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."