Esagoff charges opponents with ‘smear campaign’

Jessica Ablamsky

Great Neck Library board President Janet Esagoff issued a press statement Oct. 14, charging opponents of the Main Branch expansion and renovation project of engaging in a “smear campaign” by linking the project to the recent arrest of her son in connection with the SAT cheating scandal at Great Neck North High School.

“I have been honored for the past 10 months to serve as the Great Neck Library’s Board President,” Esagoff said in the statement. “I, along with my fellow trustees, and past boards have worked diligently toward a better future for the Library, its patrons, and the greater community.”

Great Neck voters will go to the polls Oct. 25 to decide the fate of a $20.8 million construction bond that would renovate and expand the Main Branch. If approved, the Great Neck Library’s Main Branch would be closed for up to two years in a renovation and expansion that would add 8,600-square feet and make the building accessible to patrons with disabilities.

Construction would also do away with the mezzanine, make the library ADA compliant, isolate computers, and expand the children’s room, teen center, audiovisual department.

“Recently, there have been baseless attempts to link a personal crisis my family is facing with the Great Neck Library and its forthcoming referendum,” Esagoff said in the statement. “These shameless smear tactics by opponents of the Library project have been waged by today’s article in the New York Post, an article in the Great Neck News and in any number of whisper campaigns throughout the community.”

“To associate my personal crisis with the Great Neck Library referendum is nonsense,” the statement continued. “It is hurtful not only to me and my family, but to the Library. Please do not be fooled by these blatant political maneuverings. As President of the Board, I urge you all to vote on this referendum issue based on its merits alone.”

Esagoff’s son Sam, a student at Emory University, faces up to four years in prison after allegedly taking the SATs for six Great Neck North students, including a girl whose exam he aced for free.

Then a student at the University of Michigan, Sam Esagoff flew home on six separate occasions, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

He was charged with scheme to defraud in the first degree, falsifying business records in the second degree, and criminal impersonation in the second degree.

A story in the New York Post Oct. 12 included a photo of Esagoff and her young daughter. It references the “blow” Esagoff’s “library crusade” took due to her son’s alleged actions.

A library trustee whose name was withheld called for Esagoff’s resignation, according to an article in the Great Neck News Oct. 14.

Project opponents and supporters agreed the project should be decided on its merits alone.

Polls will be open Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Residents living south of the LIRR station will vote at Great Neck South High School at 341 Lakeville Road. Residents north of the LIRR will vote at the E.M. Baker Elementary School, 69 Baker Hill Road.

Absentee ballots can be obtained from the Great Neck school district clerk’s office at the Phipps Administration Building at 345 Lakeville Road, online at the school district web site at greatneck.k12.ny.us/, or any library branch.

Reach reporter Jessica Ablamsky by e-mail at jablamsky@theislandnow.com or by phone at 516.307.1045 x203

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Jessica Ablamsky

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