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Report: Community Health Center Head at Center of Fed Probe

Community Health Center, Inc. operates centers across the state including a location in Groton. Mark Masselli, CEO and president of the CHC, was chair of Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign finance committee.

The CEO and president of the Community Health Center is central to a federal criminal investigation into state bonding funds and campaign contributions to former Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan, according to the Daily Ructions blog.

Mark Masselli was chair of Donovan’s campaign finance committee, according to Daily Ructions, written by attorney and former Republican state legislator Kevin Rennie.

The story, “Growing Closer: Masselli Was Chair of Donovan Finance Committee,” details Donovan’s campaign fundraising, which included regular conference calls with members of the finance committee, including Masselli.

The Community Health Center, headquartered and co-founded by Masselli in 1972 in Middletown when he was 19 years old, has 13 locations across Connecticut, as well as School-Based Health Centers and Mobile Dental Sites. 

CHC locations are in Groton, Clinton, Enfield, New Britain, Norwalk, Waterbury, Stamford and Old Saybrook.

Masselli is a fixture in the community and helped found a number of Middletown non-profits, including the New Horizons Battered Women’s Shelter, Nehemiah Housing Corp. and Oddfellows Youth Playhouse.

Andrea Obston of a Bloomfield-based firm which specializes in crisis management, issued this statement:

It is a matter of public record that there is an ongoing inquiry by federal authorities into contributions to Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign. Community Health Center, Inc. of course, cooperated and provided information as requested by the authorities. Due to the ongoing nature of this matter this is the only statement we will be giving.

Millions in state bond funds were given to CHC while Donovan was speaker and a candidate for Congress in 2011 and 2012, according to press releases from the Connecticut House Democrats.

On June 17, 2010, Donovan announced $6.5 million in state bond funds were to be awarded to the Community Health Center of Meriden.

On April 29, 2011, the bond commission approved $3.5 million in funding for CHC: $1 million for the construction and equipping of a larger Community Health Center of Bristol facility; $1.5 million for the renovation and expansion of the Community Health Center of Danbury and $1 million for the renovation and equipping of the Community Health Center of New London.

On July 14, 2010, the bond commission approved $2.5 million in funding for the new Community Health Center of Middletown, which opened on the corner of Grand and Main Streets last May in a brand new $17 million state-of-the-art facility. CHC received a $7 million federal grant in October 2012 for the new building.

Masselli also contributed personally to Donovan’s campaign, according to Campaignmoney.com. In March 2012, he gave $800 and $200 to Donovan’s campaign; on Dec. 8, 2011, he gave $200, on Sept. 29, 2011, $2,000.

Last December, the in federal funding to upgrade of the school-based health centers located in Middletown’s Macdonough Elementary School and New Britain’s Smalley Academy. In December, 2010, the state Department of Economic and Community Development

An Aug. 3, 2012, article in the Hartford Courant by Rennie, "Cracking The Campaign Contribution Code," says “employees of Community Health Care Centers donated more than $13,000 to Donovan.”

Masselli serves on the Health Information Technology Exchange of Connecticut Board of Directors. Two years ago, Masselli stepped down from the Middletown Housing Authority board of commissioners after serving 20 years, 17 of them as chair. The Community Health Center has sponsored the city's New Year's Eve celebration Middnight on Main for two years.

A March 16 story by Hartford Courant reporter Jon Lender reported that CHC issued a statement last Friday night: "It is a matter of public record that there is an ongoing inquiry by federal authorities into contributions to Chris Donovan's congressional campaign," adding that it has cooperated in the "ongoing" probe.

An email to Masselli seeking comment has yet to be returned.

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