Former Oxford First Selectman Mary Ann Drayton-Rogers sat frustrated in a near empty courtroom on the second floor at Milford Superior Court Thursday morning.
She had hoped to see some semblance of justice handed down to , a former Oxford tax collector who had betrayed Drayton-Rogers and more than 12,000 citizens who entrusted Guillet with their tax dollars for 24 years. Instead, Drayton-Rogers heard that disheartening, two-word phrase that has been uttered several times already by judges in this pre-trial phase - case continued.
“I really did feel that at this point in the case, some kind of action would be taken,” said Drayton-Rogers, who is retired from town politics and now splits her time between Oxford and Florida. “The longer this goes on, the longer the cloud remains over the town of Oxford.”
Without much explanation, the state’s attorney’s office asked Judge Richard Arnold for a brief continuance until next Thursday (June 7). Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Chuck Stango said Guillet’s defense attorney, Dominick J. Thomas, Jr., who was not in court, asked for the continuance.
Guillet, a 62-year-old former elected official who was arrested by state police for stealing more than $240,000 from her office, also was not in court. She has declined several interview requests by local and state media since she was charged with one count of first-degree larceny and six counts of first-degree forgery on Nov. 30, almost two years after town officials first suspected she was stealing. Drayton-Rogers was first selectman at the time.
On top of the criminal case, Guillet faces a civil lawsuit filed by the town that accuses her of pocketing more than $670,000 in order to maintain a posh lifestyle that state police say included fancy cars, upscale vacations and wardrobes worth several thousands of dollars. The civil case is being held in abeyance until the criminal matter is resolved, said Oxford Town Attorney Kevin Condon.
While Guillet awaits trial, or a more likely plea bargain agreement, she is free to stay in her well-kempt home at 2 Douglas Lane in Oxford. Meanwhile, angry taxpayers - in town records because Guillet did not credit their accounts so she could hide her embezzlement scheme, according to town officials – are forced to hope and wait for a resolution to the case.
Drayton-Rogers said now that she’s removed from town politics, she is just another one of those frustrated residents. The former first selectman, who served from 2007 to 2011, has said she believes Guillet, her former friend, stole more than $1 million from the town.
Drayton-Rogers believes the state has ample evidence to convict Guillet. She knows pre-trial conferences can be continued for several months and possibly years, but Drayton-Rogers still questions why this particular case is taking so long.
“I am fully aware that all of the information was turned over to the state police Major Crime Squad and the State’s Attorney’s Office in a timely manner and they have had ample time to review it,” she said. “The longer this drags out, the more questions we have and the more anger residents will feel about this situation.”