Check out our latest in Friday’s Boston Globe. https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2017/09/21/kosher-white-mountains/yy0UbTf88XkFOfKh0XywLI/story.html?p1=AMP_Recirculation_Pos9
By Ray Carbone
NEWPORT – A criminal trial that could send a Manchester man to jail for his role in an alleged case of election fraud in a 2016 Sunapee school board race has been postponed.
Adam Gaw, 36, was arrested in March after authorities accused him of doctoring someone else’s email in order to make some school board candidates look bad days just before town elections. A scheduling conference was set to take place in Newport District Court last Tuesday, but Brian W. Buonamano, an assistant attorney general, joined with Lauren Breda, a public defender representing Gaw, asking that Judge Bruce Cardello postpone Gaw’s trial until at least November.
“Adam Gaw is tied up in this (Joseph) Furlong matter,” his attorney told the judge. “We’re looking at him hopefully as a cooperative witness.”
“Adam Gaw is tied up in this Furlong matter,” Buonamano told the judge. “We’re looking at him hopefully as a cooperative witness.”
Joseph Furlong, 40, of Sunapee was charged at the same time as Gaw. Authorities say the two men worked together to change an email originally sent out by another person in order to sway the school board election in favor of Furlong’s wife, Heather Furlong. (Heather Furlong won a school board seat in March 2016 but she resigned shortly after her husband was arrested in March 2017.)
in The two men were originally arrested and charged in March 2017 but, in July the attorney general’s office set the original charges set aside and instituted several new ones: two counts of illegally altering an email with the aim of influencing the results of an election (Class A misdemeanor) and one count of forgery (a Class B misdemeanor).
Last month, a judge dismissed all charges against Furlong, ruling that the state had made several legal errors regarding the new charges, including missing the legal statue of limitations for the crimes. (The AG has filed a request to have the judge reconsider his decision and Furlong’s attorney recently submitted an objection to the AG’s reconsideration request.)
At last weeks’ hearing, Breda indicated that if the dismissal of Furlong’s charges is allowed to stand, Gaw could ask the court to dismiss all charges against him based on the same legal arguments.
Gaw entered a not-guilty plea to all charges in July, but authorities say that he’s already accepted full responsibility for the altered messages twice – once, in an email to the police department and once in a signed statement given at the Sunapee police station.
Judge Cardello set a new status hearing on Gaw’s charges for November 14.
This story first appeared in the InterTown Record of Sutton, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
By Ray Carbone
NEWPORT – A local reality TV producer and his wife have lost their fight to win a restraining order and a stalking order of protection against Dave Cahill, the chief of Sunapee police department.
In a decision handed down on Friday, Judge Brian Tucker of the Sullivan County Superior Court here ruled that Joseph and Heather Furlong of Sunapee “presented no instance of unwarranted contact (with the chief) – direct or indirect, real or threatened – that justifies a restraining order.”
The judge recognized the anxiety the couple has had regarding the chief over the last six months, but he said that “the subjective views of the Fulongs are not enough to support issuing the (restraining) order.”
During the hearing held Thursday in the superior court, several witnesses – including the Furlongs – indicated that the chief only had, at most, four incidents in the last 18 months where he’d interacted with either of the Furlongs, and Heather Furlong initiated two.
(The judge also dismissed the request for a stalking order, noting that such actions are taken in the Newport District Court.)
During Thursday’s hearing, it was apparent that the Furlongs were extremely anxious confronting the chief. Heather Furlong, the first witness, broke down in tears not long after she took the stand.
“I’m very concerned about a pattern that Mr. Cahill has demonstrated with myself and my husband,” she told the judge. “(He) has been malicious, which has resulted in substantial pain and suffering for my family.”
Joseph Furlong, who wiped tears from his eyes as his wife wept, said later that he had similar emotional problems. “I can’t sleep at night,” he testified. “(Cahill) is out to get me, to get vengeance… I want protection until I can pack up and move my family out of town.”
‘Heather Furlong, the first witness, broke down in tears not long after she took the stand… Joseph Furlong, who wiped tears from his eyes as his wife wept, said that he had similar emotional problems. “I can’t sleep at night,” he testified.’
Cahill, who has been in law enforcement for 30 years and Sunapee’s chief for the last 15 years, denied that he ever acted in an intimidating or threatening towards the couple. In fact, he testified that he’s had regular friendly small town-type encounters with the Furlongs for some time, particularly since his youngsters are the same age as their children.
Things began changing in 2016 after Joseph Furlong was investigated for allegedly doctoring an email with the apparent goal of swaying the election of a school board seat in his wife’s favor.
Cahill spoke with several people, including Furlong, after learning about the possible election fraud. Furlong was arrested in March 2017 following a yearlong investigation under the supervision of the New Hampshire attorney general’s office. He was charged with six counts related to forgery and making a false statement to the police.
Furlong denied the charges, and indicated that a 36-year-old construction contractor named Adam Gaw from Manchester, who was apparently working on the Furlong house, may have been responsible for the altered email message.
Shortly before Joseph Furlong was scheduled to go on trail last month, the attorney general withdrew the original charges and filed new ones, both related to actions taken during the alleged email doctoring.
A district court judge ruled that the new charges were filed after the statute of limitation had run out. He dismissed all charges against Joseph Furlong. (The AG has filed a request to have the judge reconsider his decision.)
At last week’s court hearing, the Furlongs told Judge Tucker that Cahill had friendly relationships with other residents who are their political opponents, and that the chief also harbors ill will against them because he mishandled the email investigation.
The judge listened to more than three hours of testimony, much of it related to the email investigation and the Furlongs’ reactions to Cahill and other Sunapee residents, but he made it clear that he was focused on the restraining order request.
‘I’m interested in the facts (relating to) whether I should issue an order restraining (Cahill) from seeing you, not the politics,” he told Heather Furlong at one point.
“Whether it was a bad or a good investigation really has noting to do with whether I should issue an order that Chief Cahill should stay away from you,” he said later to Joseph Furlong.
In related news, police report that Adam Gaw has twice taken full responsibility for doctoring the email messages but he recently plead “not guilty” to all related charges in district court. A hearing regarding his case is scheduled for this week.
This story first appeared in the InterTown Record of Sutton, New Hampshire, on September 12, 2017.
By Ray Carbone
WARNER – At a busy meeting of the board of selectmen last week, the town leaders learned about plans to add a beer tent to the Warner Fall Foliage Festival next month and discussed how the recent resignation of the land use secretary could impact legal proceedings regarding the proposed gun store/shooting range.
At the meeting held Monday, August 29, in the town hall, Ray Martin, president of the WFFF’s board of directors, told the three-member town board that the festival has entered into an agreement with SweetFire BBQ of Claremont to operate a beer tent at the 70th annual festival, which runs Friday, Oct. 6 to Sunday, Oct. 8. (The beer tent will not be in operation on Friday, the first night of the downtown event.)
The new vendor will be located on the parking lot behind the New Hampshire Telephone Museum off Depot Street and across from the Pillsbury Free Library. SweetFire will also serve barbecued food, Martin said. “The vendor provides all ID checking (and) there’s a limit of two beers per person,” he noted.
The WFFF board has researched the company and is satisfied that it will manage the beer tent responsibly, the president said. It has its own insurance, which will be backed up by both the telephone museum’s and the festival’s.
The (land use resignation) is especially sensitive at this time because the town is locked in a legal dispute with Norman Carlson, the founder and CEO of MadgeTech, Inc., the town’s largest high-tech employer (regarding the shooting range plan).
SweetFire has done “a lot of” similar events in the area, Martin explained, adding that the company has been at the last two Hopkinton State Fairs and at several public events in Claremont.
Because the state liquor commission issues the company’s license, the selectmen did not need to take any action, Martin concluded. He simply wanted them to have giving official notification.
“We’re just looking at this as a rental space,” he told the selectmen. “It could be another $1,300 or $1,400 profit for the Warner Fall Foliage Festival.”
Later in the meeting, the selectmen discussed the recent resignation of Lois Lord, who has served as the town’s land use secretary for the last few years. The position is especially sensitive at this time because the town is locked in a legal dispute with Norman Carlson, the founder and CEO of MadgeTech, Inc., the town’s largest high-tech employer. Carlson’s business operations have recently won a court decision overturning the zoning board of adjustment’s approval of a plan to build a $1.4-million, 11,800 square-foot high-tech shooting range and retail gun facility on land adjacent to his MadgeTech plant on Warner Road. (The ZBA is scheduled to reconsider the application from Eric Miller of Sutton next Wednesday, Sept. 13.)
Town Manager Jim Bingham told the selectmen that the land use secretary’s job has seen some changes recently and he suggested that the board may want to review aspects of the position before hiring someone to take Lord’s place. “My suggestion is that we hire someone on an interim basis,” Bingham said.
Both Rick Davis, chairman of the ZBA, and Ben Frost, chairman of the planning board, told the that their boards do need help in the immediate future – “The gnarlier issues are with the zoning board,” said Frost – but they did not opposed the town administrator’s suggestion.
The selectmen suggested that the town manager begin looking to other communities in the area to find a qualified person to assume the duties on an interim basis.
“I’m going to begin working on that vigorously tomorrow,” Bingham said.
This story first appeared in the InterTown Record of Sutton, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
By Ray Carbone
SUNAPEE – Late last month, a Newport District Court judge dismissed all charges against a local man who had been accused of doctoring an email last year to gain a political advantage for his wife in a political election. But that has not put the issue to rest.
Joseph and Heather Furlong, the couple at the center of the dispute, have filed for a restraining order against Police Chief David Cahill, claiming that he has threatened and frightened them both before and after the election fraud problem.
Cahill arrested Joseph Furlong, 40, and Adam Gaw, 36, of Londonderry in March 2017, charging that they’d altered an email written by another person in 2016 to make two people – including one running against Heather Furlong for a seat on the Sunapee school board – look bad just days before the election. (Heather Furlong won the election but she resigned after her husband was arrested.)
In court papers filed in the district court last week, the couple claimed that Chief Cahill compromised the investigation, and has caused both the couple and their school age children distress.
‘The judge agreed and dismissed the charges (against Joseph Furlong), but late last week, the attorney general’s office filed a Motion To Reconsider, asking the judge to review his decision.’
“My witnesses, my innocence and my rights have been suppressed by Dave (Cahill),” Joseph Furlong wrote in the restraining order request. “Since I was arrested, my life has been filled with fear and misery, and I am now asking for protection for my wife and me.”
On Sunday, Suzanne Gottling, vice-chairman of the board of selectmen, said she could not comment on the chief’s status because it is a personnel issue.
Chief Cahill also refused to comment, adding that he is scheduled to meet with the town attorney on Tuesday.
The court will consider the injunction request on Thursday.
In addition, the NH attorney general’s office has asked Judge Gregory E. Michael to reconsider his recent decision to dismiss all charges against Joseph Furlong as the case against Gaw continues to move forward.
Both men were separately charged with two counts of illegally altering an email with the aim of influencing the results of an election (Class A misdemeanor) and one count of forgery (a Class B misdemeanor).
Joseph Furlong was scheduled to go on trial last month but his attorney argued that the attorney general’s office had made several mistakes after it dropped its original charges against his client and filed new ones. One argument was that the new charges were filed past the legal time limit and that Furlong was an accessory, rather than the main actor in the criminal behavior. Another said that the Furlong’s specific actions were different than in the original charges so he didn’t have time to develop a proper defense.
The judge agreed and dismissed the charges, but late last week, the attorney general’s office filed a Motion To Reconsider, asking the judge to review his decision.
Stating that previous courts seem to differ from Judge Michael’s findings in some ways, the state’s attorney argued that the legal time limits are only meant to prevent “stale or fraudulent” charges from moving forward and that the Mr. Furlong’s actions are “essentially the same” in both the state’s original and later charges. In addition, previous court rulings have judged that “the distinction between principal (actor) and accomplice” in a criminal case isn’t significant to warrant a dismissal.
The case against Gaw is scheduled to move forward at a hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
The Londonderry man is a self-employed construction worker. Court records indicate that he has limited financial resources and is being represented by Jay Buckley, an attorney with the NH Public Defender’s office.
Gaw has pled not guilty to the charges but he allegedly sent an email message to Chief Cahill in March 2016 claiming full responsibility for the altered email and, in March 2017, signed a written confession to the same effect.
This story first appeared in the InterTown Record of Sutton, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.