The Blue Truth Connection: Pelham Manor / Yonkers
PELHAM MANOR, NY — December 1, 2018 — Like a bad penny, some municipalities and surnames turn up over and over again. Pelham Manor, located along the northeast border of The Bronx, and Alfred Mosiello, seem to create recurring roles for themselves on the stage of public scrutiny. Court papers and evidence from a recently settled lawsuit have fanned the flames over the matter, which may have been better off left as cinders with respect to Mosiello and the small Sound Shore village.
Alfred Mosiello, the plaintiff, spent the latter part of his illustrious career as Village of Pelham Manor Police Chief, while Marc Lenci, the defendant in the lawsuit, was a Police Officer for the department. Lenci, is also a former representative of the Pelham Manor Police Association, the collective bargaining unit, which represents the rank and file of that department.
Mosiello sued Lenci in late 2015. The two causes of action against Lenci in the suit were, “Prima Facia Tort” and “Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Relations.” The motion to dismiss states, “the basis for the action is his claim that he was ‘forced to retire’ due to the tortious conduct of the defendant, at the time a retired Police Officer, and that as a result he allegedly sustained special damages in that his ‘retirement package’ only included a pension of 50% of his final average salary rather than [his expected] 100%’ and [Alfred Mosiello] also suffered the ‘loss in value of all benefits.’” Expressed plainly, Mosiello sustained a loss of income, when he resigned from the police department in 2015, and according to the lawsuit, the former Association President is personally responsible for the difference.
According to testimony, the two shared a particularly volatile management/labor relationship; both during and after Lenci’s retirement in 2014. The two were often at odds with one another over labor issues, the welfare of members of the Police Association, and possibly, going so far as mutual disdain. The motion states that Lenci, “testified that their relationship was poor and that when Mosiello took over as Chief, the department went downhill. He was familiar with the nickname for Village of Pelham Manor Chief of Police Alfred “The Terminator” Mosiello. The moniker arose from the high number of officers fired or forced out during Mosiello’s tenure,” as Chief. The document goes on to explain, “Lenci made no secret of his opinion that [Alfred] Mosiello was unqualified to be Chief, and of the reasons for that opinion.”
Mosiello’s resignation, and the subsequent lawsuit against Lenci, came about in the aftermath of an investigation into Mosiello’s alleged misconduct. The investigation, which began in October 2014, was spurred by Lenci, who had contacted then Village of Pelham Manor Mayor Bertrand Sellier. At meetings with Sellier, Lenci expressed his opinion of Mosiello, and asserted alleged claims, “of misconduct on the part of the Chief involving preferential treatment for friends of the Chief, allegations that he was making racially-biased remarks, that he told Police Officers to ticket people of color but not Caucasians, and that he arranged for charges brought against the daughter of a Fire Chief who seriously injured a Pelham Police Officer to be dismissed, which it was over time.
Mosiello testified in 2017 that on December 15, 2014, he and Lenci met in a parking lot, and that, “Lenci had a stack of papers in his hand, printouts of emails,” which Lenci threw on the hood of a patrol car. He further testified that Lenci, “presented him with a draft letter of resignation for his signature.” Amidst his heated expletives, Mosiello declined the request that he resign. Later that afternoon, copies of the emails were provided to Sellier, those involved in the investigation, and Pelham Manor Village Manager John Pierpont.
The investigation concluded with a settlement agreement between Mosiello and the Village of Pelham Manor, dated January 13, 2015. The document states, “it was recognized that his conduct in sending the emails constituted misconduct for which he could be subject to disciplinary action including dismissal, and it was agreed that, instead, he would be suspended for two weeks without pay, would forfeit 25 vacation days and would attend ‘racially sensitive training.’”
Due to a public outcry with respect to the dubious nature of the investigation, yet moreover to the fact that Mosiello’s abhorrent emails had made their way into the public arena, he was asked to resign. Mosiello testified that John Pierpont was upset, but “in the beginning I don’t think he [Pierpont] thought that [the consequences] would be as severe as it turned out to be.” The motion explains that the former chief testified that, “Pierpont came to him sometime in February 2015 and asked him to resign, [and that] Pierpont helped him draft his letter of resignation dated February 13, 2015.”
During sworn testimony in December 2017, Mosiello testified that the emails consisted of, “jokes that were passed around regularly, [and that] …he did not consider the nature of the emails to be racist, homophobic or xenophobic.”
Family members, Michael Mosiello, an employee of the City of Yonkers, and Louis Mosiello, a former Westchester County Board Legislator, and former New York State Assemblyman, were sent subpoenas by the defendant’s attorney, in an attempt to clarify the origin and nature of the emails. Neither have responded to the subpoenas.
A final point derived from the testimony, which is worthy of attention is that, “when asked if he thought it was ‘wrong’ for a Chief of Police in the State of New York to publish racist, homophobic, xenophobic e-mails in view of the prevailing political climate in 2013-2015, in particular concerning relations between police departments and minority communities, … he [Mosiello] agreed it was wrong, nevertheless noting a distinction: ‘but these e-mails were from 2010.’” A statement nearly as unseemly and insensitive, as it is ignorant.