Audit of COVID relief spending in West Haven shows bonuses for city employees
WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – West Haven is in the hot seat again and some are calling on the mayor to step down.
A forensic audit reveals serious problems with city spending, including bonuses for city employees.
Late Monday afternoon, a rally was held in front of the town hall.
In a press release, the mayor of the city said she was “outraged” and described the results of the audit as “embarrassing”.
Four people have already been arrested by the federal government for stealing covid relief money now this report.
The report reveals that the city does not have enough controls and that the city’s credit card is not managed responsibly.
“There’s a bounty for his chief of staff, commissioner of public works, sidewalk inspector, I believe, got a bounty,” said Ed O’Brien, former mayor of West Haven. “I think she should quit.”
Nancy Rossi was re-elected in November amid a huge scandal.
A federal investigation led to the arrest of Michael DiMassa, a former state representative and employee of the city of West Haven.
Authorities say DiMassa, his wife and two others ripped off the city and stole about $1 million in COVID relief money.
The audit revealed large payments to several city employees.
Michael DiMassa nearly $5,000, but the public works commissioner got over $20,000.
Human Resources, the company’s attorney, and the deputy mayor all received thousands of dollars.
Louis Faugno, an independent contractor, got a $20,000 bonus, but the report says there were few details.
As people stood in front of City Hall, Mayor Rossi issued a statement saying, “I take full responsibility as Mayor, but at the same time, I pledge to our residents to bring necessary changes.”
Councilman Barry Cohen ran against Rossi. He says these scandals are damaging.
“There are developers, there are companies that already have questions about doing business with this administration if we’re going to get our finances in order, we can’t do that with this mayor,” he said. said Cohen.
Cohen says it also hurt taxpayer confidence.
He wants the council to meet this week and demands an independent investigation.
This all comes as the city of West Haven is currently under state financial scrutiny due to mismanagement.
Rossi’s full statement can be seen here:
“I carefully reviewed the audit report over the weekend which was submitted by
CohnReznick on Friday, April 1.
I understand the community’s outrage and, quite honestly, I’m just as
outraged. It’s embarrassing for West Haven. Appropriate financial controls have been a
problem and ignored in our city for decades. I made a real effort and some progress
on improving the control structure of the city, but, of course, not fast enough. I take full
responsibility as mayor, but at the same time, I am committed to our inhabitants
that I will make the necessary changes and that I will facilitate the implementation of any
additional financial controls needed to ensure such a thing never happens
Some of the issues raised in the audit report have already been addressed, and we will
draft and implement additional controls to address other identified deficiencies
soon. I have a meeting with MARB tomorrow where we will discuss an overall plan
remediation plan — not only to institute additional controls, but also to submit the
documentation to validate expenses related to COVID-19 that have not been approved for
repayment. Ultimately, I believe the city will qualify and receive reimbursement for
most expenses incurred related to COVID-19.
Chief Financial Officer Scott D. Jackson will address City Council during his next
meeting to update members on immediate action taken and my corrective action plan
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