Anthony Falzarano, Democrat, former mayor of Putnam, Connecticut, has been accused of sexual harassment by a former town administrative employee. The allegations are detailed in a report by the Town’s Attorney, Halloran & Sage LLP, which covers a period between 2014 and 2016, and includes 56 pages of documents which purport to be communications between Falzarano and the town employee. This time frame covers the period in which Falzarano was the Mayor of Putnam.
These allegations came to light when in September of 2018, Denise Roireau, the town administrator, sent a letter to Putnam Town Administrator, Mary Colorio, stating she was not planning on returning to work and leveled four allegations against Falzarano and the town. These allegations included sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, pay inequity, and duties outside of her job description. Roireau sought a financial settlement of $60,000.00 based on these allegations. The town sent the matter to its attorney seeking advice on how to proceed.
This information became public through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request initiated by WINY Radio, also located in Putnam. The documents that were made public include the investigation by Halloran & Sage, LLP into the claims made by Roireau. Although most of the communications appear to be from the former mayor to Ms. Roireau, there are some responses made by the accuser in response to Falzarano. As of this article, it appears that WINY has not reported on this story.
It is noted in the ‘First Interim Report” that the legal team compared handwriting samples of both Falzarano and Roireau, to determine whether or not the handwriting matched documents submitted by Roireau. The town’s attorneys acknowledged that the legal team were not handwriting experts, but from a layperson’s perspective the handwriting appeared to match.
This “First Interim Report” also contains the communications that Roireau claims are between her and Falzarano. These full reports and these communications can be found as an attachment/link in this article.
50 Shades of Gray
In one handwritten letter, Falzarano appears to have offered her $100.00 to “purchase lady’s (sic) garments.” The note goes on to specify that they should be panties, fishnet and see through as well as colors the writer would like them to be. It further goes on to state that these will be for a role-playing situation in which the author wants to be the “D” dominant and her the “S” submissive. In the note, the writer also offers to play reversed roles, but he is more interested in the dominant role. “I dominate you like 50 Shades or whatever you desire. I am up for anything sexual with you. No questions, no apology. Just two people that enjoy each other.” Also, in the note is a section which states that after a few drinks, “You change into your “D” clothes – come out + we begin A (sic) little bondage, a little spanking, you are the male + I the female so dominate me. You have a vibrator, a little KY + let’s play.”
There are other graphic references in the documents procured in the FOIA. There are several references to “the Red Bag” and needing a “Red Day.” Other references to the “Red Bag” points to its location as being within the town offices.
The majority of the handwritten notes and emails are focused on setting up dates to meet. Falzarano presumably would list several different days and was demanding in that she should choose one of them. In one note he appears to berate Roireau for coming up with excuses of why she couldn’t meet and chastises her for having to miss because of family obligations.
One of the documents submitted by Ms. Roireau reportedly has the former mayor telling her that he did “a big favor for you by calling Danny. Do me a favor in return.” There was no mention of who “Danny” may be and what role he played in the relationship between the parties. There has been some speculation as to “Danny’s” identity, but we have not been able to confirm this information.
In a couple of the notes to Roireau, Falzarano advises her to be sure that she shreds these documents.
These documents appear to be one-sided conversations. It appears Roireau chose to only provide information that shows what she claims is Falzarano’s communication to her, but there are numerous circumstances where he is responding to notes that she withheld from the investigation. In one case the former mayor presumably wrote, “We aren’t 16 anymore making out in the back seats of a car are not enough.”
The “Second Interim Report” into this investigation by Gregory Gagne, of Halloran & Sage, LLP, states that Falzarano was interviewed with his attorney, and that he denied some of the communications between him and Roireau. However, Falzarano also acknowledged some of the correspondence, but dismissed them as “tomfoolery.” Falzarano also stated, when pressed on the more “explicit communication,” that Ms. Roireau either gave him or suggested to him that he obtain a copy of the book “50 Shades of Gray.”
Halloran & Sage cited state law that requires municipal employees to file sexual harassment claims within six months of the incident, and that this incident was past the legal limit. The town’s attorney attempted to arrange for an interview with Ms. Roireau but were unsuccessful. As such, the town’s attorneys recommended not making a settlement with Ms. Roireau.
As stated in the Halloran & Sage reports, Falzarano admitted unspecified notes were written by him. Also, of note is the fact that the communications are apparently one sided. In speaking with legal experts, we learned that there would be more needed to proceed with a lawsuit if it weren’t already past the statute of limitations. The town has most likely incurred significant costs in having this matter investigated by the legal team but was also potentially open to much larger financial exposure.
Link to full Freedom of Information Act Report