Town, Julian go into arbitration as criminal case presented to States Attorney’s Office
FAIRFIELD — As the town and Julian Enterprises go behind closed doors for an arbitration hearing, police have confirmed they are in consultation with the States Attorney’s Office regarding a criminal investigation into the fill pile at Richard White Way.
The investigation, Police Chief Lyddy has previously said, was started when police received complaints from town residents about the volume of material at the pile and the excessive truck traffic traveling in the beach area.
The criminal investigation would be submitted to the State’s Attorney’s Office for review if it merited probable cause, Lyddy has said, a move that occurred as early as mid-April according to an opinion column in The Day, a New London-based newspaper.
An opinion column in The Day reported that police “have presented a case to the state’s attorney and expect to hear back within a few weeks.”
“It’s taking a little longer than usual. It’s a far more complex case than usual,” Lyddy is quoted in the column.
In response to questions from the Citizen, Lyddy confirmed that police “have an active investigation and are in consultation with the States Attorney’s Office.”
A request for comment sent to Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane’s office was redirected to State’s Attorney John Smriga, the Fairfield States Attorney.
As of press time, Smriga was not immediately available for comment. In previous reporting, Smriga has said he could not comment on a pending investigation.
The arbitration hearing, typically a closed-door affair according to Town Attorney Stanton Lesser, is scheduled for June 6-7. Former Connecticut Superior Court judge from 1988-2011, Judge Elaine Gordon, was selected as the arbitrator.
Lesser, on June 5, said that a court reporter had been hired for the hearing. The members of the Board of Selectmen can attend the arbitration hearing if they so choose.
Back in April, First Selectman Mike Tetreau confirmed that the arbitration hearing between the town and Julian would not be open to the public.
As of press time, Thomas Cotter, an attorney representing Julian, did not respond to a request for comment.
The legal back and forth between the town and the property management company goes all the way back to May 2017 when the town sued for breach of contract, claiming that Julian had not reduced the amount of construction debris at the Richard White Way fill pile.
Shortly thereafter, Julian countersued for defamation.
The two lawsuits were withdrawn in November as both parties chose to go into an arbitration hearing, a move that garnered criticism and pushback among members of the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance.
An attempt by the town’s counsel to restore the case to the court docket in late January was turned down by Judge Barbara Ellis and the arbitration hearing was rescheduled for June.