May 12—NEW LONDON — The New London Housing Authority has suspended its finance and human resources director and is planning an internal investigation into the housing authority’s finances.
Members of the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners were made aware of Patty DiGioia-Evrett’s suspension in a confidential email obtained by The Day. The suspension was prompted by the revelation on Monday that DiGioia-Evrett is being investigated for alleged credit card misuse in his capacity as a volunteer board member of 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 on this report.
Kolisha Kendron, executive director of the New London Housing Authority, said in her email to commissioners that DiGioia-Evrett had been placed on unpaid administrative leave without access to New London records, software, credit cards or bank accounts. Housing Authority. The housing authority is reviewing credit card statements and planning an audit to report on findings and internal checks to prevent fraud, the email read.
The New London Housing Authority owns and operates three publicly funded housing complexes for older people and people with disabilities: George Washington Carver Apartments at 202 Colman St., Gordon Court at 11 Gordon Court near Williams Street and Riozzi Court at 1-46 Riozzi Court on Colman Street. It also operates the federally subsidized Williams Park Apartments at 127 Hempstead St.
Kendron, reached by phone on Wednesday, confirmed an ongoing investigation but declined to comment on the status of DiGioia-Evrett, who has worked with the housing authority for six years. She said the investigation was a measure taken to protect the interests of the housing authority and its tenants.
Kendron was hired in 2018 when the New London Housing Authority contracted Imagineers LLC for property management services. Kendron and Matthew Anderson, Director of Rentals Management at Imagineers, both expressed disappointment over the leak of the confidential email discussing staffing issues. Anderson said he will soon take over as executive director while Kendron is on maternity leave.
Candace Devendittis, chair 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 take on the executive director role when Kendron was in vacations.
She also said she had twice requested a special meeting of the council of five commissioners to discuss the situation “because I thought it was a matter of sufficient urgency that the council, in a collegial sense, could participate. developing a way forward”.
“I just thought collectively the board should get together and discuss it,” Cole said. “The reason I wanted a meeting was to suggest that we immediately conduct an independent forensic audit of our finances.”
She said her initial requests for an independent audit were denied.
Mayor Michael Passero said he had been made aware of the situation but considered it a staffing issue and declined to comment further.