East Ramapo school officials voted to renew a contract with a controversial law firm, according to The Journal News. The school vowed to cut ties to the firm after one of its associates took part in spewing vulgar insults to parent activists.
The Board of Education voted 7-2 to renew the contract of Minerva and D’Agostino for the school year of 2014-15. The only two who voted against the contract were Pierre Germain and Bernard Charles.
The firm, from Long Island, had its contract renewed one day shy of the one-year anniversary of associate attorney Christopher Kirby’s profane rant.
Kirby, who has worked in the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, slung vile words towards activist parents. His most awful comment was said to parent Peggy Hatton. He told her to shut up and used a derogatory term for female genitalia. Close to four minutes of the outburst was videotaped and posted on YouTube by parent activist Antonio Luciano.
When the incident occurred, board president Yehuda Weissmandl said that the trustees were “deeply troubled” and told the public that the board will seek new counsel. No timeline was given and head lawyer at the firm, Albert D’Agostino, said the firm would work with the district during a ‘transition period.’ Kirby was taken off of his district duties.
Weissmandl and Superintendent Joel Klein did not comment on the re-hiring of the law firm.
Ed Day, a Rockland County Executive, called for the resignation of Weissmandl.
“Trust is central to any relationship, and by the actions of Mr. Weissmandl and the East Ramapo School Board, he has set back any opportunity of bridging a divide well beyond repair,” Day said in an email sent to The Journal News. “… He cannot reasonably expect to manage a school district when each and every word he utters going forward will be measured by the word he did not keep.”
Hatton, who has moved with her family to Florida, said, “If Weissmandl was sincere, he would have made good on his promise to find new legal representation a long time ago. I guess it proves his word isn’t worth much.”