Ex Fairfield Housing Authority Head to be sentenced

HARTFORD-The former executive director of the Fairfield Housing Authority faces up to 18 months in prison today when she is sentenced in federal court for embezzling at least $30,000 from the agency.

Elizabeth Gutierrez,47, of Ridgefield pleaded guilty in June to theft of federal funds. She served as Fairfield’s executive director from July, 2010 to December, 2011. She left the post to take a similar position in Truth or Consequences, N. M.

An investigation which began with a complaint from Gutierrez’s successor determined she had written two Fairfield Housing Authority checks payable for $15,000 each to a vendor but deposited in her account.

The Fairfield Housing Authority is a quasi-federal agency that helps low-income, the disabled and senior citizen find apartments. The authority manages 68 rental units in its Pine Tree Lane and Trefoil Court communities.

Assistant U.S. Public Defender Paul Thomas is expected to ask U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny to impose only probation on Gutierrez.

Gutierrez has a long history of working in public housing. She began working for the Community Action’s energy assistance program in Danbury before becoming public housing director in that city. After five years as the head of the Danbury public housing program she left to take a similar position in Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Michael Mayko