EAST HAVEN — A town councilman Tuesday said he was upset to belatedly learn that Board of Education Business Manager James Farrell was charged by the state banking commissioner with violating several Connecticut banking laws.
During Tuesday night’s council meeting, Councilman Nicholas Palladino again raised the issue of the Board of Education’s $918,675 deficit for fiscal year 2015-16, asking how this could have happened. Palladino noted he has been asking this question “for the past six months” without getting an answer from the other council members.
Before the meeting began, Palladino said in an interview that he learned just last week from a constituent that Connecticut Banking Commissioner Jorge Perez in July issued a consent order containing serious allegations about Farrell’s violations of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Farrell could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Palladino, without mentioning Farrell and the consent order, said during the council meeting: “Did they come up with an answer about the $918,000 I’ve been asking about for six months? I’m not getting an answer from anybody.”
Board Chairman Fred Parlato told Palladino, “You should ask the Board of Education about this. We have no control over it.”
Parlato added, “If you feel they’ve done something incorrect, you have to go to them first for an answer, then come back to us. You keep on asking us to do something that we have no authority to do.”
But Palladino countered, “Where is the accountability for the taxpayers’ money?”
“You keep on beating the same drum, Nick,” Parlato said. “You’re asking us to do something we have no authority for.”
Parlato then moved on to the next item on the agenda.
Before the meeting, Palladino, a Democrat, said he believes his question is not being addressed because the council is controlled by Republcans.
In the preliminary statement of the consent order, Perez said his office investigated Farrell’s actions while he was working for the New Haven County Credit Union. Perez said the investigation revealed Farrell violated provisions of state banking law.
Perez said Farrell violated three state laws, “each of which would form the basis for removing Farrell from office.”
Perez also said Farrell agreed to sanctions against him, including paying $10,000 to the state as a civil penalty.
Another provision of the sanctions specified Farrell may not, without Perez’s consent, “hold any position as a director, officer, employee or independent contractor with any bank, Connecticut credit union or federal credit union.”
A town of East Haven source who asked not to be named expressed concern that “the Board of Education’s business manager was under investigation by the commisioner of banking and signed a consent order saying he violated three banking regulations and was fired from his job at the credit union and had to pay restitution.”
Contact Randall Beach at 203-680-9345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.