MANCHESTER, Conn -- One of three state prison guards who was fired last week for his association with a biker's club is a former Ku Klux Klan leader, the Journal Inquirer of Manchester reported in its Saturday-Sunday edition.
Gary W. Piscottano, 50, an officer at maximum security Northern Correctional Institute in Somers, and the others were fired for lying about their association with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.
State Correction Department officials now want to determine if Piscottano's activity as a "grand dragon" in the Connecticut Klan was known when he was hired in 1986. Piscottano, who was last known to live in New Britain, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The Journal Inquirer cited a 2001 report, "Extremism in Connecticut: A State Study," by the Anti-Defamation League. It identified Piscottano as a New Britain leader of the Klan in 1980 and 1981. He quit the leadership post in 1981.
Correction Department spokeswoman Stacy Smith told the newspaper that she did not know whether agency officials were aware of Piscottano's Klan involvement when he was hired.
Correction Department officials said an "extensive investigation" determined that the guards were less than truthful when questioned about their association with the motorcycle club.
Attorney Kathy Eldergill, who represents the three men, said she plans to sue the department to reverse the terminations. She said the department violated the men's constitutional rights of free speech and equal protection by firing them for their former membership in the club.