When Dr. Frank Tassone was sentenced in 2006 to 4-12 years in prison for embezzling $11.2 million from the Roslyn school district, many members of the Long Island town had hoped the drama kicked up by the scandal would begin to fade away. But over a decade later, HBO began production on Bad Education: a dramatized film based on the events of Tassone's scandal, starring Hugh Jackman as the disgraced superintendent. Now, ahead of its April 25 release, Roslyn is faced with re-living the events of those years. But where is Dr. Tassone in 2020?
The events as detailed in Bad Education focus on the lead up to Tassone's arrest in July 2004. Up until his fall from grace, Tassone had cultivated a reputation as a strong leader and a great asset for the school district, which boasted high test scores, exceptional college acceptance rates, and some of the highest per-student spending in the state, according to the New York Times report of Tassone's arrest. But, as it turned out, Tassone, along with his business assistant Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney), were not just enjoying high regard as strong school district administrators, but also high profits from their embezzlement scheme.
Per the New York Times report on Tassone's sentencing in 2006, those involved managed to steal $11.2 million from the school's budgets. Of that, Tassone was responsible for $2.2 million, spent on things like, "luxury vacations, gambling junkets, fees for his Upper East Side apartment, dry cleaning bills and a vacation home," while his accomplice, Gluckin, was responsible for $4 million. Gluckin's son and niece, as well as Tassone's partner, all received cuts as well.
Fast-forward to 2010, when Tassone was released from prison early due to "good behavior and completing rehabilitative programs while incarcerated," according to Newsday. Tassone only served three years of his prison sentence. As part of his parole, he was placed on probation until 2018 and is unable to work any job that involves being directly responsible for money.
Tassone has laid pretty low since his arrest, but this April he gave his first and only interview regarding his crime with personal development coach and podcaster Mike Bayer. On Bayer's "Coach Mike" podcast, Tassone spoke about the moment he learned there would be a movie, Bad Education, based on him and the scandal. Tassone said, "It was a Saturday night in October of 2019, and one of my college friends called me... and he said, 'You know, they're making a movie about you.' And I just crumbled." He continued, "I thought, my god, I thought this finally was over. You know, it'll never be over for me, because every day I feel pain."
An arguably similar pain can be felt from the Roslyn community and school board, as they sent a statement regarding Bad Education's production to the Roslyn News. In addition to confirming that they would not be helping or cooperating with the production, their statement reads, in part, "While the film is purportedly meant to entertain, it’s important to remember that what occurred in our school district was far from entertaining. A former superintendent and several accomplices conspired to steal approximately $11.2 million meant for our children’s’ education. The scandal shook our community deeply."