LOWELL -- A Superior Court judge has ruled that the trial judge will have to determine if a jury will hear about former Dracut Treasurer James Doukszewicz's convictions for embezzlement in his upcoming trial in which he is suing the town over unused sick and vacation time.

In her decision, Lowell Superior Court Judge Christine McEvoy rejected an attempt by both sides for summary judgment in their favor, instead allowing the lawsuit to go forward with a tentative Dec. 12 trial date.

Doukszewicz filed a lawsuit in 2010, claiming Dracut owes him more than $30,000 for his unused sick time and vacation days. Doukszewicz is also asking the town to pay his attorney fees, according to court documents.

His attorney, Douglas Hausler, argued his client is entitled to the back pay either by statute or by contract.

Doukszewicz, a former Chelmsford treasurer who began working in Dracut in September 2000, was placed on paid leave on May 31, 2006, after officials found he was stealing from the town sewer fund. He was placed on unpaid leave about a month later and fired in December 2006 after he was indicted on criminal charges.

Doukszewicz pleaded guilty to embezzlement and larceny over $250 in Middlesex Superior Court on June 26, 2007. He avoided jail time by agreeing to pay more than $66,000 in restitution to the town within 90 days. He has paid the restitution.

Doukszewicz also agreed to enter a program for gambling addicts and serve three years probation.

From 2004 to 2006, Doukszewicz collected cash and receipts from the Sewer Department, then took a portion of the cash for himself and created a new receipt with a lower amount to cover his tracks, according to prosecutors.

As a result of his conviction, the Middlesex County Retirement Board moved to take away Doukszewicz's pension. State law requires public employees convicted of misappropriating government funds to forfeit their pensions.

Doukszewicz forfeited his pension on July 1, 2007, and waived his right to a hearing. With his pension gone, Doukszewicz asked the town to pay him for his unused sick time and vacation days, according to court documents. Dracut officials refused.

Dracut filed a counterclaim to the suit, claiming the money for Doukszewicz's unused time off was used to pay for accounting and auditing costs the town incurred while investigating the sewer-fund theft.

Doukszewicz has since filed a response to the town's counterclaim, arguing that his criminal case did not require him to repay Dracut investigation costs as part of his conviction, so he should be reimbursed for his unused sick time and vacation days.

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