Rare is the chutzpa so shamefully displayed by Southington Probate Court Judge Bryan F. Meccariello.
The judge who presided over a court process that expunged Sam Manzo, a humble farmhand, from Josephine Smoron's will, now wants to be the hero.
Meccariello told the Council on Probate Judicial Conduct this week that it was but a small mistake that he ignored Smoron's will in May 2009 when he gave the OK to the creation of two trusts that allowed the Smoron Farm to be acquired by a local developer.
The judge said he was merely trying to bring Smoron home before she died in June 2009at age 92.
At the time, Smoron lay dying in a nursing home. Her wish was to give the family farm, worth at least $1.5 million, to Manzo, her long-time caretaker. Meccariello hadn't seen her in more than a year. The man he appointed as her conservator — local lawyer John Nugent — never bothered to meet her. ("I don't speak dementia," Nugent artfully explained to the council this week.)
A Democrat who channels both Richard Nixon and Eddie Haskell, Meccariello told the council that he was merely adhering to a plan — a secret one unbeknownst to anyone but the judge — that would have brought dear old Josephine Smoron back to her beloved farm.
"The game plan," Meccariello declared, "was to create the vehicle that would allow her to get back to her house … My intentions were to get her back to that farm … I was blinded by the fact that this woman wanted to go home."
Manzo, who mortgaged (and lost to foreclosure) his home to help pay for some of Josephine Smoron's bills and who was removed by Meccariello as her conservator in 2008, could only shake his head. After Meccariello appointed Nugent, "there was no plan,'' Manzo told me.
Meccariello is the man who allowed the entire mess to unfold, who never would have been caught were it not for Manzo's complaint about a railroad job unfolding in the Southington Probate Court. This is the judge who, as Smoron's sad fate unfolded before his court over her last year, never bothered to find out how she was doing in the hospital or nursing home.
Yet he had a plan to save her.
Wednesday was the third time that Meccariello testified under oath before the council, but the first time he mentioned "the plan." He is before the council because he failed to notify Manzo about the hearing at which Meccariello changed the will. "A mistake," Meccariello said.
This mistake created two trusts that handed the farm to three local Catholic churches after Smoron's death. The churches, under an agreement arranged by Nugent, were then to sell the farm to a local developer. The developer, Carl Verderame, has already submitted plans for an indoor sports arena for the property, which is just off I-84.
All of this occurred despite the fact that in a 1996 will, Smoron stated that she was "intentionally" omitting any churches.
Full Article and Source:
Southington Probate Court Judge Bryan Meccariello Faces Judicial Misconduct Charges
Appeal Filed in Smoron Case