DANBURY - April was looking like the biggest month Kyle Lyddy ever had.
He was steering the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission toward the elusive goal of finding common ground between grief and hope, five years after the Sandy Hook massacre. He was about to take a top position with the independent gubernatorial campaign of Oz Griebel. And he was getting married.
But something ruinous was in the works for the 31-year-old UConn graduate that threatened to change his life and destroy his reputation as a community-minded volunteer.
The Norwalk marketing company Lyddy left in January had looked into his accounts, finding $250,000 in fabricated expenses and fraudulent invoices. They wanted answers.
Instead Lyddy made them an offer - a down payment of $40,000 with $150,000 more follow in monthly installments over five years.
“This has put me in a position with many close friends and family that will alter the rest of my life, both morally and financially,” Lyddy wrote to Norwalk’s Match Marketing Group in a May 13 email, detailing an offer to give the company $30,000 up front, $10,000 from his 401K and $2,500 per month for five years. “I take responsibility for that.”
But it turned out that twice as much money appeared to have been misappropriated by Lyddy as originally thought by company executives. In August, they went to police.
On Monday, everything fell apart for Lyddy as he feared it would. He was arrested on a first-degree larceny charge and released on $100,000 bond.
That day he left the Griebel campaign in much the same way he resigned his chair at the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission in April - leaving his supporters to read about the criminal charges in the newspaper.
“I feel terrible about Kyle,” said Monte Frank, Griebel’s running mate for lieutenant governor, and a friend of Lyddy’s from Newtown. “I hope he someday gets his life back together and makes amends for what he did.”
As friends and observers in Newtown where Lyddy lived until recently continued to question how a young man known to be good-hearted and civic-minded could have involved himself in an embezzlement scheme, a picture emerged from police records of Lyddy stealing from the company to pay for private expenses, charitable causes and personal ventures.
For example, Lyddy is accused of fraudulently billing his company’s clients for $7,500 to pay for costs associated with his family’s annual Light Up the Point fundraiser in Fairfield, according to the Norwalk Police Department.
Lyddy is also accused of fraudulently billing his company for overnight mailing costs associated with his work on the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission, a group he chaired for four years after the Sandy Hook massacre, until his resignation in mid-April.
There was no evidence that Lyddy misappropriated money raised for the family charity, according to a woman who answered the telephone at the Lyddy family home and identified herself as his sister.Read Full Article
Nor was there evidence that Lyddy misappropriated money earmarked for the Sandy Hook memorial, according the commission’s current chairman, Daniel Krauss, and Newtown elected officials.
The same goes for money raised by the Griebel campaign for the November election, Frank said.
“He was the campaign manager but not the treasurer,” Frank said. “The campaign did exactly what it needed to do to make the transition and to move forward.”
Frank was referring the naming on Monday of Chris Cooper as the new campaign manager.
Lyddy’s attorney, who is preparing for a Sept. 19 date in state Superior Court, was not immediately available to comment.
Lyddy, who could not be reached on Wednesday at his Danbury home, is the youngest of five children from a service-oriented family. His brother, Chris, represented Newtown and the 106th District in the state House of Representatives from 2008 to 2012.
The Lyddy family runs an annual Light Up the Point event that has raised thousands of dollars for the SWIM Across the Sound organization, run by St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation in Bridgeport.
Ronald Bianci, the founder of SWIM Across the Sound, said it was disheartening to read about the charge against Lyddy, because he and his family were an important part of the charitable effort.
“Kyle is a solid citizen and a very fine young man who obviously went off course,” Bianci said.
Lyddy’s arrest warrant documents a litany of fraudulent spending on hundreds of thousands of dollars of his company’s money on a personal website for an association of basketball team managers that he founded, along with personal expenses including travel, food and fuel.
Norwalk police Lt. Tom Mattera said anyone with information about unauthorized spending at Match Marketing Group should call Det. Daniel Serio at 203-854-3188 or the Norwalk police tip line at 203-854-3111.