Dedham elected official accused of stealing thousands in Rhode Island condo fees

DEDHAM, Mass. — The vice chair of the Town of Dedham's Board of Assessors is under investigation, accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a Rhode Island condo association.

Cheryl Dever Sullivan, an elected member of the town's board, was sworn in in 2018, according to the town website.

Sullivan, who was hired as a property manager for the River Island condominiums in Woonsocket, R.I., is accused of stealing more than $50,000 in condo fees last year, allegedly blowing at least some of the funds at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Woonsocket Police told Boston 25 News on Wednesday. Sullivan has not been charged or arrested in the case.

A letter from a new property management company that has since taken over tells residents insurance will not likely cover the loss and asks them to pay an additional fee.

"Please be advised that due to emergency financial issues, the board has voted to assess each unit an additional $500 to cover basic costs including insurance, water and sewer bills," the letter states, asking for the funds, "as soon as possible so we do not miss any important payment deadlines."

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River Island condo owner Antoinette Dufresne, who is blind and on kidney dialysis, told Boston 25 News on Wednesday that she cannot afford another unexpected bill.

“I was actually crying, because I don’t have it,” Dufresne said. “I’m going to have to be borrowing and everything else to try to get the 500 from my family or wherever I can get it, because I don’t have it.”

Boston 25 News attempted to reach Sullivan at her Dedham home, at the town offices and by multiple phone numbers she uses but could not make contact Wednesday.

Dedham Town Manager Leon Goodwin told Boston 25 News in a statement Wednesday the town is aware of the investigation.

"The allegations, regarding conduct not related to this individual's work with the Town of Dedham, are deeply troubling," the statement reads. "The town is reviewing the matter internally and will withhold further comment on this matter until such time as the town has fully reviewed the case materials and consulted with legal counsel."

Plainville police said they cannot comment on an open investigation.