MANCHESTER — There were heated words between Aldermen Phil Greazzo and Joe Kelly Levasseur that prompted Mayor Ted Gatsas to call for an immediate recess at Tuesday's Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Tuesday.
Greazzo was reacting to a report from the city solicitor's office that determined that there was not sufficient grounds for an investigation into Levasseur's inquiries about the Manchester Dog Park Association, which Greazzo founded.
"Obviously, I disagree with the report," Greazzo said. "The fact that you would take Alderman Levasseur at his word is something that is hard for me to accept. He has been documented telling lie after lie."
Levasseur responded, "Excuse me, excuse me."
But Mayor Ted Gatsas called on him to wait his turn to speak.
When his turn came, Levasseur said, "What in the world do you think my motivation would be to come before this board to say there was a lapse (in insurance)? I believed it was my duty," he said. "What you just said publicly, as a member of the bar association and an attorney, calling someone a liar in public is not only a disgrace, but the lowest level of engagement I've ever seen on this board."
There were also tense words between Greazzo and Peter Chiesa, the city attorney who handled the review.
He insisted that the MDPA itself had impeded his office's ability to determine whether Levasseur lied and divulged confidential information when he said at a previous aldermen's meeting that the MDPA's insurance had lapsed. The insurance is a key component of the agreement under which the MPDA is allowed to use city land for the dog park.
"Were not making a determination whether there was a lapse or not. The material provided by the MDPA are not sufficient for me to conclude whether there was a lapse or not," Chiesa said. "Aspen (the MDPA's insurance agent) wouldn't talk to us, and the dog park won't let Aspen talk to us."
Following Levasseur's statement, he accused Greazzo of looking at him in an amused way.
Gatsas gavelled the meeting into recess.
When the aldermen reconvened, Alderman-At-Large Dan O'Neil said he felt there was a need for "closure" on the matter.
Greazzo insisted he wasn't one to make "wild accusations," and he quickly asked Police Chief David Mara to come to the speaker's table. Levasseur has long had an adversarial relationship with the police department.
"I would like the board to know what the standing order is when you're alone in the room with Alderman Levasseur," he asked Mara, who never had a chance to answer the question.
Levasseur said, "This has turned into a circus."
O'Neil then interjected to make a motion that the solicitor's report be received and filed.
The aldermen voted to do so and moved on to other items on the agenda.