WHAV Investigates: Secret Haverhill DPW Report May be Unmasked with Naming of New Police Recruit

Haverhill Public Works Department, 500 Primrose St. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill is sending 13 new recruits to the police academy and one member of the class may have unwittingly played a role in the city’s refusal in the last year to turn over a secret report on an investigation into the Highway Department.

For more than a year, WHAV’s investigative team mounted several challenges to gain release of an 83-page report detailing Haverhill Police’s 2018 investigation of the city’s Public Works Department. After being ordered by the state to turn an unredacted copy over to WHAV, the city won a reprieve last April. The city’s outside counsel, attorney Michelle E. Randazzo, claimed the report was needed to help the city defend itself against a discrimination case brought by a then-unnamed Highway Department employee.

“While we believe that this complaint has no merit, we are obligated to defend it and will do so vigorously,” she said, adding the unnamed individual “directly implicates the matters addressed in the requested record.”

Timothy Campbell, one of the city’s new police recruits, told WHAV Wednesday he is dropping the complaint before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Campbell declined to go into details, saying he is still unfamiliar with the Police Department’s rules for new recruits.

Campbell worked for the department as a motor equipment operator and laborer from May 21, 2018 to Sept. 13, 2018.

Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro and Mayor James J. Fiorentini at Swasey Field after an unrelated 2016 shooting later blamed on gang activity. (WHAV News file photograph.)

WHAV first asked in October 2018 for a copy of the investigation authored by Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro. A heavily blacked out—or “redacted”—copy of the report was turned over to WHAV the following February after state Supervisor of Records Rebecca S. Murray ruled in WHAV’s favor. Mayor James J. Fiorentini ordered the investigation following receipt of two anonymous letters, alleging wrongdoing. Two DPW employees were arrested in August 2018 for an alleged drug deal outside Summer Street’s City Hall. Court cases against both were later dropped.

Of what was visible in the blacked out investigative report, DeNaro noted allegations of sloppy city construction work, abuse of sick leave, nepotism and an undisclosed allegation against Highway Superintendent Brian J. Zaniboni. DeNaro said Zaniboni at least initially refused to cooperate with police.

In an apparently unrelated matter, Campbell, who worked for the department, filed a discrimination case. Randazzo said the city needed information from the 83-page “Highway Department Investigation” to “determine its defenses” and “evaluate potential witness testimony.”

With the discrimination case being withdrawn, WHAV is renewing its call for a complete and unredacted copy of DeNaro’s investigation.

Besides Campbell, new police recruits in the academy include Jhonattan Almonte, Douglas Angus, Angel Aviles, Jamal Babiker, Jared Grazio, Geraldine Jiminez-Rivera, Daniel McDonagh, Parker Rogers, Kaylee Sarfde, David Steed, Daniel Surette and Camden Titus, all of Haverhill and all appeared on the state’s Civil Service list. Jimenez-Rivera and Mcdonagh are listed as U.S. military veterans.

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