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New London Housing Authority suspends finance manager

New London — The New London Housing Authority has suspended its finance and human resources manager and plans an internal investigation into housing authority finances.

Members of the housing authority’s board of commissioners were informed of the suspension of Patty DiGioia-Evrett in a confidential email obtained by The Day. The suspension was prompted by the revelation on Monday that DiGioia-Evrett is the focus of an investigation into the alleged misuse use of credit cards in her capacity as a volunteer board member at the Montville Housing Authority.

State police are investigating whether DiGioia-Evrett and another former board member, Mike Brower, misused Montville Housing Authority funds for personal purchases at places like Amazon, Walmart and BJ’s Wholesale Club. DiGioia-Evrett resigned as a board member of the Montville Housing Authority last month.

DiGioia-Evrett did not return a call seeking comment for this report.

Kolisha Kedron, executive director of the New London Housing Authority, said in her email to commissioners that DiGioia-Evrett was placed on unpaid administrative leave without access to New London Housing Authority records, software, credit cards or bank accounts. The housing authority is reviewing credit card statements and plans an audit to report on any findings and internal controls to prevent fraud, the email reads.

The New London Housing Authority owns and manages three state-subsidized housing complexes dedicated to seniors and people with disabilities: George Washington Carver Apartments at 202 Colman St., Gordon Court at 11 Gordon Court off Williams Street, and Riozzi Court at 1-46 Riozzi Court off Colman Street. It also operates the federally subsidized Williams Park Apartments at 127 Hempstead St.

Kedron, reached by phone Wednesday, confirmed an ongoing investigation but declined to comment on the status of DiGioia-Evrett, who has worked with the housing authority for the past six years. She said the investigation was a measure being taken to protect the interests of the housing authority and its tenants.

Kedron was hired in 2018 when the New London Housing Authority contracted with Imagineers LLC for property management services. Kedron and Matthew Anderson, director of rental management for Imagineers, both expressed disappointment in the leak of the confidential email discussing personnel issues. Anderson said he would soon be handling executive director duties while Kedron is out on maternity leave.

Candace Devendittis, chairwoman of the authority’s board of commissioners, declined to comment.

Commissioner Nancy Cole, reached by phone Thursday, declined to discuss the personnel issue involving DiGioia-Evrett but said she was under the impression DiGioia-Evrett was in line to handle duties of the executive director when Kedron was on leave.

She also said she has twice requested a special meeting of the five-member board of commissioners to discuss the situation “because I thought this was an urgent enough matter that the board, in a collegial sense, could participate in crafting a path forward.”

“I just thought that collectively the board should come together and discuss this,” Cole said. “The reason I wanted a meeting was to suggest we immediately pursue an independent forensic audit of our finances.”

She said her initial requests for an independent audit were rejected.

Mayor Michael Passero said he had been briefed on the situation but considered it a personnel issue and declined to comment further.

g.smith@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects the spelling of the name of New London Housing Authority Executive Director Kolisha Kedron.

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