Richard Colangelo Jr.

Panel to Consider Starting Process to Fire Top Connecticut Prosecutor

Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. is accused of hiring a budget official's daughter while pressing the official for pay raises for high-ranking staffers in his office

NBC Connecticut

What to Know

  • A state oversight commission is expected to decide Wednesday whether to begin proceedings that could result in the firing of Connecticut’s top prosecutor, following an investigation that questioned his hiring of a budget official’s daughter while pressing the official for pay raises for high-ranking staffers in his office.
  • The Criminal Justice Commission, which has the sole authority to hire and fire state prosecutors, was set to meet at 3 p.m. to discuss Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr., the state’s top law enforcement official, who has denied any wrongdoing.
  • An independent investigation ordered by Gov. Ned Lamont cast “doubt on the integrity” of Colangelo’s hiring of Anastasia Diamantis in 2020 as a $99,000-per-year executive assistant and said Colangelo’s account of how he first met her lacked credibility.

A state oversight commission is expected to decide Wednesday whether to begin proceedings that could result in the firing of Connecticut’s top prosecutor, following an investigation that questioned his hiring of a budget official’s daughter while pressing the official for pay raises for high-ranking staffers in his office.

The Criminal Justice Commission, which has the sole authority to hire and fire state prosecutors, was set to meet at 3 p.m. to discuss Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr., the state’s top law enforcement official, who has denied any wrongdoing.

State law would require the panel to hold a hearing in which Colangelo would have the right to present testimony and witnesses in his defense and the commission would have to find that evidence warrants his removal. Such a hearing has never been held, and no chief state’s attorney has ever been removed from office.

Colangelo and a spokesperson for his office did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday morning.

An independent investigation ordered by Gov. Ned Lamont cast “doubt on the integrity” of Colangelo’s hiring of Anastasia Diamantis in 2020 as a $99,000-per-year executive assistant and said Colangelo’s account of how he first met her lacked credibility.

At the time, Colangelo was asking officials at the Office of Policy and Management, including then-Deputy Secretary Konstantinos “Kosta” Diamantis, Anastasia Diamantis’ father, for pay raises for himself and 15 other top-level, nonunionized prosecutors.

The prosecutors’ salaries were on track to be eclipsed by lower-level, unionized state’s attorneys. The raises also had been sought by Colangelo’s predecessor, Kevin Kane.

Konstantinos Diamantis said that while he was in office, Colangelo never got the pay raises he sought.

He and Colangelo denied to investigators that they had discussed a job for Anastasia Diamantis, who was the only person interviewed, before she was hired. But the investigation by former Connecticut U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy Jr. said there were emails showing they likely had talked about getting her a job in Colangelo’s office.

Lamont last week said he would fire Colangelo if it was up to him.

The chair of the Criminal Justice Commission, state Supreme Court Associate Justice Andrew McDonald, said in a statement last week that the investigation’s findings “raise profoundly serious questions about whether the Chief State’s Attorney can continue to discharge the duties of the constitutional office he holds.”

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Colangelo has been a state prosecutor since 1993. He worked his way up to the top prosecutor in the Stamford-Norwalk judicial district before being appointed chief state’s attorney and taking office Jan. 31, 2020.

Konstantinos Diamantis also has denied wrongdoing. His daughter has not returned messages seeking comment. She remains employed at the office, according to payroll records.

Konstantinos Diamantis, a former Democratic state representative, was placed on paid leave in October pending an investigation and the same day submitted a letter of resignation and retirement.

While the investigation report said he was placed on leave as a result of a preliminary probe into his daughter’s hiring, the discipline also came eight days after state officials received a federal grand jury subpoena for documents involving Konstantinos Diamantis and hundreds of millions of dollars in state spending.

It’s not clear exactly what the FBI is investigating. The subpoena seeks electronic communications dating to Jan. 1, 2018, involving Konstantinos Diamantis and the “planning, bidding, awarding and implementation” of school construction projects, upgrades at the state pier in New London, and hazardous material abatement projects.

Konstantinos Diamantis has said he believes he will be cleared of wrongdoing in that investigation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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