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Top Stories of 2018: Five utility officials indicted on federal corruption charges

Five officials of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative were indicted Nov. 8 on federal corruption charges for their leadership roles in CMEEC’s hosting of lavish trips to the Kentucky Derby and a luxury West Virginia golf resort and gifts for the dozens of participants.

Cooperative CEO Drew Rankin, Chief Financial Officer Edward Pryor, Norwich Public Utilities General Manager John Bilda and former CMEEC board members James Sullivan of Norwich and Edward DeMuzzio of Groton were charged with one count each of conspiracy and three counts each of theft from a program that received federal funds. Rankin and Sullivan face the same charges in a second indictment for allegedly using CMEEC funds to pay Sullivan nearly $100,000 for personal expenses. Rankin and Pryor were placed on unpaid leave by the cooperative, and Bilda is on paid leave from NPU.

CMEEC hosted the Derby trips from 2013 through 2016 for top staff, board members, their spouses and family members and guests. Board members and spouses also attended a retreat at The Greenbrier golf resort in West Virginia that included costly souvenirs.

— Claire Bessette

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