Tag Archives: Sam Esposito

CB 9 member Sam Esposito arrested for defrauding Social Security Disability Insurance: sources


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

Controversial Community Board (CB) 9 member Sam Esposito was arrested Tuesday in conjunction with an insurance fraud bust, said authorities and sources close to the board.

Thirty-two people were arrested for their participation in a “massive fraud” against the federal Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) program, Esposito included, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

The longtime board member, a former cop, is accused of applying for and receiving SSDI benefits after claiming to suffer from a psychiatric condition that prevented him from working, according to the district attorney.

Vance said a handful of those arrested attributed their psychiatric problems to association with the September 11 attacks. A source said Esposito’s NYPD career ended because of a September 11-related trauma.

He was additionally collecting pension as an NYPD retiree. Although Esposito may have had limited physical disabilities that entitled him to state disability pension, this did not call for SSDI benefits, Vance said.

These benefits offer about $30,000 to $50,000 for each recipient.

Esposito is charged with grand larceny, a felony, and criminal facilitation, a misdemeanor. His father, Joseph Esposito, was also arrested as a “principal defendant,” according to Vance.

The CB 9 member was under fire after fellow board members accused him of being anti-Semitic in November. A vote was held to remove him from the board, but never came to fruition.

Esposito did not return request for comment.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

CB 9 members question whether BP will amend infighting issues


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

MAGGIE HAYES AND TERENCE M. CULLEN

Community Board (CB) 9 has grown infamous for its internal disagreements, leaving some members to wonder about oversight and to question whether they should seek help.

The borough president’s office oversees Queens’ 14 community boards. The question now is whether newly-elected Borough President Melinda Katz and her staff will amend the issues.

District Manager Mary Ann Carey said the borough president has recently called several board members in for interviews, including herself last week, regarding “everything,” but declined to specify what was discussed.

From September to November of last year, about 15 to 20 board members were “strongly discussing” having the borough president’s office intervene, but instead decided to “let it be” and “wait it out,” said an anonymous board source, who asked not to be named in fear of retribution.

“There has certainly been a lot of dissent regarding leadership,” the source said.

Now, the source “certainly hopes” Katz will intervene.

Another ranking board member, who asked not to be named, said the borough president’s office was aware of the problems with the board from local news coverage. Discussing matters of personnel issues with the press, however, would be inappropriate, the source said.

Katz’s office declined to comment. Katz oversaw community boards for three years when working for former Borough President Clare Shulman.

Last August, Carey was placed on six months’ probation after a battle with the board’s executive committee, which nearly ousted her in June of the position she has held for 30 years.

Board member Sam Esposito defended Carey and said that Chairperson Jim Coccovillo “restlessly continued on his quest to harass and intimidate the staff.”

In November, Esposito dodged his own removal from the board after allegations he made anti-Semitic remarks. Coccovillo attempted to redo the vote that kept Esposito, but it never came to fruition.

“Plenty of people were ready to boot him as chair if he tried to kick Sam off the board again,” said another member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Coccovillo was absent from the January meeting, and Carey revealed the chair had given her a performance report, in which she failed every category.

She then alleged that she and her staff work under stressful conditions because Coccovillo was always watching over their shoulder, and that he subjected them to “harassment.”

Coccovillo could not be reached for comment.

In March, CB 9 will have a vote for new leadership. Multiple sources said there is no chance Coccovillo will be reelected.

“I think we need a change in both the leadership and the office staff,” one source said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

CB 9 chair demands do-over after vote to keep board member


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

The problems keep coming for Community Board 9.

James Coccovillo, the board’s chair, wants a do-over after a recent vote to keep on board member Sam Esposito.

At the November meeting, Esposito called for a public vote in order to avoid the board going into executive session to call for his removal. Coccovillo obliged, and Esposito was saved with a 34-10 vote.

Esposito was the subject of rumors within the group after he clashed with three other members. He was accused of being anti-Semitic, but said he “isn’t anti-anything.”

Late on November 18, Coccovillo distributed a press release, unbeknownst to the majority of the board, stating the last meeting did not adhere to CB 9’s bylaws and the issues raised then will therefore have to be dealt with again in December.

“I would not have known about it had I not seen it on Twitter,” said one board member.

The chair met with members of the borough president’s office, who confirmed Coccovillo “wrongfully allowed CB 9 bylaws to be bypassed, a fact that needs to be rectified to sustain the confidence and trust of the board as well as the public.”

Esposito maintains his innocence and said the problem lies within his support for District Manager Mary Anne Carey, who Coccovillo attempted to remove from the board in June.

“[Coccovillo] did so without the knowledge of any other members of the board,” Esposito said. “He restlessly continued on his quest to harass and intimidate the staff from the time he became chair until now. What we are doing is protecting these girls who have worked tirelessly through the years.”

Consideration for the removal of Esposito from CB 9 will be addressed again at the December 10 meeting.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Community Board 9 votes to keep member after accusations of anti-Semitic remarks


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

LIAM LA GUERRE AND MAGGIE HAYES

Controversial Community Board 9 member Sam Esposito is here to stay, which sent several other members walking out the door.

A vote to remove Esposito from the board was shot down at the November meeting, 34 to 10.

Rumors of infighting circled the board for months, beginning in June with the potential removal of District Manager Mary Ann Carey.

“I would like the board not to be as divided as it is, and concentrate on the issues,” Carey told The Courier prior to the vote.

But at the November 12 meeting, the main point of issue was Esposito.

Multiple board members alleged Esposito made anti-Semitic remarks following a lunch meeting, in which said members felt their food was not “glatt kosher,” a higher standard than average.

Esposito shot back at Wallace Bock, Jan Fenster and Evelyn Baron. Bock responded, and wrote a letter to have Esposito, who has been on the board for decades, removed.

However, Esposito claims he was being targeted for his longtime support of Carey.

“I am in no way prejudiced against anybody,” he said. “All they are trying to do is get back at me for sticking up for Mary Ann Carey. This has nothing to do with the board.”

At November’s meeting, as the vote for removal approached, Esposito and Chair James Coccovillo screamed back and forth across the room.

“This is personal, Jim. This is about Mary Ann,” Esposito said, standing from his seat.

Coccovillo said he was adhering to “a demand” for Esposito’s termination.

“Do you want to sit down? There’s a little sign of aggression when you stand up,” he said. “There’s no reason for yelling out.”

After the votes were counted and Esposito was off the chopping block, he turned to his neighbors and said, “of course we won.”

Wallace Bock then stood up and addressed Coccovillo.

“I cannot in good conscious consider to sit on a board that condones the behavior of Sam Esposito. I resign,” he said.

Fenster and Baron followed him out the door, but offered no comment on their own resignation.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES