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Contractor files complaint against selectman in North Stonington

By Anna Isaacs

Publication: The Day

Published April 22. 2014 4:00AM   Updated April 23. 2014 12:23AM
Businessman takes offense to Testa's comments in oil tank controversy

North Stonington - Robert White, the son and employee of a local contractor, has filed a complaint against Selectman Bob Testa for publicly accusing Richard E. White & Sons of lacking the proper permits to remove an underground oil tank from firehouse property.

The complaint filed with the town addresses comments Testa made at the March 11 Board of Selectmen meeting. After questioning Richard White about the removal of the tank, a job the company completed in January, Testa said that Richard White "wasn't licensed to perform the work."

White's company has been embroiled in a controversy over who owned the actual oil and how it was disposed, with Testa contending that it was mishandled, while White, members of the fire company, and other town officials have said they handled it properly.

"You need a household contractor's license to remove household oil," Testa said at the meeting, adding that White later hired another contractor to dispose of the oil that had been removed.

The complaint says that at subsequent selectmen meetings, Testa insisted that there is a particular registration from the Department of Consumer Protection that White would have needed to remove the oil. Robert White wrote that a representative from the Department of Consumer Protection has since contradicted Testa's statement, attaching an email exchange with Richard M. Hurlburt of the Occupational and Professional Licensing Division to his complaint.

The license Testa originally mentioned doesn't exist, White wrote, and the department's regulations on residential improvement don't apply to this case. Testa had charged that White needed a home improvement registration.

The complaint charges that in making his comments at the March 11 meeting, Testa "downgraded" Richard E. White & Sons and asked the town take legal and disciplinary action against him.

"This is not professional at all for a person who is in a government title without having all his facts and correct info before accusing someone," the complaint states.

First Selectman Nicholas Mullane said there is no mechanism for the town to discipline Testa and the Whites would have to take civil action against him. Testa could not be reached for comment Monday.

a.isaacs@theday.com

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