A Hartford Superior Court judge has ruled that a former City of Stamford employee convicted of embezzling thousands of dollars from the city can keep his pension.
In a 14-page ruling issued on July 7, Judge Jane S. Scholl ruled in favor of James J. Santorella in the case brought by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen. Jepsen sought to revoke Santorella's annual $63,000 pension following Santorella's 2011 first-degree larceny conviction, according to The Hour.
Jepsen had sued Santorella, using a 2008 statute that allows the attorney general to seek to revoke or reduce the pension of any public official or state or municipal employee who is convicted of a crime that is related to their office. According to The Hour, the revocation of the convicted employee's pension is based on five factors. Among them, the amount of monetary loss suffered by the agency in question and the severity of the crime.
The judge ruled that Santorella's conduct didn't meet the standards of the state statute because he already made full amount of restitution and his conduct did not meet the level of severity of the conduct that the statute was designed to target.
According to The Hour: "Although the court does not diminish the seriousness of the breach of public trust committed by Santorella, considering all of the statutory factors as well as those that this court believes justice requires, the court concludes that the State's request that Santorella's pension should be revoked should be denied," Scholl wrote in her decision.
Santorella's attorney Stephan Seeger, to The Hour that the revocation of Santorella's pension "simply an excessive punishment under the circumstances" and praised the judge's decision.
The full Hour story can be found here.