Metro

Longtime Somerville court clerk Tomasone suspended amid investigation

8/10/95--SOMERVILLE--SMALL CLAIMS COURT--Defendant Ronald Herisko of Palm Springs, CA, right, shows clerk magistrate Robert Ted Tomasone, center, unsatisfied autobody work done by plantiff Carlo Petrosillo of Petrosillo Brothers Auto Body in the parking lot of Somerville District Court./Lisd
Defendant Ronald Herisko of Palm Springs, CA, right, shows clerk magistrate Robert Ted Tomasone, center, unsatisfied autobody work done by plantiff Carlo Petrosillo of Petrosillo Brothers Auto Body in the parking lot of Somerville District Court.

Somerville District Court clerk magistrate Robert “Ted” Tomasone, who has worked in the court system for more than 50 years, has been suspended by the trial court amid allegations that his private secretary worked on his personal business while being paid by the state.

Tomasone allegedly used court employees, including his longtime secretary, Sandra Pascucci, to plan and organize events for two private organizations Tomasone is involved in: the Committee for Better Government, a group that raises money for favored politicians, and the North End Athletic Association, which runs youth sports programs.

The trial court suspended Tomasone without pay for two weeks and ordered him to stop the outside activities, according to two people with direct knowledge.

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Jennifer Donahue, a court spokeswoman, confirmed that Tomasone has been disciplined, but said she is not allowed to provide details or the reason for the punishment.

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“The Trial Court received information regarding allegations of misconduct by Clerk-Magistrate Tomasone in connection with the business operations of the Clerk-Magistrate’s Office in the Somerville District Court,” wrote Donahue in an e-mailed statement.

She said court officials are reviewing the allegations against him “to determine whether further action is warranted.”

Tomasone, who was appointed clerk in 1993, could not be reached for comment. He told co-workers he is going to Florida. His lawyer, Juliane Balliro, was out of state and said she was “not in a position to comment.”

Pascucci has been working at the court since 1998, most recently as a $60,000-a-year case coordinator. She has filed for retirement as of Dec. 31. Neither she nor her lawyer could be reached for comment.

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Tomasone, 70, has been the subject of several complaints to the trial court and law enforcement agencies over the years, copies of which were sent to the Globe.

Tomasone may have turned some employees against him recently when he promoted his office manager to assistant clerk, one of the most highly coveted and high paying jobs in the court system. There were other candidates for the job, according to a former employee, and some in the courthouse were displeased and perhaps motivated to report Tomasone for doing private business on government time.

Some employees in his office have long alleged that Tomasone used state resources — employees and equipment — to plan fund-raisers and other events for the two organizations.

Tomasone, who gave himself the nickname “Ted” after his idol Ted Williams, got in trouble in May 2015 when a juror said that Tomasone mistreated and embarrassed her. The juror had inadvertently parked in his space, number 9, after Williams’s uniform number.

In a letter to the chief justice of the Somerville court, the juror wrote that someone “started screaming my last name two to three times in a very unpleasant manner. As he came forward he began yelling in my face, asking if I parked in a reserve space, and why would I do that? He yelled several times that my car would be towed.”

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The juror went outside to move her car and she realized the person yelling at her was Tomasone. “As he was in the parking lot,” the juror wrote, “he yelled to others, ‘freakin’ juror.’ ”

Tomasone may have turned some employees against him recently when he promoted his office manager to assistant clerk.

“He completely embarrassed me, belittled me, spoke down to me,” she wrote.

After the trial court intervened, Tomasone wrote the juror a letter of apology.

Tomasone went to work in the court system when he was just a teenager in 1964. He started as a clerk in Suffolk Superior Court and worked his way up to second assistant clerk magistrate in 1982.

Governor William Weld nominated him to be clerk magistrate in Somerville in September 1993 and he was confirmed by the Governor’s Council a month later.

Andrea Estes can be reached at andrea.estes@globe.com.