Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Senick Found Not Guilty On All Charges

[Background follows story]

The Hartford Courant

August 29 2006, 2:39 PM EDT

MERIDEN -- A jury this morning found former State Police Maj. Gregory Senick, who was accused of billing the state for about $11,000 in services while living practically for free in a state-owned house, not guilty on all the charges.

Senick, 49, sobbed softly while the not-guilty verdicts were being read and turned to look family members seated behind him.

Later he said he felt vindicated. He said his life has been turned upside down since the time of his arrest, the day Gov. M. Jodi Rell was sworn into office in 2004.

"I'll never be the same because of this," Senick said.

Senick was being tried on charges of first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community, second-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit both.

Senick of Columbia, who spent 28 years with the state police and had been chief of staff to former state police Commissioner Arthur Spada, is accused of billing the state for more than $11,000 in goods and services he was supposed to pay for while living at the former Altobello property in Meriden. He had first lived there for $1 a year, and then for $150 a month under terms of a lease between 1999 and 2004.

Deputy Chief State's Attorney Paul Murray said this morning that he believed in the state's case but accepted the verdict of the jury.


Cool Justice

Here's A Fin For Cop's Defense Fund
Law Tribune Newspapers
August 23, 2004

Not that attorney Jim Wade needs the money, but here's a pledge of five bucks for the defense of suspended state police Major Greg Senick.

Senick had what seemed to be a sweat deal, living on the cheap in a state-owned home for a few years. He rented a house at the Altobello School property in Meriden, for $1 a year for a few years and then $150 a year the past couple years.

Take a look at the home, though. It's near a garage where the state used to store military equipment. One trooper described the house as "a fallen-down, piece of shit structure" before Senick and his wife put thousands of dollars of their own money into rehabilitation. That's while Senick worked full-time as a senior officer and did patrols before and after work on the site. The value of Senick's labor on patrol and on call - never mind rehabilitation and maintenance -- is estimated at $9,000 to $30,000 per year.
A review of his activity on patrol for portions of 2002-04 shows he responded to 71 incidents and issued at least 20 summonses.

Even after the rehabilitation, water leaked from a shower stall through a ceiling and walls and tiles in another bathroom needed to be replaced.

The state should be thanking Senick and his wife for their service. Instead, Senick faces charges of first-degree larceny and conspiracy for letting state contractors plow snow, mow the lawn and do some plumbing, among some other tasks. He lost his job as chief of staff for the commissioner when he was arrested July 2. His career is in the crapper.

Senick's co-workers describe him as a person of "integrity, loyalty, pride, honor."

"He is one of the most devoted individuals to the Connecticut State Police that I have ever known," said a trooper who has worked with Senick under several commands over 20 years. "On the job, we say people like him bleed blue and gold."

Two days before his arrest, Senick wrote to a Department of Public Works deputy commissioner about a demand for payment the -- prior day -- for lawn care and snow removal. He said this work was done by the contractors on their own. He said if he was going to arrange for the work himself, he would have gotten a better price. Senick notes the department has acknowledged he performed some of these services himself. In another note, the department thanks Senick for his service.

The chief state's attorney hired some forensic accountant to go over the DPW books. That poor guy somehow came up with more than $10,000 allegedly pillaged by Senick, even though work supposedly done for Senick is not separated from the original reports. Maybe he used a ouija board to figure it out. There is plenty of reasonable doubt here. Similar facts didn't add up to a case two years ago, in a different political climate.

There has been no finding of wrongdoing, yet the attorney general has jumped on the bandwagon, suing a cop who has been suspended without pay. The new governor -- needing to distance herself from the perception of business as usual -- ordered the suspension without pay, overturning a decision by the public safety commissioner.

The chief state's attorney, Chris Morano, did not pursue this case lightly. Morano certainly does not want to go to war with the state police. He might have Senick on a few technical points regarding various leases. And he might be able to show that Senick's record keeping improved when he knew he was being investigated. Still, I don't think it's that strong a case.

I sort of understand why this case got as far as it did. Our "climate of corruption" must be stamped out at all costs so those in power who are yet unscathed can stay in power under some sense of cleansing. Senick is an unfortunate casualty who got in the way at the wrong time.


Anonymous said...

Who really committed a fraud of the public community?
I'd say that it was the individuals responsible for falsely arresting,prosecuting,and wasting the tax payers money by bringing Senick to trial.
It is a shame what Senick and his family were put through.
It is even a bigger shame that no one in a position to stop this false persecution had the BALLS to do so.

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