There are rejection letters and then there is the kind former East Hampton Town Manager Jeffrey O’Keefe received this week from Middlesex State's Attorney Timothy Liston.
In responding to O’Keefe’s April 19 request (see pdf) for an investigation into corruption and collusion by Police Chief Matt Reimondo and other municipal employees, Liston made clear there would not be one.
“There is no need to conduct a further investigation,” Liston wrote in a scathing May 24 letter to O’Keefe (see pdf). “We found no evidence of collusion, corruption, conspiracy, abuse of power, retaliation, fabrication, falsification, unethical or criminal conduct by East Hampton Police Chief Matthew Reimondo, Sgt. Garritt Kelley, Town Council member Susan Weintraub, the three female complainants and/or Attorney [Leon] Rosenblatt.
Liston defended the female complainants, saying each “had an independent, legitimate cause for concern.” As for the Chief pursuing those complaints, Liston pointed out Reimondo was mandated by the town’s Draft Sexual Harassment Policy to do so, and the allegations could not have been made up as a defense to O’Keefe’s attempt to remove him from the position of Chief because the complaints preceded his unforeseeable June 22 termination by two months.
Liston called O’Keefe’s attempt to remove the Chief as “totally unexpected and unprecedented.”
Following an eight-month investigation by inspector Mark Miele, the sexual harassment complaints against O’Keefe were dismissed in March. The state’s attorney’s office also concluded O’Keefe’s actions in removing the Chief did not constitute a crime.
Liston raised that investigation in the May 24 letter to O’Keefe, and admonished the former town manager for bringing up the same claims that had already been investigated.
“You raised these claims of collusion and conspiracy during Inspector Miele’s investigation,” Liston wrote. “You knew that Inspector Miele would have to follow up on these claims in order to do a fair and thorough investigation. … I considered those claims and found them to be without merit.”
Liston summed it up by saying “Reformulating your claims in a letter released to the media does not change my decision.”
O’Keefe also singled out town council member Sue Weintraub in his request, saying she “ultimately led the public crusade to ‘crucify me’ openly in the public.”
Liston would have none of it, characterizing it as “grandiose and offensive.”
“Town Council member Weintraub fulfilled her responsibility to raise legitimate public concerns over the Chief’s removal and the process followed,” he said. “It would appear that the voters of East Hampton and the FOIA validated her actions.”
O'Keefe, who is living in Gilbert, Ariz., resigned in September with a $170,000 severance package.
Liston ended by chiding O’Keefe, saying his assertion that he had been “coerced into a voluntary resignation” as a contradiction and that O’Keefe, citing a “higher moral standing” after Bourbon Street, suggests he could benefit from additional sensitivity training.
In an email statement obtained by The Middletown Press, O’Keefe said he found Liston’s letter “both unprofessional and condescending.”