Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 35, Ed. 1 Friday, January 13, 2006 Page: 18 of 60
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Continued from Previous Page
Councilman Carlton Christensen said he may
not personally agree with some of the living
arrangements of employees, "but I respect the
employee's desire to care for that person." He
also said he feels "strongly there be some way
more people get insured."
Councilman Soren Simonsen said the plan "is
a reasonable way to provide equal benefits to
everybody." Simonsen said the city could require
its contractors to provide similar benefits to its
Judge rej ects spousal privilege
for partners in school theft case
Privilege doesn't apply when both
partners are accused of being
involved in crime, judge rules
By Frank Eitman Associated Press
MINEOLA, N.Y. —A former school adminis-
trator who has admitted stealing millions from an
affluent Long Island school district will be
required to testify against his longtime gay part-
ner, who is also charged in the theft, a judge has
Nassau County Court Judge Alan L. Honorof
ruled that Roslyn School Superintendent Frank
Tassone's expected testimony against bis partner,
Stephen Signorelli, was exempt from a state law
protecting spouses from testifying against one
"A recognized exception to the long-standing
rule of spousal privilege is when spousal commu-
nications relate to their joint participation in a
criminal venture," Honorof wrote in his decision
dated Jan. 3.
He said that because the couple's conversa-
tions related to a crime in which both were
alleged co-conspirators, "it is therefore not neces-
sary for this court to reach the question of
whether spousal privilege applies to same sex
Tassone, 58, pleaded guilty in September to
one count each of first- and second-degree grand
larceny in a scandal that state Comptroller Alan
Hevesi has called "the largest, most remarkable,
most extraordinary theft" from a school system in
American history. A state audit found that SI 1.2
million had been pilfered from the school district
between 1996 and 2004, although prosecutors
have only been able to link slightly less than f?
million to the current defendants.
The money was allegedly used to pay for
flights aboard the Concorde, for vacations in
England and mortgage payments for homes in
Florida, the Hamptons and Pennsylvania.
Tassone has agreed to cooperate with prosecu-
tors and is expected to repay up to S2 million and
receive a prison sentence of 4 to 12 years. If con-
victed at trial, he could have faced up to 25 years.
His sentencing had been scheduled for
Wednesday, but was postponed until Feb. 28.
Three others have pleaded guilty in the case.
Signorelli and another defendant are fighting the
Signorelli, 60, is charged with helping Tassone
steal at least $219,000 by submitting phony and
padded invoices for printing school handbooks.
His attorney argued he was entitled to protec-
tion under the marital privilege law because he
and Tassone are registered domestic partners in
New York City and had a commitment ceremony
during a Caribbean cruise.
"Regrettably, the judge determined the issue
without reaching what we considered to be a
groundbreaking legal precedent," attorney
Kenneth Weinstein said.
He said despite the criminal charges against
them, both men still share an apartment on the
Upper East Side of Manhattan.
"Their relationship has not changed, it has
never changed, it is what it always was,"
Weinstein said. "For over 33 years they consid-
ered themselves to be a married couple. And they
still do today."
Continued from Page 1
er's presumed change in posture. But Ford con-
tended that it had made no such promises to the
social conservative group.
In the letter to Ford, released by the Tupelo,
Miss.-based American Family Association on
Wednesday, the group's president, Donald
Wildmon, claimed that unnamed representatives
of Ford made verbal commitments to the organi-
zation. According to a statement released by the
American Family Association, the agreements
• an end to Ford's cash and vehicle donations
to gay Pride parades.
• an end to promotions that give cash donations
to gay organizations based on the purchase of a
• a promise to avoid making corporate dona-
tions to gay organizations that routinely engage
in political or social campaigns to promote civil
unions or same-sex marriage.
• an end to all Ford-related advertising in
GLBT print and online media except for a small
amount to be used by Volvo. The Volvo ads
would be the same used in the general media and
would not be specialized advertisements target-
ing gays and lesbians.
The advertising matter involved Jaguar and
Land Rover luxury brand ads. In a slump, Ford
said it had intended to cut back advertising for
those two brands. After meeting with gays, the
automaker said it would advertise all eight of its
brands in the gay media.
In the letter, Wildmon told the Ford chairman,
"We cannot, and will not, sit by as Ford supports
an agenda aimed at the destruction of the family."
The letter demanded a reply from the
automaker before Jan. 20. If a reply is not
received by that time, according to the letter, "We
will assume that Ford does not intend to honor its
representations to AFA."
Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said the
automaker appreciates "dialogue with all of our
customers. Ford is proud of its tradition of treat-
ing all with respect, and we remain focused on
what we do best — building the marketing the
most innovative cars and trucks."
The letter persists in claiming, as the American
Family Association did at the first of December
when it called off its potential boycott of the
automaker, that Ford had made certain represen-
tations about ending its ties to gay groups.
Ford executive Joe W. Laymon said in mid-
December that the automaker had made no firm
commitments to the association and felt broad-
18 I dallasvoice.com I 01.13.06
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 35, Ed. 1 Friday, January 13, 2006, newspaper, January 13, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238891/m1/18/: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.