On October 24, Antonio Tsialas, class of 2023, was having dinner with his mom near the campus of Cornell University. She was visiting from Miami, where Antonio grew up and played soccer. During the conversation, Antonio was telling his mom how much he was enjoying the first few months of college. He was attending his dream school, and life couldn’t be better. Like any mother, she was thrilled with her son’s place in life: at a prestigious Ivy League institution, chasing his dreams and building a future.
At some point that evening, he said goodbye to his mother for the last time and left for a Phi Kappa Psi party. Evidently, some fraternity members saw Antonio’s potential and hoped to recruit him.
The next day, Antonio was supposed to meet his parents, but he didn’t show up or answer his phone. Worried for their son, his parents had the police initiate a search. Within a day, Antonio’s body was discovered at the bottom of Fall Creek Gorge near campus. It was determined that Antonio was intoxicated and had suffered multiple injuries before he died.
Since October, the Tsialas family, along with Attorneys David Bianchi and Michael Levine, have been on a relentless search for information. The Tsialas family offered a $10,000 reward for any information that revealed what happened to Antonio that night. Our firm hired multiple private investigators to help in the search. Thanks to our efforts, we’ve determined much of what happened the night Antonio died—with no help from Cornell University, who has refused to share details of their investigation with the family.
On behalf of the parents of Antonio Tsialas, our hazing injury firm has filed a lawsuit against Cornell University, Phi Kappa Psi, and the students who facilitated the hazing that took place before Antonio died.
Latest News Reports Covering the Death of Antonio Tsialas
Severe Hazing & Alcohol Abuse at Phi Kappa Psi Event
The Phi Kappa Psi party on October 24 was an unauthorized rush event to recruit freshmen into the fraternity. Titled “Christmas in October,” the ‘party’ was actually a series of themed rooms designed to get potential members as intoxicated as possible. In the Tropical Room, participants had to limbo under a stick while sorority members poured alcohol down their throats. In the Milk & Rum room, participants chugged rum and milk as fast as they could.
The Santa Claus Room subjected potential members to a familiar scenario: each group of participants was handed a full bottle of New Amsterdam vodka and were told to finish the entire bottle before leaving the room. This is similar to a fraternity tradition called “the family bottle,” which was central to the death of another young hazing victim in 2017. More shots followed the bottle of vodka in the final room.
Many of the freshmen were black-out drunk by the time they left the Santa Claus Room.
It’s here that information about what happened that night cuts short. While we know that several people saw Antonio at that party, no one has come forward to say what happened to him when the drinking stopped.
Unfortunately, both Cornell and Phi Kappa Psi members have offered zero information to the Tsialas family, who still do not know how or why their son died that night. What we do know is this: a fraternity officer allegedly called Antonio’s dorm the following day and told Antonio’s suitemate not to tell anyone that Antonio had gone to the frat house the night before.
When Antonio’s body was found at the bottom of a gorge two days later, he was still wearing the same clothes he had on when he had dinner with his mother the night of the party, but the white polo shirt that he had on under his sweatshirt was found up the side of the gorge in a bush. Notably, it had vomit and a footprint on it. We also know that Antonio’s body was found with all his belongings except his phone. Cell tower records place the last known location of the phone inside the frat house.
Who We Believe Is Responsible
Our firm has named 11 defendants in our lawsuit: Phi Kappa Psi, the chapter advisor, 8 fraternity officers and members, and Cornell University. Whatever happened to Antonio that night, we know that he would not have died if he had not been subjected to egregious hazing and alcohol abuse at the fraternity house.
We also know that Phi Kappa Psi was already in trouble for prior violations: the fraternity had faced a judicial hearing for misconduct the day before the hazing event that Antonio attended. The school, Phi Kappa Psi, its advisor, and its officers and members all had a hand in Antonio’s death—and have not offered a shred of information to his grieving parents.
Everyone involved has had more than enough time to step forward out of respect and decency. Now, our firm knows that the only way the Tsialas family is going to get answers is through the law. We will get justice for Antonio—with or without the cooperation of Phi Kappa Psi.