Courtesy of LinkedIn
Mike Cronin (Courtesy of LinkedIn)

HARTFORD, CT — Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano fired his chief legal counsel Monday for stealing money from the Senate Republican Leadership PAC.

Fasano said Mike Cronin, his chief legal counsel, told him Monday that he “removed without authorization tens of thousands of dollars from the caucus PAC, monies that were donated to support state Senate candidates.”

The PAC raised more than $102,000 from individuals during the recent campaign cycle and reported spending about $113,000 most of it on mailings and other ads for state Senate candidates, according to its filings with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Senate Republicans had hoped to expand their numbers but their caucus shrank in the past election from 18 to 13.

Fasano said he fired Cronin this morning after learning of the theft.

Fasano said he started a conversation with Cronin about vendors not being paid on Friday. The conversation continued over the weekend and it wasn’t until Monday that Cronin admitted there was no more money left in the account.

Cronin stiffed several vendors, according to Fasano, but how many and how much money is still owed was unclear.

“It’s in the tens of thousands,” Fasano said outside his office Monday.

He declined to offer a reason for why Cronin, who makes $175,000 a year and has worked in the building for nearly 20 years, would take the money.

“He gave me some issues. I was sort of taken aback by what he said so I’m not gonna talk about what he told me,” Fasano said.

Fasano said Cronin did not intercept the money, but that he failed to pay the money to the vendors. He said there were bills reported on the report that weren’t paid that he argued were paid, Fasano said.

“Following our meeting this morning, Attorney Cronin called Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane to report his actions and hired Attorney Ross Garber of Shipman and Goodwin to represent him,” Fasano said. “This severe breach of trust is both shocking and deeply upsetting. With his termination, our caucus has ceased all ties with Attorney Cronin.”

Garber said “Mike has taken full responsibility for these issues. He voluntarily reported them to Senate Republican leadership and to the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office. He is cooperating with authorities and is committed to ensuring that all donor funds are accounted for and fully restored.”

Fasano said he grew increasingly concerned about what was happening when Cronin declined to send him a screenshot of what was in the bank account so they could start matching up the transactions.

Fasano said he made sure Cronin called Kane to report his actions. He said Cronin and Garber are meeting with Kane Tuesday to go over the accounting.

“It hurts,” Fasano said. “It’s shocking.”

Cronin was the sole fiduciary of the Senate Republican Leadership PAC.

The Senate has three leadership PACs, but Cronin was only the treasurer for that one.

Senator Len Fasano talks about firing his chief legal counsel
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Posted by on Monday, December 3, 2018