Police union leader intends to sue town, chief, department
Updated 4:57 pm, Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Citing violations of his civil and employment rights, the head of the New Canaan police union has notified the town in a letter sent earlier this month of his intention to sue the town, the police department and Chief Leon Krolikowski.
The letter, sent on behalf of New Canaan Police Sgt. John Milligan by his lawyer, Bethel-based Kenneth McDonough, to First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Krolikowski in early March, said Milligan has endured "relentless harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of his civil rights."
Milligan is president of New Canaan Police Union Local 1575, which represents 46 unionized rank-and-file officers, including sergeants and lieutenants. Krolikowski and Capt. Vincent DeMaio and Capt. John DiFederico are not in the union.
The letter continued, "Specifically, Sgt. Milligan has been subjected to foundationless allegations of wrongdoing and wrongful and egregious remarks being made, behind his back, by the chief of police and others of higher rank."
Town officials, however, have said the lawsuit is Milligan's response to his being investigated internally in the department on serious allegations, and the town's intention to subject Milligan to a disciplinary hearing before New Canaan's police commission.
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McDonough's letter also said Krolikowski had "interjected himself" into an internal department investigation against Milligan, demonstrating Krolikowski's "personal animus," against Milligan.
Both McDonough and Milligan declined to comment further on the substance of his alleged treatment for this article.
In response, an attorney representing the town, Floyd Dugas, issued a statement on behalf of the town rebutting the alleged mistreatment and calling the lawsuit "baseless."
The letter said the threatened litigation was an attempt to quash an internal investigation by DeMaio that was initiated in September 2014. DeMaio's investigation found "serious" issues and precipitated the founding of a police trial board before the town's police commission to consider discipline against Milligan.
"The purpose of the Trial Board process is to allow the Police Commission to consider all evidence and testimony related to the violation as alleged," Dugas' letter said. " These hearings will occur in the near future."
Milligan, as president of the police union, has been involved in a war of words with Krolikowski over an impasse negotiating a new police contract.
Last summer, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi filed a prohibited practice complaint with the Department of Labor claiming Local 1575 had filed "numerous and frivolous" grievances to pressure the town to accede to union contract proposals.
That complaint didn't number the total of grievances, but among the grievances filed by the union was one accusing Krolikowski of illegally directly discussing with the union membership a contract proposal, circumventing a union negotiation team. The chief maintained he did nothing wrong.
Mallozzi's complaint, filed last August, further alleged that Milligan had told town officials "that things could get nasty," if the contract was not settled.
Milligan at the time denied making the comment.