Selectman withdraws FOI complaint, files new request

BEACON FALLS — Selectman Michael Krenesky withdrew a freedom of information complaint against Tax Collector Mary Anne Holloway last week prior to a hearing and days before filing a new FOI request with the tax collector’s office.

Krenesky, a Republican, originally filed a FOI request on Sept. 14 seeking information about back taxes owed by Selectman Peter Betkoski, a Democrat, on his business, Betkoski Brothers Excavating. The information Krenesky sought included a copy of any repayment agreement Betkoski has with the town, and the balance he owes in back taxes.

Krenesky filed a complaint with the state Freedom of Information Commission in early October stating he didn’t receive the information requested. On Oct. 2, the day the complaint was received and filed by the FOI Commission, Krenesky received a packet with information. The documents detailed information on a bankruptcy case filed by Betkoski, including the back taxes owed at the time and how much he has paid back through the bankruptcy, but the packet didn’t include information on a repayment agreement.

A hearing on the FOI complaint was scheduled for Dec. 5, but Krenesky requested the complaint be closed and the hearing cancelled in a Dec. 4 email exchange with Kathleen Ross, an attorney with the FOI Commission.

In an email, Ross wrote she spoke with Town Attorney Frederick Stanek. According to Stanek, Ross wrote, there is no repayment agreement between the town and Betkoski, and the town turned the bankruptcy matter over to a bankruptcy attorney. When Krenesky made his request, Holloway asked for records from the attorney, which were turned over to Krenesky, Ross wrote in the email.

“It seems to me that perhaps a lack of communication between you and the town tax collector has led to the filing of this complaint and the inability to resolve it,” Ross wrote to Krenesky.

Stanek told Ross he has an updated record reflecting the payments made and the remaining balance of back taxes that he would be able provide to Krenesky, Ross wrote in the email.

A message left with Stanek at his law office in Oxford wasn’t returned.

In a phone interview, Krenesky said he withdrew his complaint because some of the information he requested — namely a repayment agreement between the town and Betkoski — doesn’t exist.

Through April 17, 2017, Betkoski paid $6,798, including interest, to the town in back taxes. The payments were made through the bankruptcy case.

Betkoski refiled for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in October after his previous case was dismissed in May when he couldn’t keep up with payments.

Holloway said the town hasn’t received any more payments while the bankruptcy proceeding continues, adding they will start again once the case is finalized.

On Nov. 6, Krenesky filed another FOI request with Holloway seeking information on the outstanding balance of back taxes Betkoski owes and the amount paid through the bankruptcy case.

As of Monday, Betkoski owed $17,874 in back taxes on the business, including personal property and real estate taxes, according to information on the town’s website. The figure doesn’t include payments due on Jan. 1. He is current on the taxes for his home.

Holloway said the town will comply with Krenesky’s latest request. She said she doesn’t understand why Krenesky doesn’t come in and talk with her. If he did, Holloway said, she would be able to give him exactly what he’s looking for, and save time and energy.

“My door is always open,” she said.

Krenesky said he doesn’t feel the town has been forthright about the issue and a repayment plan. He said he wants to have written proof and documents, so that there are no gray areas.

“At this point, I would like it in writing,” he said.