Hudson sergeant appeals promotion denial to state

Thomas Crippen, a Hudson police sergeant whose promotion to lieutenant was denied in a split vote by selectmen July 9, has appealed the decision to the state Civil Service Commission.

The appeal, filed for Crippen by lawyer Andrew Gambaccini and sent to the town Sept. 6, says the three selectmen who voted against Crippen’s promotion — the board’s chairman, James Vereault, and members Charles P. McGourty and Christopher P. Yates — failed to cite valid reasons for their decision to reject him.

The appeal also accuses Vereault and Yates of allowing their relationship with Hudson resident Charles Freeman to influ­ence their vote.

Freeman is a neighbor of Crippen’s who has been entangled in lawsuits with him over ­Freeman’s installation of a surveillance system, and the police sergeant’s handling of the dispute ­between the two.

The appeal calls Freeman “a political ally” of Vereault, and includes a photograph purporting to show the two men campaigning together for Vereault’s reelection as a selectman.

“For Vereault, official action as a member of the board ­designed to favor his political ally presented no issue,” the ­appeal reads.

The document also includes correspondence between Yates and Crippen and his wife. Yates worked on some legal documents for the Crippens, and has also represented Freeman.

In a letter dated April 16, 2010, Yates wrote that he was recusing himself from working on documents for the Crippens due to their “public animosity” toward one of his clients.

“In effect,” the appeal reads, “Yates has indicated that the situation with the Freemans and the Crippens in which Yates became embroiled was such that he had to recuse himself from performing any legal work for the Crippens, but the same facts and circumstances did not operate so as to suggest his recusal when the time came to vote against Crippen’s promotion.”

Yates said he decided not to continue working for the ­Crippens in 2010 to avoid a conflict of interest that existed then but does not now.

Vereault and McGourty both referred questions to labor attor­ney Philip Collins, who ­declined to comment.

Gambaccini, Crippen’s lawyer, provided the Globe with an electronic copy of the appeal.

Barry Bachrach, Freeman’s lawyer, dismissed the notion that the selectmen have a conflict of interest due to their relationships with Freeman. He said Yates is not involved in the lawsuits between ­Crippen and Freeman, and Freeman merely “held a sign” for Vereault.

“Since when has that become a conflict?” Bachrach said.