Investigators from the Manchester City Solicitor’s Office have concluded the investigation started by a complaint by Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo regarding whether or not Alderman at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur violated the city charter by obtaining information from the Manchester Dog Park Association’s insurance agency. According to Assistant City Solicitor Tom Arnold and Staff Attorney Peter Chisea, while “a reasonable person could conclude that Alderman obtained…information on a purported lapse in coverage in his capacity as a city official,” the information obtained was neither private nor privileged because the contract between the city and the association is a “public contract,” subjecting such things as lapse history, to public scrutiny. The city’s attorney’s argued that any citizen was entitled to the information Levasseur obtained because the general public has a “legitimate interest to information regarding whether an agreement concerning the use of public property is being properly administered.”
Arnold and Chisea stated they were unable to determine the truthfulness of Levasseur’s statements about his conversation with Aspen Insurance employee Karen Case because agency owner, neither agency owner William Infantine nor the MDPA would permit Case to testify about the information she provided Levasseur. Absent any legal citation identifying the “unnamed Federal law” referenced by Infantine as the basis for his refusal, Arnold and Chisea concluded the information Levasseur obtained was subject to the state’s Right to Know Law.
The investigators’ report contained contradictory information regarding whether or not the association’s policy lapsed. On the one hand, they reference Levasseur’s claim that Case told him the policy had lapsed. On the other, they note that all of the documents they’d received as part of the investigation show there was no lapse in coverage; a point emphasized by Arnold’s issuance of a second letter confirming that for the Committee on Accounts. This begs a number of questions about the conduct of an alderman whose public statements are not supported by the documentation.
While the report does not recommend any changes to administrative procedures. It does urge city officials to request information through appropriate department channels.
We were unable to obtain comments from either Greazzo or Infantine prior to publishing this article.
Here are the letters issued just moments ago.