School Board Lawsuit Put To Bed

The plaintiffs get compensated for legal and other expenses -- and an apology from the defendants.

A lawsuit two East Haven school board members leveled against two of their peers, the superintendent and a security guard on Oct. 12, 2010, over alleged misconduct has been settled. The plaintiffs had maintained the defendants had gained improper access to their daughters' high school attendance records using their political weight.

The parties eventually sought mediation, an agreement was reached and signed earlier this week

John Williams, the attorney for plaintiffs Christine Maisano and Tia DePalma, said according to the settlement, made on Feb. 8, no public statements can be issued except for one from Superior Court, which he emailed to Patch.

Defendants were Board of Education Chair Nick Palladino, board member Ron DeNuzzo, Superintendent Anthony Serio and high school security guard Dom Milano.

According to the court statement, Maisano and DePalma are to be compensated for their legal fees and other expenses, and their children are cleared of any wrongdoing (the defendants had alleged they were absent from school and through their mothers' political influence the absences were erased from their records).

"To the best of the defendants' knowledge, the plaintiffs did not use any undo or improper influence with respect to their childrens' [stet] records," according to the agreement.

Conversely, in their lawsuit Maisano and DePalma alleged that the men used their political "powers to coerce members of the faculty and staff of the school to disclose to them confidential education records of Jane Doe and Sara Doe. The defendants Palladino and DeNuzzo intended to use those records to gain political advantage over the mothers of the students ... "

That claim was not addressed in the settlement.

Last year, private investigator Dan Markle was hired -- without a board vote -- to look into the allegations. His report has not been released to the public. In their lawsuit, Maisano and DePalma claimed it was illegal to use tax money without getting board approval.

East Haven police had conducted an "informational" probe and determined that no Connecticut criminal statutes were violated, according to its Aug. 25, 2010, report.

Both parties also agreed that school board members "should not conduct independent inquiries concerning complaints without prior Board authorization."

The last stipulation of the settlement reads: "The defendants regret any pain the plaintiffs' children may have suffered."

Stan Wojnilo March 26, 2011 at 01:09 AM
How much did this little adventure cost the town?
momaug1life2live March 26, 2011 at 02:57 AM
This is a case of the defendents overstepping there boundaries as B.O.E. board members. These individuals acted outside of their duties as board members. Once they were exposed claimed that they were acting on behalf of the board (without board approval) to avoid footing their own legal bills and exposing the B.O.E. to legal fees. So if anyone is responsible for costing the taxpayers money, it is the defendents listed in the lawsuit. Nick Palladino thinks he is "above the law". It is obvious with every B.O.E. meeting. The way he addresses the people that question the board as well as his fellow board members is absolutely disgusting. He should be ashamed of himself. His role as chair has definitely gone to his head... I applaud the plaintiffs in this for not allowing these bullies to push them and their children around. Nick on that board is like a bulldozer in a childs sandbox.
ASmith March 26, 2011 at 03:44 AM
B. O. E. - Bunch Of Emptyheads. Some example both sides are setting for the youngsters.
EHVoiceofReason March 26, 2011 at 01:03 PM
GOOD! Maybe this Board can now focus on EDUCATION!!
Lisa March 27, 2011 at 02:46 AM
Hmmm..is that a negative comment? A jab maybe?
ASmith March 27, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Nope. Just statin the facts. Both sides acted emptyheaded in this fiasco. Nothin was accomplished by it and it just made the whole BOE look bad and set a bad example for the youngsters on how to deal with conflicts. What kind of country are we gonna have if our elected officials cant put the responsibilities of their positions before their own personality conflicts. We are obligated to teach our young folks by example how to deal with conflicts with each other in a sane, reasonable and fair way. These people can't work together, how they gonna accomplish anythin.
Heather March 28, 2011 at 02:34 AM
You have got to be kidding me these two women were vindicated --- they did nothing wrong according to the courts and the defendants! What in the world does Vanessa Reale have to do with anything - get your facts straight. These two woman fought a hard fight against these bullies - Apologies and no evidence of wrongdoings - these bullies should hold their heads in shame ! You are usually right on the money - I am surprised at your response..... and by the way Vanessa was the only good thing the school had going for it - she is missed greatly missed by many in the system who have the same ethics and values as her....
ASmith March 29, 2011 at 12:55 AM
I take it Rosie you work for the school system. So sorry you are having such a bad time. Words are kind of harsh. But there are always two sides to every story. This story is a nutty shell for sure.
Heather March 29, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Rosie - I agree completely that records are changed and you can thank yours truly Bob Proto for that and his friendly little attendance clerk but I can assure you that the two woman on the BOE did not have to get their records changed ! It does happen and it has happened but not in this case - and as far as Vanessa - that is rude and cruel and you my friend do not have your facts straight on this - I suggest you complete your research before you say such rotten and unethical things about a Principal who did a great job for this school system - she is sorely missed by many!
Lisa March 29, 2011 at 12:02 PM
I'm not sure I agree. My daughter graduated last June with honors. She was not sure if she wanted to go right to college or work. Needless to say, the career development officer had been laid off earlier in the year and some of the kids who chose to not go straight to college fell in the cracks and from my experience, had no guidance whatsoever. My son made up hos own mind to apply to and get accepted into a technical school so he did not have to attend the high school. I think they need to stop with the political bull and get back to what counts; our children and the education system.
Rosie March 29, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Sorry, again, Heather, but my facts are straight. I say these things out of direct experience, so I absolutely know what I am talking about. Rude and Cruel??? that is EXACTLY what that witch is. She was so unprofessional, and rude to me as a parent, when I went to her for guidance. My child was a very quiet, decent student, who had an issue that we needed guidance with. I will never forget how horrible she was. If you weren't her pet, you weren't worth her time. Apparently, your experience was different. Maybe a pet?? And the only one unethical was her. She did not deserve to be a pricipal, and the state board of ed. received a report. . Maybe that's why she ran out as fast as she could. But getting back to the story, those records were changed, period. And I know exactly who the offenders are.
Rosie March 29, 2011 at 01:52 PM
I am speaking from personal experience, parent to principal. I do not work for the school system.. I am not having a bad time, just speaking the truth, again.
Sharon Bass March 30, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Rosie, I deleted two of your comments because you wrote them as "facts," when there is no proof either way. Please write posts as your opinion and be careful not to make unsubstantiated allegations. Thank you.
Rosie March 30, 2011 at 05:24 PM
That's fine Sharon. I know what the facts are, even if they are not public knowledge. I will make sure to state them as my opinion. Thank you!


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