Hearing involves claim against former Mohegan chairman

In recent years, Kevin Brown had emerged as the public face of the Mohegan Tribe, speaking before the state legislature, appearing at tribal and community events, hailing Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s earnings on conference calls with investors and helping plant the tribal company’s flag in South Korea.

A retired Army colonel, he was inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame this past December.

Two months later, on Feb. 8, Brown abruptly resigned as chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, which doubles as Mohegan Gaming’s management board, and early last month left the two panels altogether. Sources have told The Day that his departure followed an independent investigation into allegations that he had violated the tribe’s code of ethics, information that neither the tribe nor Brown has confirmed.

On Saturday, responding to questions, Brown defended his actions in a domestic dispute involving his former girlfriend, and said two individuals whom he declined to name have sought to slander him.

The Day asked Brown about a July 15, 2018, incident that led Amy Caron Perkins of Norwich to file a complaint with the state Freedom of Information Commission in a bid to obtain a police report of the incident. Testimony provided during a July 2 commission hearing in the matter indicates Norwich police were prepared to arrest Brown on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge after investigating Perkins’ claim that he broke into her home to retrieve belongings.

The commission attorney who conducted the hearing, Paula Pearlman, has recommended that police provide the report of their investigation to Perkins, who testified that she chose not to press charges against Brown “out of fear” of him.

Had Perkins wanted Brown arrested, police would have gone to a prosecutor and asked a judge to sign a warrant for Brown's arrest, Patrick Daley, the Norwich police chief, testified.

“It is true, as indicated in the FOI notice, that I removed my personal property from Ms. Perkins home on or about July 15,” Brown wrote in an email to The Day. “The items were high-value and left unsecured outside the residence. Two days later I received a call from the Norwich Police who made it very clear that I had done nothing wrong by taking possession of my own property, but they asked that I coordinate with them to return and gather any remaining items. I did exactly that.”

A Mohegan tribal spokesman responded Friday to a request for comment on Brown’s involvement in the 2018 incident.

“If that is the case, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on a matter between two individuals and a municipal police force,” Chuck Bunnell, the tribe’s chief of staff, wrote in an email.

Bunnell also was asked about the tribe’s role, if any, in Brown’s nomination for induction into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame.

The tribe did not nominate Brown, Bunnell wrote.

Brown and eight other veterans, including former Stonington First Selectman Donald Maranall, who served in the Navy, were inducted in a ceremony that took place in the atrium of the state Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Then-Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman attended the event.

Interviewed by phone Friday, Thomas Saadi, commissioner of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, said inductees are primarily honored for their post-military contributions. He said the commission had no knowledge of whether the tribe was investigating Brown for any reason last year. He said he did recall the commission being contacted in regard to Brown’s suitability for induction.

“We may have received a call or a complaint of some kind, and staff looked into it and it was nothing definitive,” Saadi said. “It was nothing official we could rely on, just a complaint of one individual without corroboration. We don’t have the capacity to investigate. ... As I understand it, there was nothing beyond this complaint.”

He could not say what the complaint was about or who made it.

“We don’t rely on speculation or unsubstantiated allegations,” he said. “If something came or comes to my attention, I would have an obligation to look into it.”

Told about Saadi’s comments, Brown responded Saturday.

“The Commissioner’s statement and characterization seem to clarify the nature of all of this; that there is a sustained effort — motivated by the personal and professional grievances of 2 specific people — to slander me,” he wrote in an email. “At this point, I think the public can recognize all of this for what it is, and it's a shame that it's newsworthy.”

Brown declined to identify the two people.

'Evidentiary' testimony

During the Freedom of Information Commission’s July 2 evidentiary hearing, Perkins, who declined to comment for this story, testified that she called police upon returning from an out-of-town trip and discovering her home had been entered and items removed.

Perkins testified that the items, including a trailer parked outside the house and a motorcycle taken from her attached garage, all belonged to Brown, who had moved out about a month earlier.

A publicly available recording of the hearing indicates that Perkins; Daley, the Norwich police chief; and Michael Driscoll, the City of Norwich’s corporation counsel, testified. Two other members of the police department, Anthony Gomes and Corey Poore, also were present.

“We responded for a larceny, criminal trespass complaint, officers arrived and investigated,” Daley testified while being questioned by Driscoll. “Suspect was quickly developed from input from Miss Caron (Perkins) ... and we interviewed the suspect who did agree that he had taken the items ... at which time Miss Caron then said she no longer wished to pursue criminal charges. We documented the incident should matters change and we then left.”

Testimony indicates that it was the police’s understanding that Brown “had given up standing in the residence” and that Perkins had clearly posted “no trespassing” signs on her property. Perkins testified that Brown had earlier agreed to schedule a time to return for his belongings and that she would arrange to have a mediator present at such time.

Driscoll, addressing Perkins, said that under state statutes, because she didn’t press charges, the allegations she raised against Brown are “uncorroborated ... for purposes of police maintaining records going forward.”

Perkins testified that the police who came to her home knew she was afraid of Brown.

At another point, Driscoll asked Daley if the police department was prepared to prepare a warrant for Brown’s arrest, go to a prosecutor and then to a judge.

“Most definitely,” Daley answered.

“You felt at the time there was probable cause to do that?” Driscoll asked.

“Most definitely,” the police chief said.

In her proposed decision, dated July 31, Pearlman, the hearing officer, found police failed to prove that the record of their investigation contains “uncorroborated allegations.” She recommended that police provide Perkins with an unredacted copy of the record, free of charge.

Driscoll said Friday that he and Daley had not reached a final decision about whether to contest Pearlman’s recommendations.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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