Former New Rochelle schools director indicted for bribery

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WHITE PLAINS – The former
director of environmental services of the City School District of New
Rochelle has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a bribery charge.

The charge against John Gallagher, Jr., 53, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
stems from an alleged corruption scheme in which he solicited and accepted
kickbacks from an outside contractor for the school district in the amount
of 10 percent of the funds paid to the contractor’s company by the
school district.

Mauro Zonzini, 52, of South Carolina, a former contractor for the school
district, also pled guilty to bribery and tax evasion in a separate Information
unsealed on Tuesday.
According to federal documents, the school district receives federal benefits
significantly more than $10,000 each year for use in its buildings and
grounds department. It uses outside contractors to perform maintenance
and repair of facilities.

Gallagher, who worked for the district, oversaw the district’s buildings
and grounds and had influence over which contractors were awarded work
by the district, and over whether, when, and how contractors were assigned
work and paid for that work.

Zonzini owned and controlled a construction company in Westchester County
and contracted with the school district to do masonry work. He was hired
each year by the district as its time and materials contractor for masonry
work.

Authorities charges from about 2009 through about 2013, Gallagher engaged
in a corrupt, criminal scheme, in which he solicited, demanded, and accepted
were paid by Zonzini.

To cover his tracks, Gallagher admitted during a secretly recorded conversation,
that he kept the payments in his car or trunk and in some instances he
used cash to make payments directly toward living expenses, without depositing
it in his bank account.