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Mar 22, 2016 2:42 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton School District Superintendent Under Investigation

Southampton School District Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting. ALYSSA MELILLO
Mar 22, 2016 4:46 PM

The Southampton Board of Education has hired an outside attorney to investigate allegations made against Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Farina—though board members have refused to specify what charges have been leveled against the district’s top administrator.

The superintendent, meanwhile, has denied an allegation that he is the subject of an explicit photograph that has been circulating among district employees—a story ignited by a New York Post article published last week.

In a statement emailed to district residents, and posted on the district website last Thursday, March 17, Board of Education President Heather McCallion said the board adopted a resolution on February 11 to hire an outside counsel to “examine allegations that were brought to our attention” regarding Dr. Farina. The board expects the process to be completed in a few weeks.

According to the minutes of that executive session held last month, the district hired the Garden City-based firm Jaspan Schlesinger LLP “to provide attorney services for the district as presented.” The firm, according to its contract with the district, will be compensated at an hourly rate at $235 for attorneys, and $135 for paralegals and law clerks.

Ms. McCallion said the board was “legally prohibited from sharing specific information about this process based on the right to privacy to which [Dr. Farina] is entitled.

“We also believe that it is important to exercise common respect and decency whenever a protocol like this must be utilized,” she continued. “It would be irresponsible for the district to speculate and/or respond to rumors circulating within the community about this matter.”

Early Friday morning The Post published a story on its website detailing some of the supposed allegations made against Dr. Farina. The allegations, according to the newspaper’s anonymous sources, included financial misconduct and favoritism, along with “an X-rated selfie … leaked by a betrayed girlfriend” that is “making the rounds on campus.”

Brian Butry, a spokesperson for the state comptroller’s office, confirmed that auditors have been paying visits to the district since February 29, although he declined to specify whether the audit was routine or requested by individuals inside or outside of the district.

Ms. McCallion, after The Post article was published, declined to comment any further about the investigation, referring all questions to Syntax Communication Group, a public relations company in Bohemia that works for the district. Deirdre Gilligan, Syntax’s vice president, said the school district “isn’t going to be putting up any further comment” following Ms. McCallion’s statement that the district released last week.

Ms. Gilligan added, though, that Dr. Farina’s status as superintendent remained the same. He was not at work on Friday or Monday, but returned on Tuesday.

Dr. Farina has been employed by the Southampton School District since 2013. His contract originally expired June 30 of this year, but the Board of Education extended it until 2020, according to a resolution from March 2015. He now earns an annual salary of $218,763, plus about $5,000 in benefits, according to the 2015-16 district budget.

On Friday, Dr. Farina, via his attorney, Steve Politi of the Central Islip-based Steven Politi Law Office, denied all allegations that have been made regarding the basis of the investigation—especially the claim that there was an explicit photo of him, specifically, circulating around the district.

“Dr. Farina and I find this situation, started by a series of false allegations, very concerning,” Mr. Politi said in a statement Friday afternoon. “We are also displeased that certain press agencies and social media outlets would print a story based on rumors and unsubstantiated claims by an ex-girlfriend. We have denied all rumors and allegations in the past and will once again deny that any of the allegations have any truth to them whatsoever.”

Mr. Politi went on to “vehemently deny” the claim that there was an actual explicit photo of Dr. Farina circulating among district staff members. “It is quite unfortunate that individuals possess the power to put forth false allegations and that any forum exists to report them prior to a thorough investigation,” the attorney wrote.

The Press has obtained a copy of the alleged digital photo that has circulated in the district: It is explicit, but does not show anything that distinctly identifies who is in the photograph, as the individual’s face is not visible. Ms. McCallion has declined to say whether that photo is part of the district’s investigation.

In a phone interview on Friday afternoon, Mr. Politi said there was no proof that Dr. Farina was the individual in the photo, which The Post described as being leaked by an ex-girlfriend. “Just because she passed it along to someone else, that doesn’t mean it’s true,” the attorney said. “It’s an ex-girlfriend—we’ve all had ex relationships. This is what goes on, and this is what she’s doing. It’s just she-said. She said this because she wants my client to be with her. But the relationship ran its course.”

He agreed with the school district’s decision to not comment on the allegations that ignited the investigation. “We are in the middle of an investigation that the district very properly convened,” Mr. Politi said. “Before there’s going to be any comment on it, they want to hear from all sides. Our contention is that these are all fabrications by an ex-girlfriend.

“It’s not the worst thing in the world,” he added. “He’s maintaining his focus on the students and the district. He’s going to come through just fine.”

In her statement, Ms. McCallion noted that the School Board does not have “any preliminary findings” or information about the ongoing investigation, but will find out when it is completed and share the results with the community “within our legal right.”

“We hope to move through this issue as quickly as possible, and we appreciate our community’s patience and support,” she concluded.

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So sick of these highly paid bandits robbing the taxpayers blind and they can't even stay out of the news.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Mar 17, 16 7:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
...Grubers, all
By loading... (601), quiogue on Mar 26, 16 8:50 AM
He made $234,057in 2015 and god knows what other benefits, like car and phone allowances he gets. Superintendents for teeny school districts on LI? Robbery.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Mar 17, 16 7:18 PM
does anyone know what this guy "allegedly" did ? thanks
By wmdwjr (76), east hampton on Mar 17, 16 7:31 PM
Where the hell do we get our employees to teach our students? We just keep paying, and paying.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 17, 16 7:43 PM
Let's be clear-none of the scandals have involved the people in the trenches teaching our students...they have all been their supervisors. Yes, these individuals are educators in one respect, but the actual "employees to teach our students" are NOT the ones continually screwing up and getting caught!
By S'hamptonNative (84), Southampton on Mar 17, 16 9:38 PM
2 members liked this comment
Not to get political- but this is why Trump is gaining so much momentum. Enough the "business as usual" or "status quo". The people in charge have been screwing in up for to long. Anything is better then what we currently have. The PC crowd has had there chance
By realistic (472), westhampton on Mar 17, 16 8:05 PM
Trump University should take over the district. You are right. That's what we need.
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Mar 18, 16 7:00 AM
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 17, 16 9:13 PM
Somehow I don't think he was taking money under the table for changing the Columbus Day holiday name...
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Mar 17, 16 9:44 PM
Wait, Isn't this the guy that wants to spend $8.7 M of OUR money to buy a building from Tim Maran??? WTF.

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 17, 16 9:57 PM
Southampton has it easy! The Sag Harbor superintendent wants over $10 Million to buy and renovate the old catholic school. What does she want it for? She's not sure...
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Mar 18, 16 12:39 AM
Have you visited the District office Draggerman? This conglomeration of buildings were of the temporary sort put here 40 years ago. I know that because I worked here one summer when I was 16. I have the misfortune of working in this building now too, the floors are rotting, the heating and cooling systems are on a fix or repair daily schedule, none of the bathrooms are vented properly so make sure you bring a gas mask when you come to see the deplorable conditions here. If you were around 10 years ...more
By localyokel (16), Southampton on Mar 24, 16 2:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
The trailers lasted 40+ years. How about nice, new trailers instead of the School District becoming commercial landlords and incurring additional maintenance expenses using money that could be used on its intended recipients. OUR CHILDREN.

I find it appalling that we have 8.5 MILLION in a bank account while the shop program was cut.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 25, 16 3:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Every man is entitled to due process. Even though I'm not a big of Farina, he is still entitled to due process.
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Mar 17, 16 10:18 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wait......$235,000?! What a great racket!! Little itsy bitsy district with VERY marginal academic success, and this guy wants to spend $8,000,000 on a new district office?!?! Shame on us all!! And shame on these DAMN unions!! And shame on ANY supporters of the proposed purchase!! I'll be at the next board meeting, FOR DAMN SURE, As most of us have obviously gotten too damn complacent to this racket.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Mar 17, 16 10:51 PM
Farina is not in a union
By S'hamptonNative (84), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 6:44 AM
You can read his contract at seethroughny.net. Go to contracts/schools and look him up by district. He gets a car and a cell phone allowance too. You can also see the generous raises each year. It's horrible how BOE's across LI treat these guys like kings. It certainly is not "All for the Children!"
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Mar 18, 16 6:48 AM
No none of the teachers are ever caught. Just the teacher with the heroin problem a couple years ago.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 17, 16 11:46 PM
The school board is a volunteer, elected position. At any time good people could step forward and be part of the solution.
By SqueakyWheel (28), Flanders, New York on Mar 17, 16 11:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
Two BOE seats open. Please, would someone with some leadership and conservative common sense run. Paperwork due Monday, April 18. Thx
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 18, 16 12:40 AM
You always have something to say that you seem to think is common sense. Why don't you do it?
By S'hamptonNative (84), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 6:45 AM
The Page Six paper has an interesting take on this case.
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 7:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
Too much putrid dirty laundry for the Peyton Place Press to air in public maybe?

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle !!!
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Mar 18, 16 8:57 AM
An angry ex-girlfriend says he pulled a Carlo Danger. Another Superintendent bites the dust.
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 9:34 AM
2 members liked this comment
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 9:35 AM
He could have a career in commercial real estate after he and the board agree on the mutual separation as they usually do in these cases. Hopefully the parents of today's kids just entering school restore some sanity and teach their kids of the dangers of exposing everything and anything just to get a Like or a re-Tweet. In the past, people took Polaroids and they ended up in a shredder or burned after a break-up rather than texted all over the place. Privacy is one of the most sacred rights we ...more
By watermill_mike (35), Sag Harbor on Mar 18, 16 9:42 AM
Tuckahoe, Eastport-South Manor and now possibly Southampton? Time to revamp the system...
Need well educated, common sense minded and community involved applicants for School Boards. Back ground checks on board applicants should be done, but are against policy because the position is volunteer. Anyone responsible for these multi-million budgets should be vetted.
By GoodGounder119 (3), Hampton Bays on Mar 18, 16 10:45 AM
I do think it is a good lesson to kids that selfies and other internet disclosures might be more serious than they believe. As for the district, it's bloated with money and there seems no way to discard the useless excesses that are inherent in the system. Time to stop spending so much money and stop giving each other awards and get down to studying.
By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 12:12 PM
What is he, like 15 years old? Well, guess we can't say he didn't teach our students anything this week.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 1:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
speaking of the school board what ever happened to the Law suit School board president Heather MacCallion was involved in. Had to do with Fraud i believe -
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 2:07 PM
Never heard any more. Has anyone else?
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 18, 16 2:32 PM
I think the school should look into that more.
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 2:44 PM
Who investigates who? It's like the song "Harper Valley PTA" with a Southampton twist.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 18, 16 3:17 PM
Posted two articles from that era : Southampton Press and NY Post.
Google her name and they will come up. No mention if the lawsuit is pending or resolved.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 18, 16 6:08 PM
What exactly is an 'inappropriate photo' ?

If the photo was shared between two consenting adults then it sounds very appropriate.

The person who leaked the photo is the one making the situation 'inappropriate'...Politi is the victim here. Revenge porn is serious...high schools should be aware of the issue.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 19, 16 1:54 PM
*Farina...not Politi is the victim.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 19, 16 2:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Let's see what the investigation shows.........where there's SMOKE, there is Usually FIRE!
By carsrus (65), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 16 6:20 PM
Just saying.......3 current or former EastEnd Supers in VERY compromising situations out here...........WHATS in the Water ?
By carsrus (65), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 16 6:17 PM
Hopefully the truth will come out. If the ex girlfriend shared a private photo, then she should be ashamed. If she faked it, she should go to jail for libel. If he turns out to be a "Carlos Danger" then he should be immediately let go. Let's hope the investigators can do ther job and find the truth.
By jperrier (53), Springs on Mar 19, 16 11:42 PM
The suit against McCallion and her husband is quite active. It's a public record.
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Mar 20, 16 12:17 AM
The suit against McCallion and her husband is quite active. It's a public record.
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Mar 20, 16 12:17 AM
Is the position of superintendent VITAL? If not , adios
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 20, 16 7:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
What grown man has a slew of bracelets like a 12 YO girl on her first carrribbean vacation?
By Hambone (514), New York on Mar 20, 16 11:12 AM
funny ham lol
By joe hampton (3461), Hamptons on Mar 21, 16 11:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
it can't be easy to sell homes for a living in a school you hate so much.
By BillyWest (13), southampton on Mar 21, 16 6:05 AM
Your nickname isn't new. It's small minded local racist.
By BillyWest (13), southampton on Mar 21, 16 8:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
At least this diversion will save the taxpayers $8,000,000.

But seriously, WTF going on with the School Superintendents on Long Island? Do hey all go to Vegas and have meeting on how to behave poorly?

Just give him his 92k and send him on his way.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 21, 16 7:54 AM
It's probably just a coincidence that marlins, Chiefs sand Hampton seashells started hating the local school districts at about the same time Latin American children began attending them.
By BillyWest (13), southampton on Mar 22, 16 5:35 AM
awesome! a liberal playing the race card, how original
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 22, 16 6:52 AM
1 member liked this comment
No one hates the school. We are sick of the nonsense, salaries, and no leadership at the school.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 22, 16 8:59 PM
For the uninformed, I have volunteered my time at the Tuckahoe School, have taught there, have dear friends that live in the district and wonderful clients that have bought properties and sold properties with my assistance, in the district for 35 years. What I have had issue with, is those that wanted my tax money to run their school. Got that!? Enough of your inappropriate insults and false statements.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 22, 16 11:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
I suppose that was your love of the Tuckahoe District shined through when you referred to it as a "cesspool" in a public Southampton BOE meeting...
By remytwoton (23), southampton on Mar 23, 16 9:54 AM
That's how much you know.
I never said that.
Another woman did.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 23, 16 5:01 PM
Not only, did I not say that, I was not even at the BOE meeting when those words were spoken!
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 23, 16 5:33 PM
Selling unsuspecting clients real estate in school districts that you think are awful is wrong unless you are disclosing all of the problems to your potential buyers. You are not doing that.
By BillyWest (13), southampton on Mar 24, 16 4:27 AM
Hampton Seashell unfortunately these people think the more money you throw at education the better it will get. I think giving 90k to a no show superintendent is a little crazy for a cash strapped district.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 23, 16 9:08 AM
People should choose more wisely on whom they have a relationship with, especially when your in the public eye. I am sure there is more to this story!
By minnie mouse (9), southampton on Mar 23, 16 11:27 AM
There has recently been 3 to 4 top officials of Southampton to Eastport school districts in controversial (or worse) situations. The boards that are supposed to over-see them are complicit in "fudging" the situations, or worse.

Anybody out there start thinking that we may have a bunch of "fruit-cakes" managing our kids & cash?

Accountability is missing.
By sag2harbor (117), sag harbor on Mar 24, 16 12:59 PM
The SH School board has undoubtedly exposed to itself to a massive lawsuit. By releasing information about investigations without revealing the accusations, the accusers or what is suspected they have committed slander and there are indeed damages. That building on Hampton Road is going to seem like peanuts by the time this is over. This was a big, big mistake by the SH School Board.

There is a tremendous amount of precedent to support my declaration.

In case you were wondering ...more
By BillyWest (13), southampton on Mar 25, 16 11:30 AM
300/310 Hampton Road proposed purchase~ Proposition #3- Vote NO!
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Apr 30, 16 12:35 PM