The Board of Aldermen has voted to pay $7,500 to an accounting firm for work related to the Sharon Scanlon investigation, but not before Alderman Jack Finn objected to the idea.
The payment will go to Levitsky & Berney PC of Woodbridge for work related to documents in the investigation of Scanlon, a former city assistant finance director who recently was sent to prison for stealing $914,000 from the city.
After the aldermanic meeting, Finn — the board’s lone Democrat — said he opposed paying the CPA firm because as the city’s auditor, Levitsky & Berney should have fingered the embezzlement sooner.
“They should have discovered the problem earlier,” Finn said. “They shouldn’t be paid additional money when they should have found it earlier.”
Finn noted he also had been against hiring Levitsky & Berney as the city’s auditor once details of the Scanlon case became known.
The firm has a five-year contract to conduct annual audits on the city’s books, Finn said.
Wants forensic audit
Finn said he still is pushing for a forensic audit of the city’s finances to end any accounting issues. “That would find everything,” he said.
The payment to Levitsky & Berney was approved 7-1 by the Board of Aldermen at its Feb. 19 meeting, with all Republican members voting in favor of it.
Lauretti questions Finn’s vote
During the meeting, Mayor Mark Lauretti said Levitsky & Berney had completed the Scanlon case work based on authorization by himself and the then-finance director, “in earlier days when the Scanlon case came to light.”
The firm’s work was needed to document items related to the case, said Lauretti, a Republican.
He questioned why any alderman would oppose compensating a business for the work it had done. “I don’t know how you expect us to document things … In the business world, this is how you do things,” Lauretti said when Finn objected.
Alderman Anthony F. Simonetti asked if the cost of Levitsky & Berney’s work was covered by the city’s insurance, and Lauretti responded, “Some of it.”
Suspicious check on Scanlon’s desk
Scanlon’s scheme began to unravel in June 2012 when two co-workers found a suspicious check on her office desk at City Hall. She had been stealing the money for 10 years, according to prosecutors.
Scanlon stepped down from her municipal job that August, and was arrested by the State Police in January 2013 for first-degree forgery and robbery.
After accepting a plea agreement, she was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison by a state judge in January 2014. She now is in jail.