A New Canaan woman threatened a Planning & Zoning worker at Town Hall last week, unleashing a profanity-laden tirade that prompted a formal warning from police.
At about 12:20 p.m. on Jan. 4, town resident Andrea Sandor, 59, accosted an assistant zoning enforcement officer at the Land Use counter in the lower level of the newly renovated and expanded public building at 77 Main St., according to documents obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a Freedom of Information request.
She started by asking questions regarding the burial site at Merritt Apartments and, when the Town Hall worker told her that he couldn’t go into another employee’s emails to retrieve information he did not have at hand, she said, “Of course you don’t because you’re a moron,” according to an incident summary from the victim.
As the worker stepped away from the counter, Sandor said again, “That’s right you are a moron,” according to the summary. Told by the worker that her language was inappropriate, Sandor said, “You are not from this town” and “You are just an employee” and that the “had better watch out,” the summary said.
As the employee started walking up a ramp toward the P&Z offices which are not visible from the public counter, Sandor raised her voice in saying, “You are just an [expletive] from West Haven,” it said.
The incident was witnessed by three others in the office, documents show.
Police responded to the incident at 12:22 p.m., according to a NCPD case report obtained by NewCanaanite.com. After taking a statement from New Canaan’s human resources director and the victim, officers at about 3 p.m. reached Sandor by phone.
“She could not talk at the time so I informed her that I wanted to talk to her about the incident at Town Hall and instructed her to give me a call back,” the officer said.
The pair connected two days later, at about 7:40 a.m. on Jan. 6, according to police. Sandor told the officer that she had lost her temper and gave a somewhat different version of events.
According to Sandor, she had been speaking with a different town worker when the assistant zoning enforcement officer approached the counter “and interjected.”
“She became upset because she was not provided with the information she was requesting,” the police report said.
According to the statement from the victim, Sandor wanted to know who had been digging that week at the burial ground at Merritt Village—a matter overseen by local P&Z as well as state officials—and demanded answers to questions that only the New Canaan town planner had. The town planner was away to lunch at the time of Sandor’s visit, and when told that she needed to wait until he was back, she demanded of the zoning enforcement officer, “I want you to go into his emails and get me the answer,” documents show.
Ultimately, New Canaan police told Sandor to limit her contact with the assistant zoning enforcement officer, to which she agreed, and said that another incident likey would trigger “a different course of action,” the NCPD case report said.
She has a history of verbally abusing town workers, documents show.
According to the recipient of her sharp language last week, Sandor last summer had used profanity with him during a phone call, threatening to “have your head” and urging the town employee “to watch out” because “you don’t know who you are dealing with.”
During that exchange, the worker had advised Sandor that he would need to put her on hold for 30 seconds in order to obtain a copy of New Canaan’s Plan of Conservation and Development and got this response: “Shouldn’t you know if one is available, seeing you work there you [expletive],” the assistant zoning enforcement officer said.
His direct supervisor at the time, New Canaan’s former town planner, contacted Sandor and told her such abuse would not be tolerated.
At that time, Sandor also had been focused on matters surrounding the Merritt Village application, and after becoming abusive with P&Z workers, the town planner instructed her to deal with him exclusively.
“From what I heard today from several people, was that your behavior was not acceptable and will not be tolerated again,” the former town planner told Sandor in an email obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a formal request. “If this happens again we will call the police department and have you removed from the work place.”
He added at the time: “I understand you are opposed to something and it is clear you have little understanding of the issues, berating town staff will solve nothing. Further, this behavior will also not be tolerated at any public hearing on these matters.”
Sandor initially responded by denying that she had done anything wrong: “My behavior in the Town Hall was impeccable—what are you talking about? I am sure you have it on film—would you be more specific instead of throwing around allegations about nothing to divert attention? You have an employee who is answering the phone who doesn’t know what they are doing—who hung up on me. Please send specifics of what you are talking about—or desist in threatening me.”
One day later, however, she offered an apology in a follow-up email: “I have to apologize to whoever I spoke with—but I found out today I was given the wrong information about the POCD section I was looking for and was extremely upset when I called. I don’t know if this misinformation was given to me on purpose or it was an honest mistake—but it was really bad. Apologies for getting angry on the phone when I wasn’t being helped but it was out of concern for the Town and residents—not anything to do with my interests.”