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Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lawsuits and Controversy have surrounded our police chief for 28 years!

Anonymous said...

Atkinson Reporter2 please accept this as an article submission;

The evolution of a costly problem.

Although I grew up in Atkinson, I left to go to college, and now live out of state, but as I have family in town I try to keep up on events in town. I LOVED reading the Atkinson Reporter, and the Atkinson Taxpayers website, and now I love reading this site.

Background now out of the way, I have spent much time reading the atkinsontaxpayers.org website. I remember a lot of these incidents, but seeing it all together in one place is overwhelming. I decided to write about what I felt about reading all of this.

I think we can all agree, even though the police chief evidently does good work with the elderly, he is a costly problem to the town, what with all the lawsuits, resident complaints, shouting at meetings, Gestapo tactics with his enemies, etc. I wanted to examine how this could be allowed to happen in my home town.

As far as I can tell chief Consentino was appointed on a probationary basis in 1978 to the position of chief of police. At that time, as near as I can tell, he had been a part- time police officer for 8 years or so, with little or no formal training, or experience. It was in 1980 apparently that the first problem appeared;( all of this is available in the court documents section of atkinsontaxpayers.org)

A Selectman, Wayne Peak, apparently found that minor fees that the police charged for reports and such, were not being deposited to the town, but given to the patrolmens association(a private organization). As this was money charged by the town for services, Peak determined that it belonged to the town, and characterized the misappropriation of these monies as misuse of funds, or some type of theft. Peak brought his information to the board of selectmen and asked them to punish the police chief, but they refused. Peak went to court, filing a Writ of Mandamus, demanding that the Court order the selectmen to do their duty. He also resigned in protest.

I have to say that the court documents read like an adventure novel, allegations of police harassment, false charges of reckless driving later dismissed, formal accusations of witness tampering, employing agents to fire shots at the police station, complaints to the Mass Dept. of Revenue, untimely audits yielding no results, at one point chief Consentino even sued Mr. Peak, claiming, Libel, Slander, Defamation of Character, reduced earnings capacity, and stress related illness’. These competing claims wound their way through the Court system for 7 years, until being settled for an undisclosed amount. Mr. Peak then threw a party in N.Andover the weekend after the settlement to show off the TWO new Cadillac Eldorado’s he purportedly bought with the settlement.

This case was finally settled in 1988. In 1990 or 1991 there came another issue, then Lt. Rick Daniels resigned suddenly over disputes with chief Consentino. Chief Consentino claimed in the Eagle-Tribune that Daniels “wiped out 12 years of computer database information before he left”. Daniels claimed this never happened, and was heard to state that Atkinson didn’t even have a database in 1979.

In 1996 or so their was some issue apparently with police standards and training, regarding Chief's hours, resulting in their visit to town.

In 1997 and 1998 there were endless shouting matches between selectman Fred Childs questions about budget and expenditures in the police dept. and chief Consentino’s refusal to provide clarification to this selectmen, his boss, culminating in the infamous "spitting incident" in the Town Hall between chief and Fred Childs. All of this is detailed in the Eagle Tribune, and on the atkinsontaxpayers.org site.

In 1999, the officers got so frustrated that they decided to form a union. There were “intimidation letters” from chief Consentino to the organizers, resulting in a labor board case, in which the NH Public Employees Labor Relations Board, ordered the “town and its Agent(Consentino) to cease and desist from any bullying, harassment, and intimidation of officers”.

Around this same time Mrs. Childs, then a part time officer herself, in Atkinson, evidently filed a complaint with police standards and training about chief Consentino’s hours, that he worked too many to be part time, and that he lacked the training and education to be full time. Chief Consentino responded by asking one of his officers to visit her house and take pictures of her Hampstead animal control cruiser, he followed this up with a letter to the Hampstead selectmen accusing Mrs. Childs of misusing her cruiser for personal business. When Mrs. Childs found out about this intimidation, and rightly blew up about it, Consentino claimed “I was acting as Phil Consentino resident, not Phil Consentnio, chief” Like every “resident” has access to police officers and police dept. stationary!

In 2003, there was another flap that ended up before the labor board involving officer Lorden, case was settled with officer Lorden receiving payment. There was another labor board case involving Officer Buco, another settlement, another payment. 2003, also saw the infamous “Town that hates Halloween” story, reported on CNN, Boston Globe, Union Leader, AP, Howard Stern, Michael Graham, Howie Carr, etc. Nice Job!

In 2004 saw the first conflict of interest allegations from Brian Boyle, Barbara Stewart, then from Mark Acciard. Acciard, then a budget committee member, filed a code of ethics complaint, which they ignored. He then filed with the Court asking for an injunction to keep the POLICE CHIEF from DECIDING POLICE MATTERS AS A SELECTMAN!!! Should be a no brainer, right? Wrong! Chief Consentino refused to step aside, even after the Court ordered him to, and the Court found this 30 year chief in CONTEMPT OF COURT! He didn’t like that and tried to appeal it to the NH Supreme Court, and they dismissed his case!

In 2005, chief and his two buddies Fred Childs, and Jack Sapia, ignored written town policy demanding that any open position be advertised, and quietly slid then Sgt. Baldwin into the Town's First Full Time Lt. Spot! By the Way, it is illegal for the selectmen to create a new full time position in town, only the people can do that.

In 2006 He was the subject of a Federal Civil Rights Suit against the Town, recently settled! Another settlement another payment!Thousands of dollars in legal fees, and tens of thousands in settlement to make it go away!

And Now the Town is currently facing a $3,000,000.00 lawsuit alleging misconduct AGAIN on the part of Atkinson’s police chief! When does it end?

The selectmen could, at any time, during all of this done their duty, and enforced town policy, and reprimanded, suspended, or even fired the chief, but they have done nothing, and the allegations, legal costs, increased insurance premiums, all continue to march on.

In the midst of all this there were other issues that never made it to Court, but were borderline or blatently illegal none the less;

1.) The chief bought a new SUV for the PD, without selectmen approval, without warrant article, without a vote.

2.) The chief Admitted to falsifying sick time vouchers for Lt. Baldwin, allowing him to receive over $6,000 that he was not entitled to.

3.) The chief lobbied for Lt. Baldwin to get an extra $2000/mo. while deployed in the guard to Kuwait, even after being told that this was far above the difference in pay.

4.) Sent threatening letter to Mr. Brian Kaye.

5.) Sent threatening letters to Mr. Acciard.

6.) personally investigated Mrs. Carol Grant, calling her a Federal Criminal in a live meeting.

For these reasons, his 15 minutes of fame are up.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. I see more taxpayer lawsuits on the horizon. Civil rights violations, fraud, collusion, intimidation, on the part of CHIEF OF POLICE, selectmen, town moderator, loss of benefits and retirement, reimbursement for funds stolen from taxpayers, and federal indictments. When will this all end and what cost to Atkinson Taxpayers? I thought the ice storm had crippled us, but I think that was just the tip of the iceberg. (No pun intended)

In this bad economy Atkinson Taxpayers do not need this. If I were Consentino....or wife Jody.....I wouldn't dare show my face at Town Meeting. Same for the rest of the Atkinson Mafia. They should plan on using a bigger room for this meeting, but they won't.

Taxpayers of Atkinson........You can't AFFORD not to attend Town Meeting, or be aware of what has been going on in town for years.

You can't afford not to know who caused this.

Consentino's needs to go where Childs has been.

Just my opinion

Anonymous said...

Come on. Lets hear it. There is another side to all these stories. They don't mean anything. The Chief and Lt. are God's gift to Atkinson.

Unbelievable. If these Warrant Articles don't pass without being amended to obscurity, I fear it will take a health issue to accomplish what should have been done years ago.

Anonymous said...

TO Anonymous said...
Come on. Lets hear it. There is another side to all these stories. They don't mean anything. The Chief and Lt. are God's gift to Atkinson.

Unbelievable. If these Warrant Articles don't pass without being amended to obscurity, I fear it will take a health issue to accomplish what should have been done years ago.

January 20, 2009 7:53 PM

IN REPLY:

I think you are in denial when you say "Chief and Lt. are God's gift to Atkinson"? I thought Rip Van Winkle was just a fable, until your statement. How long have you been asleep?

We are talking about real situations going on here in Atkinson today, not a hundred years ago when you went to sleep.

The real health issue is when we find your body and intern it properly as a health issue.

Since you can't wake up anymore, I will pray that "God Rest Your Soul". (Appropriate and respectful for the dead)

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, "another side to the story person". Do you have anything to add for facts? Everything that has been brought out in the open is fact, not just "a side of a story". Then again, you sound Just like Jack. So glad i don't see you every monday nite anymore.

Anonymous said...

To: The posters on this blog...Come on. Lets hear it. There is another side to all these stories. They don't mean anything. The Chief and Lt. are God's gift to Atkinson.

Unbelievable. If these Warrant Articles don't pass without being amended to obscurity, I fear it will take a health issue to accomplish what should have been done years ago.


Im i think this was sarcasm..this person actually agrees with you idiots. But hmm guess you've never heard of sarcasm before.

Anonymous said...

RE: January 20, 2009 8:13 PM

Read January 20, 2009 7:53 PM again. It was indeed sarcasm. Sorry, I won't do it again less I be misunderstood, again.

Anonymous said...

All of this has to have cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and settlements, etc.

Why is he still here?

Fishgutz said...

I am the only one who could see that Anon @ 7:53PM had tongue firmly planted in cheek for the first paragraph?
Sarcasm does not always translate well in text.
Most people know that writing in all CAPS is "yelling." Someone will have to come up with a sarcasm code.
Of course, "True Believers" will never believe any charge against Chief no matter how large the pile of proof.
But how many of his "supporters" are such because of the implied gun to their head?
Tyranny thrives when people of good will do nothing.
The Chief should have been gone by 1985. He needs to be made gone now in such a way that he also forfeits his taxpayer funded pension. Let him go work at Home Depot or Wal-mart.

Anonymous said...

I agree, no pension.

Anonymous said...

Fishgutz, thank you. I suppose it would be to much to ask for an apology from January 20, 2009 8:13 PM.

Anonymous said...

Very nice review, but didn't you omit the munitions plant Phil and another officer ran, located on Hall Farm Road? Maybe in the early 80s?

Anonymous said...

WOW someone has a good memory!

Actually it was back in the 70's.
C & D Armory

Consentino & Dowd.

And it was at the end of Kip Kam rd. where Atkinson Auto Body is now.

They used to hire high school kids to work security!

I seem to remember some government agency shutting that operation down, but can't remember who. Attorney General I think.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is one I'd never heard about!

They were making munitions? Got any more info on it?

Atkinson-Factor said...

This is new to me as well. Please inform further.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please. Details, more details. Don't ya just love those skeletons in the closet. They just don't go away.

"The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is." - Winston Churchill

Anonymous said...

Hey Atkinson/hacker I meant Factor.
Whats up with your moderating of comments on your sister blog? Are
you afraid of free speech? It doesn't look like much activity going on over there. Just my observation.

AtkinsonReporter2 said...

OH, I see, you have so much courage that you post anonymously, yet you feel you can deride various blog owners because they choose to moderate comments.

Most blogs moderate comments so that they dont get too out of hand.

But obviously you have chosen to criticize the blog management both here and at the Atkinson Factor, rather than furnish the proofs of your previous allegations.

This blog worships debate!

But debate means both sides have recognizable standards. Both sides offer to prove their points rather than just spouting them, and expecting blind belief.

If you can justify your arguements, then this is your place. If you are nothing but a spoiler, than be gone!

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that certain people would like to discredit the blog. They can't refute the facts, therefore they need to minimize the source showing those facts.

This sort of behavior is timeless. It is demonstrated in ancient history by the story, if you don't like the message, shoot the messenger.

The problem with this technique is, the facts are still there. You can't change facts. You can put a spin on them, try to minimize their significance and importance, but they are still there and you can't make them go away.

We've been hearing, "there is another side to the story." But yet, we have not heard one single alternative view, never mind one that has backing documentation.

No, what we've seen is name calling and baseless accusations by those who wish us overlook the facts.

These new warrants have hit a nerve. How else would you explain the chief calling the petition signers, and getting at least one to draft a letter to the BOS attempting to rescind his signature. And, all this discussion regarding the LT and what a dedicated public servant he his. Too bad those darn facts put another face on his service.

We'll see more of this because it is the only weapon those opposed to the warrants have. If they have facts that have not been published that shed new light on the subject, we're waiting.

Anonymous said...

go machine some parts

Anonymous said...

"go machine some parts"

And I assume there is some meaning to this that we're all supposed to understand and marvel at your wit.

I'm sorry. But like the person who could not see sarcasm staring them in the face, this one eludes me.

Or, perhaps you were trying to imply that I'm perhaps a blue collar worker so therefore I am not able to form an opinion unless I'm told what it is. Then, shame on you. Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Anonymous said...

it wasn't for you if it has no meaning to you. that was for your
friend. think about it and the bulb
will go on.

Anonymous said...

Right now I'm listening to the Illinois governor proclaiming his innocence. Never did anything wrong; only worked for the people of Illinois, and did great things for the elderly, like getting cheaper drugs so they could afford food and drugs at the same time.

Maybe we should be calling our chief "Blogo 2".

Anonymous said...

Good job Paul for running the new administrator out of town. We don't need administrators to run this little town. We need Mark to take control. I hope he puts his name in the running. Paul has the stones to make it happen if he makes it to the town hall since he's been very busy lately.

Anonymous said...

AtkinsonReporter2 said...

OH, I see, you have so much courage that you post anonymously, yet you feel you can deride various blog owners because they choose to moderate comments.


If there is one thing I am tired of, it is the insinuation that the anons are cowards as they choose to post anonymously. I find it ironic that someone who goes by the name "AtkinsonReporter2" and is defending "AtkinsonFactor" is calling out the anons.

In my opinion, I find it hypocritical that you rail against the Chief's supposed strong arm, bullying tactics, yet we inevitably get the "who are you?" counter argument when someone posts negative criticism. Perhaps this is an indication that you have no counter argument? I've asked before and I'll ask again: why is it so important to know the name of your critics? What could you possibly do with that information?

This blog worships debate!

I don't see much debate on this blog anymore -- it used to be that way. It just bashes the Chief and our elected officials. Anyone who dares to express their opinion is shouted down, ridiculed, or accused of working for the town. How sad is it when someone actually gives a reasoned response to a post, they are usually thanked for it. Is it that bad that we need to thank someone for being polite? I guess so....

Anonymous said...

what will happen to Baldwin when and if the chief gets run out of town? Being from out of town, I really hope that you guys can finally take back your town from all the corruption.

Anonymous said...

Well, first of all, if the warrant passes, intact, and passes at the polls, they are not literally being run out of town. The Chief has a pretty nice spread off of Main St. and I don't see him giving that up. I also believe he has other sources of income. Not sure on that one.

The Lt. has a number of part time jobs, and who knows, one of them could become full time.

What the Warrant does, and what many feel, is that the current setup at the PD is not working properly. First of all, the chief is not a law enforcement officer. He is not permitted to carry a firearm while in uniform. So, his only official capacity is that of an administrator.

Many feel the Lt. lacks the experience and education at this stage in his career to take on the job as a full time chief. Both have a lot of other issues beyond this.

So, what the Warrant proposes is replacing the current setup with a full time chief with the experience, education, and temperament to act as both a police officer and an administrator.

Seems simple, but it is anything but. Lots and lots of emotion tied to this. But, this is the Cliff Notes version of thing.

Anonymous said...

What a new and from the outside full time chief could also accomplish is end the "family business" aspect of our PD. In addition to the Chief, his wife works as a dispatcher for the PD and his son is an officer (at least I think he still is).

Atkinson currently contracts with Plaistow to provide part time dispatching services, at night. Town is small enough, relatively light activity. Why couldn't we contract with Plaistow for full time dispatching?

As far as the Chief's son: Well, let the new guy decide how the handle that.

Lots of cost savings potential. Times are tough, and getting tougher. A reduction in the PD budget is probably overdue.

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!


January 29, 2009
Jon DiVito

Jon DiVito said...

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

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Today at 1:50pm
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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