NEW HAVEN, CT — Drew Rankin, the former chief executive officer of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Corporation (CMEEC), was sentenced Tuesday to a year in prison for misusing CMEEC funds, according to Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

Rankin, 62, who was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven, also was ordered to serve three years of supervised release.

CMEEC is a cooperative public corporation that allows municipal electric utilities in Connecticut to combine efforts in supplying electric power within their respective areas of operation. Member towns of CMEEC include Bozrah, Norwich, Groton, Jewett City, and the Second and Third Taxing Districts of Norwalk.

Each member town signed an agreement through its municipal electric utility, outlining the terms and conditions of their participation in CMEEC. The agreement designates excess revenues as “CMEEC Margin,” with the intention of returning them to the member towns to help stabilize electricity costs for ratepayers.

Between 2010 and 2015, CMEEC received over $9 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Energy, while member towns also received federal grants.

During a trial in 2021, evidence and testimony revealed that Rankin and certain members of the CMEEC Board of Directors organized extravagant trips outside of Connecticut, including visits to the Kentucky Derby in 2015 and 2016, as well as a luxury golf resort in West Virginia in 2015. These trips were unrelated to CMEEC business and were intended to personally benefit and reward Rankin, CMEEC Board members, their families, friends, and associates. Costs for the trips exceeded $800,000, covering expenses such as travel, private chartered airfare, first-class hotel accommodations, meals, sporting event tickets, golf fees, souvenirs, and gifts.

When questioned by the news media about the Kentucky Derby and golf trips, Rankin misrepresented the costs, omitted the names of non-CMEEC attendees, and made other false statements regarding the funding of the trips. After the trips became public knowledge, CMEEC canceled a reservation for the 2017 Kentucky Derby and was refunded only approximately $90,000 of the $298,960 prepayment made in May 2016.

On Dec. 10, 2021, Rankin, James Sullivan (former chairperson of the CMEEC Board of Directors), and John Bilda (former Norwich representative on the CMEEC Board of Directors) were found guilty by a jury of one count of theft concerning a program receiving federal funds.

Restitution will be determined in subsequent court proceedings.

Rankin is currently free on a $100,000 bond but is required to report to prison July 11. Sullivan’s sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday (May 17), while Bilda is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday (May 18).

The investigation into the matter was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Energy. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah P. Karwan, Michael S. McGarry, and Tara E. Levens.