denies he had inside information
Mike Saewitz, Register Staff July 27, 2000
On the fifth day of an injunction hearing over Sgt. Kevin Hale’s appointment as Ansonia’s police chief, Hale denied Wednesday that he knew Chief James McGrath was retiring before McGrath’s press conference in late May.
Lt. Michael Abbels is seeking an injunction, claiming Mayor James Della Volpe unfairly passed him over for the job. Abbels claims Della Volpe changed the job requirements to appoint Hale, the brother of one of Della Volpe’s campaign advisers, Gary Hale.
Kevin Hale testified that he had a "casual conversation" with his brother in the spring about the possibility of McGrath’s retirement and Hale’s succession as chief, but nothing beyond that.
"Rumors had been flying around annually," Hale said. "There were rumors and speculation I would succeed the chief in 1995."
Abbels’ attorney, William Barnes, said he will only need "a couple of hours" to show Judge George W. Ripley II that Della Volpe made an "irregular appointment."
Barnes showed his strategy when he established that Linda Gentile, the director of administrative affairs who helped change the job qualifications at Della Volpe’s request, is the first cousin of Gary Hale’s wife.
Also under Barnes’ questioning, Kevin Hale said he helped hand out fliers for Della Volpe’s campaign.
But Richard Volo, attorney for Kevin Hale, insisted political involvement has nothing to do with the matter. "It’s just some fuel (Barnes) is trying to throw in the fire," Volo told the judge.
Seymour Police Chief Michael Metzler testified last week that Della Volpe discouraged him from applying because he had promised the job to someone else.
Della Volpe disputed that, denying in testimony that he told Metzler he promised the job to anyone.
Kevin Hale testified Wednesday that he dropped by his brother’s house one day, during the interview process, and found McGrath and Gary Hale making "small talk. " But in the five minutes he was there, Kevin Hale said, the two did not discuss the chief’s job.
Gary Hale told the Register no promise was made between the mayor and himself or his brother.
The hearing will continue today at 10 a.m.