A Political Execution?

Probe Cites Clubhouse Connections as a Cause of Child's Death

DOI also decided not to ask Brooklyn D.A. Joe Hynes, who's prosecuting only the private contractors for criminally negligent manslaughter in the case, to reexamine Marrone's role. Asked if Gary Marrone should be charged with criminal responsibility, Kuriansky said, "I don't care to make that judgment."

Absent a referral letter on Marrone's possible culpability from Kuriansky, Hynes issued a statement noting simply that "the investigation is concluded." At the time of the indictment of the contractor and its site supervisor, Hynes said that "the ineptitude of SCA employees" at the school did not rise "to the level of criminal conduct," adding that "it came pretty damn close" and "better not happen again." But Assemblyman Sanders told the Voice he was "reaching out to Hynes" to ask him "to widen the scope of the investigation."

As damning as the bare-bones chronology of the report is, the failure to state hard-nosed sound-bite conclusions about Atanasio or either of the Marrones, as well as the unwillingness to make referrals, may turn it into a dead letter. Kuriansky acknowledged at the press conference that changes were made in the report after it was sent to the mayor, who asked DOI to probe the incident shortly after it occurred. Everyone involved insists that Giuliani did not "sanitize" the report, but its delayed release could not have appeared at a worse time in the news cycle.

Coincidentally, Giuliani, who has never been endorsed by the Conservatives but convinced them to leave their line blank in the 1997 mayoral race (for the first time in their 36-year history), attended a party fundraiser the night before the report was released. Should Giuliani seek the Moynihan senate seat in 2000, he will need Long's support. No Republican has won statewide office without the Conservative line since Jacob Javits ran as a Republican-Liberal in 1974.

If a Republican other than Giuliani gets the Conservative line that spring, it would compound the problems Rudy might face in a September GOP primary and split the November vote if he won the primary. Long's invitation to Giuliani to attend his first Conservative event last week suggests that either the party boss had no idea how the Marrones and Atanasio would be described in the report, or was satisfied that the timing, muted language, and absence of referrals protected his flank.

Atanasio concedes in the report that he hired Fran Marrone on Long's recommendation. Gary Marrone concedes he got a job at the Javits Convention Center— where he was hired and fired prior to going to the SCA— "with the assistance of Mike Long." Fran Marrone admits that, sometimes with Atanasio's help, she tried to get 20 other people jobs at the SCA, succeeding at least twice. She refused to disclose to investigators who her candidates were, but all three whose names the Voice obtained were connected to Long's tiny party.

That's the heart of this story— a patronage empire encouraged by the Pataki administration and tolerated by Giuliani appointees that eventually contributed to the death of an innocent.

Research: Will Johnson, David Kihara, David Shaftel, and Nicole White

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