Steven Raucci’s mind seemed to be somewhere else.
A school secretary emailed Raucci just before 11 a.m. that day, thanking him and to let her know if he needed anything else.
Raucci emailed back minutes later, saying he had no idea what she was talking about. The secretary responded and explained.
“It’s not necessary to give me any more information,” Raucci wrote back that afternoon. “I’m not having a good day and opened and viewed the email while I was in, let’s say a rather unpleasant mood. After I calmed down a bit and re-read it, I understood what you needed.”
The district facilities head had apparently been in an “unpleasant mood” the entire morning: He was already planning his next attack, according to testimony and documents from his 2010 arson and vandalism trial.
The email exchange came on the same morning that Raucci’s personal agenda for that day, found by investigators on his home computer and used at his trial, included among a things to do for the day list, “Latex gloves from Scotty, Red Metal Paint. Disguise. Ma’s car.”
The next morning, a couple on whom Raucci had fixated for years, Harold and Deborah Gray, found their truck doused with red paint and a threatening note left at their doorstep.
The secretary responds to Raucci’s apparently standard email, completely unaware of what Raucci was planning, “I’m sorry to hear you had a not so good day, but I’m glad I’m not the only one.”
The email exchange about Raucci’s mood the day before the June 2008 vandalism attack was among the latest group reviewed by The Daily Gazette as part of a lawsuit settlement with the school district.
Raucci, 62, was convicted in April 2010 of first-degree arson and 17 other counts.
Raucci served as the city school district facilities manager and also led the union unit representing the workers he supervised. It was a dual position that prosecutors said made him valuable to the school administration for his ability to keep labor peace.
The prosecution charged that Raucci was responsible for numerous criminal acts, including placing bombs on homes or cars, in a series of incidents intended to intimidate people he perceived as enemies or enemies of his friends, including the June 2008 truck vandalism.
The school district is making Raucci’s emails available under the terms of an out-of-court settlement with The Daily Gazette and the Times Union. The public is not allowed direct access to the documents, but reporters are allowed to make copies with handheld scanners for the next three months. There are more than 11,000 pages.
The emails released have appeared to be sorted into groups. The stack reviewed Wednesday largely centered on Raucci controlling access to the schools through a new key card system instituted in early 2008. They show Raucci repeatedly frustrated with requests for new key cards, after employees either lost them or broke them.
“I try as hard as I can to be patient with our well-educated, adult staff, however, I am under constant testing,” Raucci wrote in an April 2, 2008, email to Associate Superintendent Gary Comley and copied to Assistant Superintendent William Roberts.
Raucci then gave a list of transgressions, including one employee saying his dog ate his card. The access cards, Raucci wrote, should be as valuable to staff as credit cards or debit cards.
“I suppose I’ll just have to get used to it and not try my best not to address these issues like I’m dealing with children......is it going to be hard, yes, but I’m an adult and I will prevail.”
Raucci frequently responded to requests to have access times for key cards extended later in the day or earlier. His frequent response was to deny them because custodians either weren’t in that early or late. In one June email, he wrote he would respond to requests to replace lost cards when he found his lost card machine.
In an Aug. 4, 2008, exchange, Raucci apparently misunderstood a request, “Oops, even the great ones make mistakes,” he wrote.
But when employees tried to go over his head to get replacement cards, Raucci immediately called them on it, as in one Dec. 1, 2008, exchange.
“If Ms. Campon feels by copying Jeff Janiszewski regarding this matter she will receive special attention, she is sadly mistaken,” Raucci wrote, referring to employee Rhonda Campon. Janiszewski was the school board president.
Janiszewski jumped into the email exchange. He suggested she request a card again, and that she copy him in the email. “Blame me,” Janiszewski wrote.
On Sept. 9, Susan Gorman, principal of the Fulton Early Childhood Center, wrote that she’d joined the ranks of those who had lost their access cards, “and yes, I deserve to be yelled at!” Gorman wrote.
Raucci responded by referencing alleged killers who’d gotten away with murder. Gorman, though, with her lost card, would not pay any penalty.
“Why because in your case, I’m the judge passing sentence. However, I’m putting you on probation for two years.”
“2 years is a very long time!” Gorman responded. “I better watch myself!”
Gorman’s so-called probation, however, lasted just over five months, until Raucci was arrested.
By the time it was to run out, in September 2010, Raucci was already into a sentence of his own, 23 years to life in state prison.