Former New Castle police chief files suit to regain his job
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New Castle's former chief of police sued the city today in federal court, saying two council members forced him from his job early this year when he investigated a friend of one of them.
Thomas Sansone, 51, of Neshannock, was a 25-year veteran of the department who was appointed chief in 2003, according to the complaint filed by attorneys Joel Sansone and John W. Murtagh Jr.
In 2010, the former chief investigated thefts at the Sylvan Heights Golf Course, resulting in charges against Renee Warso, who pleaded guilty to theft. The complaint characterized Ms. Warso as a friend of New Castle Council President Maryanne Gavrille.
Also in 2010, Thomas Sansone refused a request by Ms. Gavrille to promote a particular member of the police force, the complaint said.
In late 2011, he investigated Ms. Gavrille "for suspicion of forgery on Protection from Abuse documents," it continued, but no charges were filed.
In January, council voted 3-1 not to reappoint Thomas Sansone and the mayor said he had the option of returning as a lieutenant, which has not occurred. Councilman Richard Beshero was "a willing participant in a conspiracy" to oust the chief, said the complaint, which names both council members and the city.
The complaint said that New Castle has a practice of punishing employees who "adversely affect a relative, close friend or other associate of a high official" of the city. It said that Thomas Sansone's due process rights and civil rights were violated, and he was discriminated against because of his age.
The former chief seeks a return to work with back pay and destruction of his disciplinary file.
Neither the council members nor Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo could be immediately reached by phone or email.
First Published June 26, 2012 2:28 pm