Councilman files SEEC complaint vs. DeCilio, Fredette

RTC chairman labels claims 'ridiculous'

Update: Greg Cann said late Monday that his family did not file a lawsuit, but did file a complaint against the Stratford Board of Education with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities for violating the rights of his then-15-year-old daughter. Greg’s wife Immacula Cann explained that in a letter published in October 2013. The matter was settled in 2013 and a state law was created requiring school districts to conduct mandatory background checks on prospective employees. Information on that law can be found here.

Original story: Republican Town Committee Chairman Lou DeCilio and newly elected Zoning Commissioner Richard Fredette are being accused of violating the Town Charter because of Fredette’s placement on the Nov. 7 election ballot, in a complaint filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

The RTC Chairman countered that the complaint is politically motivated and violates Fredette’s right to run for public office.

Greg Cann

Greg Cann

Fifth District Councilman Greg Cann and former Town Council candidate Adam Brill filed a complaint with the SEEC on Oct. 26, reporting what they saw as a “blatant conflict of interest” that existed with Fredette running for the Zoning Commission while he served as the town’s blight officer.

“The [Mayor John] Harkins Administration, Mr. Fredette and Mr. DeCilio clearly understood that Fredette could not run for this office,” Cann wrote in an email, saying that it is a “direct violation of the ordinances under the Town Charter.”

Cann said Fredette was required to resign from the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2016 to take the blight officer job in order to avoid a conflict of interest. In a statement on the complaint, Cann said town ordinance requires that the blight officer report to the Planning and Zoning Department and that any change to the ordinance requires a majority vote of the Town Council.

Cann said that DeCilio and Fredette ignored his requests for explanations and that Fredette was transferred from the Zoning Department to the Economic Development Department “to cover their tracks.”

“The Mayor’s decision is not only illegal, but it raises the question of ethical violations due to a ‘quid pro quo’ and ‘preferential treatment,’” said Cann, adding that he’s also contacted Mayor-elect Laura Hoydick about the matter and has yet to receive a reply.

Cann and Brill said in a statement that both DeCilio and Fredette threatened Cann with revocation of town services for the 5th District at the town’s Veterans Day ceremony for filing the complaint.

“What makes this even more upsetting is that both of these subjects of a pending state investigation threatened him and said that the constituents in the 5th District, who Greg represents, will not receive town services if they could help it,” Brill said in a statement. “That’s retaliation, obstruction and official malfeasance.”

Brill, a former 8th District Town Council candidate, is calling for Fredette and DeCilio to be removed from their town positions. DeCilio works for the town as the Republican Registrar of Voters.  

Lou DeCilio

DeCilio fired back on Monday afternoon, saying that Cann’s complaint is “ridiculous” and boils down to politics. DeCilio said Cann remains upset with him for bringing up issues about a lawsuit Cann’s family brought against the town.

DeCilio said that Cann and Fredette were talking about the complaint prior to the start of the Veterans Day ceremony and that DeCilio told Cann to be quiet as the ceremony was starting.

“I told him that the complaint is a joke and took my hat off and he kept on talking, oblivious to what’s going on,” DeCilio said. “He was making a scene and had no respect for the flag or the veterans serving our country.”

DeCilio said accusations that he threatened to withhold services to the 5th District are “a flat out lie.” 

He also said that stopping Fredette from running would violate Fredette’s Constitutional right to run for office and that the administration has the right to hire town employees.

“He [Cann] only wants answers that fall into his equation or whatever conspiracy theory is running through his head,” DeCilio said Monday, adding that he does not believe the SEEC will take up the complaint.

SEEC officials were not available for comment on Monday.

See this week’s Stratford Star for more information on this story.

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Editor for the Stratford Star. Former reporter for the Darien Times.

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