Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My take on Arthur L. Spada

Sebold Testifies On Remark
Comment Made Before Police Contract Vote Drew Ethics Complaint

By JOSH KOVNER | Courant Staff Writer
February 27, 2008

MIDDLETOWN [Connecticut] — - Police Officer Thomas Sebold, accused of trying to intimidate the council before a vote on a police contract, testified Tuesday about the comments that landed him in front of the city's ethics commission.

Sebold, who was president of the police union at the time, said he met with Personnel Director Debra Milardo and Police Chief Lynn Baldoni in city hall June 8 to talk about union matters. Sebold recalled that Milardo said she felt the Democratic majority would vote against the contract proposal, which had been ratified by the union. Sebold said that negotiations and lobbying efforts had "consumed" him in the weeks leading up to that meeting. He said he was tired, and frustrated by Milardo's observation.

"And I prefaced my remarks by saying, 'I probably shouldn't be saying this.' And then I said, 'If I were somebody who drove drunk from the Elks or Tommy's, I wouldn't vote this contract down.' Then the chief said, 'You're right, Tom, you shouldn't have said that.' And I said, 'You're right.'"

Sebold acknowledged Tuesday night that he was talking about Councilman Gerald Daley's patronage of the Elks Club in Middletown and Tommy's Restaurant in Portland. Daley filed the ethics complaint after learning about the gist of Sebold's remarks from Milardo. Sebold also said that he had heard other police officers make similar comments about Daley and other council members in the police locker room or in the parking lot outside headquarters during the contentious, emotional days surrounding the council vote on June 21. The pact, which contained a sizable raise, was rejected and is now in the hands of an arbitration panel.

Sebold testified that during that tense council meeting — where officers showed up in uniform or with T-shirts with a bull's-eye on the back — he heard someone in the crowd say that council members "better watch their backs." Sebold testified that city police officers who pulled over council members might be inclined to treat them favorably in most circumstances, but not after a contract was rejected.

"Then they might say, 'That's it — we're going to [follow] the letter of the law,'" Sebold said.

Lawyer Arthur Spada, the former judge and state police commissioner representing Daley with co-counsel John Woodcock, said in his summation that Sebold had violated the ethics code and committed conduct unbecoming an officer.

Spada's position was that Sebold's statement in the June meeting with Milardo and Baldoni, when laid against a backdrop of disrespect for the council by officers, hard-edged locker room banter, and the possibility of selective enforcement, amounted to an attempt to influence the vote and intimidate council members.

"If the ethics board doesn't sustain this complaint," Spada said, "then the message will be sent to police departments across the state that threats of this ilk will be seen as ethical. … There's a blue virus afoot in this state. The board should not brush off these remarks. Doing so would debase the standards" governing police officers.

Kenneth DeLorenzo, the police union's lawyer, fired back. He said the ethics board's job was to enforce the city ethics code, "not to clean up police departments across the state."

He said the code is centered on one issue: whether a city employee abused his or her position for financial gain. DeLorenzo said Sebold was acting as a union chief who was fighting for his members, and his only concern was that he, and the membership, receive their "duly authorized compensation."

DeLorenzo said Sebold never mentioned Daley by name, never intended that Daley hear the remarks, never took any action against Daley, and never told any other officer to do so.

After the hearing, Daley responded to Sebold's references to drinking and driving.

"I go to those places. When I go, do I have a drink? Yes. My expectation would be that if police officers have knowledge of violations of the law, then they would act on that information," said Daley, adding that he has never been pulled over by a Middletown officer, let alone arrested or convicted.

"The point is that this was an attempt to influence a vote of the common council — that's the issue at hand," he said.

The ethics commission is expected to vote next month.

Contact Josh Kovner at jkovner@courant.com

Copyright © 2008, The Hartford Courant

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My comment posted in the Hartford Courant Forum:
Former Judge, Connecticut State Police Commissioner, and current lawyer, Arthur L. Spada seem hypocritical talking anything about ethics.

Spada demoted the highest ranking police woman, because she was a woman. He would go out of his mind if officers didn't salute him like he was a general, and pretended to be a traffic cop pulling people over, writing tickets when he had no police powers as Commissioner.

Spada's comments when his chief of staff was caught stealing, is that all State Police do it, so, no big deal.

Homeland Security tax dolars couldn't be accounted for under Spada's watch. If Spada was actually investigated for wrongdoing, should he be arested for felonies committed and face prison?

Citizens that lodged complaints to elected officials and the governor's office were specifically targeted facing false arrests at the order of Spada as Police Commissioner. Spada ran the Connecticut State Police like Stassi or KGB.

It disgusts me to no end that Arthur L. Spada is anyway commenting on anyone else's ethics. Fixing cases, obstructing justice, and conspiring to retaliate against citizens that in anyway seemed to disrespect the Connecticut State Police are serious crimes.

The Connecticut State Police expect to get even more money and power if this legislation is passed:

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I ask Spada if he ran a "Rub and Tug" or was a patron of prostitutes as Connecticut State Police Commissioner or Judge [here]


Blogger Tim said...

i read your blog on Arthur L. Spada. it said he was commissioner from 2000-2004. which he was. but i found an article on the states website appointing him as commissioner and it said he cant serve any later than march 3 2003. did governor rowland somehow "extend" his stay?

heres the link:

Fri Jul 10, 11:12:00 AM 2009  

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