Winsted official caught for drugs
ROBERT CYR, Register Citizen Staff
WINSTED - Board of Education Director of Finance Mark M. DeNicholas was arrested in Middletown last week for falsely reporting his own kidnapping in order to cover up his three-day crack-smoking binge, officials said Sunday.
A press release issued by Middletown police outlined that DeNicholas, 48, 74 Sawmill Road, Durham, had been arrested at an undisclosed time and date for interfering with a police officer and falsely reporting an incident. Police said he was not in custody Sunday.
DeNicholas is accused of falsely reporting to police that three men had kidnapped him for three days, a story which police discovered was a ruse to divert their attention from drug use, according to the police department release.
Police would not comment beyond the information found in the release.
Town officials reacted with surprise and confusion Sunday afternoon. Finance Director Henry Centrella said he was shocked over the news, declining further comment. Interim Town Manager Mark Douglass said he has worked closely with DeNicholas concerning municipal budgetary matters and noticed no hint of any problems.
"I was told he wasn’t feeling well, and that he had to take a leave of absence because of an illness," Douglass said. "But a lot of us are feeling a little sick - it’s flu season."
DeNicholas, like many officials, are experiencing pressure because of budget season, Douglass said, and may also be having problems at home.
"In all of my dealing with him, he was fine," Douglass said. "I would have no indications that anything at all was out of the ordinary."
DeNicholas could not be reached for comment. A woman answering the phone at DeNicholas’ Madison residence said he no longer lived there.
Board of Education member Kathleen O’Brien said DeNicholas had been away from work for at least a couple of weeks, but she said she didn’t know why.
Board of Education Chairman Rose Molinelli said that, on advice of the town’s legal counsel, she could not make any comments regarding the incident, or what will become of DeNicholas or his position in town.
"The school administration, with the assistance of district legal counsel, is monitoring and investigating this matter, with both all due speed and diligence," Molinelli said.
The administration needs to protect DeNicholas’ rights as an employee and the board needs to act in an impartial manner consistent with state and federal law, she said.
"While the district is monitoring and assessing the situation, we cannot comment any further upon this matter, in light of our legal responsibilities and upon advice of legal counsel," Molinelli said.
Board member Carmelina Connole said that, if the allegations against DeNicholas prove to be true, a complete audit of the Board of Education would be in order.
Mayor Maryann Welcome and Interim Superintendent of Schools Clay Krevolin did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Robert Cyr can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©The Register Citizen 2006