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Imprisoned Contractor Faces New Charges

The imprisoned Simsbury electrical contractor who kept former Gov. John G. Rowland supplied with Cuban cigars has been indicted yet again, this time on charges of bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy.

Kurt C. Claywell, 54, who began serving a 51/2-year sentence for tax fraud one year ago, was accused by a federal grand jury Wednesday of trying to hide $35,000 in wine, 35 acres in Barkhamsted, rare books, a gun collection, more than $100,000 in cash, a boat, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and home furnishings, such as an oriental carpet, from his creditors.

Claywell owes those creditors about $3.6 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Presumably, Claywell learned of his most recent indictment wherever he is incarcerated, although that information was not immediately available Wednesday. The federal Bureau of Prisons said he is not in its custody now, perhaps because he is being held somewhere in Connecticut, where he has a legal calendar of state charges.

In May 2005, Claywell was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly touching a former female employee improperly. A year later, state prosecutors charged him with bribery and conspiracy for allegedly enlisting a girlfriend in a scheme to pay the former employee $5,000 to drop her improper-touching complaint.

State prosecutors learned of the alleged bribery scheme by listening to Claywell and the girlfriend discuss it over a prison phone. At the time, Claywell was held in the federal prison at the former Fort Devens in central Massachusetts.

Claywell was indicted on the federal tax fraud charges, for which he is currently incarcerated, in 2003. In 2000, he was convicted of pension fund embezzlement.

Notwithstanding his legal difficulties, Claywell didn't achieve real notoriety until he admitted keeping Rowland supplied with $500 boxes of cigars, beginning in 1995. At the time, Claywell said that between 70 percent and 80 percent of his business consisted of state contracts.

Claywell said he dropped of boxes of cigars at the Governor's Mansion in Hartford every three months or so.

Claywell faces up to an additional five years in prison on each of the new charges if convicted of bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy.

Source: Hartford Courant