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Brookfield Receives $1.147M Check in Liquidation Settlement

Second check reimburses over $2 million of $2.5 million paid in settlement of fatal accident.

The town received the second and final payment of $1,147,500 in the sale of its claim against Legion Insurance Company, the town’s insurer in 2000 when a falling tree on Pocono Road took the life of an innocent Brookfield resident driving by. The town settled an ensuing lawsuit in the matter, which was covered by Legion Insurance, but required $2.5 million out of pocket for the town.

The town filed a claim against the company to recoup that cost, however the case wasn’t settled before Legion filed for liquidation in 2003.

This second payment together with one of $892,500 received earlier this year equal $2,040,000, some 80 percent of what the town paid, said First Selectman Bill Davidson, who explained that the town’s claim against Legion was purchased by a third party, Liquidity Solutions, which issued the checks.

When Legion went into bankruptcy, the town filed in court for reparations and was told it was a “high priority claim,” Davidson said, meaning that Brookfield was positioned well on the list of parties expecting to be paid. However, there was no clear timetable on when the claim would be settled and there “was no expectation ever that we’d get this kind of reimbursement back,” he said.

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According to Davidson, an initial offer of less than $700,000 was made, however, under the advice of Danbury attorney Jack Garamella, who has been with the case since the tragic accident occurred, it was declined. The town made a single counter offer of $1,147,500 and which was accepted in September.

The second check was received last month and deposited in the town’s fund balance, part of which will be used to more fully fund the town’s pension liability.

Steven DeVaux October 03, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Yeah, let's raise the cable bill monthly rates some more to pay for it!
Ken October 03, 2012 at 03:37 AM
This money received in the bankruptcy settlement with the insurance company is not a windfall to the town. It is an 80% reimbursement of money that should have been paid by the town's insurer when the case was settled. When the insurer filed bankruptcy my understanding is the town had to make good on the settlement and pay the $2.5 million out of town funds.
Steven DeVaux October 03, 2012 at 09:46 AM
You are correct. It was taken - after a vote at a town meeting - from the town's fund balance after being represented as needed. It should be returned there since less than 20% of what was represented was used for the purpose that was presented to the people of Brookfield. If they want to use the money after it was returned, that would require another town meeting since it exceeds $20,000. It's not found money and anything over $20,000 goes to a town meeting. Anything over $1 million goes to referendum. Using it for the pension without the process would be like bonding the roads in a referendum and then using the money from the bonds to pay for the artificial playing field at Cadigan.
Howard Lasser October 03, 2012 at 09:49 AM
Just to correct the misstatements. The payment was made in three installments and was included in the annual budget. Funds were not taken from fund balance. It is correct that any disposition of the funds would have to go to Town Meeting if over $20,000. The $1 million limit for a referendum only applys to borrowing not spending.
Kathy Wandelmaier October 03, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Adele, You probably already know that the trees along Rt. 25 are the responsibility of the state, not the Town of Brookfield. The Congregational Church (I am a member) has a large tree on 25 that we asked the State to take a look at. The said it has to come down. My guess is that they will take care of all three trees at one time, but when that will happen is anyone's guess. They looked at our tree in May and said they'd be back in August. Maybe.

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