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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Suing Col. Thomas Mead: The Case of the State Against Him as Surety for E.J. Wright (1882)

Source: Greenwich Graphic, Saturday, December 2, 1882

“Yes, that is a very important case,” said Mr. J. B. Curtis, of Stamford, to a GRAPHIC representative, when questioned in regard to the suit brought by the State against Col. Thomas Mead, surety on ex-County Commissioner E. J. Wright’s bond.

“The great suit of Tweed against Ingersoll is similar to it, and you will remember that in that case the courts were obliged to go to the legislature to have special laws passed concerning it. In this case against Col. Mead, Mr. Wright is charged with being a defaulter for about $3,000, and the defense claimed that the bond was given to the State fir its sole protection and not as trustees for the towns. 

“This sum was in the nature of a tax collected from the inhabitants and paid into the treasury of the towns. The State had no control over it, and the surety was not amendable to the State for Mr. Wright’s performance of the duties to these several towns. 

“The bond did not cover the money, except for five per cent of the license money, $334.62, payable to the county of Fairfield, the county being an integral part of the State government. When Mr. Wright is alleged to have misappropriated the money he was holding an office that did not exist in the law. He was made treasurer of the board and all the moneys during the year of the alleged misappropriation were placed in his hands. During the time no account was rendered by him and no formal demand was made by other commissioners for an account, and no attempt was made to investigate his accounts. It was claimed that making him treasurer placed a liability upon him him that the law did not contemplate. 

The result of such action would be to place the responsibility of all the finances of the county on to one commissioner and his surety, and the others would escape. If there is any loss it should fall on all. The towns have authorized no suits by the State, but have brought suits themselves.”

The trial of the case came before the Superior Court at Danbury, Judge Beardsley, last week Thursday, and concluded Monday of this week. Messrs. Brewster and Tweedy of Danbury, appeared for the State, and J. B. Curtis of Stamford, and Levi Warner of Norwalk, for Mr. Mead. Decision is expected next week.