Jul 28, 2014

'Secret' Emails Author Considers Legal Action

School board member Anthony Mancuso said Robert Crawford's activities regarding his 'private' communications invaded his privacy.

'Secret' Emails Author Considers Legal Action

The author of the so-called "secret" emails sought by citizen-activist Robert Crawford says he isn't surprised that what he calls "private" communications were deemed by the school district not to be government documents. School board member Anthony Mancuso, concluding that his personal privacy was invaded, said he is talking with an attorney and considering taking legal action.

"The whole thing raises questions for me," Mancuso told Patch. "These documents were found to be un-OPRA-able. Mr. Crawford clearly has seen them. How did he obtain them?"

In September, Crawford made an Open Public Records Act request to the school district inquiring about a number of emails that came from Mancuso's personal email address.

Crawford, a former Board of Education member, and sitting member Michael Strumolo alleged that the emails may have been online meetings featuring board members discussing closed-session business.

Mancuso denied this, saying the emails were private, did not involve a quorum and had nothing to do with conducting school board business.

"But I know he's been talking with people about them and parading them around," said Mancuso. "This was done before the documents were even OPRAed. That's defaming my character, and with malice.

"Clearly, he is trying to intimidate me."

There has long been antipathy between Mancuso and the duo of Crawford and Strumolo over their disagreements regarding the handling of Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz's still-disputed contract.

Nothing has been filed with Superior Court yet, but Mancuso said he is giving the matter of taking legal steps against Crawford serious consideration.

"This clearly was a personal attack against me," he said. "There has to be accountability."

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