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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Whistleblowers File Federal Suit Against State Attorney General

Troopers File Suit Against Attorney General
The New York Times by TRACY GORDON FOX - January 3, 2009

EIGHT state troopers have filed a federal lawsuit against State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, charging that he is unable to protect whistleblowers in cases against the state government because his office also has to defend those accused of wrongdoing. The lawsuit, filed Dec. 22 in United States District Court in New Haven, said that Mr. Blumenthal was unable to protect the whistleblowers from harassment and retaliation after they came forward and cooperated with a 2006 investigation into charges of corruption within the State Police. “Statutorily, the attorney general’s office is placed in an untenable position to investigate whistleblower complaints and to represent those individuals they believe are retaliating against them,” said Norm Pattis, a lawyer representing the troopers. “The Connecticut State Police cases illustrate this.”

Mr. Pattis said that because Mr. Blumenthal must represent state employees, such whistleblower cases should be handled by another agency. The lawsuit also names two assistant attorneys general and an investigator from Mr. Blumenthal’s office. Mr. Blumenthal said in an interview that he shared the whistleblowers’ frustration over his lack of statutory teeth to protect them from claims of retaliation, which he says has been limited by the Connecticut law. “With all due respect, the lawsuit is an act of frustration,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “But the lawsuit cannot accomplish legislative change, and the lawsuit is factually and legally baseless.” Mr. Blumenthal said he went before the legislature last session in an attempt to strengthen his authority to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, but his request for new legislation was turned down. He said he planned to return to the legislature this year with an even stronger proposal. Among the items turned down was a proposal to give the attorney general’s office the authority to intervene in an agency’s decision to transfer, demote or place a whistleblower into a hostile work situation. As the law stands, Mr. Blumenthal can make only nonbinding recommendations, as he has done in some of the State Police cases.

The eight plaintiffs had sought protection from Mr. Blumenthal’s office as registered whistleblowers and said they had cooperated with the investigation. Connecticut authorities asked the New York State Police to conduct an independent review of the Connecticut State Police internal affairs division after complaints about conduct began to mount in 2005. The investigation resulted in several troopers leaving the department, changes in management and a new internal affairs policy. The report examined charges of sexual assault, drunken driving, domestic violence and larceny, as well as accusations that the department was run by favoritism and cronyism. Those filing the lawsuits were Troopers Patrick Carozza, Karen Nixon, Theodore Driscoll and John Butkevicius; Sgts. Andrew Matthews and Stephen Sampson; Master Sgt. Theresa Freeman; and Lt. Benjamin Pagoni. The complaint also charges that one of the attorney general’s investigators was slipping confidential information to the state troopers about their whistleblower cases, and that the investigator gave one trooper $7,000 to hire a private lawyer to defend himself.

According to the lawsuit, the investigator, Jeffrey Meyers, informed the troopers that confidential information about them had been shared with senior members of the State Police. He told the troopers, according to the lawsuit, that “there was no effective separation between the units in the office of the attorney general’s office responsible for protecting whistleblowers and for defending senior managers retaliating against whistleblowers.” Mr. Blumenthal said that on Dec. 1, the day he learned about Mr. Meyers’s communication with the troopers, he had him placed on administrative leave. Mr. Meyers resigned the same day, according to court records. Mr. Blumenthal said the walls between the lawyers defending whistleblowers and those defending state employees accused of retaliation had never been breached.“We have a strong firewall to prevent any unethical flow of information,” Mr. Blumenthal said. Mr. Meyer’s lawyer, Richard R. Brown, said his client “did not violate any rules of the office of the attorney general.” “My client is extremely disappointed these individuals saw fit to file any lawsuit that would involve him,” he said in a telephone interview.

4 comments:

obama voter said...

Time for Obama to do something, on a national level, about all the corruption!

Anonymous said...

Same thing in NY, saint Andrew defends crooked lawyers and judges when his responsibility should be to the people, not the law breakers.

Anonymous said...

When a state employee sues the state for any reason...they are screwed for life...I know I have done it twice in federal court for discrimination and civil rights violations... committed by our JUSTICE system...OCA.

They have made every single multiple vicious attempt to ruin me and my family, using a serious list of crimes and personal home harassment and invasions..nothing short of what the worst state criminal is incarcerated for many years!

Any losers who claim that there is no breach of ethics in these lawsuits, are liars and are participants in the protection and retaliation of those that are victims...so they need to shut up!

I have not even begun to express the details of what OCA has done to me and I write often on this blog. That should warn everyone that deals with the NY court system.... that the BIGGEST CRIMINAL IN NY STATE IS NOT MADOFF...BUT OCA and the state government!

Lindsey said...

I thought you might be interested in this letter written by Army Corps of Engineers whistleblower Bunny Greenhouse, who was retaliated against after she testified to Congress last week. Ms. Greenhouse is calling on all Americans to support whistleblower protection for federal employees. To read her letter go to http://capwiz.com/whistleblowers/issues/alert/?alertid=13371836

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2