Lawyer hired to stop Danbury councilman’s alleged illegal dumping

DANBURY — Outside legal counsel and city officials are preparing to send a second enforcement letter to a City Council member accused of illegally dumping on city property adjacent to his farm.

In October, members of the Environmental Impact Commission sent a letter to Michael Halas, owner of Halas Farm on Pembroke Road, directing him to cease dumping materials on the city property, located on Barnum Road, and ordering him to appear at the commission’s next meeting to submit a restoration plan as required under city regulations.

Halas, who did not return calls and an email requesting comment, did not attend the Environmental Impact Commission meeting in November and has not submitted any restoration plan as of Dec. 27. City officials said that a Dec. 21 site visit showed the apparent violation hadn’t been corrected. 

According to Laszlo Pinter, the city’s managing attorney and deputy corporation counsel, the matter is now being handled by outside counsel, Sharon Dornfeld — a local attorney and adjunct law professor at Quinnipiac University who previously worked as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Danbury, according to the Connecticut Bar Foundation.

Pinter wrote in an email before the Christmas holiday that Dornfeld “is preparing and will submit enforcement paperwork to pursue all available remedies for the issues surrounding these apparent violations.”

“Combined with the (Environmental Impact Commission’s) own review and action, it should be potent,” he wrote.

Kara Prunty, the city’s public health director, said local officials, including members of the health department, conducted site visits to Halas Farms on Barnum Road on Sept. 29 and again on Dec. 12.

“The findings confirmed there was dumping in wetlands and city property,” Prunty wrote in an email, adding, “the December site visit showed that it had not yet been corrected.”

According to Pinter,

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