CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos says that records, including those pertaining to the investigation into police conduct in the Amanda Plasse murder case and the surrounding community agreement with MGM Springfield, are nowhere to be found, and that the city’s former mayor may be to blame.
Kos held a news conference at Chicopee City Hall on Thursday afternoon, in which he said that the state Attorney General, the Inspector General, and Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office have been contacted on the matter.
The Mayor says that they have been able to recover some documents from other departments, but all of the documents in the Mayor’s office had been deleted prior to his taking office on January 6.
Indeed, Kos says that on his arrival, there were no files available on any ongoing city issues, and that more than 28,000 e-mails had been deleted, which may be a violation of state law.
City Solicitor Marshall Moriarty had sent a letter to state officials, outlining the accusations:
“Upon turning on the computer assigned to the Mayor of Chicopee, he learned that the entire computer was swept clean and devoid of any of the electronic files./documents, emails, etc. He subsequently was informed by the Information Technology staff that former Mayor Michael Bissonnette had instructed his staff to ‘clean,’ (delete) all information and documentation on their respective computers. Through their forensice efforts, we have identified more than 28,000 e-mails that had been deleted,” Moriarty wrote.
In addition to the electronic files, Moriarty says that paper files were also missing from the office, and that the file cabinets were “barren” upon Kos’s arrival.
Mayor Kos told 22News he couldn’t believe how little he was left with when he came back to office. “There are no files dealing with the ongoing police investigation. There are no ongoing files dealing with the MGM community host agreement. Senior Center. Anything else that was ongoing.”
22News spoke with former Mayor Bissonnette. We asked him he wipe the computer clean and if he took any documents.
Bissonnette replied, “Understand the difference between a desktop computer and the server for the City; the desktops are wiped clean. As a matter of course, the server has all the emails and all the documents, as well as the project managers have all the documents, the mayor is only given copies.”
“When you turn in your computers, you basically delete everything that is on them so the next user has a clean slate to start with,” added Bissonnette.
Mayor Bissonnette told 22News he did nothing wrong and Mayor Kos never took him up on his offer to help with the transition since November.
After we spoke with Bissonnette, we went back up to City Hall to get a response from Mayor. He told 22News that no public documents should have been deleted and he will let the investigation play itself out.