and on the Harborfields school board, like Brennan, and let's apply a little local town pressure.
No Shame

Bayonne, NJ

#69 Feb 16, 2008
The dirtbags who run the organized crime syndicate school districts can't even be shamed by their nefarious behavior when it is exposed to public scrutiny. The only thing that can and should be done with them is prosecution and incarceration.
Ditto to that

Commack, NY

#70 Feb 16, 2008
sunnyside kid wrote:
I smell a Pulitzer Prize for this one. I hope your two reporters do not stop digging until the full ramifications of this story are exposed. Federal, state and local governments should put every one of these school districts, and everyone at Mr. Reich's old law firm, under the microscope.
Long Islanders, along with many others in school districts all over the state, are being crushed by ever-increasing schol taxes that far exceed taxes for any other public service.
I heartily agree with all of your comments.
NEWSDAY, you do deserve the thanks and acknowledgement for your efforts to bring this to the surface. All Long Island Tax Payers are over burdened with taxes that are killing the ability of the community to pay them, especially in these times of financial difficulties we all face.
I only ask that Newsday will not stop their own investigations but continue to provide more information as this unfolds, and perhaps increase your own sphere of investigative reporting to unearth more that is likely to be found in this Hugh Educational System abyss.
Yes, an award for great news investigation and reporting should be given to Newsday!
RFL

AOL

#71 Feb 16, 2008
When will LI taxpayers form a union to represent them in Albany, and to throw money at state legislators, just like all of these ohter unions and "lobbying groups" do? I am sick of seeing my property taxes going up to pay for waste and corruption.

Re: Norm from Great Neck
I agree that voters should send school districts a message by voting the school budgets this year. THe problem is that the teachers' unions throw a lot of effort and money into getting people to support the budgets, by couching the debate in terms of what is "good for the children." Once they use this tactic, any reasonable debate is essentially shut down. Interestingly, federal and state mandates, combined with previously negotiated labor contracts, drive the majority of school district spending. The annual budget vote is nevetheless important as it determine show much more our school taxes will increase over the next year.

One last note on school budget votes: They are the only example of an election where the loser can legally hold a new election until it gets its desired results (I am talking about how when a school budget is voted down, the district keeps holding votes until the budget passes, using talk of "austerity" to scare voters into supportign the budget). I wish that I could call do-over when I don't get my way!
RFL

AOL

#72 Feb 16, 2008
1 min ago
When will LI taxpayers form a union to represent them in Albany, and to throw money at state legislators, just like all of these ohter unions and "lobbying groups" do? I am sick of seeing my property taxes going up to pay for waste and corruption.

Re: Norm from Great Neck
I agree that voters should send school districts a message by voting down the school budgets this year. THe problem is that the teachers' unions throw a lot of effort and money into getting people to support the budgets, by couching the debate in terms of what is "good for the children." Once they use this tactic, any reasonable debate is essentially shut down. Interestingly, federal and state mandates, combined with previously negotiated labor contracts, drive the majority of school district spending. The annual budget vote is nevetheless important as it determine show much more our school taxes will increase over the next year.

One last note on school budget votes: They are the only example of an election where the loser can legally hold a new election until it gets its desired results (I am talking about how when a school budget is voted down, the district keeps holding votes until the budget passes, using talk of "austerity" to scare voters into supportign the budget). I wish that I could call do-over when I don't get my way!
what are the facts here

Floral Park, NY

#73 Feb 16, 2008
Sickandtired wrote:
<quoted text>
Dragone was there for 30 years...
There's not enough money for Driver's Education.. but taxpayers can pay for this guy's retirement ?
I hope the FBI is reading...
Before you get your tar and feathers out, lets get our facts straight.
Dragone DID NOT cause this problem. He wasn't at Harborfields for 30 years, either. He was at Harborfields briefly as an AP year's ago, went to Rockville Centre and then resurfaced as assistant superintendent for business and then, deputy superintendent at Harborfields in the late 1990s. In fact, if you read the newspaper article you would understand that Larry Reich's relationship with the district precedes Dragone's hiring. The fact that according to NEWSDAY, Dragone noted the NEWSDAY article about Losquadro and then raised the question ABOUT REICH'S FULLTIME EMPLOYMENT FIRST in 2005 shows that he was the first individual to bring the issue to light AND that he was doing his job. Furthermore, the district was audited recently but gee, it's taken a while for the state auditor to even bring this to light (despite the fact that NEWSDAY finally got them to do something). If you REALLY want to question what has been going on, your questions should be directed at the state pension system that sends out yearly statements to all members of the NYS retirement system. How is it possible that the state missed the opportunity to flag Reich's annual retirement system statement for so long? How is it possible that someone can earn over 365 days of retirement credit in a single year? There are LOTS of state pensioners on the books for which you and I help pay for in retirement. PERHAPS it is time to audit the state retirement system for more obvious lapses in their ability to determine fraud. Know who is to blame here AND get your facts STRAIGHT!
FREAKOUT

Deer Park, NY

#74 Feb 16, 2008
Newsday, this is the kind of investigation you should continue to do - forget that gap guff. This is the beef and we love you for it!
only half the picture

Commack, NY

#75 Feb 16, 2008
Its Over Now wrote:
Remember the scandal at the accouting form Arthur Anderson? Remember what happened to them? Clients left in droves after the scandal was revealed and the firm went out of business. I suspect the same will happen here. No school district will want to work with a law firm that subject to both federal and state investigations. That will be a fitting punishment.
The law firm will suffer this negative publicity as they should, however it is only half of the total equation for responsibility.
The other half is comprised of those many public serving and paid positions in the Education Department and local School Districts who were complicit in this costly sham that is only beginning to be unearthed.
The primary duty of these government employed educators, from the School Superintendent down to the part time hired clerk, is to conduct their work so it best serves the public and children of the community. Their business and professional practices are supposed to be superior to what we have seen so far, and this conduct is appalling.
Perhaps the high salaries given to so many in the Education field isn't appropriate given the unprofessional and non intellect skills shown in this matter. Why pay for criminals to conduct criminally negligent activities anyhow?
sunnyside kid

Staten Island, NY

#77 Feb 16, 2008
The more you think about this swindle, the more questions arise. Yesterday's Newsday had a second story that said your investigation so far didn't show that Mr. Reich's claim that he was engaging in a common practice was widespread. The story did document one similar situation in four school districts in Nassau County, however.
It shouldn't be difficult to more fully document the extent of this practice. We are talking about public money here. That means it is all public record. Just give the State Comptroller a list of all the attorneys associated with Long Island school districts' law firms and ask he Comptroller to run the names through his payroll records and, better yet, members of the State Employees Retirement System.
He has to supply the information. It is public money and public money is public record. The inquiry could begin with Ingerman Smith and then the other giants of the school district legal services industry. Guercio and Guercio comes to mind immediately.

If the person you speak to in the Comptroller's Office says they are not interested in "a fishing expedition," tell that "public servant" he or she should look for another job.
You Are Right

Bayonne, NJ

#79 Feb 16, 2008
what are the facts here wrote:
<quoted text>
Before you get your tar and feathers out, lets get our facts straight.
Dragone DID NOT cause this problem. He wasn't at Harborfields for 30 years, either. He was at Harborfields briefly as an AP year's ago, went to Rockville Centre and then resurfaced as assistant superintendent for business and then, deputy superintendent at Harborfields in the late 1990s. In fact, if you read the newspaper article you would understand that Larry Reich's relationship with the district precedes Dragone's hiring. The fact that according to NEWSDAY, Dragone noted the NEWSDAY article about Losquadro and then raised the question ABOUT REICH'S FULLTIME EMPLOYMENT FIRST in 2005 shows that he was the first individual to bring the issue to light AND that he was doing his job. Furthermore, the district was audited recently but gee, it's taken a while for the state auditor to even bring this to light (despite the fact that NEWSDAY finally got them to do something). If you REALLY want to question what has been going on, your questions should be directed at the state pension system that sends out yearly statements to all members of the NYS retirement system. How is it possible that the state missed the opportunity to flag Reich's annual retirement system statement for so long? How is it possible that someone can earn over 365 days of retirement credit in a single year? There are LOTS of state pensioners on the books for which you and I help pay for in retirement. PERHAPS it is time to audit the state retirement system for more obvious lapses in their ability to determine fraud. Know who is to blame here AND get your facts STRAIGHT!
People are angry and want to strike out blindly at the first convenient target - like Dragone - but don't have the relevant facts. If Newsday really wanted to do a stellar job here, it would widen its focus and show how these abuses are part of the systemic corruption existing in certain public bureaus and departments, including the state pension system apparatus.
just the facts

Commack, NY

#80 Feb 16, 2008
what are the facts here wrote:
<quoted text>
Before you get your tar and feathers out, lets get our facts straight.
Dragone DID NOT cause this problem. He wasn't at Harborfields for 30 years, either. He was at Harborfields briefly as an AP year's ago, went to Rockville Centre and then resurfaced as assistant superintendent for business and then, deputy superintendent at Harborfields in the late 1990s. In fact, if you read the newspaper article you would understand that Larry Reich's relationship with the district precedes Dragone's hiring. The fact that according to NEWSDAY, Dragone noted the NEWSDAY article about Losquadro and then raised the question ABOUT REICH'S FULLTIME EMPLOYMENT FIRST in 2005 shows that he was the first individual to bring the issue to light AND that he was doing his job. Furthermore, the district was audited recently but gee, it's taken a while for the state auditor to even bring this to light (despite the fact that NEWSDAY finally got them to do something). If you REALLY want to question what has been going on, your questions should be directed at the state pension system that sends out yearly statements to all members of the NYS retirement system. How is it possible that the state missed the opportunity to flag Reich's annual retirement system statement for so long? How is it possible that someone can earn over 365 days of retirement credit in a single year? There are LOTS of state pensioners on the books for which you and I help pay for in retirement. PERHAPS it is time to audit the state retirement system for more obvious lapses in their ability to determine fraud. Know who is to blame here AND get your facts STRAIGHT!
You must be a school marm, paid by our tax dollars too. Or maybe a benefactor of Dragone or other School system com-padres.
LOOK- its not to hard to figure out: Newsday placed the Dragone signed Letter on Harborfields Letterhead, warning and providing methodology for crook- lawyer Reich to alter his status of job service to enable full time status and full pension benefits.
Do you not understand, regardless of the amount of time Dragone spent in Harborfields, Dragon has conducted unethical, unprofessional, and criminal activities by sending this letter he signed to the lawyer?
Get real, its in plain black ink, and irrefutable.
Now, assuming you are one of the people paid by the School System, please conduct your own job duties with professionalism, and within legal and ethical standards.
It is really that simple, and not too hard to understand.
correction

Commack, NY

#81 Feb 16, 2008
Sorry- my previous "Just the facts" comment should have indicated the Newsday paper displayed on its yesterday edition Cover page, the Dragone letter that was signed by Dragone with Haborfields letterhead.
This is a bad moment for Harborfields, and many other schools with corruption that we taxpayers figured was there but weren't privy to see till now.
Go forward, FBI, and please clean up the stench.
Clear Vision

Deer Park, NY

#82 Feb 16, 2008
Anyone want to bet the law firm donates plenty of money to our County Executives and Governor?

Let's look at ties between the law firm and the teachers union.
treciama

Middletown, DE

#83 Feb 16, 2008
I feel both vindicated and guilty by the scam now come to light. "Vindicated" (though sad) because I moved away PRECISELY because the taxes were out of control and showed no prospect of being managed within the means of normal taxpeyers. "Guilty" because maybe I should have stayed and fought...tho' I never has as much info as "Had Enough" (whom I nominate for the medal of honor). Born and raised on LI which I still dearly love, when I looked at the prospect of retiring, I could not fathom how any amount of income would ever be enough to feed the tax beast. It's the most wonderful area (assuming the natural beauty can be preserved against a variety of assaults) and I wish us all the best in prevailing against the crooks. If this guy gets the benefits he scammed for, we should all march on every level responsible for allowing that to happen.
Pliny

Milford, CT

#84 Feb 16, 2008
what are the facts here wrote:
<quoted text>
Before you get your tar and feathers out, lets get our facts straight.
Dragone DID NOT cause this problem. He wasn't at Harborfields for 30 years, either. He was at Harborfields briefly as an AP year's ago, went to Rockville Centre and then resurfaced as assistant superintendent for business and then, deputy superintendent at Harborfields in the late 1990s. In fact, if you read the newspaper article you would understand that Larry Reich's relationship with the district precedes Dragone's hiring. The fact that according to NEWSDAY, Dragone noted the NEWSDAY article about Losquadro and then raised the question ABOUT REICH'S FULLTIME EMPLOYMENT FIRST in 2005 shows that he was the first individual to bring the issue to light AND that he was doing his job. Furthermore, the district was audited recently but gee, it's taken a while for the state auditor to even bring this to light (despite the fact that NEWSDAY finally got them to do something). If you REALLY want to question what has been going on, your questions should be directed at the state pension system that sends out yearly statements to all members of the NYS retirement system. How is it possible that the state missed the opportunity to flag Reich's annual retirement system statement for so long? How is it possible that someone can earn over 365 days of retirement credit in a single year? There are LOTS of state pensioners on the books for which you and I help pay for in retirement. PERHAPS it is time to audit the state retirement system for more obvious lapses in their ability to determine fraud. Know who is to blame here AND get your facts STRAIGHT!
*
We meet again, Mr. Apologist for unethical school district behavior.

From the letter written by Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Joseph C. Dragone, to Mr. Lawrence A. Reich:
~
"Please advise how you suggest we should, if necessary, correct the record of your "employment" by the school district."
~
You see those quotes around the word "employment", Mr.'Get Your Facts Straight?' Those were written by Mr. Dragone. What does that suggest to you? That, oh, I don't know, he might have had a good idea that the whole arrangement was bogus from the outset? That would be a logical conclusion.

The entire letter comes off as a desperate 'CYA' maneuver - with one glaring "gotcha" mistake. It's no surprise that you can't see that.

By the way, you never did mention the school district that *YOU* represent. Care to say?
Way to Go

AOL

#85 Feb 16, 2008
just the facts wrote:
<quoted text>
You must be a school marm, paid by our tax dollars too. Or maybe a benefactor of Dragone or other School system com-padres.
LOOK- its not to hard to figure out: Newsday placed the Dragone signed Letter on Harborfields Letterhead, warning and providing methodology for crook- lawyer Reich to alter his status of job service to enable full time status and full pension benefits.
Do you not understand, regardless of the amount of time Dragone spent in Harborfields, Dragon has conducted unethical, unprofessional, and criminal activities by sending this letter he signed to the lawyer?
Get real, its in plain black ink, and irrefutable.
Now, assuming you are one of the people paid by the School System, please conduct your own job duties with professionalism, and within legal and ethical standards.
It is really that simple, and not too hard to understand.
Way to Go. My feelings exactly. I would be curious to see what Reich's response to that letter was. Since Dragone had to report back to the ERS, that explanation should also be on file somewhere. I wonder if he continued the misconception or corrected Reich's employment status.
Pliny

Milford, CT

#86 Feb 16, 2008
You Are Right wrote:
<quoted text>
People are angry and want to strike out blindly at the first convenient target - like Dragone - but don't have the relevant facts. If Newsday really wanted to do a stellar job here, it would widen its focus and show how these abuses are part of the systemic corruption existing in certain public bureaus and departments, including the state pension system apparatus.
*
Okay, what else do you know? What are the relevant facts that *YOU* have, and how do they contradict what this very diligent reporter has uncovered?

And Newsday is doing a very stellar job here. Really sorry you can't see that.
ERIC

Rockville Centre, NY

#87 Feb 16, 2008
Hey Hillary. Stop campaigning for national office, and do your damn job for the people of New York. You have done nothing for New Yorkers on any platform: financially/taxes, education, healthcare, etc. I dare anyone to provide proof that Hillary Clinton has done ANYTHING for the New York taxpayer (other than fill her pockets with healthcare insurance company kickbacks).
ERIC

Rockville Centre, NY

#88 Feb 16, 2008
Long Islanders are getting pissed off. I am a middle class earner who gets half of his earned money taken away from me by the federal and state government. The rest is squandered on our local property taxes and "school taxes". This island is creating a disgruntled poor class (who would otherwise be comfortable if not for these insane taxes and runaway political criminals). The politicians are all thieves and should give everyone their hard earned money back immediately.
Guess who

Las Vegas, NV

#89 Feb 16, 2008
CathyMc wrote:
This is what is driving our property taxes up, up and up. This guy gets full-time benefits and pension while his law firm made more than 2.5 million in fees from five school districts on Long Island.
That's how lawyers make money by throwing shit balls....

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