January 1, 2015 started with a political bang. Former Mayor Joe Ganim publicly apologized for the first time in an East End church that he had violated the public trust, setting in motion a historic return that gained national attention.
Other OIB story highlights follow for January 2015:
— Several delegates to the state Democratic Party convention say privately to OIB had they known then what they know now Ed Gomes would have received their support, instead of Richard DeJesus for State Senate.
— When you’re a candidate embroiled in public chaos, as is the case with State Senate hopeful Richard DeJesus, it can be good to recruit a perceived victim to step up on your behalf to explain things away. OIB has received such an email claiming to be the ex-wife of City Councilman DeJesus.
— Republican City Councilman Enrique Torres, a candidate for the February 24 special election for Connecticut’s 129th State House District, has launched a petition drive both online and in hard copy at his Harborview Market in Black Rock to build public support to enforce the Bridgeport City Charter that prohibits city employees from serving on the City Council.
— An arrest warrant was issued last May for City Councilman Richard DeJesus, the Democratic-endorsed candidate for State Senate, for failing to pay $35,700 in child support accumulated over several years, according to court records. This is the same DeJesus who owes $140,000 in back taxes in personal property from his businesses.
— In what could be a prelude to another run for mayor this year, 2011 Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster cites “examples of the cultural DNA of political corruption that has wholly permeated and consumed the operations of this (Finch) administration.”
— State Representative Jack Hennessy and State Senator Marilyn Moore have introduced the government reform bill An act prohibiting municipal employees from serving on certain municipal legislative bodies that would extend state law to include all governmental bodies that serve as boards of finance such as the City Council.
— State Rep. Charlie Stallworth says Joe Ganim is the buzz in Bridgeport.
— Maybe Richard DeJesus can go to Hartford to pass stronger laws to collect from tax deadbeats like himself. Companies operated by the city councilman, the Democratic-endorsed candidate for the February 24 State Senate special election, owe roughly $140,000 in personal property taxes and interest dating back to 2003, according to an OIB review of city tax records.
–It didn’t take long, one night in fact, for Democrat Steve Stafstrom to reach his fundraising threshold to qualify for public funding for the February 24 special election for State House.
— In a freedom of information request to City Attorney Mark Anastasi, former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh, a supporter of State Senate candidate Ed Gomes, wants to know if attorney Ed Farrow who last week broke a State Senate nomination tie on behalf of his client Richard DeJesus has a financial relationship with the city.
— Following the conviction last week of former State Senator Ernie Newton on campaign finance charges, Mayor Bill Finch issued a rather lengthy news release detailing his support to “beat back public corruption” including “a lifetime disqualification for any elected official who commits a felony through the use, or attempted use, of their position.”
— Appearing on Dennis House’s Face The State Sunday morning show, Mayor Bill Finch provided an update on the state of the state’s largest city, declaring it a boom town with new school construction, job creation and new housing.
— Ed Gomes has asked Democratic State Party officials to dismiss the nomination of State Senate candidate Richard DeJesus after it was learned the chair who broke the convention tie for the endorsement has an attorney-client relationship with DeJesus.
— Following a wild and crazy Democratic Party nominating convention for the February 24 special election for State Senate, Board of Education member Ken Moales, local Sierra Club organizer Onte Johnson and perennial legislative candidate Charles Hare submitted their petition signatures to the Town Clerk’s Office before the Friday 4 p.m. deadline hopeful they will qualify.
— A jury has found former state Sen. Ernie Newton guilty of three counts of illegal practices in campaign financing, but innocent of a charge of witness tampering.
— In an Only In Bridgeport moment, Ed Farrow, the chair of the Democratic convention to endorse a candidate for the February 24 special election for State Senate, broke a tie on behalf of his client City Councilman Richard DeJesus, creating havoc following the nomination and cries of conflict of interest from supporters.
— Former City Councilman Steve Stafstrom at Testo’s Restaurant received the endorsement for the February 24 special election to fill the State House seat vacated by Auden Grogins who’s been nominated to the state bench.
— While two police officers entered misdemeanor guilty pleas in the Beardsley Park stomping of a suspect, the third officer charged, Clive Higgins, went to trial. Wednesday afternoon he was cleared by a federal jury, showing once again the reluctance to convict cops.
— She’s no longer the principal at Dunbar Elementary School after allegedly stealing $10,000 from a student activities account, but Marilyn Taylor’s name and welcoming remarks were still highlighted on the school website Tuesday.
— Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, will not receive the oath of office for a fourth term in the State House. Governor Dan Malloy announced he will nominate her to the Connecticut Superior Court. This will set in motion another special election presumably in late February.
— It’s been more than a decade, but former Mayor Joe Ganim has finally apologized publicly for the corruption that drove him from office in April 2003. Ganim said he was sorry at East End Baptist Church for the annual Emancipation event New Year’s Day.