Steps have been taken to fire Connecticut’s top law enforcement official following a hiring scandal

Calling the findings of an investigative report into the Chief State’s Attorney ‘quite startling’, Criminal Justice Commission Chairman Andrew McDonald seeks advice on how to convene a hearing on whether to oust Richard J. Colangelo Jr. from his position.

The report raises “deeply serious questions about whether the chief state attorney can continue to perform the duties of the constitutional office he holds,” said McDonald, a Supreme Court justice in Washington, on Thursday. the state. “No chief state attorney has ever been removed, so I have asked the attorney general’s office to advise the commission on the full extent of due process that should be observed in any removal hearing. “

Governor Ned Lamont also said he would fire Colangelo if he could.

“As far as Colangelo, I don’t hire him, I don’t fire him, but if I did he would be gone,” Lamont said.

Colangelo and former deputy commissioner of the Office of State Policy and Management, Kosta Diamantis, are involved in what looks like an executive scandal after a Hartford Current opinion piece was published on October 1.

In the article, columnist Kevin Rennie questioned the timing of Colangelo’s hiring of Kosta Diamantis’ daughter, Anastasia, while pressuring the OPM for raises for himself and other prosecutors. of State.

Lamont placed Kosta Diamantis on paid leave in mid-October; Diamantis retired on November 1.

The Lamont administration then hired former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy to investigate. Twardy’s report on the investigation was released Wednesday. State Pier project in New London.

The findings of the Twardy report, which included nearly 500 pages of documents, show that Colangelo, Diamantis and OPM Secretary Melissa McCaw continued to discuss the issue even after the raises were twice denied.

In another section, Twardy said an Administrative Services Department official revealed that Kosta Diamantis pressured him to hire his daughter for an agency human resources position. After Anastasia Dimantis was hired by Colangelo, the DAS manager said her father made comments like, “You couldn’t do it, but she still has a better job.” Diamantis denied pressuring a DAS or other state official to hire his daughter, Twardy said.

Colangelo also told Twardy that he didn’t believe Kostas Diamantis could get him funding for the raises and that he had done nothing improper in hiring Anastasia Diamantis, according to the report.

“However, these claims are contradicted by the extent of communications between Mr. Colangelo, Mr. Diamantis and Secretary McCaw regarding this matter, the reality that Mr. Diamantis was then the second most senior OPM official in the State , and the fact that the issue continued to resurface at the OPM despite repeated denials – the first being just weeks before Colangelo contacted Mr. Diamantis with job descriptions, then hired Anastasia days later. late,” Twardy said.

Based on the findings, Lamont instructed the state Ethics Office to give executive branch employees, including commissioners and deputy commissioners, a refresher in ethics training.

He also referred the report to the Criminal Justice Commission, which appointed Colangelo in January 2020 for the remainder of retired chief prosecutor Kevin Kane’s term. Colangelo was reappointed by the commission in 2021 for a full eight-year term.

As chairman of the commission, McDonald is now gathering information to begin the process of potentially removing Colangelo from his position. At a minimum, state law says the commission should bring formal charges against Colangelo, issue him a summons and hold a hearing to show why he shouldn’t be removed from office, McDonald said.

Colangelo could be represented by an attorney and call witnesses in his defense, McDonald said.

“We are in the process of convening a special commission meeting to receive the full scope of advice from the attorney general,” McDonald said.

It is unclear which part of the hearing would be public.

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