'Secret' Emails Author Considers Legal Action

School board member Anthony Mancuso said Robert Crawford's activities regarding his 'private' communications invaded his privacy.

The author of the so-called "secret" emails sought by citizen-activist Robert Crawford says he isn't surprised that what he calls "private" communications were deemed by the school district not to be government documents. School board member Anthony Mancuso, concluding that his personal privacy was invaded, said he is talking with an attorney and considering taking legal action.

"The whole thing raises questions for me," Mancuso told Patch. "These documents were found to be un-OPRA-able. Mr. Crawford clearly has seen them. How did he obtain them?"

In September, Crawford made an Open Public Records Act request to the school district inquiring about a number of emails that came from Mancuso's personal email address.

Crawford, a former Board of Education member, and sitting member Michael Strumolo alleged that the emails may have been online meetings featuring board members discussing closed-session business.

Mancuso denied this, saying the emails were private, did not involve a quorum and had nothing to do with conducting school board business.

"But I know he's been talking with people about them and parading them around," said Mancuso. "This was done before the documents were even OPRAed. That's defaming my character, and with malice.

"Clearly, he is trying to intimidate me."

There has long been antipathy between Mancuso and the duo of Crawford and Strumolo over their disagreements regarding the handling of Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz's still-disputed contract.

Nothing has been filed with Superior Court yet, but Mancuso said he is giving the matter of taking legal steps against Crawford serious consideration.

"This clearly was a personal attack against me," he said. "There has to be accountability."

Roman Hoshowsky November 15, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Now there's a meritless case!
Par4theCourse November 16, 2012 at 04:43 AM
So this same guy who tried to ban a citizen from attending a public meeting to exercise her first amendment right is now whining about his civil liberties being violated? No sympathy from me, not in the least. This guy needs to be voted out.
VietNam Vet November 16, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Par, thats just what we plan on doing next year. It seems this idiot has been doing things behind everyones back for some time now. He seems to have a rep. for going behind the residents backs to make secret deals for his own good. He started that with the speitz illegal contract, when does this town wake up and get this jerk out.
Scott Dean November 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Mr.Mancuso, If there is BOE business being discussed in any of the e mails shouldnt the people and parents of the Parsippany be made aware of the content? Isnt it about " For The Kids"
Kevin Brancato November 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM
To VietNam Vet aka. Paul Brown. Who is we? you and Mike? I agree that Mancuso needs to go and he bullied the rest of the Board in the Seitz contract mess. BUT. How is your buddy Mike any better when he meets at the diner with Suzy, Sharif, Gary and the boards budget advisor. Is that not a secret meeting? How come they can sit in the diner and openly discuss Board business and no one says beans. Mancuso sends personal emails and it's a federal case. I don't get the double standard. I think Mancuso, Crawford and Strumolo are all painted with the same brush and they are all hurting the citizens of this town. THEY NEED TO STOP THEIR BOORISH BEHAVIOR NOW AND START WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THE CITIZENS OF THIS TOWN... NOW!!!!!! They are only concerned for themselves and their own little ego's for what. To stay in the news? To massage our little ego's? To pay back Seitz for backing losing our contract? I for one am sick of all of you guy's and to Scott Dean I say education is about the kids but all this BS is about the adults only and its time that you all stop being selfish and worry about how ridiculous you all look when you read your petty drivel. You all should be ashamed. I hope the new members of this board will get that and help shut all of you up for the good of the public.
Hank Heller November 16, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Mr. Mancuso, Could it be that one of the "buddies" that you shared your emails with wasn't really your buddy??? This is one of the funniest things I have ever read on Patch. The Great Intimidator is complaining that Bob Crawford is trying to intimidate HIM??? Wow, what a guy!
Scott Dean November 16, 2012 at 01:46 PM
@ Kevin, Please know that The For the Kids has been overly spewed by many people in these elected positions,And although it is a great catchphrase to help win terms it is obviously not the case and I think your comments verify that. I agree and wish luck to the newly appointed people to bring some credibility back to the "For The Kids " Ps :How is your dribble and different opinions any more important than mine?
Hank Heller November 16, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Kevin Brancato The "good of the citizens of this town" are served best when we have transparent, fair and open government, not when YOU say that we should stop inquiring into issues that are obviously important for the rest of the BOE and the public to know about. I wonder if your relative Fran Othwein, was among the recipients of Mr. Mancuso's mysterious emails? You seem to protest too much. I agree with you that Anthony Mancuso has to go, but he can't be replaced by someone on his "special buddies" emailing list. The BOE policy regarding emails specifically prohibit sending emails about BOE business to other members of the BOE as well as others. If the emails were sent from the BOE server or sent to people whose email addresses are attached to the BOE server, those emails under an honest and non-partisan review of the law, I believe, will eventually be found to be public record and thus OPRA-able. As a taxpayer and citizen of Parsippany, I am eager to see exactly what information Mr. Mancuso and friends were sharing. I do not think there can be a real healing of this community until then. Lastly, if Mr. Mancuso's emails are out and about, it seems most likely that perhaps one of his trusted "secret buddies" is really not such a buddy after all. Perhaps Mancuso used bad judgement in picking his trusted acolytes???
clyde donovan November 16, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Kevin Brancato November 16, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Hank No doubt. I agree with what you say. Mancuso has been bad for this BOE. That Fran is my sister in law has never been a fact that I have hidden from. The fact is that I pay taxes here and I can make my own decisions, just ask Fran or Bob Crawford who I also know for a long time. All of that has nothing to do with my opinion that all of you guy's are hurting this town with your petty self centered bickering. This stuff is in the past, how about dealing with the present and the future. Three new members are on the board now, how about supporting them and what the future holds instead of wasting time on personal agenda's and soothing our ego's. Now that Strumolo has enough votes in his pocket to control the board let's see what positive he can bring to this board. If he does I will support him if not I will continue to state my opinion about his tactics. Just as I have about Anthony Mancuso, Andy Choffo and Lou Valori in the past. Oh and to answer your question about what Fran knows. I don't know, we don't discuss it, never have, never will and if I read the article right Mancuso's emails were from his personal account not the BOE's account. Even if they are OPRA-able, so what, does that make him any better than Mike having his meetings outside the public meeting requirements, again so what. Grow up, you guy's need to support the current and the future not the past.
George L. Blair November 16, 2012 at 06:21 PM
On the night in question, this so called citizen had spoken before the Board for 15 minutes, ranting and raving like a spoiled child about the issues where she could not have her way. When asked to relinquish the microphone she turned her back on the Board and said she was not going to give up the mike. I don't blame Mr. Mancusco, if it had been me I would have banned her too, only I am not sure I would have ever let her back into a meeting. Then she claimed her civil rights had been violated. You cannot yell fire n a crowed theater and claim it is free speech. There is no comparison between the two incidences. I challenge you Par4theCourse to describe for me that this is not the way the incident happened.
George L. Blair November 16, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Meaning what?
Bob Crawford November 16, 2012 at 06:39 PM
As someone who has known Kevin Brancato for a quite a while and as someone I consider to be a friend I can absolutely confirm that Kevin can and does make his own decisions and has absolute respect for BOE processes. He and I have differed and agreed over the years but I have never doubted Kevin's intent nor his commitment to what he believes to be in the best interests of the school district and of Parsippany as a whole.
Hank Heller November 16, 2012 at 11:48 PM
George I was there the night that Mancuso "banned" Pat Petaccia from the BOE meetings and it certainly did not happen as you describe. If you were there, your memory is faulty on this issue. Pat Petaccia did not speak for anything like 15 minutes and if you were in a leadership role and tried to intimidate a citizen like Mancuso did you would have lot's of people disrespecting you too. The problem was that while Petaccia is little and a female, she was not going to take Mancuso's trying to 'muscle' her lying down. And she didn't, bless her heart.
Roman Hoshowsky November 17, 2012 at 12:20 AM
George Anthony was wrong when he tried to ban Pat from a public meeting. Anthony was wrong when he took it upon himself to spend $14,000 of our money trying to fight the state over the Superintendent's contract. I have a feeling he is going to end up on the wrong end of this email controversy too!
Scott Dean November 17, 2012 at 12:31 AM
I read something about banning people from public places,these must be some powerful people.
steve revette November 17, 2012 at 03:51 AM
George the reason Pat refused to leave the micro phone was because somebody before her went over her time and mancuso didn't say anything about it. Why didn't mr Mancuso stop the other lady when her time was up.
ANGELA November 17, 2012 at 09:44 AM
Hank Heller November 19, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Kevin #1 I would like you to know that months ago, Bob Crawford told me that you and Michael are both decent, fair, stand-up guys. I accept that. My reason for mentioning that Fran Orthwein is a relative of yours is that I have not read that anywhere in any of your or Michael’s blogs identifying that relationship. And, I believe that those things need to be identified. Now that it is discussed, we can put that away. I am not a relation to anyone on any of the town boards nor do I have any relatives working for the town or BOE in any capacity. I never knew Bob Crawford nor Mike Strumolo before I began attending the BOE meetings on or about 11/9/2010. And I too am a tax payer and a long-term one at that. I disagree with you strongly on what is hurting this town. The issues we are all writing and talking about are anything but “petty”. Speaking only for myself, I have no “personal agendas” and I don’t need Patch for my ego enhancement. What I am focused on is the long-term bullyism that exists on this BOE, the clear nepotism that has been permitted to exist and prosper, and the lack of effort toward convincing the minority side on any issue. Instead this leadership has tried to control the BOE via meanness, character assassination and intimidation. if you need evidence of this see the "Crawford" ethics attack on an inocent kid, the very recent Judge Stein on Strumolo by Calabria et al. There is a whole litany of other examples and you know them.
Hank Heller November 19, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Kevin #2 Now we see Mancuso trying to intimidate Crawford by threatening a law suit. Why should this be put aside and ascribed to citizens "egos" and "personal agendas"? All of these situation cause legal costs to be incurred by our BOE/taxpayers and this is somehow OK? Here is the real problem, besides lack of character, ethics and decency in our leadership...IT HAS NOT STOPPED! Our majority elected BOE members have not learned to behave in a collegial manner and so the manipulation and intimidation continues to this day. Ths is why the citizens of Parsippany continue to talk and write about the issues at hand. I am sorry to have to remain in disagreement with you. It has nothing at all to do with you. When I see the behavior of our government officials change, I will be happy to go back to my armchair and watch television or read. I hope it is soon! By the way, how can the BOE sit down to negotiate a new contract for teachers when they don't even understand how to treat each other? And, whether the teachers have a good case or not, it sure makes it a tough call when they have seen the Superintendent cause himself to be treated rather wonderfully by this BOE majority, while anyone who disagreed with Seitz' non-contract was vilified. Tough place to play, this Parsippany, unless you are a Mancuso/Calabria/Seitz altar person.
VietNam Vet December 27, 2012 at 06:32 AM
They only use the phrase, " For the Kids" when they want more of your money, and then they want you to think they are thinking of your children. Thats a real " Joke". All they want is more money to do nothing except to Hire more friends to do cheap work and then pay them to much of our dollars.
VietNam Vet December 27, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Is this all Mancuso knows how to do is start another lawsuit against someone? We have got to get rid of this jerk before he sues anybody who doesn't agree with him. Gee, this all sounds so much like some other guy higher up, if you don't like him, then your a racist.


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