LI schools superintendent threatens to ‘cough all over everyone’ at his gym
5th December 2020

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A Long Island schools superintendent threatened to become a COVID-19 super-spreader at his gym if it didn’t keep his membership frozen.

Bill Heidenreich, the $281,000-a-year chief of Valley Stream Central HS District, left voice messages at the gym warning he would “cough on everyone” and “spread the disease” at the local fitness center.

In mid-November, Orangetheory Fitness in Merrick sent a message to Heidenreich that the pandemic-related freeze on his membership was due to expire on Nov. 26.

Heidenreich, 48, started texting the gym starting at 8:52 p.m. on Nov. 17, saying, “I’m a close contact and in quarantine.” (A “close contact” is someone who was exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19.)

He then added, “I just don’t want to be a spreader. I’m happy to cough over everyone. Call me.”

Minutes later, he wrote, “Unless I hear from you, I’m there. COVID … Positive.”

Impatient for a call back, Heidenreich then left at least four voicemails, each warning he was dangerous and would infect people at the gym.

“I’m demanding that you freeze my membership for another month. If you don’t, I’m going to cough all over everyone,” one said.

“I’m happy to come in there and spread the disease, and cough all over everyone,’” said another.

A female gym employee answered another and was polite.

“So we’re going to freeze it for an extra 30 days, and when it comes to the 30 days, we’ll call you to re-evaluate,” she said.

“60 days,” Heidenreich snapped. “60 days, that’s what you’re doing to do, 60 days.”

The employee replied, “All right. Just for you, we normally don’t do this, but I’ll do it for 60 days.”

“Exactly,” Heidenreich chuckled. “Cause you know what’s going to happen. Let’s not fool ourselves.”

Reached by phone, Heidenreich hung up on The Post, but sent an email calling it a “personal matter.”

“Representatives from Orangetheory have been harassing me to rejoin their gym during the middle of a global pandemic. With the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocketing I do not feel comfortable participating in their group workout sessions,” his statement said.

Heidenreich had no comment when asked about his threats or whether he was exposed to COVID-19.

Nick Galinas, Orangetheory’s Long Island developer, denied the gym harassed Heidenreich.

“We have a wonderful, friendly staff that always follows up,Galinas said. “He made our staff feel extremely uncomfortable and threatened.”

The gym called the Nassau County Police Department to report the threats — which could constitute aggravated harassment if made over the phone, a spokesman said.

But Orangetheory managers finally decided only to revoke Heidenreich’s membership, and not press charges.

A spokeswoman for the Valley Stream school district, which Heidenreich has led since 2011, said only, “We are unable to comment on personnel matters.”

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