Nancy Rossi remains West Haven's mayor following a razor-thin voting margin — and the arrest of 2 city employees
Democratic Mayor Nancy Rossi remains in office in West Haven, Connecticut, after an official recount from the election last week. Rossi beat her Republican opponent, Barry Lee Cohen, by 32 votes.
The margin last Tuesday was close enough to trigger the mandatory recount, which occurs when the difference of votes is within 0.5%.
Rossi told Hearst Connecticut Media that she wasn’t shocked that it was a close race because, “we’re in the news every day, unfortunately not for the good news.”
While Rossi was campaigning for her third term this year, two city workers were arrested for misusing federal coronavirus relief to the city.
Former state Representative and City Hall employee Michael DiMassa was arrested in October on a federal wire fraud charge. In December 2020, the West Haven City Council named DiMassa as one of two people to serve as a designee for the mayor to handle coronavirus aid. He allegedly transferred more than $600,000 in federal pandemic relief funds from City Hall to a business bank account set up for Compass Investment Groups LLC.
City Hall employee John Bernardo was also arrested. Both he and DiMassa were principals in Compass. The listed business address for Compass appears to be the home address of John Bernardo. Both DiMassa and Bernardo are listed as authorized signatories.
Following their arrest, Rossi said she wanted both men arrested and prosecuted. Cohen, her opponent, claimed there was not enough city oversight.