HARTFORD (CN) – A reporter claims the Hartford Courier wrongfully fired him in retaliation for his informing the state attorney general that he believed police officers were destroying evidence about the Old Saybrook Police chief’s alleged slush fund.
In Superior Court, Gary Libow says that on Feb. 28 this year he “reported a story involving a potential ‘slush fund’ known as the ‘McMurray-Kirtland Memorial Fund,’ controlled by Edmund Mosca, the Chief of Police of the Town of Old Saybrook. The funds kept by the Police Chief of the Town of Old Saybrook were subsequently investigated by the Attorney General’s Office.”
On Feb. 27, Libow says, he told him bosses – Lynne DeLucia and Joe O’Brien – “that a police department employee allegedly observed Lt. Michael Spera carrying several garbage bags out the rear door of the police headquarters around the time that McMurray-Kirtland Memorial Fund documents were being gathered for transport to the Attorney General’s Office as part of an investigation, according to the source. The source expressed concern that Lt. Spera may be involved in the removal or shredding of evidence.”
Libow claims he told O’Brien that destruction of evidence is a crime, and they should report “this possible obstruction of justice” to the attorney general. Libow claims O’Brien told him that he, O’Brien, had discussed it with DeLucia, who “decided the newspaper should not get involved with informing the Attorney General.”
But Libow says he “concluded it would be unethical to conspire to suppress information of a possible corruption by the Chief of Police and a Lieutenant in the Old Saybrook Police Department,” and also feared that he, Libow, “might be held responsible for covering up this information.”
Accordingly, he says, he informed the attorney general about it on Feb. 27. He says the attorney general “thanked plaintiff and promised to investigate.”
In retaliation, Libow says, on March 10 the Courant “selected” him to fill a quota for a reduction in force, though the period to volunteer for this was still open, and two days later two Courant employees did volunteer for it, making Libow’s firing unnecessary.
Libow demands lost wages and benefits, reinstatement, punitive damages and costs. He is represented by Jacques Parenteau of New London.