$1.8 Million Reported Missing From Estate Left to Town of Oxford

A Woodbury attorney has been removed as executor to an estate a deceased resident bequeathed to the town of Oxford after $1.8 million was reported missing.

Oxford First Selectman George R. Temple said in a statement that he is meeting with the state police major crime unit detectives after the funds were reported missing from the late Miriam Strong's estate.

"This theft is significant to the town as we were named as beneficiaries of the residual estate," Temple said. "The money was earmarked by the will for use in the construction of a library, a scholarship fund for Oxford High School and the purchase of open space."

On Monday, the town made a motion in Southbury Probate Court that passed to have Attorney Peter M. Clark removed from being the estate executor. Retired Probate Judge Clifford D. Hoyle has been named as the new executor.

"Judge Hoyle will be responsible for marshaling the remaining assets of the estate and attempt to recoup those assets that are missing," Temple said. "I have directed Town Attorney Kevin W. Condon to cooperate vigorously with those efforts."

Strong loved Oxford and Temple said "this is a sad day" for the town.

"I knew Miriam Strong. She was a very energetic focused individual who gave freely of her time," Temple said. "She loved Oxford as evidenced by her very generous bequest to the town. It is infuriating that her good intentions would be defeated by individual greed. We are all too familiar with the anger associated with being a victim of a crime as our former tax collector is serving time in Niantic Prison as a result of her embezzlement of public funds."

That former tax collector, Karen Guillet, 61, resigned from her post after she was accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from the town in December 2009. In July 2012, she pleaded guilty to first-degree larceny. She will not be receiving pension from the town.

Temple said in the statement that he can't comment on an ongoing investigation, but confirmed that people will be investigating and urged town officials to cooperate as needed.

No arrests have been made at this time.

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