Ansonia detectives are reviewing financial records from Mayor David Cassetti’s private business in their probe of a complaint made by the mayor last summer that his former accountant stole money from the firm.
Cassetti disclosed the allegation Wednesday after the Valley Indy asked him about tax liens from the Internal Revenue Service totaling more than $100,000 on 10 Riverside Drive, the headquarters of the company, Birm-1 Construction.
The company’s properties also face several foreclosure lawsuits.
Click here to read more about Birm-1’s legal issues from a story published Wednesday night.
The mayor said the alleged theft had been going on for about a year and a half when he discovered it last summer.
He said “hundreds of thousands” of dollars had been stolen, which he said was part of the reason his company owes back taxes to the feds.
Ansonia Police Lt. Andrew Cota said Thursday that detectives working the case had completed some interviews and were in the process of reviewing financial records.
Cops have not yet applied for any arrest warrants in the case, he said.
“We’re trying to muddle our way through the mountain of paperwork,” Cota said.
What Was With That Letter?
Cota said a Feb. 20 letter authored by a local detective confirming an investigation was underway was a routine step cops often take in theft investigations.
The letter was given to the Valley Indy Wednesday afternoon by John Marini, the city’s corporation counsel.
The letter is below:
Cota said police send such letters to help people file insurance claims when they allege thefts.
“A lot of insurance companies require some notice of loss,” Cota said. “Because we can’t give them a copy of the report because it’s an open investigation, we’ll send a letter saying ‘This has been reported to us.’”
“We can’t give the insurance company a report but we can tell them ‘Here’s what happened, here’s what we’re investigating,’” Cota said.
The publication of the tax lien story prompted a back-and-forth between several local politicos Thursday.
Edward Adamowski, a First Ward Democratic Alderman, criticized John Marini, a former Republican Alderman who currently serves as the city’s corporation counsel, for saying Democrats had brought the issue up.
“Mr. Marini, the Democrats did not bring this to the attention of the Valley Indy,” Adamowski wrote. “Maybe you should do some research and understand the facts prior to commenting. It is on the state judicial web site for all to see.”
He also critiqued the mayor’s budget proposal for reducing taxes by taking money from the city’s reserve fund.
Pete Marcinko, a former First Ward Democratic Alderman, took issue with Marini’s comment that Democrats “don’t understand how to run a business.”
“Is that a blanket statement to all Democrats?” Marcinko wondered. “If so does being Republican mean you’re a good businessman by not paying your bills or allegedly not paying attention to your responsibilities with regards to your bills?”
Marini then replied, defending the budget proposal to Adamowski and telling Marcinko he didn’t mean all Democrats were bad at business.
The Valley Indy published a poll question Wednesday asking whether the mayor’s business dealings affected the public’s opinion of him. As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, 56 percent of the 228 people who answered the poll said “yes.”
However, in an e-mail, Sixth Ward Alderman Patrick Henri said the wording of the poll was vague because it did not ask whether the opinions were affected negatively or positively by the mayor’s financial issues.