STAMFORD — During brief appearances before a Stamford judge, four former Stamford police officers charged with bilking the police department’s extra-duty program made not guilty pleas to their felony charges on Thursday morning.
In their second court appearance since their arrest, the four let their lawyers do the talking. They are scheduled to return to court Aug. 12 when discussions about restitution may begin in open court.
The former officers, David Sileo, Paul Pavia, Mark Ligi and Christopher Broems, are charged with submitting a total of 643 false payroll vouchers that amount to $187,618, nearly all of it paid by the natural-gas affiliate of Eversource, the utility company that regularly hires a large number of extra-duty officers.
Their arrest warrants reveal that the officers, who had worked in the department’s Central Hiring Office, got caught by an in-house audit that showed the four had collected an inordinate amount of cancellation fees.
Police union rules mandate that contractors be billed for four hours of an officer’s time if they cancel a job later than 10 p.m. the previous day. The warrants allege that the former officers filled out the vouchers with their own names after jobs were canceled. Since the jobs were not assigned to an officer before they were canceled, Eversource should not have been charged for the four hours’ pay, the warrants state.
According to the Police Department’s website, officers are paid at a rate of $68 per hour for extra-duty work, and the city also receives an additional 16 percent administrative fee. A memorandum of understanding attached to the city’s contract with the police union stipulates that all jobs controlling traffic at road work sites and providing security at public gatherings shall first be offered to police officers.
The warrants allege that Sileo, 56, who’d been a Stamford police officer for 29 years, was improperly paid $64,976 by Eversource between January 2014 and his reassignment on March 25, 2019.
According to the warrants, Pavia, 53, also with the department for 29 years, falsely charged Eversource $56,000 in cancellation fees for the same period.
Ligi, 55, who was with the department for 33 years, is charged with falsely collecting $33,084 from Eversource.
Broems, 51, who spent 21 years with the department, is charged with collecting $7,680 in false cancellation fees from Eversource and $480 from an upstate contractor, Erland Construction, for a total of $8,160.
Philip Russell, who represents Broems said he could not speak specifically to the allegations at this point.
“Sgt. Broems had many friends and many detractors during his very busy career as a police officer. But what no one disputes — he was always hard working, he was always honest, he was always proactive and he cared deeply about his work,” Russell said. “So, I hope he will be judged fairly during this crisis.”Read Full Article