Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another Skeleton In Blumenthal’s Closet


After announcing his availability for a U.S. Senate position to be vacated at the end of Chris Dodd’s term, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal -- who has no plans to leave office during his campaign – mentioned several times in press appearances his ambition to serve the people of Connecticut in the U.S. Senate aggressively and energetically as he had while attorney general.

It is not too far fetched to imagine that the two former co-owners of New England Pellet (NEP), put out of business by Blumenthal two years ago on a charge of having committed or having intending to commit a fraudulent transfer, might wish the attorney general had been a little more attentive to the circumstances in their case. Less aggression and more energy might have been useful.

The fraudulent transfer charge was the SOLE charge, made in a sworn affidavit signed by Blumenthal’s “investigator” in the case, that allowed Blumenthal to attach all the business machinery of NEP, effectively putting the company out of business. That affidavit was presented in an ex parte proceeding to a judge who allowed the attachment of assets based on sworn statements in the affidavit. An ex parte proceeding is one in which an attorney or prosecutor may present charges before a judge in the absence of the alleged wrongdoer, not able in a timely manner to answer the charges brought against him.

Depositions taken by NEP attorney Jim Oliver show, among other failings of the NEP investigation, the “investigator” in the case had stated under oath he had no evidence at the time he signed the affidavit, or after, showing that NEP did or was about to fraudulently transfer assets, a fatal admission.

One of the principals of NEP recently swore out an arrest complaint with the Hartford police against Blumenthal’s “investigator” on a charge of perjured testimony. The “investigator” retired from the attorney general’s employ for health reasons. His responsibilities were taken up by another “investigator” in Blumenthal’s office who testified under oath in yet another deposition that he did not think it necessary to advise the attorney general to withdraw the flawed affidavit.

Relevant excerpts from the depositions may be found on the blog site, Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State. A blog entrée that treats the subject of this column in much greater detail, “Blumenthal, The Devil And The Details,” can be accessed by anyone with a computer, including Blumenthal or any investigative reporter who may be want to put to the attorney general the following questions:

1) Is Blumenthal aware that his “investigators,” and some of his assistant attorneys general, do not know that affidavits must be sworn by persons who have direct rather than hearsay knowledge of the events and charges they are reporting in their affidavits?

2) Does he know that his “investigator” acknowledged under oath in a sworn deposition that he never had formal training in the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, did not know what the act was and had never even read the act?

3) Does Blumenthal know, from a careful reading of e-mails between NEP and its supplier of pellets, that the supplier a) was under contract to supply a sufficient number of pellets to NEP to satisfy the orders of its Connecticut customers, b) that the supplier violated its contracts and agreements made to NEP via e-mail and shorted NEP -- as a result of which the company could not supply pellets to its Connecticut customers, c) that the supplier, according to e-mails available to Blumenthal’s “investigator,” offered to supply NEP pellets sufficient to fulfill the gap it had created by shorting NEP -- if NEP would surrender to it the New York and New Jersey territories developed by NEP? None in Blumenthal’s office dared called this extortion. It seems more than likely that they sued the wrong people.

4) Does Blumenthal know that his “investigator” was not the author of the affidavit he had signed under oath?

5) Does Blumenthal know that his “investigator” acknowledged, under oath in his deposition, that the affidavit was authored by the assistant attorney general Blumenthal requested to attend the deposition as the “investigator’s” legal representative?

6) Does Blumenthal know that the attorney for NEP has asked his office to withdraw its fatally defective affidavit?

If Blumenthal concurs that the affidavit is indeed faulty, after scrutinizing the facts in this case more circumspectly than he had in his initial highly misleading press release, WHEN will he fire everyone associated with the case who mishandled it?
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