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Embezzler's Collapse Delays Sentencing

A former school official is found unconscious in his bedroom hours before facing prison.

September 20, 2006|From Newsday

MINEOLA, N.Y. — The sentencing of two key figures in a school embezzlement case took a bizarre turn Tuesday when former Supt. Frank Tassone was found unconscious in his bedroom hours before he was to be sent to state prison.

Tassone, 59, was found by his sister in his New York apartment, having fallen and hit his head after suffering an apparent heart attack, according to his attorney, Edward Jenks of Mineola.

So as former Assistant Supt. for Business Pamela Gluckin was sentenced to three to nine years, Tassone was being treated at a Manhattan hospital, his sentencing postponed until at least Oct. 4.

"Dr. Tassone has been extremely stressed.... He's a beaten man," Jenks said outside the courtroom. Tassone, who has congestive heart failure, was in stable condition Tuesday afternoon and may need a pacemaker, Jenks said.

In May, Tassone's sentencing was postponed because of his heart condition. At that time, he had an angioplasty, Jenks said.

Tassone's sister, Amelia Bannerman of the Bronx, had stayed at her brother's apartment so she could accompany him to court Tuesday, Jenks said. She was awakened by a thud, found Tassone unconscious on the floor of his bedroom and called 911.

The news about Tassone dismayed the two dozen Roslyn residents, including current and former school board members, in the Mineola courtroom, some of whom arrived as early as 7:30 a.m. to see him and Gluckin taken away in handcuffs.

"We don't believe anything coming from him," parent Amy Goldman said of Tassone. "We're not walking away today with any satisfaction."

In exchange for a reduced sentence of no more than four to 12 years in prison, Tassone pleaded guilty to stealing more than $2 million. He has repaid all but about $200,000, authorities said.

Gluckin, 60, admitted stealing about $4.3 million and has come up with about half that sum.

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