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 Meriden officials say documents were given to grand jury on time

MERIDEN - The city provided a federal grand jury with copies of police and housing division records earlier this month in accordance with an FBI subpoena, although it was unable to produce all of the information requested.

City Attorney Deborah Moore said all documents were delivered to FBI Special Agent William Aldenberg before the Dec. 7 deadline specified in the subpoena.

Among the papers handed over were a copy of the city's housing code, the organizational structure of the Housing Division, a list of members on the Neighborhood Rehabilitation Advisory Board, and sections of the city code relating to the advisory board.

Records detailing police and housing division activity at two houses, at 51 View St. and 20-28 Jackson St, were also included. The houses belong to Susan Cossette, the wife of Police Chief Jeffry Cossette, and the chief's son, Officer Evan Cossette.

However, Moore said the city was unable to meet one of the requests included in the subpoena, which asked for "all documents that set forth the policy and procedures of the Housing Division for responding to allegations of harassment, intimidation or discriminatory treatment." Moore said the Housing Division has no written policy to deal with such complaints or allegations.

"It doesn't exist. There's nothing responsive to that request," she said.

The grand jury convened in April to hear testimony on allegations that Chief Cossette and members of the police department's command staff covered up or failed to adequately respond to cases of misconduct by Evan Cossette.

U.S. Department of Justice officials have declined to comment on the investigations, and it is unclear what spurred the latest subpoena.

Federal lawsuits against Evan Cossette, his father, the department and the city have also been filed by three men - Pedro Temich, Robert Methvin and Joseph Bryans - all of whom claim to have been brutalized by Evan Cossette.

Previous subpoenas from the grand jury had requested police records, including documentation of internal investigations, Taser usage and files related to cases at the Westfield Meriden mall and Club 2041, a former Berlin Turnpike brothel and strip club shut down after a 2009 raid. Development and Enforcement Director Dominick Caruso, who oversees the Housing Division, said that complaints against housing inspectors are either lodged with him or the Neighborhood Rehabilitation Advisory Board, and are then handled internally.

If a claim against an employee is criminal in nature, it is forwarded to the police, he said, although he could not recall any criminal allegations against department members.

divers@record-journal.com

 


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