Former Running Mate Charged For Alleged Pizza Prank on Town Supervisor

Maria Polera was arraigned Tuesday morning in Harrison Court.

A Harrison Democratic Party district leader and former running mate of Supervisor Joan Walsh was arraigned Tuesday in connection with a prank involving unsolicited pizza ordered to the mayor's home.

Police arrested Maria Polera on July 12 after an investigation revealed she had been ordering the pizzas to Walsh's residence in West Harrison for the last six to eight months, said Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini. Polera was charged with placing orders six times, although police believe the fake orders were sent in more often than that.

"I think that there were probably 12 to 14 different deliveries, but we were only able to charge her with six," said Marraccini, who said there were at least two pizzas in every order.

Polera faces a misdemeanor theft of services charge and a charge of second-degree harassment—a violation—and was arraigned in front of Judge Ronald Bianchi. She pleaded not guilty to all charges and quickly left the court room with her attorney George Galgano. She was released without bail and is due back in court Aug. 9.

Polera ran on the same ticket as Walsh for receiver of taxes in 2007 and 2009 but lost each time. She has been serving as a district leader for the Harrison Democratic Party, but she may no longer hold that position according to Village Attorney Robert Paladino.

"You could have knocked me over with a feather when they told me that they had arrested the person and who it was," Paladino said. "I was shocked."

Two sources have told Patch on a condition of anonymity that Polera placed the orders because she was upset about crude comments Walsh had made to her earlier this year. Both sources specifically cited comments by the mayor about Polera's "body odor" and that Polera was "unelectable".

The second source also said Polera watched the deliveries being made while hiding out nearby.

Walsh was out of her office throughout the day Tuesday and unavailable for comment. Paladino said after speaking with the mayor she was "surprised and disappointed" by the news.

"I've known Maria for years, and she's a very nice lady," he said. "I don't know what motivated her to do this, honest to God."

Marraccini estimated the most recent faulty order was made in late May, about the same time police began their investigation.

"We did a thorough investigation and we filed the charges that we thought were applicable or appropriate," Marraccini said.

This is the second high-profile issue to make its way through town hall this year. In February six then-town employees were charged with allegedly . All of those charged have since either resigned, retired or been fired from town employment.

"We think there's a magnet on the roof that seems to be attracting some odd occurrences," Paladino said, "but hopefully the good news is this is it, but you never know."

Updates to come as this story develops.

Zach Oliva (Editor) July 28, 2011 at 11:32 AM
Lets try and get back on topic here guys.
Zombozany July 28, 2011 at 06:48 PM
There is no Topic here. The people of Harrison live in a boring town and this is the entertainment. Pizza delivered to the Mayor is the news of the year. What's next? Getting the wrong order at Burger King? This is a no brainer case, if proved gulity then Ms. Polera should pay back the pizza shop for six pies. That should be about $60 and apologize to the Mayor. She is not Kasey Anthony and has to be wisked away after midnight. I guess this is Harrison's 15 minutes of fame. I just checked my watch your fifteen minutes are up!!!!!!
Ada July 28, 2011 at 07:33 PM
ZOMBAZ, just a question for you, if you feel that Harrison is a boring town (grant you at the moment we are, but our 'Pride' will return in Nov & our town will 'Shine' once again) why do you read the Harrison Patch? And why in God's name do you comment? Maybe you just want your 15 mins of fame too? You moved to Florida, that was your first mistake, should have went up north or out west then I would have found your 'comments' possibly understandable from a former Harrison resident, were you born & raised here? Just curious.....age?
Ada July 28, 2011 at 07:38 PM
Zack, I knew what you meant, Jan 2008 & Jan 2010, the dates Mayor Walsh and other newly elected town board members took office, and I never even gave it a second thought, some people are too touchy or just want to 'get into the act'! Keep up the great work........Love, Ada
Zombozany July 28, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Ada- I have never read the Harrison patch, only this article. I comment because I find this event funny and it is my right to comment. My fifteen minutes of fame was over many times before this. I am not from Harrison but I have visited on a few occasions. I have had the pizza located at the bottom of the hill and have attended some church function a long time ago in June. I was born in the Bronx and raised in New City NY across the Hudson river. I have known Maria since 1995 and I am not taking sides in this case. I just find it funny that a Mayor of a small town is getting attention over pizza. Did it cost the Mayor money for these pizzas? No!! If Maria did this she must have been really pissed about something and instead of talking to the Mayor (maybe she did and got no where) she resorted to child like tactics. Whatever the case its not news it's stupidity. I am 47. I hope that answers your questions. If Maria is proved innocent then your town will have one less village idiot to deal with. Once again it's pizza, no one got hurt, a simple apology would make this all go away. However in Harrison Maria is on the ten most wanted list.
Ross Revira July 28, 2011 at 08:37 PM
Zombozny being that you know Maria Polera does she have body odor? Is she un-electable? Is Mayor Walsh correct in her description?
Ross Revira July 28, 2011 at 09:22 PM
I hope with your partisan outspokenness you are no longer the head of the Chamber of Commerce. If you are not than fire away . If you are you should resign because your vitriol against the Mayor could be counter productive for the organization you serve.
joanne July 28, 2011 at 10:56 PM
I can not believe that what this is coming to .. Lets stop this and move on. Harrison is a great town with good people. We all have problems here and there lets get going for the Nov election. Everyone has the right of free speech a joke is cute but the odor & body weight is not needed. That is ignorant & offensive Just as ignorant as sending the pizza.
Ada July 28, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Ross, I deleted previous comment only because I respect the HCC and the other town organizations, but my words are not from the mouth of the President of the HCC but from a lifelong resident who owns a home, pays excessive taxes and has lost many vital services that were once abundent in this great town. I resigned from the HCC last year after a non stop 10 years of service to the Chamber but came out of my short retirement as the ARC contacted me for an EMERGENCY blood drive which I hosted last August to help replenish Westchester's dangerously low supply. Now just to stress what I do for my town & to help others, this blood drive was done ten days before our daughter's wedding & we had relatives from England at our home, they understood my position. I do this, stressful at times, position as a volunteer, I have never been paid for my hours & hours, years & years of volunteering since 2002, and frankly do not mind as this is 'my'' town and my choice. My Mom grew up here and she loved it too, so forgive me for being so vocal about my feelings, but they are what they are! We need help & we need it soon or my grandchildren and yours will not be able to grow up here as my Mom & I have, Harrison will become an old ugly town with only good memories of years passed. Ada Angarano, Harrison resident!
Ada July 28, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Ross, one more thing, now that you know some of what I do for 'my' town out of respect & love, please tell me what your volunteer accomplishments for Harrison are. Ada
Ada July 28, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Sorry Zombozany, Maria must have had her reasons if she did the Pizza thing, I can almost see her reasoning, crazy, I know, but when people are driven to act like this then the entire 'community' must open it's eyes and wake-up, it doesn't matter if you are a Dem, Rep, Conserv or Liberal, Harrison residents must now see the real 'picture' of craziness going on lately and stop it! (well, for the past 4 years anyway). Ada
joanne July 28, 2011 at 11:13 PM
Ada, I think your work speaks for itself.. Harrison is very lucky to have a lady like you do all you have done for this town, I give you a big applause !!!
Ada July 28, 2011 at 11:18 PM
Thank you joanne, You are correct, this is nonesense and really not worth anyones time except the poor Pizza shops who lost out on those bogus deliveries, they need to be reimbursed by whoever sent the pizza's and they deserve apologies as well. Harrison has more important issues that need to be addressed if we are to ever move forward again! Hurry November (:
Dr. Vinny Boombatza July 29, 2011 at 04:02 AM
After reading "Cutter Simpson" does anyone really wonder why we have the reputation we have?
Ross Revira July 29, 2011 at 11:36 AM
Re-read my comment, if you are no longer Chamber president speak anyway you like that is what the Patch is all about. As for your volunteerism I laud you for your work. Volunteer work is not a competition it is supposed to be done for the benefit of others not your own ego.
Donna July 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM
As Chamber president, Ada knows what has (or hasn't) been done to the downtown area as a result of Mayor Walsh's penny pinching ways. I'm all for being frugal but not foolish. Mayor Walsh doesn't know how to truly budget properly. She seemed to find the money to move the townhouse around but couldn't find a few bucks for flowers. The Chamber's members are the ones who should suggest to Ada what she can or can't do. This is an organization run by merchants, not paid for by the government. Ada has a right to free speech just like anyone else. And I also applaud her for her hard work, done without looking for even a pat on the back.
Dr John July 29, 2011 at 01:48 PM
Ross Revira: Read these comments about Ada and her selfless work in this town. It is evident she is doing this all for the benefit of others not for her own ego. Along with being the President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce she is a life time resident of this town and has certainly earned the right to comment when she shes something wrong in this town such as the current Mayor. This Mayor was combative with Ada from the start and has never reached out to work with the chamber. Mr Revira , as you can see Ada has earned the support of the residents unlike Mayor Walsh who demands their support. Ada speak your mind over and over agian! As you can see you have the support of the rational residents of this town
Ross Revira July 29, 2011 at 05:05 PM
I did not realize the downtown area in Harrison was such a bustling and vibrant commercial district fours years ago. How things can go downhill so fast.
Dr John July 29, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Ross Revira: It seems you don't realize much! The Mayors policy of not having a relationship with the Chamber of Commerce was detrimental to this downtown area. It may not have been so vibrant and bustiling before but there weren't many for rent signs as you see now. This Mayor has definatly increased the cost of doing business in this town. One thing more Ross: You should make sure your brain is in gear before your mouth is in motion
Ross Revira July 29, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Dr. John before you diagnose a sickness you should check yourself. The Chamber of Commerce in Harrison has done nothing to help business for as long as I can remember. I was a member way back when Bob Shofi was president. I have been a business owner for more than 40 years. If I had to rely on the Chamber or the town government for my success I would have been out of business 39 years ago. For any rational person who has lived in Harrison for the last fifty years knows the shopping district stinks. Take away the dry cleaners, pizza joints, and nail/hair salons and you are left with what? Banks. Stop with the partisan bashing of this inept Mayor and realize the town's problems did not materialize four years ago. The rot in the town has been going on for quite some time. You probably did not care then because you were most likely on the gravy train.
Ada July 29, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Dear Ross & Dr John, The story here is about pizza's getting delivered fraudulently, let's keep to the subject. While I appreciate all the back-up on my behalf in regards to the Chamber of Commerce, this is not the issue & never was. The HCC had a working relationship with the Malfitano administration and I believe that the downtown business district was on it's way to recovery just when Mayor Malfitano lost the election in Nov 2007, the newly elected Mayor had no interests to work or help out merchants, as you can see! So, get yourselves together and try to enjoy life instead of bickering. Ada Angarano
Ross Revira July 29, 2011 at 05:59 PM
I agree, pizza anyone?
Dr John July 29, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Ross Revira First of all if the town was never vibrant how do you attribute your success? Cannot be your a great business man judging by your comments. You do not know me yet you cam comment about me being on the gravy train. You seem very bitter and make less than intelligent comments in the blog. Calm down and try to look on the bright side. This mayor will soon be gone
Cutter Simpson July 29, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Just another example of how Government is totally out of control. These Government jobs are not a RIGHT they are a privalige and these employees need to start undstanding thet they work for the tax payers... ALL GOV. in America is a joke and embaressing. Al Quada doesn't need to bomb us any more, we are doing it to ourselves. We are slowing killing the country!
ray July 30, 2011 at 04:59 AM
it about time the mayor steps down and enjoy life, and all the lies on who is sending the pizza's. Then this town will not be seen again on IO12
Zombozany July 30, 2011 at 12:36 PM
It sounds to me that Leland Gaunt has come to Harrison. If you don't know him then pick up the book Needful Things by Stephen King and read about what he does to towns like yours. Maybe Maria did a favor for Mr. Gaunt and in return she had to send pizzas to the mayor. My other thought about Harrison is a line from Batman, "This town needs an enema". Have a great day citizens of Harrison.
Ross Revira July 30, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Is Ron Belmont Sheriff Alan Pangborn?
Chris Jansen August 12, 2011 at 12:55 AM
extra anchovies anyone?
Trail Blazer August 16, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Bob Paladino is my hero! Ultimately he is correct, that the "Harrison Magnet" attracts the weirdos to our town. I hope Bob runs for PRESIDENT. The town, state and NATION could really use a guy with his sense of humor and brilliance. Knowing he is a truthful person, a loyal Democrat, a dedicated husband and father to his 2 hot daughters, he would get my vote. Actually, Robert Paladino is pretty hunky too!! Everyone else in Harrison government should go live in Yonkers and let Bob run the town. We would all be better off.
thomas January 22, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Exactly ! What would Walsh need an order of protection from ? The pepperoni ? Such a BIG DEAL over such a Small (Prank).


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