When former Oxford Tax Collector was sentenced to serve four years in prison for pilfering hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money last November, she said justice was being served.
But the town’s coffers are still waiting.
Though a judge ordered her to pay $243,902 in restitution in the case, town officials have always said the amount she actually stole is far greater — in a still-pending lawsuit against Guillet, they used the number $671,768.
An ad hoc committee charged by Selectmen with recouping the money stolen by Guillet — and trying to figure out a way to deal with the mess she left in the town’s tax office — met for an hour Thursday.
About a half-hour of the meeting was behind closed doors in executive session, where they discussed what First Selectman George Temple called a “deposition strategy” in the town’s civil lawsuit against Guillet.
After the meeting, Temple said the town is in the case for the long haul, and that the town is “not leaving any stone unturned.”
“I’m going to get every penny that’s coming to the town of Oxford that I possibly can,” he said. “I want to know what assets are out there and where this money went.”
At her sentencing, Guillet’s lawyer, Dominick Thomas, said he offered to settle the town’s civil case with a judgment of $731,706 — triple the amount she pleaded guilty to stealing.
Thomas said that she didn’t have $731,706, but would be liable to the town for it, and was willing to pony up about $202,000 and change at the time, mostly through selling her interest in her house to her husband for $175,000.
The offer came with a condition: the town release a lien it a judge “attached” to the property through its lawsuit.
Thomas said that if Guillet’s interest in her house is sold, she “would have nothing left” to live on besides Social Security payments.
Temple, himself an attorney, turned down the deal, and said Thursday that he doesn’t regret it.
“If we did that (release the lien) we’d be losing our security,” he said. “I’m not doing that. I will not do that until I’m absolutely sure that that’s the most that the town can get.”
Thomas said Tuesday that Guillet has nothing more to give back to the town than what she already has — about $41,000 by his calculations.
“Karen’s assets are an open book,” Thomas said. “She even took non-attachable assets and threw that money in. What more can I offer than what I gave them?”
Meanwhile, Temple announced at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting that the town is in the process of filing a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment against the state’s Office of Policy and Management.
In the wake of Guillet’s departure, the town filed a similar lawsuit for a declaratory ruling from a Superior Court judge on how to clear up the mess Guillet left in the tax office — where delinquent accounts dating back to 1997 amount to more than $5 million.
With interest, the figure balloons to more than $10 million.
The town withdrew the case after the Attorney General’s office filed a motion pointing out they should have sought a declaratory ruling from OPM first.
So the town applied for a ruling from OPM, but it has been nearly four months and the town hasn’t heard back, a fact he called “very distressing” Thursday.
“Sooner or later the court’s going to tell us what to do,” Temple said.
The new lawsuit is posted below.