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Former Condors Head Coach Files Lawsuit Against Club, Founder And President

Lawsuit alleges improper termination, defamation of character, inadequate compensation

 

Former Head Coach of the Condors Swim Club of Clarkstown Donald Wagner filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in White Plains against the Condors, founder Robert Carlucci and current president Joseph Patrick (JP) Carlucci.  Wagner’s lawsuit filed on April 16 states it was filed in connection with “Defendants’ failure to properly compensate Plaintiff, termination of his employment with Condors Swim Club and defamatory statements made about Plaintiff following the termination of his employment.”

Wagner, a New City resident, was employed as head coach for the Condors from July 15, 2008 through April 13, 2012.  Robert Carlucci started the Condors and according to the lawsuit, served as president until the summer of 2008 when his son, James Patrick (JP), who also serves as a coach, took over as president. 

Robert Carlucci said he had no comment on the lawsuit since it was pending.

As head coach, Wagner was responsible for coaching and training swimmers. The Condors is a not for profit organization located at 115 North Main Street in New City. 

“He was terminated and he believes he was terminated in violation of the agreement,” said Wagner’s Attorney Donald Sapir, Sapir & Frumkin LLP of White Plains.

Wagner’s lawsuit claims a four-year agreement signed on August 1, 2008 provided a competitive bonus for reaching benchmarks such as swimmers qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials, USA Swimming Long Course Senior Nationals and Senior Metropolitan Championship. Wagner claims he met goals in 2011 and 2012 but did not receive any bonus payments.

The complaint also states Wagner “was misclassified as an exempt employee and deprived of overtime wages during his employment with the as head coach.”  It claims he “regularly worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.” Additionally, Wagner claims $1,000 was unlawfully deducted from his regular wages without his authorization.

According to the document, Wagner went to the Condors’ office on Sunday, April 8 to retrieve his emails and computer files he maintained in an office used by him, other coaches and club employees.  The following day, he complained to the Carluccis about their failure to pay him overtime, misclassification of him as an exempt employee and other grievances.  On Friday, April 13, Wagner was notified his employment was being terminated because on April 8 he had copied certain computer files belonging to the Condors and personal and business files that were Bob Carlucci’s personal property and removed them from the office.  Wagner denies he did anything in violation of the agreement.

Wagner’s complaint also alleges Bob Carlucci, who is a member of the Clarkstown Board of Education, defamed him by telling the Clarkstown School District superintendent and at least one other school board member that the coach had copied confidential and attorney-client privileged documents and breached the district’s security.  

Wagner’s attorney, Donald Sapir, said his client tried to work out an agreement with the Condors but was unable to and decided to pursue it legally. 

Wagner is seeking compensation for unpaid hours in excess of 40 hours weekly at one and one half times his regular rate of pay, the unpaid bonuses and other costs and damages. It also claims he began working for the Condors on July 15, 2008 and was not paid for the period of July 15 through July 31, 2008. The lawsuit does not specify an amount of money requested.

Additionally, Wagner wants to have a restrictive covenant declared unenforceable. The covenant prevents him from coaching swimming for two years within a 50-mile radius of the Condors’ office.  That area includes Rockland, Orange, Bronx, Queens, New York, Brooklyn, Nassau, Putnam and Westchester counties and Bergen County, NJ.

“We are alleging that it is an unenforceable restrictive covenant,” said Sapir.

Sapir anticipates an answer to the lawsuit will be forthcoming within the next 30 days. He said the loss of Wagner as their coach will be disruptive for the swimmers particularly those who are going to compete in the Olympic trials within the next 60 days.

Previously, Wagner coached the Mt. Lebanon, PA high school swim team and at the Mt. Lebanon Aqua Club from 2003 to 2008. Prior to that he was the head coach of the University of Alabama’s men’s and women’s swim teams from 1999 to 2003 and head coach of the Texas A&M women’s swim team from 1995 to 1999.

Boardwatcher April 25, 2012 at 04:04 PM
IF Mr. Wagner did indeed download Mr. Carlucci's personal and business files, then that in and of itself may be grounds for termination. IF Mr. Wagner downloaded files that contained schoolboard business and emails then I hope Mr. Carlucci did in fact contact the Superintendent and Legal Counsel immediately to make sure the matter was handled in full accordance of the Law and to protect the CCSD's interests. IF the information downloaded was copied, shared and disseminated by Mr. Wagner then we must wonder who is attempting to defame who here? At first blush I would appear Mr. Carlucci is the victim of a disgruntled employee.... Not uncommon, just sad.
Joanie Taylor April 25, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I wish all the posters would get one things straight, there is no law, rule or regulation that says you can't own or run a business that rents space from the district. THAT IS RENT SPACE FROM THE DISTRICT. The condors had been doing it for YEARS before Carlucci ran for the Board and NOTHING has changed since. The same people who cried about the Condors having pool time are not crying that its Carlucci the Board member, something must be inappropriate or it is now a conflict of interest. Get informed, the contracts are handled through the Buildings & Grounds and Business Office like they have always been. There is not CONFLICT OF INTEREST, there is nothing being done wrong, get over it already!!! By virtue of having a kid in the district, no parent should run, its a conflict of interest. If you live in the district, you can't run, conflict of interest, you want low taxes. Stop already!
Angelo Ciavarella April 25, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Without targeting anyone in particular,I find this overall commentary inappropriate. This involves a legal matter, and no one commenting has suggested what their involvement or actual knowledge of the matters involved (but the hidden agendas are not so hidden).The parties' histories, the alleged conflicts of interests, the facts re the lawsuit, etc., are matters that are either irrelevant or not known with certainty.Each of us may have a view, but I can state with absolute certainty (being a Condors parent that, like many, has spoken with both sides) that there is a dispute re the facts.It is easy to write whatever supports the intended message of the comment.Moreover, ANY legal conclusions here are,at best,comical and at worst, ignorant, misleading and potentially destructive absent legal authority supporting such conclusion. This matter has a significant impact on many people (most importantly, the kids), not just those involved in the lawsuit.It will work its way through the legal process, and those impacted will act accordingly.Those involved, directly or incirectly, are (and will) have to make personal decisions, and the right decision for each person(s) may differ depending upon their circumstances. Accusations, speculations, and reckless conclusions with no basis only serves to polarizes an already tense situation. I find it quite disturbing that some adults are as capable as acting childish as their kids. Angelo Ciavarella
ADK April 25, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Joanie, Rhea et al...Bob Carlucci signed an agreement to divest himself from any decision making role at the Condors as a condition of his being on the school board. This is not debatable. I dont care at all that a disgruntled employee sued the Condors; my only concern is that Bob Carlucci live up to his signed agreement. Joanie, whether you, me or the man in the moon thought it was necessary, the District and Bob obviously did. This is very simple really...all Bob needs to do is to reaffirm that he has upheld his end of the agreement.
SportsFan April 25, 2012 at 08:01 PM
After yesterdays court hearing there is not longer a question of "IF" Mr. Wagner downloaded privated files. The judge was so convinced that he did it he ordered Mr. Wagner to turn in his personal computer for analysis. As I stated there is no IF. Really, the only question is "WHY," WHY would anyone hire him in this area and WHY would anyone allow their children to swim for this man? Where is Mr. Wagner's integrity?
Jonathan Swift April 25, 2012 at 08:19 PM
ADK, you never answered my question: ADK, you state "documents and emails." What emails? The only reference to emails in the article is the plaintiff going to retrieve his emails...there is no mention of district emails. Where do you infer this from? You appear to have more knowledge on this matter than the rest of us. Why is that? So again, what "emails"?
Angelo Ciavarella April 25, 2012 at 09:07 PM
That is NOT what came out of yesterday's hearing. For those who want to know what actually came from that hearing, I suggest you obtain a court transcript, and not rely upon unsubstantiated statements posted on a website for which there is absolutely NO accountability.
Joanie Taylor April 25, 2012 at 09:36 PM
ADK, Bob has to reaffirm to who, you? You seem to be sooooo on top of all information and able to whip it out in an instant when it has to do with the three board members, super and admin. Alan, read the post from Sportsfan at 4:42, now what do you have to say? I am waiting for your post on Mr. Wagner.... And I am waiting for your apology to Bob. You also word your questions so it appears that something is amiss.
Joanie Taylor April 25, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Angelo, the points being discussed here are not inappropriate since they are public figures. You are involved as a swim parent and I can understand your concerns, but many posting are in response to Bob being a school board member. I don't think the agendas were hidden by anyone. ADK supports the Board majority, I don't. I think what you are seeing is a response to ADK's comments trying to call Bob out on a conflict of interest. ADK has become Lorette Adams, knows all, even before those involved know about it.
Joanie Taylor April 25, 2012 at 09:46 PM
That is too bad for Mr. Wagner. Don't attack the man, ask yourself what would push you to that point, IF indeed he did do it. Just because the Judge asked for his computer with compelling reason for doing so, don't be so bold as to convict him. I agree with Angela above to a point in that there has been damage to two good swim programs, which will have an effect on a lot of kids.
Joanie Taylor April 25, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Okay, now you can apologize to Mr. Carlucci. He was the victim here if you read the post below by SportsFan. You a friend of ADK? So ready to attack.
Joanie Taylor April 25, 2012 at 09:55 PM
PATCH - would you please do a followup story on this article about what SportsFan is reporting?
Angelo Ciavarella April 25, 2012 at 11:14 PM
I would dispute that Bob Carlucci and Don Wagner are public figures, but that's not really my point. My point is that accusations and speculations are being made regarding facts not yet resolved. I am trying to be as objective as possible in my posts, not expressing an opinion as to who is "right" and who is "wrong". Believe me, I have an opinion (based on the facts as I currently understand them); however, since certain facts are in dispute, I prefer to keep my opinion to myself until the ambiguiy regarding those facts are resolved (and if the facts turn out to be different than what I believe them to be, then my opinion may change). I have no problem with respectful debate, even where the facts are in dispute, but in certain comments here (not all), there doesn't seem to be any regard whatsoever for the facts. To me, openly question the integrity of either party that is the subject of the lawsuit without pointing out alternative scenarios that may very well exist is misleading and potentially damaging. Since this matter seriously impacts children, I would hope that anyone commenting here (or elsewhere) do so responsibly (and for whatever its worth, my personal focus here is more about the parties to the lawsuit than conflicts of interest that may or may not exist with respect to the Board).
Angelo Ciavarella April 25, 2012 at 11:19 PM
I would also suggest that anyone interested in this lawsuit obtain a file of the filed complaint, which will shed light on the allegations of one side, and the answer to that complaint (I'm not sure if the latter has yet to be filed), which will do the same for the other.
Sigmund Freud April 25, 2012 at 11:19 PM
I have been reading ADK's posts and it does seem that he has a lot of information that we don't. I also notice that he was the very first to post under this article. I know he is a former board member but his interest in the current board is very, very troubling. He writes as if he IS on the present board! One thing is for sure: Wendy Adolff is truly independent and will NEVER be controlled by anyone other than herself! Please vote for Wendy Adolff on May 15th and let's put our CHILDREN first! http://wendyadolff.weebly.com/
JC April 25, 2012 at 11:53 PM
...maybe because he's a great coach and an even better human being. Obviously you don't know him.
Robin Traum (Editor) April 26, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Joanie The judge in the case did order an examination of the computer which had been used by Don Wagner and others associated with the Condors. There will be a follow-up story on the lawsuit and other developments.
ADK April 26, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Joanie, why the hostility? I didn't accuse anyone of anything. I asked a very simple question based upon the facts. Bob did in fact disclose to the Superintendent that the District's security may have been compromised. The lawsuit alleges that Bob is still active in and a decision maker for the Condors. Bob agreed to divest himself from such activity after his election. In light of the allegations, why is it wrong to ask him his status with the Condors?
Jonathan Swift April 26, 2012 at 05:05 PM
ADK, you have yet to answer my question: 1)what EMAILS do you mean: "I'm confused why there would be District documents and emails on a Condor computer." Your sarcastic questions/comments & obsessive interest pertaining to Bob Carlucci & the Condors (this goes way back before this article) appear to be calculated & politically motivated as we approach May 15th. I believe it is your intent to cause harm to Bob's character/reputation and you are quite sly as you dance around out here without quite going so far as accusing him of wrongdoing. However, I think you have crossed that line into defamation of character and I have provided copies of all your blog posts about Bob to a member of his immediate family to give to him personally. I believe you are a hypocrite and here is why: you will defend each of the "majority" board members no matter what laws/policies they violate while trashing good people in the process. Do you think that garners you any support? What did you do for the kids while on the board, ADK? Bob started the Clarkstown Sports Foundation & also the Clarkstown Arts Foundation in CCSD > and you? Do you see anyone else out here besides yourself defending the "majority"? IS this really all about you being a little nervous that this board is about to slip out of the control of various entities off the board?
Jonathan Swift April 26, 2012 at 05:06 PM
You are so fascinated with Bob & the Condors, what about Doug Katz hiring his client Kevin Doherty? He never completed a disclosure, did he? 2)Don't you think he should have considering there was $40,000.00 paid out of YOUR tax $? Lastly, you're a former board member. Please, 3)who should we be voting for? You have such strong opinions so surely you know who to recommend to the less informed who lack your level of Ivy League intelligence. I've proposed 3 simple questions. I would appreciate a reply. And for all reading this, Bob Carlucci is a class act unlike some others on this blog who have nothing better to do with their time than attempt to harm honest & dedicated people who ALWAYS put the CHILDREN first.
ADK April 26, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Good afternoon Ides, In response to your statements: --Given your obvious disdain for me, why in the world would you care who I support for the upcoming election? Unlike others who have used this blog as free advertising for candidates, I have no such inclination. However, Im more than happy to discuss this with you in person or by phone. I eagerly await your call. --You clearly "know" more about Doug Katz's clients than I do...I wouldnt know who his clients were...and given the litigious nature of the "minority" how come they havent brought THAT subject up to the commissioner? --I have no fascination with Bob..Im sure he's a lovely guy...as a public figure he is under significantly more scrutiny than the average citizen...my question, although clearly distasteful to you, is a valid one.
Jonathan Swift April 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Patch readers: Alan Katz stated this on 4/24/12 right here: "I'm confused why there would be District documents and emails on a Condor computer." This is currently in a new article online right now at another news source: "This month, the Clarkstown school board voted to authorize the district’s legal counsel to act after Carlucci’s emails were compromised." This is the FIRST mention in public of any "legal counsel" looking into "Carlucci's emails." I have been asking Alan for a few days what "emails" because the article above makes no mention of Bob Carlucci's emails. What does this tell us? I think it is safe to assume some type of board vote occurred in executive session and Alan was aware of it. I suggest an article be done on Alan's continued inside knowledge of day to day board operations. It is frightening that a former board member has so much knowledge. Which board member(s) are sharing this with him? I, as a taxpayer, would like to know. There are other documented cases of Alan knowing issues before the rest of us. This isn't the first time.
ADK April 27, 2012 at 02:08 PM
So let me get this straight...yesterday you accused me of defamation of character for spreading lies...today I am guilty of inside knowledge because I was shown to be correct... Wow, ides, I do have to give you credit for flexibility in changing direction if nothing else... Im sure you realize that the lawsuit, which contains everything that I discussed, is a matter of public record, right? But let's get back to the issue at hand: I dont care AT ALL if the lawsuit against Bob and the Condors has merit or not. I only care if Bob Carlucci breached his signed agreement to divest himself from any decision making with the Condors. It would appear from both the article and the lawsuit that he is still very much involved. As a taxpayer, I'm sure you would like to know from Bob what the truth is. He has a responsibility to tell us.
Phil Leiter April 28, 2012 at 04:29 AM
ADK, I don't understand how you've developed this theory that Mr. Carlucci has breached his divestiture agreement. He believed his computer was compromised by an employee of the Condors and then reported it to the District. This seems quite prudent in my book. So, this suspected compromiser launches a lawsuit against both the Condors and Mr. Carlucci. Whatever the accusations against the Condors, he only accuses Mr. Carlucci of defamation in reporting his suspicions to the District. That's all there is. It appears to be only you, not the lawsuit, that accuses Mr. Carlucci of breaching his agreement. He has been quoted in two articles now saying that he is not involved in the Condors operations, and that the defamation charge is not only baseless but that he can prove his suspicions. I would think that should be satisfactory.
Rhea Vogel April 28, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Alan Katz, or ADK as he is known on the Patch Comments, was the first person to comment on this article. You are just too eager to jump in with speculations and accusations. WHY? You have the temerity to state “…it sure seems that Mr. Carlucci is still actively involved in the operations of the Condors.” The article only states that Wagner is claiming he defamed him because he told 2 people that Wagner “had copied confidential and attorney-client privileged documents and breached the district’s security.” The Condors have a relationship with the district. Certainly documents are exchanged between the Condors and the District. You don’t know the nature of the files Wagner is alleged to have copied. Carlucci did the prudent thing when he notified the District of his suspicions. You do not have a “dog in this fight.” Why are you so interested in this lawsuit?
Jonathan Swift April 29, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I know, ADK, it's a matter of public record. Always a matter of public record when you do this. However, as soon as the original article went live on 4/24 you posted immediately (I believe within an hour or two). As I keep saying you mentioned at that time "documents and emails" (see first post above) and emails were NOT part of that article. This means you were extremely familiar with the lawsuit or you saw the article and ran to get yourself a copy at the courthouse/townhall or wherever it is filed. Since you posted at 9:59am I am going to assume you didn't run out and get a copy but that you were extremely familiar with the very intimate details of this case PRIOR to the original article going live.
Ernesto Martinez July 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Patch, where's the follow-up?
ADK September 10, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Couldnt really tell you, other than it seems odd to me that one group has a virtual monopoly on pool time and another group can't get much...ironic that the group. I power was founded by a school board member and the current deal signed by the former super who was an ally of the board member....please feel free to share this with your attorney.
Jonathan Swift September 10, 2012 at 06:04 PM
So, Alan, you support the NY Sharks and their endeavor to secure more pool time at Felix Festa, is that what you are indicating? I really don't care about your animosity towards Dr. Keller-Cogan or Bob Carlucci. That's old news. Let's stay with the main issue which is pool time for the Sharks. Thanks.
Jonathan Swift September 10, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Alan, you are quite simply...wrong. In Dr. Serra's own presentation he stated that "the original and existing pool agreement that was approved July 2nd 2012, was written in the Spring of 2005 by former Superintendent Dr. William Heebink." Dr. Keller-Cogan came on board in 2006. Board member Bob Carlucci was elected in 2010. What exactly did Dr. Keller-Cogan do for the Condors from 2010-2012, when Bob Carlucci was on the board and she was superintendent? Please be specific. You are making wild accusations that I certainly HAVE already shared with the Condors attorney. So again I ask you, do you support the NY Sharks and their endeavor to secure more pool time at Felix Festa? It's a simple yes or no answer and please spare me the animosity. Thanks.

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