Jan. 5—WEST HAVEN — Former police spokesman David Tammaro is suing the city for access to a disability pension, claiming his application has been ignored since his retirement.

Tammaro, who resigned amid an internal affairs and state police investigation into his use of overtime, retired on Aug. 17, 2018, in an emailed note of resignation to then-Chief John Karajanis, according to records provided with his lawsuit. That same day, Tammaro emailed the chairman of the Board of Police Commissioners to request regular pension benefits as he began the process of collecting medical documentation to qualify for a disability pension.

According to his lawsuit, which was filed in September 2022, Tammaro's application was never placed on the pension board's agenda, even after a follow-up request on Aug. 10, 2022, written by his attorney.

West Haven Corporation Counsel Lee Tiernan declined to comment on ongoing litigation.

A Branford ophthalmologist wrote in a letter that he has treated Tammaro since 2002 for "a work related injury that has left him with the reduction of sight to one tenth of normal vision in his left eye." An examination with a second provider found "permanent visual dysfunction" with his left eye.

Tammaro's lawsuit for disability pension benefits is his second ongoing lawsuit against the city. An August 2020 lawsuit against the city and police chief alleges negligence on behalf of the city and Chief Joseph Perno for their actions leading up to the investigation into Tammaro's use of overtime and his subsequent arrest on 87 counts of forgery; charges in Tammaro's criminal case were dropped and he was granted accelerated rehabilitation.

On Dec. 5, 2022, Tammaro's attorney Patricia Cofrancesco filed a 171-page response to a motion by attorneys for the city and Perno for a judgement without a trial, including claims that the city shredded documents relevant to Tammaro's case and that the circumstances surrounding the investigation into Tammaro's use of overtime were part of an attempt to force Karajanis out of the role of police chief.

In a November 21, 2022, affidavit, Tammaro said Cofrancesco attempted to obtain leave slips dating back to 2013 relevant to his case through the Freedom of Information Act, but city officials told the state's Freedom of Information Commission that it did not have those slips, which were in the possession of the State's Attorney's Office. However, Tammaro said in his affidavit that Cofrancesco was told that the State's Attorney's Office did not have those slips, and after a subsequent attempt to request the documents for legal discovery she was told by Tiernan that the documents had been shredded as the required record retention period had nearly expired.

In sworn court documents, Tammaro also said that, following a meeting with Karajanis and then-Deputy Chief Perno about then-Capt. Robert Proto's complaints against Tammaro, Perno pulled him aside and told him, "You'll be fine," and it was Karajanis who was being targeted. In a deposition on Oct. 28, 2022, Perno said he "never would have made that statement" and it was one of "many" lies told by Tammaro.

"I explained to Dave that he had a target on his back and that he should stop what he was doing and to do everything in his power to be legitimate in his submission of the OT slips," Perno said according to a transcript of the deposition.

Attorneys for the city said Tammaro was alleging "a complex conspiracy involving a series of complaints brought against him" in an attempt to oust someone else from their job.


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