Judge delays ruling against former Fairfield CFO

The former Fairfield fill pile that police said contained high levels of hazardous waste.

The former Fairfield fill pile that police said contained high levels of hazardous waste.

File photo / File photo

BRIDGEPORT - A state prosecutor Tuesday told a judge that she will be expanding the allegations against Fairfield’s former chief financial officer Robert Mayer, who is accused of stealing documents relating to the town’s hazardous waste scandal from town hall. The new allegations link Mayer directly to a conspiracy to cover up the dumping of the waste, according to Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Tamberlyn Chapman.

The disclosure came as the 79-year-old Mayer was requesting a pretrial probation program, accelerated rehabilitation, that could result in the charges against him being dismissed.

“One of the reasons it took three years to collect evidence (in this case) was because of the concealment and interference from former town officials. This includes the threatening of witnesses trying to cooperate with law enforcement and the tampering and destruction of records. The information that was in Robert Mayer’s records was part of this evidence,” Chapman told Superior Court Judge Kevin Doyle during a hearing Tuesday afternoon. “What happens when the highest ranking financial officer of a town ends up stealing and helping to hide, commit theft and fraud is that the town’s citizens suffer loss, taxpayers in the town suffer financial loss.”

Chapman told the judge she intends as soon as next week to expand the allegations against Mayer in the state’s charging document linking him to the discovery of hazardous waste under the Penfield Pavilion.

As a result of the prosecutor’s disclosure, Doyle delayed ruling on Mayer’s request and instead continued the hearing to Aug. 2 so that he can get more information on the case.

“The focus right now is the serious nature of the charges,” the judge said. “That is really a critical decision for this court and that’s why the court has questions.”

“I’m encouraged that the judge was asking a lot of important questions because I think this is an important case most especially to the residents of the town of Fairfield,” Fairfield First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said after the hearing. Kupchick, who had sat in the courtroom watching the hearing with senior police officials, had sent the judge a letter urging him to deny accelerated rehabilitation for Mayer.

Mayer, of New Canaan, is accused of entering Fairfield Town Hall in the early morning hours of Jan. 16, 2020, the day after he was terminated by Kupchick, and stealing town records pertaining to Julian Development, the contractor hired to manage the fill pile, according to court documents. Mayer is also accused as of tampering with evidence in the fill case.

He is charged with 16 counts, including third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny, evidence tampering and second-degree forgery.

Mayer was one of five former town officials in former First Selectman Michael Tetreau’s administration to be charged in the case. Four other former senior Fairfield town officials, Scott Bartlett, former Fairfield Public Works superintendent, Joseph Michelangelo, former director of public works, Brian Carey, the interim public works director and town conservation director, and Emmet Hibson, the town’s former human resources director previously pleaded not guilty to conspiring to illegally dispose of hundreds of yards of highly-contaminated soil on town property in the case. Bartlett is also facing bribery charges.

They are awaiting trial.

Mayer’s lawyer, Richard Meehan, who sat with his client at a table in front of the judge, had been prepared to argue that his client was a model for accelerated rehabilitation but instead ended up defending Mayer against the prosecutor’s new allegations.

“He is not charged with conspiracy, he is not charged with larceny from a public utility, you have this expanded claim here that he is part of this conspiracy case but he has never been charged with that,” Meehan argued. He told the judge that there is no evidence his client took any public records and he welcomed the prosecutor to present evidence linking Mayer to the hazardous waste conspiracy.

Meehan and Mayer declined comment after Tuesday’s hearing.

In 2013, Julian Development was hired by the town to manage a pile of debris next to the public works garage with the prohibition that he was to accept no contaminated material there and was to eventually clean out the site.

But over the next three years, the site went from 40,000 cubic yards of material to approximately 120,000 cubic yards, covering nearly three acres. Neighbors came to call the site Mount Trashmore and subsequent tests found the pile contained high levels of PCBs, lead, and other hazardous materials, according to court documents.

The town was ordered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to clean up the site at a cost to the town of millions of dollars.