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West Haven council member Treneé McGee wins legislative special election

The special election was called by Gov. Ned Lamont in October after former state Representative Michael DiMassa resigned amid fraud charges.

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — A West Haven councilwoman has won the special election for a seat in the state House of Representatives, according to unofficial results. Treneé McGee is expected to replace fellow Democrat Michael DiMassa, who faces fraud charges related to his work as an administrator for the same city council McGee serves on.

Unofficial results from the Secretary of the State's office show McGee with 572 votes, Republican Richard DePalma with 471, and unaffiliated candidate Portia Bias with 45. 

The special election for the seat was made necessary after DiMassa resigned amid fraud charges in October.  Federal authorities allege DiMassa stole more than $630,000 in COVID-19 relief money from the city of West Haven.

Guys. I won. State Representative-Elect, Treneé McGee. I’m grateful. More coming. Just Thanks. ❤️

Posted by Treneé McGee on Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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In criminal complaints, officials allege DiMassa and John Bernardo, who worked for the city as a housing specialist, formed Compass Investment Group, LLC in January 2021. Seven checks from the city were made payable to the group, according to officials. Between February and September 2021, a total of $636,783.70 was paid to Compass Investment Group by the city of West Haven, according to officials.

The payment vouchers were submitted for payment by the city's "COVID-19 Grant Department" for alleged consulting work done for the health department. The checks ranged from $11,000 to more than $87,000. The money was then withdrawn by DiMassa and Bernardo, according to the arrest warrants.

RELATED: State opens audit into municipalities spending of CARES Act funds

The election results mean no change in the Democratic Party's significant majority in the House, where they currently hold 95 of the 151 seats. McGee is slated to become the 96th member of the caucus. 

There is another currently vacant seat in the 144th Assembly District which consists of a portion of Stamford. The vacancy was created on November 30th, when Caroline Simmons resigned after being elected mayor of the city. A special election for that seat is scheduled for Tuesday, January 25, 2022.

The General Assembly begins its regular session on February 9th.

RELATED: Republican challenger sues over mayoral race results in West Haven

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