Lawyer: Landlord ‘Engaged in Recorded Surveillance’ of Briscoe Road Parents

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The New Canaan couple charged in September with felony risk of injury to children is pushing back on an attempt to evict them from the home they’re renting.

In filing eviction papers Nov. 30 in state Superior Court, an attorney representing the Briscoe Road homeowner cited the arrest of Tina and Paxton Kinol after police obtained a warrant based on testimony and audio recordings detailing neglect. A criminal defense attorney representing Tina Kinol has questioned the legality of the recordings and involvement of New Canaan Police in the case.

On Tuesday, their lawyer in the housing matter responded to the eviction filing by denying that the Kinols’ actions amount to a “serious nuisance” under a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants on that basis.

Greenwich-based criminal defense attorney Phil Russell in answering the complaint argued that the landlord has “interfered” with the Kinols’ “right to quiet enjoyment of the premises.”

“Plaintiff engaged in recorded surveillance of the Defendants and hired an agent to access the home and record the Defendants,” Russell said in the answer and special defense filing. “Plaintiff further took steps to have criminal and child welfare investigations initiated against the Defendants, and he enlisted friends, employees and law enforcement to interfere with their quiet enjoyment of the premises.”

The plaintiff in the housing matter is Guy Mazzola, court records show. He lives on Oenoke Ridge and owns a four-bedroom Colonial on Briscoe Road, tax records show.

It wasn’t clear from Russell’s filing how Mazzola is involved in the criminal case. 

According to a New Canaan Police Department arrest warrant application, Tina Kinol on a Friday in September stuck her finger down one of her children’s throats four or five times, inducing the juvenile to throw up blood after ingesting one of her pills.

Captured on a housemaid’s audio recording whose handling as key evidence has been questioned by Sherman, the incident led to the Sept. 25 arrest of the parents.

In the recording, the child is “crying, coughing and making gag-like vomiting sounds,” according to the police affidavit. Relatives identified the Kinols as the voices of a man and woman in the audio recording.

“In the recording, the woman stated to the man ‘That pill puts people out for days,’ ” the arrest warrant application said. “The woman also stated to the man that she put her finger down the child’s throat four or five times. The man asked the woman if the child threw up, and the woman responded that the child ‘Threw up blood.’ The woman expressed that the child most likely found the pill in a telephone case. She stated to the man, ‘I bet you there are pills everywhere.’ ”

The child was not taken to a hospital though the child began “turning red and getting a fever,” according to the maid’s testimony, cited in the police affidavit. Relatives of the Kinols interviewed by police said Tina Kinol may receive drugs from overseas, including Tremadol, the arrest warrant application said. It’s a highly addictive narcotic used to treat pain.

Neither of the Kinols had pleaded to the criminal charges as of Tuesday, records show. They both were scheduled to appear Wednesday. Paxton Kinol now is being represented by Russell in the criminal matter, Connecticut Judicial Branch records show. Tina Kinol still is represented by Stamford-based criminal defense attorney Mark Sherman.

The next hearing date in the eviction proceeding has not yet been scheduled. Mazzola is being represented in the housing matter by Norwalk attorney Mark Sank. Under their lease, the Kinols pay monthly rent of $5,500, according to the complaint.

It’s not clear why the Kinols now have separate lawyers in the criminal case. Paxton Kinol last June had filed an application for custody, court records show.

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