Rakoske, Scotti documents
To view documents containing allegations by Ryan Rakoske, click HERE
To view documents containing allegations by Joseph Scotti, click HERE
SCHENECTADY City school district officials, including the school board president and then-superintendent, were aware of allegations of physical assaults, vandalism and verbal threats against employees from Steven Raucci as early as May 2005, but did nothing, according to allegations in new court filings.
The allegations come in applications from five separate people with ties to the school district or to the CSEA, asking a judge to allow them to sue the school district over the allegations.
The paperwork includes the specific allegations that school district officals knew of the allegations against Raucci, that those who reported incidents involving Raucci were punished, demoted or fired, and that Raucci used school district equipment to make and test an explosive device.
The allegations even include Raucci vandalizing a man’s car while the man was attending his brother’s funeral.
The school district declined to comment Wednesday through a spokeswoman.
Identified in the papers as potential plaintiffs are Harold and Deborah Gray, Ryan Rakoske, Laura Balogh and Joseph Scotti.
Rakoske is Deborah Gray’s son and Harold Gray’s step-son. Each had positions in either the school district or the local CSEA. The Grays were victims in several alleged vandalism acts at their Saratoga County home.
Balogh was the alleged victim of a January 2007 Schodack attempted bombing.
It was Rakoske’s filing that made direct allegations against the school district, claiming he tried to blow the whistle on Raucci in a May 17, 2005 meeting. The meeting was nearly four years before Raucci’s eventual February 2009 arrest.
Among Rakoske’s allegations were that he saw Raucci in a caravan of three or four school district vehicles traveling from the housing development where the Grays lived and 15 miles from the nearest city school district facility.
Rakoske said he was going to his mother’s home to clean up fresh vandalism when he said he spotted Raucci.
His filing claims that at the May 2005 meeting were Human Resources Director Michael Stricos, Assistant Superintendent Michael San Angelo, then-superintendent John Falco (given the last name of “DeFalco” in the filing) and school board President Jeffrey Janiszewski. Falco left the district in January 2006.
Nothing happened as a result of the meeting, Rakoske said in papers.
“Instead, Stricos and Jeffrey Janiszewski continued to increase Raucci’s authority, title … and salary in order to maintain a quid pro quo relationship where grievances from the Operations and Management Department were eliminated and political clout, in the form of a ‘captive’ workforce, was available at Jeffrey Janiszewski’s disposal,” the court filings say. They also allege the increase in title was against civil service law.
The papers were filed Thursday. A hearing is scheduled for next month to determine whether to allow the five people to file late notices of claim, the precursor to potential lawsuits.
John Hoke, attorney for the alleged victims, is arguing that they should be allowed to file late because they were too afraid to come forward earlier.
The filings also now bring the number of individuals suing or seeking to sue the district to eight. Six of the eight are represented by Hoke. On Wednesday Hoke said the papers spoke for themselves.
Raucci has been indicted on a host of charges accusing him of terrorism and arson after what authorities described as years of intimidation related to school district and union activities.
The scope of the allegations has raised questions as to what others inside the school district might have known about his activities. Earlier papers filed by Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney in the criminal case against Raucci alleged that some school officials were “beholden“ to Raucci. Carney did not name those individuals.
Raucci is accused of placing incendiary devices at four homes around the Capital Region, two of which exploded. He is also accused of damaging the cars and homes of people who disagreed with him, slashing tires, damaging paint or damaging windshields. One couple, the Grays, reported their car being vandalized five times.
No one was ever injured. Raucci remains in the Schenectady County Jail without bail. A judge is currently considering a new bail application.
Hoke is also representing former school district employee Ronald Kriss, who filed a federal suit against Raucci and the district in February 2008.
Carney has alleged that Raucci’s DNA was found on an explosive device in the January 2007 attempted bombing at Laura Balogh’s home.
Balogh, a CSEA employee and one of the people seeking to sue the district, is described in papers as formerly having a “personal relationship” with then-CSEA local president Joanne DeSarbo, a relationship Balogh ended in summer 2006. Balogh told DeSarbo to move out of the home. DeSarbo is now charged with burglarizing the home the same day as the attempted bombing.
In the wake of the attempted bombing, Balogh confidante Joseph Scotti alleges that Raucci began to stalk him, going so far as to vandalize his car April 14, 2007. Scotti at the time was attending his brother’s funeral.
Harold Gray’s filing also includes his account of Raucci’s rise to power. Raucci reached the post of president of the local CSEA unit in 2001, frequently clashing with management checks on his authority and members of the unit. Those checks disappeared through termination, resignation or reassignment, Harold Gray wrote.
The Grays’ problems with Raucci, according to their filings, stemmed from an anonymous letter sent to the CSEA Jan. 11, 2005 describing Raucci’s leadership of the local as like “an organized crime family.”
Raucci concluded the letter was written by Deborah Gray. She denied writing the letter. Nonetheless, by April Raucci allegedly was openly calling her demeaning names and saying he had gone to war with them. Raucci also began to assault and inappropriately touch Rakoske at work, the papers claim. The Grays’ home was first vandalized May 1, 2005.
It was those allegations that led to Rakoske’s meeting with school district.
After that meeting, Rakoske alleges he was offered a transfer at a reduced salary or told to submit his resignation.
Rakoske also pursued a worker’s compensation claim against the district. Papers alleged the claim was pursued until June 2005, when he received a threatening phone call saying there would be “consequences” if he continued. The papers, however, don’t specifically say the claim was withdrawn.