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Friday, January 30, 2009

Atkinson resident ready to sue town, police chief

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Webmaster: This might make a good submission article.

From the Eagle- Tribune;


Atkinson resident ready to sue town, police chief
By Eric Parry
eparry@eagletribune.com


January 30, 2009 10:27 am



ATKINSON — Leon Artus thinks police Chief Philip Consentino has been intimidating residents who support a warrant article that could cost the chief his job.

He feels so strongly about it he is preparing to sue Consentino, selectmen and the town of Atkinson.

Artus, founder of the Atkinson Taxpayer Committee, said he never had a problem with Consentino until earlier this month when he was collecting signatures for a petitioned warrant article that would put Consentino out of a job. The article directs the town to hire a full-time police chief — with a bachelor's degree and 15 years experience.

Consentino is a part-time chief, limited to 25 hours a week. He said he is the lowest-paid member of the Police Department, with an annual salary of approximately $21,000.

Artus also was involved in collecting signatures for a warrant article that would expand the town's elderly affairs services, another department headed by Consentino. The chief is not paid for his work as elderly affairs director.

Artus' attorney, Charles Douglas, said he plans to file the lawsuit next week. Douglas, a former state Supreme Court justice, said filing a notice of intent is the first step in the process and he did so on Wednesday.

"The letter summarizes what will be in the suit," Douglas said.

Douglas sent a letter to selectmen this week, claiming within hours of the two petitioned articles being delivered to the town office, Consentino "was calling elderly signatories to demand an explanation as to why they had signed petitions which might impact his long hold on the Police Department and Elderly Affairs Office."

Douglas' letter claims Consentino's actions violated Artus' civil rights. He goes on to say Consentino used his position as police chief and elderly affairs director to intimidate citizens into silence.

Consentino could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But it's not the first time these claims have been made since the petitioned articles were submitted.

Two weeks ago, Consentino said he did contact three people who signed the articles to question why they wanted him out of a job. But he denied intimidating anyone. That same day, he said, he received a letter from an elderly resident, thanking him for his help during the ice storm. Consentino said he was surprised to see her name on a petition that would oust him from his job.

Artus said yesterday the articles aren't targeting Consentino.

"This is about moving the Atkinson police department into the 21st century," Artus said. "If he can't qualify for the job — he's had it for a long time — let someone else who's qualified do it,"

Consentino is a 40-year veteran of the Atkinson Police Department, a former three-term selectman and the director of elderly affairs.

The elderly affairs article is intended to expand the program and allow it to benefit more citizens, according to Artus. There is nothing in the article that would remove Consentino from his job as its director, he said.

Douglas' letter also takes selectmen to task for not reprimanding Consentino.

"The town's inaction constitutes an established pattern and practice of ratifying and complying with Chief Consentino's flagrant violations of Atkinson residents' civil rights," Douglas wrote.

Selectmen William Friel and Fred Childs said last night they had not seen Douglas' letter. But they also said Artus has never come to selectmen to complain about Consentino.

January 30, 2009 11:32 AM

54 comments:

Jon DiVito said...

I grew up in Atkinson. The "Chief" arrested me 19 years ago on a felony charge. It carried with it a 10-15 year prison term. The problem is that he did not take any time to investigate the charges. After zero investigation, I was thrown in jail. My parents spent thousands to bail me out and get a lawyer. After the lawyer reviewed the case.. His comment was.. do not worry, the truth will come out. The case was investigated with "neolithic incompetence". In the police file,that I was given after the bogus charges were dropped. The "Chief" was quoted as saying "If the plantiff doesn't start cooperating soon, we can be sure of a civil suit". I never sued. I recently bumped into the "Chief" at the opening of the Atkinson Library. He pretended like nothing had happened. When I recently got in contact with the plantiff with the help of Facebook, she wrote me a long email apologizing for what she had done to me. She asked for forgiveness and I gave it to her. I presented this information to the "Chief"... still no response and no apology! I will give the "Chief" credit.. he did drive my sick mother around in the van.He even got her a free wheelchair.. kudos to the "Chief" But that does not replace the fact, that the "Chief" did not investigate properly. If he had.. I would not have been charged. He destroyed my name, embarrassed my family, broke my parents hearts, cost us thousands of dollars, and cost me many of my friends. Where is my damn apology? The charges were dropped, the evidence in the case was a joke! The plantiff has come out and admitted clearly to me that she lied and is very sorry for what she has done to me. Why won't the "Chief" do the same? He owes me a public apology! He destroyed my name! He is a dangerous man! Do not be fooled by him!



In follow up to my earlier email. Here is the email exchange through Facebook that would very easy to track. Out of respect for the woman that made the false accusation, I will not show her full name. I have sent this onto the Chief. He did not make the mistake purposely. But he did not take enough time to check out the facts. If he had, he would have saved my family thousands of dollars and 19 years of pain. I have never sued. I have never spoken out about this. Shouldn't I get an apology? I think I deserve that! Here is the exchange where the accuser clearly admits to me she lied and how sorry she is..

Susan... I have long gotten over what you did to me years ago. You ruined my name. You claimed you didn't know who I was. You know that we had a relationship with each other before you made false accusations against me. I do not hate you. But.. my question is, do you ever feel the slightest bit of remorse for what you did to me. I will never write you again and I have forgiven you. But I can not understand how you can live with what you did to me. I can't believe you wouldn't at least want to apologize to me. Anyway.. like I mentioned, I will never bother you again. But I it baffles me that you could do something that like you did to me with feeling any remorse. God Bless you.. I hope you have found peace in your life. I have forgiven you for what you did to me. I hope you can forgive yourself.

Sincerely,

Jon

Add as Friend
Today at 1:50pm
Report Message
Jon,
I have repented to my heavenly Father and I repent to you. I am extremely remorseful over ruining your name. I am not the same person I once was. Thank you for blessing me with your gift of forgiveness. Only now I can begin to try to forgive myself. I wish my words could express how strong my remorse is. My past sins have caught up with me. I hope that my be of some small restitution to you. Thank you, thank you for being gracious to me beyond measure. I wish God's blessings over your life.

With sincere repentance,
Susan

January 30, 2009 9:56 AM

Anonymous said...

Jon,

I would like to speak with you. Please call me at 362-4814

Leon Artus

MAcciard said...

Jon,

I remember my Brother telling some of this after I was in the USAF. I am sorry. I think you knew or hung out with my brother Scott, but I could be wrong.

But good luck, feel free to contact me either by email or facebook, if you want Scott's number, or anything else for that matter.

Anonymous said...

The Eagle Tribune is not the only newspaper with a story. Watch the Manchester Union-Leader

Jon DiVito said...

Mark.. I was friends with your brother in ES and MS. Your brother was a good kid. I left and went to CCHS in HS. I thought it was time for people to hear my story. I have forgiven the girl. She has apologized to me. The Chief has still chosen to ignore me. All I want is a public apology. I am sure that will never happen. I appreciate your note. Take care and Best Wishes!

Anonymous said...

Leon Artus Said:

The end of this ET article and the selectmen's statement has it wrong. I contacted Mr. Sullivan within 20 minutes of my getting my first call from an elderly. I asked him how the Chief could be calling people so soon after warrant articles were turned into Town Office?

He didn't call me back until after 9PM that night, and said the selectmen's office gave it to Phil under his right to know. When I asked who gave it to him, Paul hung up on me.

Anonymous said...

WOW. The article says that Friel and Childs said he didn't go to the Selectmen, evidently Paul didn't tell them before they made that incorrect statement. I would think one would defer to the Selectman Chairperson before commenting on anything connected to an impending lawsuit. It's very unprofessional and rude for Sullivan to hang up on a resident. I cringe when I think about the show of ignorance we will have to watch tomorrow. We will be glued to our tv sets all weekend!!

Anonymous said...

Is there a story in the Union Leader that I missed? Please post the link when you find such things.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of these stories exist that have not been made public. I've heard many anecdotal stories out there. I wonder how many would come forward now so they could testify?

Anonymous said...

I hope the FT Chief article goes thru tomorrow. I'm quite sure that after all the negative publicity this year, he'll go down during a public vote in March.

The next step will be an all out effort to get him arrested on criminal charges. I hope the new lawsuit is considering this, since the lawyer is a former NH Judge.

If this goes thru, people will come out of the woodwork to blog about their abuse by PC and many will call Atty. Douglas. and give statements.

We'll be free at last.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Leon has heard alot of stories over the years, but I hope he doesn't subpoena people against their will. If people agree to go public, fine. If not, they should be off limits. I am concerned with the folks who asked for the signatures to be removed and had their names published. I hope they gave consent, after all it would be impolite, though maybe legal, to name them otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I truly feel bad for Mr Devito. However, if Leon wants to help him bring suit for this injustice, then please help him sue the person who lied and brought false charges. Do not bring another suit against the Chief when from what I am reading, was not his fault. Perhaps he should do the decent thing and apologize for the person who lied but how is the Chief at fault?

Anonymous said...

OMG, the Chief was incompetent and negligent in his duties for not doing a thorough investigation. He is now guilty of not being man enough to admit that he made an error and offer his apology to this man. When well mannered and good intentioned people make a mistake, they set up. The woman has repented, Chief has not.

Anonymous said...

Thats nothing ask Stage rd. Residents about Phil's refusal to do anything about the drug house there. Despite dozens of complaints from residents he was too scared of those people to even go over there. And officers said they were not allowed to do anything without Phil's specific permission.

Anonymous said...

Leon I want to thank you for taking this on. You and all the others that are standing up to this egomaniac should be thanked for setting us free.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong, the cops were always on Stage Rd.

Anonymous said...

Leon Artus Said:

People, who have experienced Civil Rights violations from the Chief or any other Town Official, do not have to go public.

Call me at 362-4814. We can help. You don't have to be afraid anymore.


Your Civil Rights are the MOST IMPORTANT RIGHTS you have. If you give them up willingly, our boys oversees are dying for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Does falsifying search warrant count?

If it does count me in.....


Oh Billy you lied to a judge and you know it....... That’s our next chief.....Be very afraid people...

Anonymous said...

Do people realize who the attorney is representing the plaintiffs? If you don't know who Chuck Douglas is, it may be a good idea to get educated. He doesn't take on any old case. He is a former New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice and has been recognized as one of New Hampshire's top attorneys. He was also a US Congressman.

Read about chuck at
http://www.nhlawoffice.com/nh-attorneys/DOUGLAS,_III

Call him if you're rights were violated: (603) 224-1988

(nothing personal Leon but some of this stuff is very personal to people and they may not feel comfortable picking up the phone and calling somebody in Atkinson they don't know and telling their story about Phil).

Jon DiVito said...

To the person who wrote they felt bad for me.. I appreciate your feelings. I want to make it clear that I have never asked the town for a dime. I am not looking for money. There is no question the girl caused the problem. But I would have to type a book to explain the errors and poor judgement that the Chief made on my case. I was given the file after the bogus charges were filed. It was clear the Chief knew they blew it. This was 19 years ago. The lawyer that represented me told me that most officers would investigate the case for weeks if not months before making an arrest.. Think about the Caylee Anthony case that has been in the news recently. They had a pretty good idea the mom killed her daughter and it sill took a very long time for them to arrest the Mom. The Chief arrested me the day after the false accusation happened. The incident happened late in the evening. The arrest happened early the next morning. He literally spent no time investigating the case. It he had spent 1 week, the charges would have never been filed. I cannot emphasize enough what this did to me and my family. It is 100% true that the girl filed a false claim. All that I asked from the girl was an apology.. I got it. She admitted that she made a horrible decision. I will never forget, but I can forgive. The Chief may not have intentionally made mistakes, bad decisions etc. However, he has intentionally avoided apologizing to me. He owes me a public apology. I have never asked for a dime! My point is that a man who makes the mistakes he made with my case and essentially ruins someones reputation without remorse is a dangerous man. How can that not scare all of you? It happened to me.. it could be one of you next.

Best of luck to all of you. I respect all of your opinions. I just have lived in fear of this man for far to long. It is time for me to let people know what this persons poor decisions and shoddy police work did to me.

Anonymous said...

Ask some of the old timers like me, in town if they remember how Phil and Bud would stop girls, that were speeding and offer to make the ticket go away if they would follow them to Kingston State Park? This was back in the 70's. But it still stunk.

Anonymous said...

"The end of this ET article and the selectmen's statement has it wrong."

Now there is a surprise. ET not getting the whole story and also making Phil out to be the victim. It didn't even make their on-line edition.

That paper is just as pathetic as the mess has gotten this town into.

Anonymous said...

An Atkinson officer told me over 10 years ago that they were aware of a drug house on one of the roads on Island Pond, nothing was ever done.

Residents north of 111 never even get police patrols at any point during the year, even though the small land parcels mean that they pay more taxes than some other parts of town. Oh well, Phil doesn't consider them part of Atkinson anyway, so why should they get protection from burglary?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous January 30, 2009 5:25 PM

Thank you for bringing that to my attention. Certainly, any who have experienced Civil Rights violations from any Town Official can call me or the office of Mr. Douglass. He is a great guy and easy to talk to. He's very concerned about what is going on here in Atkinson. Mention my name and he will know what case you are talking about.

I will not have any objections if you want to join my suit against the town with his approval.

The best time to do it is now. You have nothing to fear and everything to gain. (Getting our Civil Right back from those that try to take them away from us).

Leon

Anonymous said...

Leon said:

"Mention my name and he will know what case you are talking about.

I will not have any objections if you want to join my suit against the town with his approval.

The best time to do it is now. You have nothing to fear and everything to gain. (Getting our Civil Right back from those that try to take them away from us).

Leon

January 30, 2009 6:28 PM"

Well folks, beware. If you call, they will know your dirt and they will drag you into court whether you like it or not. Leon is looking for support for his lawsuit and he wants to make amoney. If you're not a plaintiff, he's using you but you don't get the cash.


($$$$$=you pay)

Anonymous said...

Leon said:

"Mention my name and he will know what case you are talking about.

I will not have any objections if you want to join my suit against the town with his approval.

The best time to do it is now. You have nothing to fear and everything to gain. (Getting our Civil Right back from those that try to take them away from us).

Leon

January 30, 2009 6:28 PM"

Well folks, beware. If you call, they will know your dirt and they will drag you into court whether you like it or not. Leon is looking for support for his lawsuit and he wants to make amoney. If you're not a plaintiff, he's using you but you don't get the cash.


($$$$$=you pay)

Jon DiVito said...

I actually had a very pleasant conversation with Leon today. He did not try to force me into joining the cause. He was polite, compassionate, and understanding. I did not feel the least bit of pressure from him. I don't think fear tactics are the best way to keep people silent. I don't think people should be forced to testify. I don't think that will happen. If I am asked to tell my story. I will do it with the hope that my story will prevent this from happening to anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Watching deliberative session on TV tomorrow will be interesting but not necessarily effective. We need all you registered voters present, and ready to vote in order to pass the warrant articles on to ballot without changes in wording.

If you believe in the warrants and want a chance to vote on them, you must be there to help us do the job. We can't do it all by ourselves.

We need you. Please help us help you.

Meeting starts at 10 AM and it’s only one day out of your life to maintain liberty.

Leon Artus

Susan said...

I am Jons sister Susan Divito. This was a horrible thing to happen. I was sixteen years old My parents sit me down and told me what happend. I was terrified my one and only brother was going to go to jail. I didnt want to ever go to school again. I had people make comments to me about something they didnt even know the real story because and article was posted on the front page of the newspaper. Then when the charges were dropped they printed a tiny article in the back of the paper where no one can see. I had to defend him for years. People would just come up to me and say I heard "this" about your brother. That is to put it nicely, I cant bring myself to say what they really said. This effected our whole family any time I was only 16 any time I went on a date I wondered if they knew and if they believed he was innocent. I am glad he has finally gotten his apology from this woman. When someone hurts you in this way it never goes away its always something in the back of your mind. You may move on with your life but it doesnt go away until you are able to make peace of the situation. I think that my brother and entire family deserve an apology from the Atkinson police Cheif for not properly investigating this case and putting us through hell.

Anonymous said...

If the warrant article for a full time police chief goes on the ballot
and the wording isnt changed so that the Lt. would qualify for the position. I cant even see how this would even be considered since we will now be paying two officers 60,000 does this make sense to you?
People we are going to have a much better chance of getting a full time chief if we change the wording to 12 years and an associate degree. Lt. Baldwin is a great guy and in my opinion does work almost around the clock. I dont know just a thought here. The chief is his boss and he has to respect him.I know hes more then capable of doing the job he pretty much does now. He is not the same person as the chief.

Anonymous said...

How many of these cases are out there? Power in numbers, and if you have been treated wrong by the Chief, come forward and call the people listed above. It is Time for the fear to end.

Anonymous said...

Think of the Lt. this way. 1) He is an unfortunate victim of circumstance in that he has to work for a man like Phil. 2) The Lt. is not without fault. His suing his employer and the various salary improprieties leave a stain. Never have I never heard him apologize for these actions.

The only thing, and I mean THE ONLY THING, that will bring back confidence and respectability to the PD is a new, outside, and qualified chief.

If Bill loses his job, so be it. 10's of thousands are going through the same thing everyday. If the Lt. is as good as everyone claims, someone will snap him up.

We need a clean house. Contract with Plaistow to do all our dispatching. That eliminates one position. If the Chief's son is qualified, fine. If not, out he goes.

There is a saying in the private sector, "No one is indispensable". Time to exercise same in our town and end the humiliation our town has to endure.

Mark suggested that Bill take his chances with all the other candidates. The warrant calls for an impartial panel. If the Lt. passes, great. If not, they will have concluded someone else if better suited for the job. I'm willing to bet that no where in is contract it says that if Phil is gone, the job is his. No one else should assume this either. An impartial selection is the only way to clear the dark cloud that hangs over Academy Ave.

Anonymous said...

The Lt. Is not going to lose his job. He is senior man he can drop down to Sargent and still be payed 60,000. so you people will not be saving the taxpayers a dime. This will cost us!!!

Anonymous said...

Please come to Deliberative session at Dyke Auditorium next to Town Hall tomorrow. You can make a difference. Watching it on TV is exactly what you should NOT be doing. You are abdicating your opportunity to do the right thing by voting based upon your beliefs. Turn off the TV. Please!

Anonymous said...

Please come to Deliberative session at Dyke Auditorium next to Town Hall tomorrow. You can make a difference. Watching it on TV is exactly what you should NOT be doing. You are abdicating your opportunity to do the right thing by voting based upon your beliefs. Turn off the TV. Please!

For your consideration: Imagine if the Chief was overheard saying something like this to a resident? Would this be considered intimidation? Bullying?

Anonymous said...

not unless the person had a gun and a badge in your face.

Anonymous said...

No but when you call someone who signed a petition, and say "what is your family doing signing this shit?" THAT is intimidating! Or when you call and say "do you know this will cost me my job?" that is intimidating! For him to call ANY petitioners on a petition dealing with his JOB, is a violation of the conflict of interest law!

Anonymous said...

We don't have to be at the meeting right at 10 right?

Jon DiVito said...

I should also mention that Dale Childs was also involved in my joke of a case.. Any connection between the current selectman and the chief? Just thought I would mention Dale Childs was involved as well.

Anonymous said...

Petition warrant articles are last on the ballot, probably mid afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"not unless the person had a gun and a badge in your face."

I see. Can you provide evidence that the Chief has done this? He has waived a gun and badge in someone's face? Or is your "opinion" that he has done this. You know what they say about opinions, what they are like and who has them, don't you?

Anonymous said...

To the previous poster;

You think a policeman has to literally take out there gun and badge to intimidate, when they have a history of it?

It's such a blindingly stupid or dumb statement...

Anonymous said...

witnesses we do have, honey.

Anonymous said...

"witnesses we do have, honey."

Let me guess. They are too frightened to come forward...

Jon DiVito said...

I came forward.

Anonymous said...

The smoking gun argument. How often is this over used? "Where's the evidence?" is the first response. You have witnesses? Who, when, where? They rely on the fact the system requires you to have a videotape of the perpetrator conducting the act (kinda like Frank at town meeting). And even then they would say "that is an impersonator. The video is fraudulent. Lies I tell you its all lies". So they attempt to destroy every point this way unless you have incontrovertible DNA evidence and a signed confession.

Its kind of like the "vendetta" line. People have a vendetta against Phil. Its a great way to attack the messenger. Destroy their credibility before they present any evidence.

The other one he uses is "get your facts straight" to attack the messenger and discredit them. See the town meeting video. Phil never says which facts or statements he thinks are incorrect. He just generically labels them all as incorrect by demanding people "get their facts straight." Then there is a motion to move the question and the messenger cannot rebut Phil's comment "get your facts straight" so therefore, Phil must be right.

People need to pay attention to these techniques because they are effective unless you've come prepared for them. If you aren't prepared to present an iron clad case, the law protects them. And if witnesses are afraid to come forward, well then there aren't any witnesses then are there? Get your facts straight and stop being suckers to these tactics.

Jon D said...

Do I have a vendetta against Phil? I don't think so. With his shoddy police work, he almost destroyed my life. I have never asked for 3 million dollars. I want him to apologize and restore my good name. The girl did. I guess Phil is not a big enough man to admit he made a mistake. He is big enough to bully people that can't defend themselves.

Anonymous said...

Phil NEVER admits making a mistake!

Anonymous said...

To make the kind of apology Jon is looking for requires that a person admitting to himself that he made a mistake, having a conscience which would lead to this admission, and a degree of humility in order to make the actual apology.

If you look at Phil's record, a conclusion could be reached that he has none of these traits.

Jon, you deserve an apology. But, you will never get it. I'm sorry, but that is how I see it.

Anonymous said...

Jon,

Maybe if your parents gave him an SUV for the DARE program, he'd apologize.

Jon D said...

To the last few posters. I know you are right. I can hope.

Anonymous said...

Hope is a good thing. It has helped me through some tough times.

When it comes to the chief, he's hopeless.

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