Thursday, February 11, 2010

Outrage Over Release Of Thieving Long Island, New York School Administrator

There is outrage Friday in one Long Island community, where millions of taxpayer dollars were embezzled by its former superintendant of schools. But this anger is not about the crime that was committed – instead, it's focused on the controversial early prison release of Frank Tassone.
"He destroyed the life of people here," one resident said. "How can they let him go so fast?"
The streets of Roslyn are filled with anger as disgusted taxpayers learn their former superintendent – the man who helped orchestrate the $11 million dollar embezzlement of their school district – is about to be sprung early from state prison.
"I don't understand why the lawmakers today allow him to get out," said another Roslyn resident.
Thanks to good behavior and the completion of rehabilitation programs, the state Department of Correction will allow 63-year-old Frank Tassone to be released Tuesday. Tasson was sentenced to four to 12 years, but a his release next week would be eight months and four days earlier than his minimum sentence.
"Rehab doesn't mean anything, and you should still pay for what you did," an angry taxpayer said.
"Good behavior or not, you don't steal from a school district," said a Roslyn man.
The Nassau District Attorney, who fought the early release, says Tassone personally stole more than $2 million. He committed the thefts using district-issued credit cards for Botox treatments, cash advancements, flights to Europe on the Concorde, and expensive jewelry.
"I only hope and pray that someday the Roslyn community will remember the good I did for the district, as well as find it in their hearts to forgive me for my mistakes," Tassone said.
"It's an outrage, what he's done, and we're still paying for it in this town," one Roslyn mother said.
"He's done a disservice to students, parents, teachers all over Long Island," another Roslyn resident said.
Six people, four of whom worked for the district, pleaded guilty to the Roslyn theft.
Tassone has since repaid his $2 million, and will be placed on parole until 2018. He'll be subject to substance abuse testing and a curfew, and he is not allowed to drink, go to a bar, gamble, use a credit card, or open a checking account.
But to many in Roslyn who still feel burned by the former school administrator, that's simply not enough.
"He shouldn't be out – he should stay in there," ____ said. "He stole from us, and it's wrong."
Tassone will continue to receive his annual state pension of nearly $175,000 a year in monthly installments, as he did while in prison.
The case prompted numerous criminal investigations and state audits of all other school districts in New York, as well as new laws requiring that school board members get financial training before they serve.

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