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Report: Lawmaker Failed to Report Outside Employment While Collecting Comp

Thursday, June 13, 2024 | 0

The Connecticut Insider on Wednesday reported that a state lawmaker received more than $100,000 in workers’ compensation benefits despite having three outside sources of income that he never disclosed.

Sen. Paul Cicarella

Sen. Paul Cicarella

State Sen. Paul Cicarella, R-North Haven, who assumed office in January 2021, received $123,000 in work comp benefits between December 2008 and July 2013 for injuries he sustained while working for the state as a correctional officer.

Connecticut Insider reports that during the period Cicarella was a paid employee of East Haven Public Schools as a wrestling coach each winter, he received comp benefits. He also allegedly opened a company in 2010 to do private investigations. And in 2011, he bought a three-family home that he rents.

Connecticut Insider said the experts it talked to said injured workers are required to report outside income and that it’s up to a workers’ compensation administrative law judge to determine whether that income affects the person’s right to continue collecting benefits.

That contradicts the first attempt by John Healey, chief of staff for the Senate Republicans, to downplay the allegations. Healey initially told Connecticut Insider that Cicarella wasn’t required to report income from those activities because it wouldn’t have impacted his workers’ compensation benefits.

In response to follow-up questions that included a description of the income reporting requirements for injured workers, Healey said he believed that Cicarella’s outside income was verbally disclosed during an unrecorded hearing to determine if he had outside earnings and for which there is no transcript.

Connecticut Insider reports that records it reviewed suggested that the informal hearings were held to determine whether Cicarella was able to return to light-duty work.

“Experts say it is possible outside income could be verbally disclosed for the first time during an informal hearing — but it’s unlikely the judge or insurance company would not have asked for more details for the record if it was,” the publication reported.

Connecticut Insider said it started investigating comp payments to Cicarella after questions surfaced about his receiving a lifelong disability pension at the age of 27 and after working just 18 months for the state Department of Correction.

The state initially denied Cicarella’s pension application, then approved it, then revoked it again after learning he was working as a wrestling coach and running a private investigations company.

After Cicarella took office, the state approved an exception to reconsider the denial and then approved a request to boost the payments by 84%. Cicarella received $66,000 in disability pension payments in 2023.

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