Saybrook chief agrees to repay $22,500

Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

HARTFORD – Old Saybrook Police Chief Edmund Mosca has repaid $22,500 to a fund that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal found Mosca used improperly for 25 years, Blumenthal said Tuesday.

Mosca, who announced his retirement late last month, has also agreed to have no further involvement with the McMurray-Kirtland Memorial Fund, Blumenthal said. The police chief is currently using accumulated vacation days prior to retiring Oct. 16, and could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Blumenthal said Mosca’s retirement was not a part of the investigation’s resolution, but added, “The timing speaks for itself.”

“His resignation was not an explicit condition of the resolution, but certainly the two came at almost exactly the same time,” he said.

The attorney general’s office is not referring any criminal charges related to Mosca to other agencies, Blumenthal said.

In a statement, Mosca’s attorney, Robert Britt, called the resolution of the investigation “mutually agreeable” to Mosca and the attorney general’s office. Britt said that Mosca believed the expenditures from the so-called “Mac Fund” benefited the town and Police Department.

“Although the attorney general may take issue with some of the expenditures as being beyond the scope of the fund, the chief was acting with what he believed to be in the best interests of the town of Old Saybrook and the Police Department,” Britt said in the statement. He added that Mosca chose to reimburse the fund so as not to “tarnish” organizations — including state and national police associations — that received money, and Mosca has also made a personal contribution to the fund.

Blumenthal’s office is continuing to investigate the disbursement between 2000 and 2002 of $64,000 into the Mac Fund. A bequest left to the “Old Saybrook Policemen’s Benevolent Association,” which does not exist, was sent to the Mac Fund rather than to the Old Saybrook Policemen’s Brotherhood Association, which later became the police officers union.

Blumenthal said Mosca was not involved in allotting the funds, but that it seemed clear the money was “improperly disbursed.” He would not specify who is the subject of the further investigation.

“The resolution as to Chief Mosca is complete, but others may be held accountable for the $64,000 that was perhaps, we believe, illegally and improperly devoted to the Mac Fund,” Blumenthal said.

In February, a federal judge threw out a lawsuit the police union had brought related to the money.

The Mac Fund was set up in 1985 after the merger of two separate funds that dated from the 1970s. Blumenthal said it was intended to support youth activities and the Police Department, but many of Mosca’s expenditures fell outside those areas. Mosca had sole authority over the fund, Blumenthal said.

“This fund was under the exclusive control of the chief of police and was used for purposes outside the donors’ intent,” he said. “Because the money was used inconsistently with the intent of the donors, some of this money has to be reimbursed.”

The attorney general’s investigation into Mosca’s use of the fund, underway since February 2008, found the police chief had spent $142,481 from the fund between 1985 and 2007. Of that, about 40 percent, or $55,000, covered Police Department expenses such as computers and training.

The improper expenses, Blumenthal said, came in the areas of funds for state and national police chief meetings, golf tournaments, conferences and other miscellaneous expenses. Mosca “cannot fully account for” money that he received from the fund for conferences, the investigation found. Only about 2 percent, or $2,936, of money from the fund was spent on youth activities, which Mosca had described as one of the fund’s primary purposes.

In a statement Tuesday, Police Commission Chairwoman Christina Burnham said money from the fund was spent on food and drink for staff meetings, police equipment, professional association fees, youth sports and sending flowers to people for weddings and funerals, among other items.

“Chief Mosca advised the Police Commission that he agreed to make the payment to the McMurray-Kirtland Fund to ensure that there can be no possible doubt that 100 percent of the McMurray-Kirtland funds will be used for the generally recognized purposes of such a fund, and that he agreed to make a donation to the fund to demonstrate his support for the fund,” Burnham said in the statement.

Blumenthal said that a lack of record-keeping for the fund complicated the investigation. He added that the fund, currently held by Hartford law firm Reid and Riege, will be restructured and registered to comply with state and federal regulations.

“It was the lack of recollection and documentation as to how the money was used that absolutely astonished us,” he said. “The record-keeping here was incomplete and incompetent — virtually nonexistent — and so reconstituting the paper trail on the uses of the money was almost impossible.”

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