Former Lew-Port School Board Member Sues Union President Over False Police Report
Lilly vs. Jaruszewski Arguments Set for April
Former Lewiston-Porter Board of Education member Ed Lilly's defamation lawsuit against Lew-Port teacher and union president Kevin Jaruszewski was scheduled to be argued Wednesday in State Supreme Court before Judge Ralph Boniello, but it was postponed to sometime in April due to concerns of weather.
On Wednesday, Jaruszewski's lawyer, Harold Eisentstein, of Albany, was set to ask the court to dismiss the defamation case.
Lilly, who is suing Jaruszewski, claims his 1st Amendment rights were violated when Jaruszewski filed a false police report against him and tried to have him arrested in the Town of Lewiston. Police declined to arrest Lilly.
In the police report, Jaruszewski accuses Lilly of harassing him and his girlfriend, Jill Chmiel, by putting copies of the underground newspaper, The Vanguard, in her mailbox.
At the time, Jaruszewski lived with Chmiel, who also teaches at Lew-Port.
Lilly refutes Jaruszewski's accusations.
Jaruszewski might have plenty of reason to be upset by the publication appearing at his girlfriend's doorstep. But whether that constitutes harassment is the focus of the lawsuit.
In the September, 2009, issue of The Vanguard, Jaruszewski was named as a ringleader of Lew-Port's so-called "Middle School Mafia" (Lew-Port: Sex, Drugs and Politics).
In May, 2010, Jaruszewski was featured on the cover of The Vanguard, and in a story scrutinizing Lew-Port United Teachers Union's $3.5 million health trust "slush fund" ("Show Me the Money").
Jaruszewski, using his school email (email@example.com), has often challenged The Vanguard's editor, Gavin Moriarty.
For more than a year, emails were exchanged between Jaruszewski and Moriarty, and Jaruszewski and Vanguard publisher, Lenny Palumbo, a former school board member.
Some of the emails to Palumbo, confirmed by the Reporter as having been sent from the LPUT official email address, and apparently written by Jaruszewski, read as follows:
April 29, 2011: "You are a f---ing dead man walking."
January 12, 2012: "Your (sic) gonna f---ing die...very f---ing slowly."
January 28, 2012, "Ever have a loaded gun pointed at your head????....... YOU'RE ABOUT TO... I am done playing with you... It is time... It is time...you won't know when and you won't know who...goodbye."
New York State Police conducted an investigation into these apparent death threats by Jaruszewski, but no arrest was made.
At the time, Jaruszewski was embroiled in a child custody fight with his estranged wife, who was purportedly denying him visitation rights.
According to Palumbo, parents complained that Jaruszewski would openly discuss his child visitation battle with students in his eighth grade class.
Last year, the Niagara Falls Reporter (March 6, 2013) published an article concerning allegations of corruption at Lewiston-Porter. Jaruszewski was one of the people featured.. He had been accused of orchestrating the bullying of a girls' varsity basketball team member, threatening to kill Palumbo, and calling Palumbo a "faggot."
Jaruszewski declined to speak to the Reporter.
The parties, Lilly and Jaruszewski, will square off in April.
If the judge does not dismiss it, this case promises to be an interesting one.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Mar 11, 2014