BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. People who know two Briarcliff school board members say their physical scuffle, which led to harassment charges, stems from political competition during school election season.
Rosella Ranno, 62, filed a police complaint against fellow board member Salvatore Maglietta, 57, in May, stating that on election night on May 17, Maglietta pushed her shoulder, then walked over to a crowd of friends saying in a loud voice, "She's nasty and angry. I didn't push her."
Ranno said when she started to exit the gym at Todd School, Maglietta and his wife "raced after me screaming, 'You're nasty. You're disgusting.'"
Ranno felt "threatened, vulnerable and extremely worried that he would do something worse."
Ranno filed a police complaint on May 20, and Maglietta was charged with harassment, which is a misdemeanor. A trial date for their case has been set for Jan 6 at 9 a.m. in Briarcliff village court.
Neither Maglietta or Maglietta's lawyer, Andrew Rubin of Mancuso Rubin & Fufidio in White Plains, returned calls for comment. Ranno also did not return calls for comment.
Court papers said that Maglietta had tried to dismiss the harassment misdemeanor on the grounds that there were "no factual allegations" to establish the offense. However, the dismissal was denied by the village court, which found that "the Misdemeanor Information, filed on June 2, 2011, contains sufficient, non-hearsay allegations of fact to establish every element of the offense Harassment in the Second Degree."
Maglietta and Ranno were both elected to the school board in 2010 in a five-way race for two seats, with Maglietta getting a handful more votes than Ranno. The trustees' terms end on June 30, 2013.
In the summer of this year, Rosella was elected vice president of the Briarcliff school board.
Mike Valenti, a Briarcliff parent who ran to be a Board of Education trustee in 2010 and 2011 and lost both times, said the harassment charges against Maglietta are politically motivated.
"Anyone who knows Sal Maglietta would characterize him as a consummate professional and an absolute gentleman," Valenti said. "This allegation is patently false and driven by political undercurrents here in Briarcliff that are despicable and need to cease. Sal's resounding election victory two years ago, followed by a similar resounding victory this year for Jennifer Rosen, has a certain group in Briarcliff concerned that they will lose control of the district in next year's election where two seats will open up and the balance of power will likely shift."
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