West Haven mayor’s son pleads not guilty to embezzlement

The son of West Haven’s mayor pleaded not guilty Tuesday, Dec. 11, to embezzling more than $80,000 from two restaurants he was managing.

Stephen Rossi, of Aircraft Road, West Haven, the son of Mayor Nancy Rossi, pleaded not guilty before Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Kevin Russo to first-degree larceny, first-degree computer crime and criminal impersonation.

He asked for a jury trial. The judge then continued the case to Jan. 7.

Neither Rossi nor his lawyer, Hugh Keefe, would comment as they left the Fairfield County Courthouse. Rossi is free on $50,000 bond.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Harry also declined comment.

Rossi had been manager of the Sitting Duck restaurants in Trumbull and Stratford.

Police said they received a complaint from William da Silva, co-owner of the Sitting Duck restaurants in Trumbull and Stratford, that Rossi had been embezzling from the restaurants.

An audit determined that between Nov. 1, 2015, and April 21, 2018, Rossi had taken cash from sales at the restaurants and had inflated inventory at the restaurants, pocketing the difference, police said. They said the loss totaled $80,511.56.

Police said they reviewed the video surveillance footage from inside the Trumbull restaurant which they said showed Rossi counting cash in the office of the restaurant and putting some in his pocket.

Detectives later recorded a conversation between Rossi and da Silva in which police said da Silva accused Rossi of stealing money.

“How do we fix this without it blowing up completely,” police said Rossi asked da Silva, volunteering to repay the money in payments.