SOUTH PORTLAND — Former city managers are distancing themselves from a claim by City Manager Jim Gailey that embezzlement allegations against a city department head were well known.
Gailey, meanwhile, issued an apology for implicating the former city leaders. “It was not my intent to bring them into to this,” he said.
The former managers were reacting to a statement by Gailey last week to The Forecaster. He said he and three previous city managers knew of the embezzlement allegations against Dana Anderson.
Anderson, the director of Parks and recreation, Public Works and Libraries, was investigated by the Maine State Police for allegedly embezzling money form a not-for-profit group, but no criminal charges were filed. Last month, Anderson agreed to pay $900 to settle civil charges.
Gailey said he believed previous leaders knew of the allegations because Anderson told him he had informed all city managers since 2003.
On Wednesday, Gailey, who learned of the allegations last summer, said Anderson slightly backed off that claim when Gailey pressed him.
“I went on that information and really never second-guessed it,” Gailey said Wednesday. “When I asked Dana about it this morning, he believed he told Jeff (Jordan), but he wasn’t certain. Knowing what I now know, I never would have made that quote that I did for your article. It was unfair to the previous managers.”
Anderson did not respond to an e-mail request for clarification.
Former City Manager Jerre Bryant, who served from 1988 to 1996, said he couldn’t possibly have known about the claim, since the alleged embezzlement reportedly occurred between May 1996 and May 2003.
Former City Manager Jeffrey Jordan, who served from 1996 to 2006, also claims not to have known about the allegations. “It was news to me until I read it in the paper,” he said.
However, City Councilor Jim Hughes said again this week that he recalls the City Council holding an open meeting on the allegations when Jordan was with the city. However, three other councilors who served with Hughes from 2003 to 2005 – when the criminal investigation would likely have been completed – did not recall any meeting.
Thaddeus Jankowski, city manager for less than a year from 2006-2007, also denied knowing about the allegations in an e-mail to The Forecaster. He did not reply to e-mails seeking additional information.