UConn Workers Used Contractors on State Time for Home Renovations: Warrant

By Debra Bogstie
|  Thursday, Apr 25, 2013  |  Updated 3:59 PM EDT
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UConn Workers Used Contractors on State Time for Home Renovations: Warrant

UConn Police

Jose Cruz and Mark ONeil have been accused of stealing from UConn.

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Two UConn employees have been arrested, accused of using campus contractors to renovate their homes on state time and authorizing thousands of dollars in overtime pay for the work.

Mark O'Neill, 56, the supervisor of the facilities department on UConn's West Hartford campus, and Jose Cruz, 58, the building superintendent, have both been arrested and charged with stealing from the state.

Police said O’Neil and Cruz are accused of billing more than $1,700 worth of personal supplies to their UConn credit cards and authorizing payment of $5,689.89 in unearned overtime when the contractors were actually working on the men’s houses.

Authorities started investigating after receiving a tip in November 2011.

According to the arrest warrant, O'Neill is accused of sending two campus janitorial contractors to do renovations on his South Main Street home in Suffield as well as on his rental home up the street while they were working on state time.

A news release from UConn police said the he improperly charged $341.96 to his UConn credit card to buy personal items.

Cruz is accused of improperly charging $1,419.78 to his UConn-issued credit card for personal use and having contractors deliver supplies to his Kenwood Circle home in Bloomfield and do work there on state time, according to the warrant.

Cruz "stated he knew it was wrong but that he and others had been doing it for years and that his boss, Mark O'Neill, did not have a problem with it," the warrant states.

One of the contractors also told police that he, another contractor and Cruz went fishing on state time, according to the warrant.

Cruz and O'Neill are on paid leave as their cases go through court.

NBC Connecticut went to O'Neill's home, as well as Cruz’s home, but no one answered the door at either residence.

Two contractors have also been arrested and the warrants state both have admitted their roles in the crime.

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