Embattled state Rep. Hector Robles, appearing in court Thursday to testify in a lawsuit brought by his opponent in the Aug. 10 primary, has no intention of resigning his legislative seat or his job as a Hartford police officer, his attorney said Thursday.
A yearlong police department internal investigation into Robles ended two days after he easily won a Democratic primary in south Hartford's 6th House District. The internal investigation concluded that Robles violated the department's code of conduct when he knowingly falsified time cards and cheated the department out of more than $9,000 in overtime.
On Thursday his attorney, R. Bartley Halloran, said that Robles was being made a "scapegoat" because of a dispute with a deputy police chief. Halloran said the internal investigation into Robles' accounting of regular work hours and hours billed for private security jobs began immediately after he filed a complaint about being removed from his job as a community service officer.
According to the investigation report, Robles acknowledged falsifying time cards, which constituted larceny, but Halloran said Thursday that his client's comments were taken out of context and made without advice of counsel. He also said the report was "rife with factual mistakes."
Robles declined to comment Thursday and referred questions to Halloran.
Speaking out of court about the police investigation, Halloran defended Robles by saying the department's method of reconciling hours spent on private duty jobs with regular duty doesn't accurately reflect the amount of time on either.
"To say this is larceny is crazy," Halloran said. "We uncovered 11 other officers with the same problem that they are doing nothing with. Everyone is doing it the same way."
A disciplinary hearing for Robles, a 15-year police veteran, concluded this week. Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts has yet to decide on a punishment, but a department advocate has recommended termination based on the findings of the report.
Roberts said Thursday that if Halloran has evidence of more officers falsifying overtime he should bring it to the department's attention.
Robles was at Superior Court in Hartford Thursday to testify in a lawsuit filed by Alyssa Peterson, who lost to Robles in the primary. Robles is unopposed in the election Nov. 2.
The lawsuit alleges that the Hartford Democratic Town Committee did not properly fill out Robles' endorsed candidate form following the nominating convention in May, therefore nullifying his endorsement. Peterson is seeking to have Robles' name removed from the ballot and have hers substituted.
The suit also alleges, among other things, that Robles lied to the 6th District town committee and voters about the seriousness of the internal police department charges against him, and that the committee wouldn't have endorsed him had they known.
The suit also alleges that Robles and Hartford Police Union Chief Richard Rodriguez falsely published a flier touting a union endorsement that was never voted on by the rank and file or executive committee, and that Robles misused $26,000 in public campaign finance funding to fraudulently tout his record with the police department.
Halloran said Peterson's attempt to have the courts declare the primary invalid on a technicality amounted to asking the court to impose its will over that of the voters.
Judge Antonio Robaina is not expected to issue a ruling before Monday.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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