Scatamacchia Claims City Schools Fired Him, Wants Back Pay

Haverhill Superintendent of Schools James F. Scully.

Haverhill Superintendent of Schools James F. Scully. (WHAV News photograph.)

Former Haverhill City Council Vice President Robert H. Scatamacchia, jailed last week after being convicted of stealing funeral prepayment money, claims he was improperly fired from his position as school transportation chief and wants back pay.

Back in March, 2015, Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent James F. Scully reported Scatamacchia’s “resignation” from the $60,000 position of school transportation supervisor. WHAV News has learned Scatamacchia was actually fired from the union-protected job he accepted only four months earlier.

“It’s a personnel matter and I cannot discuss it,” Mayor James J. Fiorentini, who is also chairman of the Haverhill School Committee, told WHAV late last week. He did say, however, Scatamacchia also served as an “active member” of the Hunking School Building Committee and will be replaced “very quickly.”

Scatamacchia, now 66, was selected for the school position from a field of six applicants during November, 2015. The job vacancy was created by the passing of longtime Transportation Supervisor Kevin Eldridge. Scatamacchia chose to forgo his salary as city council vice president while working for the school district. The position was among those covered under the Administrators Collective bargaining group. After Scatamacchia and the school department parted ways, Scatamacchia offered few details.

“It just wasn’t working out. I had other…I don’t know, it just wasn’t working out,” Scatamacchia told WHAV at the time.

Scatamacchia was sentenced last Tuesday by Judge Mary K. Ames to two and a half years in the state house of correction, with one year to be served and the balance suspended with probation for five years. Scatamacchia will also have to make restitution of $144,000 to the victims—both families who had pre-paid for funerals and his former business partners.

According to First Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley, Scatamacchia took as much as $244,000 in funds from funeral “pre-need contracts,” with as many as 22 people between July, 2010 and 2014, after the former Scatamacchia Funeral Home merged with Paul C. Rogers Family-Carnevale Funeral Home, 334 Main St.  The money, he said, was “never placed in trust” but taken from a bank account named under “Scatamacchia Funeral Home” while that business was no longer in operation. He added Scatamacchia used an office typewriter to “make entries in a passbook” which was not credited by a bank. “Clients paid… for pre-paid services and there was no record of the money anywhere,” Dawley said.

WHAV reported as early as last summer that pre-paid funeral amounts prior to 2013 are outside of the state’s statute of limitations and would not be included in charges against Scatamacchia.

“It’s a terribly embarrassing thing to go through. I’m so sorry that it ever happened. And I don’t know what else to say other than, I hope that they can forgive me,” Scatamacchia told Ames before sentencing.

“This was intentional conduct planned over many years, which preyed upon the generation we call ‘the greatest generation,’ so well known for their independence and look what we’ve heard. Middle class people of modest means doing everything they needed to do to put together what is a lot of money in order that they would not be burdened. So they would be independent to the last,” Ames said. “And they put their trust in a business that had been run for generations,” she added. “And yet you decided to betray the trust that was placed by these wonderful people into you, to your care, quite literally at the worst moment of their lives.”

Before sentencing, Ames heard from seven victims, including Lawrence A. Carnevale, of Paul C. Rogers Family-Carnevale Funeral Home. Other victims told Ames they grew up and work with Scatamacchia and falsely placed their trust in him.


3 thoughts on “Scatamacchia Claims City Schools Fired Him, Wants Back Pay

  1. WHAT ? Is he really going to open up this can of worms ? Then he had better be prepared to be embarrassed once again. People know what went on and WHY he left that position (hic). Don’t be stupid here Scratch. Move on !

    The old saying “No good deed goes unpunished” fits well here and Scully fell right into the trap. Thought he was smarter than that. Unless of course it was planned for this scenario from the start ! The den of thieves strikes again !