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Everett school chief accused again

Panel says he used system's resources

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Erin Ailworth
Globe Staff / March 19, 2008

Everett's school superintendent is once again facing allegations that he used school system supplies and employees to make home improvements.

In a complaint filed Friday, the State Ethics Commission accused Frederick Foresteire of using one school employee to do discounted plumbing work at his home and two other employees to obtain, cut, and deliver $234 worth of plywood for free. The work took place sometime from April to November 2002 and often happened during school hours, the commission alleged.

If it is decided that he violated the state's conflict-of-interest law, Foresteire could be fined up to $2,000 per violation.

In 1992, Foresteire agreed to pay a $250 fine to the Ethics Commission to settle allegations that he arranged for a School Department painter to paint a School Committee member's apartment for free.

In 2004, Foresteire faced criminal charges that he used two school air conditioners in his home. In 2006, a Middlesex Superior Court judge continued the case without a finding while ordering Foresteire to pay $2,090 in court fees and placing him on probation for a year.

Foresteire's lawyer, David Berman, said his client denies the latest allegations, which first were brought up in conjunction with the air conditioner case.

"I don't want to accuse anyone of hounding my client, but I think the facts more or less speak for themselves," Berman said yesterday in a telephone interview.

Berman said the employee who allegedly did the plumbing work, Michael Pomer, and his father had done plumbing for Foresteire and his family for 30 or 40 years. Berman said he did not think Pomer had done the work on school time.

As for the plywood, Berman said he suspects the supplies were ordered by Foresteire's former brother-in-law, Louis Grande, who was a contractor who did work for the school district and mistakenly sent them to the school.

"He probably called and said: 'Hey, that stuff shouldn't be there. Get that over to Mr. Foresteire's house,' " Berman said.

Berman said he would also argue that the statute of limitations of three years had expired.

The accusations against Foresteire drew mixed reactions in the community yesterday.

"To my knowledge, all of that has been cleared up," said School Committee member Richard Baniewicz.

Everett parent Maureen Hart said she remembers the air conditioner hubbub a few years back.

"It was disappointing to think that someone would use their power like that," she said. "I don't doubt that he's a little bit shady."

Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@globe.com.

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