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October 29. 2013 8:29PM

Nashua mayor: Police came after me in 'smear campaign' over budget, cuts

NASHUA — Mayor Donnalee Lozeau on Tuesday publicly lashed out at the Police Department, saying it has attempted to launch politically motivated investigations into her husband, David, and herself over the last several years.

"As a society, we entrust the police with extraordinary power and prestige. When that trust is abused for personal or political ends, as it was here, we are all the poorer for it," Lozeau said Tuesday in a written statement.

The mayor described the investigation as part of a "smear campaign."

"I am saddened that my disagreements with the Nashua Police Department over their budget has come to this," Lozeau wrote.

Her charge is emphatically denied by Police Chief John Seusing, who said the department conducted investigations only for legitimate reasons.

"Any investigation that the Nashua Police Department did concerning her husband or anybody else would be done for justifiable reasons and not for political reasons," Seusing said Tuesday night. "To make any connection between disagreements between the Mayor's Office and the Police Department is absolutely false. There is no connection whatsoever."

Lozeau said the investigations began in 2009 based on a complaint from "one individual facing criminal charges" whom her husband had sued.

The person is not named in her statement. Lozeau could not be reached Tuesday night for further comment.

She said the person accused her husband, in his role as a bid commissioner, of bid rigging, drug use and misconduct.

She said the Police Department made 11 "separate attempts to wiretap David" in December 2009 and January 2010.

"Despite these repeated attempts, at no point did my husband implicate himself in any criminal wrongdoing of any kind," her statement read. "After spending hundreds of man-hours investigating my husband and I, the investigation was closed on Chief Don Conley's watch, as no crimes were committed."

Conley retired as chief in December 2011.

Seusing, who has been with the department since 1982, took the reins in January 2012.

Seusing would not comment on any part of any investigation into the Lozeaus.

Relations between Lozeau and Seusing have been strained since February's State of the City Address, when the mayor publicly urged the police unions and the police commission to resolve union contracts.

At the time, Seusing called some of Lozeau's comments unprofessional, saying her statements wouldn't correct the problem any more quickly.

Lozeau said the investigations "came back to life" at "precisely the same time that my very public conflict with Chief Seusing was coming to a head" and that the renewed inquiries were because of her comments at the State of the City Address.

"The subsequent attempt by one or more persons in the police department to start a smear campaign based on an unfounded investigation to achieve political goals is shocking and appalling," her statement said.

"Clearly this statement is trying to link the two, but there is no link," Seusing said in response. "They are completely independent of each other."

Lozeau said she has engaged in no criminal activity and that she looks forward to "a public conversation about the conduct of all parties involved. The public deserves to know what happened."

Seusing said he would participate in a public dialogue.

"If I need to, that will certainly happen," he said. "But she's the one who's gone public with this, not the Police Department. Any facts that will come out, they will speak for themselves."

tbuckland@unionleader.com


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