A former town employee, and potential future brother-in-law, is suing First Selectman Tim Herbst, claiming Herbst slandered him and interfered with his employment and ability to earn a living.
In a lawsuit filed November 22, Jesse Jablon sued Herbst seeking damages in excess of $15,000. The suit claims Herbst fired Jablon from his temporary chief administrative officer position in town because Jablon was dating Herbst’s sister, Amanda Herbst. Jablon alleges that Herbst then sabotaged his attempts to find work with the City of Ansonia and told Jablon’s current employer, Enterprise Car Sales, that Jablon was a drug dealer. Herbst is being sued as an individual, not in his capacity as first selectman.
According to the lawsuit (Click here for full text of suit), Herbst appointed Jablon to the temporary position of Chief Administrative Officer on August 26, 2013, then fired him December 7. Four days later, Jablon said Herbst told him he would do everything in his power to prevent him obtaining future employment, and also prohibited town employees from giving Jablon letters of reference.
In May 2014, Jablon applied for an information/technology job with the City of Ansonia, for which he was interviewed but not hired. Jablon said Herbst spoke to Ansonia officials and prevented his hiring, though two Ansonia officials, Sheila O’Malley and Chris Tymniak, dispute that.
O’Malley said Jablon lacked the necessary qualifications for the job. Tymniak further elaborated, recalling that Jablon did not have IT experience, and had indicated his desire for full-time work, when the position he applied for was part-time.
Tymniak confirmed that he had spoken to Herbst as part of a routine background check of Jablon’s resume, but that the conversation had no bearing on the decision not to hire Jablon.
“At no time did Mr. Herbst influence any decision made to hire or not hire any individual,” Tymniak said.
In May 2016 Jablon began working at Enterprise Car Sales in Milford. The lawsuit alleges that, on October 12, Herbst met with Sean Parks, the Department Head for Remarketing of Vehicles, and “falsely and maliciously” accused Jablon of being a drug dealer.
Parks reported the meeting to Enterprise’s Human Resources Department, and as a result, Jablon “has suffered embarrassment and humiliation at his place of employment and his employment has been jeopardized.”
In a written statement, Herbst implied that the lawsuit was a response to his aggressive criticism of state Democrats and his filing of paperwork seeking statewide office.
“Rather than debate the issues, the modus operandi of Malloy’s gang is to respond to all criticism of their job-crushing, fiscally ruinous record and policies with personal attacks and political smears,” he wrote. “In all of my years in public service I have always maintained that families are off-limits. Politicizing personal family matters should be beneath even them — sadly it is not.”
Herbst said the decision to terminate Jablon’s employment was made to prevent a potential unethical situation in Trumbull Town Hall.
“The simple fact of the matter is that I took action to prevent a potentially unethical situation from developing,” he said. “I follow the Code of Ethics just like any other official or employee. I stick to that code even when it may be uncomfortable and regardless of whether family is involved.”