Veterans sue over alleged missing donations

ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) — For the second time in two weeks, employees at the States Rocky Hill veteran facility have been sued on behalf of veterans.

A suit was filed on behalf six current residents at the domicile, alleging cash and clothing donations are not going where they are meant to. “From the Governor on down, they don’t care,” said Ron Coveney, a veteran named as a plaintiff in the suit. Coveney said he, and others, have brought this information state officials and lawmakers, but it has always fallen on deaf ears.

“It doesn’t matter where we go – any official keeps dropping the ball,” said Coveney.

Commissioner Linda Schwartz, Fiscal Administrative Officer Michael Clark and Domicile Supervisor Heroline T. Lee-Standberry were named in the suit, all having varying roles in the alleged theft. The suit alleges up to $93,663 has not been given to the veterans in 2013 and some $47,197 was not given in 2012. “The defendants have diverted substantial portions of the said donations either to their personal use or to the use of other persons or agencies, thereby stealing them from the plaintiffs and the other residents.”

The suit alleges that an estimated 800 pairs of Nike sneakers were “diverted” away from veteran use.

The Governor’s office and the Department of Veteran Affairs deferred comment to the Attorney General’s office.

The Attorney General’s spokeswoman said, “The Office of the Attorney General became aware in mid-July 2014 of a complaint concerning the use of charitable funds. We initiated an inquiry and, to date, have been unable to substantiate the allegations. We have no record of receiving any prior complaints on that subject. We will respond to the lawsuit at the appropriate time in court. We would decline any further comment at this time.”

Attorney John Williams, who filed the suit, is asking for a jury trial, the same as the suit filed August 4 regarding the state’s use of “Power of Attorney” agreements.

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