You may recall that our former First Selectman Margaret Wholean filed an FOI complaint against the BOE while she was First Selectman. She then turned over documents received from that FOI request to Preston Shultz with a WINK, WINK… So, our First Selectman was using her position in the Town Hall to feed documents to Shultz as ‘evidence‘ for CPS litigations out of her First Selectman office. This fact was Shultz’s own testimony at the June 6 2008 FOI Commission hearing.
What was the ’smoking gun’ that Ms. Wholean supplied to Shultz? The ‘smoking gun’ was two pages of hand-written notes taken by Lindsay Paul while attending a meeting at the State Board of Education (a well-known subversive organization) in Hartford several years ago. Lindsay is known by her colleagues on the BOE for her copius note-taking (a sign of competency and professionalism). On the second page about 2/3’s down it was clear that a section of the notes was redacted because the lines on the ‘xeroxed’ paper were not there. This is what Wholean was excited about WINK, WINK when she turned over this document to Shultz WINK, WINK. What subversive activity was Lindsay trying to cover up?
To get back to the other missing evidence for a moment, Shultz’s demands for documents included all bills from Shipman & Goodman. The bills contained references to drafts of memos and opinions provided by the lawfirm to the BOE. But none of those documents were handed over to Shultz. This was Shultz’s evidence that documents were withheld. The Commissioner quickly grasped that the ‘evidence‘ that was missing was protected by client-attorney privilege and his body language started to change in the direction of Skelley and his client.
Then both Dr. Baran and Ms. Paul testified that the smoking gun was two sets of notes, the first part taken during attendance at the subversive State BOE meeting and the second part taken from a meeting at Shipman and Goodwin right after the State BOE meeting (this is on the record). The purpose of the second meeting to meet with Ann Littlefield was stated during the course of the testimony.
I have no knowledge of the purpose of the second meeting that day at Shipman & Goodwin but Ann Littlefield was the attorney that represented the BOE against Powers who had sued the school system to get money to educate their son at taxpayer expense at the Rectory.
It seems obvious, however, from the testimony that memos from attorneys and notes taken in meetings with attorneys are subject to attorney-client privilege and that the BOE had blocked out the notes taken at Shipman & Goodman which dealt with their effort to protect the town against the frivolous lawsuits by this well contected group which clearly includes Ms. Wholean.
The hearing came to an abrupt end after Attorney Shapiro cross-examined Preston Shultz, and I paraphrase from memory: ‘Do you know what attorney-client privilege is?’ Shultz hesitantly responded ‘Well that’s what we are here to find out’ . The pregnant question in the room was ‘what is Skelley getting paid for?’
Powers was quoted in the February 23rd 2007 Villager article “My bigger concern as a taxpayer, is that the town is spending all of this money on legal defense and this is how the lawyers conduct themselves.” This is a ludicrous statement because the primary reason that the BOE has had to meet with lawyers is to defend the town against the continuous legal attacks from Powers, Shultz, and Wholean. And these defenses are paid for by none other than Woodstock taxpayers.
Here’s the FOI Commission’s Proposed decision (relevant portions) to be settled on September 10:
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