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NEWS > 03 November 2006

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Police corruption links to hor
VICTORIA'S horse racing industry is being investigated oversuspected links to police corruption.
The state's police corruption watchdog has gained access to records including betting accounts, the registered owners of horses, the names of members of horse racing syndicates and the numbers of shares owned by individual syndicate members.
The records were obtained as part of investigations by the Office of Police Integrity into suspected offences by corrupt police, including money laundering and "money-making enterprises with convicted criminals".

The Australian Crime Comm... Read more

 Article sourced from

Somerville News - Somerville,M
03 November 2006
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To view it in its entirity click this link.


Ethics commission charges ex-c

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone contends the cop he fired wrongly committed a homeowner to a psychiatric facility to gain control of the manís property. A union official argues the officer was fired because he inadvertently blocked an underhanded plan by city officials to seize a dilapidated property and sell it at an exaggerated price to a State agency eyeing the property as a possible location for a future Green Line stop. In the middle is the former cop, Scott Trant and his job as a Somerville Police Officer.

The charges

The State Ethics Commission charged Trant Wednesday with violating the stateís conflict of interest law by allegedly attempting to purchase property from a person seeking police assistance in connection with the land.
The commission alleges that on Feb 9, 2005, an Everett woman visited the Somerville Police Department and sought assistance from Trant, who was on duty, regarding her ex-husband. The woman told Trant about her ex-husbandís behavior and questionable mental state. The ex- husband was living in an illegal apartment in the basement of 21 Vernon Street, a dilapidated property that had been cited for code violations. The woman had agreed to have her ex-husband removed from the property and to correct any code violations as part of a January 2004 agreement with the cityís Inspectional Services Division (ISD). The ethics commission said she told Trant she had considered selling the property and had rejected an offer of $100,000. Trant allegedly offered to purchase the house, which was assessed at $438,700, for approximately $200,000.
The ethics commission alleges Trant attempted to phone ISD Feb. 9 and 10 to gain more information about the cityís action involving the house, contacted the psychiatric unit of Cambridge Hospital for information about getting someone committed, went to 21 Vernon Street to conduct a welfare check and reported to Cambridge Hospital on the ex-husbandís condition. The next day the man was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility, allegedly so that Trant could by the home at a deep discount.
Trant again offered by phone to purchase the house for $200,000 Feb. 23. He had an attorney draw up a standard purchase-and-sale agreement and gave the agreement to the woman, said the ethics commission. After the Somerville Police Department began investigating Trantís conduct, he increased his offer to $300,000. City officials alerted the state ethics commission and the FBI to the situation, Curtatone said
Trant was suspended for five days June 1 and, after two hearings, terminated from his position as a Somerville Police Officer Sept. 20 in a letter by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone.
ďOur letter to Trant indicated that not only had he abused his office and the public trust, but that he had subsequently and repeatedly lied about his actions and refused to take responsibility for them,Ē Curtatone said in a statement.

The countercharges

Patrolmen Union President Jack Leutcher has a dramatically different perspective on Trantís troubles. He claims city officials are the ones who wanted to move in on a dilapidated property for a cut rate and flip it for a hefty profit.
ďThe cityís hands are covered in mud on this one,Ē he said.
Leutcher said that in a July 24 and Aug. 3 hearing to determine Trantís fate, City Solicitor John Gannon stated he was disappointed to learn Trant was buying the home, because the location was being eyed as a possible train station and the purchase would complicate the Green Line extension.
Based on Gannonís statement, Leutcher said he believes Trantís attempt to purchase the home at 21 Vernon Street blocked an underhanded plan concocted by city officials to seize the home, sell it to a known third party at auction, and then inflate the asking price for the state, who would have to buy the home and knock it down when construction for a Green Line train station began.
Leutcher said he planned to contact the attorney generalís office and the ethics commission to report the cityís actions.
ďIf the cityís intentions were pure they should have been happy they were going to receive the fines,Ē he said. ďBut instead they were upset because Scott Trant screwed up their deal.Ē
In a 377 word post on The Somerville Newsí blog, Curtatone spokesperson Thomas P. Champion, under his own name, said the administration welcomed outside scrutiny of the case. Champion even went so far as to invite Leutcher to use his phone to call the ethics commission, the attorney general and the FBIís public corruption tip line.
Trantís civil service appeal to keep his job is pending and a public hearing on the ethics charges will be held within 90 days. He has failed to return repeated phone calls.
 

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