HARTFORD — Mayor Pedro Segarra‘s former chief of staff, who had charged with using a city vehicle after leaving his job, was granted a special form of probation that will allow him to avoid having a criminal record.
Jared Kupiec, 30, was charged last month with using a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission and interfering with police, both misdemeanors. At his arraignment Thursday in Superior Court in Hartford, he was granted accelerate rehabilitation, a pretrial program that allows non-violent offenders to avoid a criminal record after completing a period of probation.
Kupiec will be on probation for one year and must make restitution to the city. He must pay $2,662 in restitution to the city and perform 100 hours of community service.
Judge Joan K. Alexander told Kupiec that me just disclose to any potential employer that an allegation of misuse of city equipment is pending against him.
“The court realizes that this is a matter that, while not a violent one, fosters a mistrust in government,” the judge said.
If Kupiec successfully completes the probation, the charges against him will be dismissed on Aug. 8, 2014.
It is unusual for a person to be granted accelerated rehabilitation at their arraignment. In most cases, people charged with a crime apply for the program and court officials check to make sure they are eligible.
In order to be granted accelerated rehabilitation, a judge must find the defendant is unlikely to offend again.
Kupiec turned himself in to Hartford police July 30 and was released on a promise to appear in court. His arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 8.
Kupiec’s last day of city employment was June 21. His possession of the city vehicle came to the attention of Hartford police on July 8 as they investigated several car break-ins along Capitol Avenue near Main Street.
An officer noticed the break-ins and determined that one of the cars involved was registered to the city, said Foley.
Kupiec initially told investigating officers he didn’t know how the city vehicle ended up in front of his building, but later admitted to police that he had used it, according to Maribel La Luz, Segarra’s spokesperson.
The city plans to seek as much as $3,000 in restitution for damages to the vehicle, officials said earlier this month. City officials said they would wait until the police investigation had concluded before pursuing the payment.
“Jared worked incredibly hard for the people of Hartford,” Kupiec’s attorney, Ross Garber, said. “This unfortunate issue relates to time following that work. It does not diminish his accomplishments. We are in the process of addressing this matter.”
In the months before his resignation, Kupiec had been criticized for charging a $700 New Year’s Eve dinner at Max Downtown to his city-issued credit card. The meal was for eight people, including the mayor, who dined on caviar, rack of lamb and oysters, records show. Kupiec and Segarra later reimbursed the city for the meal.
He was also criticized by the city’s chief auditor, H. Patrick Campbell, for having access to a gym at the city’s new public safety facility. That access was subsequently revoked.
By David Owens and Christine Dempsey, Hartford Courant