Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I watched a video that Helena R. Edwards published to her blog on Saturday October 6th, 2009 @.
www.crimesinmountvernon.typepad.com. While it is disturbing, I am not surprised that the City of Mount Vernon has not taken any action in resolving this ongoing quality of life problem. While some of these properties have been neglected by homeowners, that is not the case with all of these properties. Some homeowners are actually trying to due the right thing and comply with city codes and ordinances but they are constantly met with bearacracy at the City of Mount Vernon Department of Buildings.

One property in particular should be of concern to the taxpayers in Mount Vernon. 406 South 1st Avenue. In this particular case this property suffered severe damage during a fire and subsequently, the Mount Vernon Department of buildings deemed the structure unsafe and dangerous.

The homeowner, Mozelle Warner, did what any ordinary citizen would do after a total loss. She contacted her insurance company to begin demolition of the property. The insurance company performed their routine inspections, estimates, and analysis of the property. Initial reports indicated that the house contained asbestos. The insurance company reported their findings to Ms. Warner, who then began to seek out a contractor. Ms. Warner did eventually, on her own select a contractor.

The contractor then began to file for necessary permits from the buildings department to begin demolition of this property. Sources that are usually deemed reliable, have reported to us at Mount Vernon Exposed that the permits were filed in February 2009. The contractor, new to the City of Mount Vernon realized very quickly that it is "pay to play" politics in Mount Vernon. He didn't pay, so therefore he could not play.

Four Months have now elapsed since the initial filings of the permits. When the contractor began to inquire about the delay in the permit process, he was told that the there was a delay in the homeowner obtaining the necessary insurance for the project. Here at Mount Vernon Exposed, we have obtained all of the paperwork for this job and everything is in order.

So what is really the delay one must wonder? The new contractor was embarking on new turf and the Building Commissioner and the powers that be were getting upset about this. They had previously carved out territory and only a select few would be able to do business in Mount Vernon.

On or about June 11th, 2009, the property located at 406 South 1st Avenue collapsed. The reason for the collapse is that the property was exposed to the elements and we had severe rain during the months the house was exposed.

Buildings Commissioner Ralph Tedesco instead of calling the contractor of record, instead decided he was going to enrich himself and others and defraud the taxpayers of Mount Vernon. Ralph Tedesco has no respect for the city charter as his activities were clearly illegal.  The City Charter states the following-

§ 113-a. Powers and duties, generally

6. Whenever the estimated expense of work to be performed at the
expense of an owner exceeds $1,000.00, the Commissioner of Buildings shall not
permit said work to be done until authorized by the City Council and the Board of
Estimate and Contract. Bids for the performance of said work shall be advertised
and contracts for same awarded in accordance with the provisions of Article VII of
this chapter.

What originally was going to cost the taxpayers $0.00 was now going to cost the taxpayers a minimum of $49,500. One has to wonder how is this possible? Mr. Tedesco purposely held up this project in the buildings department. He has an extensive history of this behavior, especially with minority contractors, architects, engineers, plumbers, and electricians. In the past, when the homeowners got so frustrated  they eventually dumped their original contractor and eventually went with a buildings department "recommended one". His illegal scheme of steering to his preferred network would not work in this case.

Ms. Warner, had a sharp attorney, and an even sharper contractor that were hip to the games that Ralph Tedesco were playing.  They realized that he had ulterior motives, but they could not quite grasp what was exactly going on.  They could not figure out why Mr. Tedesco was purposely delaying a legitimate contractor from proceeding with the demolition of 406 S. 1st Avenue.  After a little bit of finagling Ralph Tedesco was finally getting his way.  He had apparently found, or at least he thought he found a loophole to move forward with his get rich quick scheme.  Tedesco thought that being the house had collapsed, he could outsource the demolition of this property to a contractor of his choice.  He would then classify the job as " emergency demolition".  

Rossignuolo Contracting would be the recipient of this lucrative no bid demolition contract.  Ralph Tedesco arranged for Rossignuolo Contracting to receive this contract by drafting up 2 phony contracts for higher amounts and then telling Rossignuolo Contracting the results so it would appear that they were the lowest bidder. Rossignuolo listed a business address of 318 E. 3rd Street Mount Vernon, NY.  An Investigation into that address revealed that Mar-Can Bus Transportation Company was occupying that address.  We later found out that Rossignuolo was a New Rochelle based landscaping company.   Both companies that Tedesco drafted up the bids for are non-existent companies with no records on file with the New York State Department of State.  The 1st bid came in at $57,500 ; the 2nd came in at $51,550; and the 3rd bid that was award to Rossignuolo Contracting was $49,500.  None of these bids included the removal of asbestos.

Rossignuolo began to immediately demolish the premises.  Two days into the job, a stop work order was issued by NYS because the asbestos was not properly removed prior to demolition.  It is reported that Rossignuolo was issued a hefty fine in conjunction  with demolishing the property.  

What is the relationship between Rossignuolo Contracting and the City of Mount Vernon?  The relationship is as follows:

  • Owner of Rossignuolo Contracting, Joe Rossignuolo is married to Franca Capuano
  • Franca Capuano is the sister of Michelle Capuano
  • Michelle Capuano is married to Mayor Clinton Young's Deputy Chief of Staff Brian Bochow
  • Michelle and Franca Capuano's father is the owner of Pizza King Restaurant
  • Mayor Clinton Young and Ralph Tedesco  dine at Pizza King quite frequently and usually get complimentary meals.  

Rossignuolo Contracting, Michelle Capuano, and Franca Capuano, Brian Bochow have made substantial campaign contributions to Mayor Clinton Young. Rossignuolo had just made a campaign contribution just three days prior to being awarded this fraudulent contract.  Michelle Capuano also serves as treasurer to Mayor Clinton Young's financial political committees.   Mayor Clinton Young's financial reports can be found at:


  1. 5/2/07- ROSSIGNUOLO CONTRACTING- $600.00
  2. 10/16/06 - BRIAN BOCHOW - $70.00
  3. 09/06/07- BRIAN BOCHOW - $70.00
  4. 05/11/07- BRIAN BOCHOW - $100.00
  5. 7/28/08 - MICHELLE CAPUANO - $100.00
  6. 9/14/07 - JOANNE CAPUANO - $200.00
  7. 9/15/07 - FRANCA CAPUANO -$150.00
  8. 6/8/09 - JOANN CAPUANO - $500.00
  9. 6/8/09- FRANCA CAPUANO -$250.00
  10. 6/8/09-ROSSIGNUOLO CONTRACTING - $250.00

One has to wonder where is the Inspector General in all of this?  I think we now all understand the reason why he wants to seal records. Mayor Young initially told business owners and concerned citizens that Tedesco has 100 days to clean up his act.  100 days turned into 18 months.  Mayor Young then ccame up with a story that he could not get rid of Tedesco because he was under Federal investigation.  Mayor Young wanted to leave Tedesco in place because he was the money man and he did not not want to interrupt the usual flow of business.  

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