April 10, Next Step In Wild City Council Primary–Keeley Calls Top State Attorney “Chicken”

Phillips, Keeley
Anne Pappas Phillips and Bob Keeley carry on.

Will April showers deliver primary flowers? The 133rd City Council district is a campaign for all seasons … literally. What started last summer has segued through fall, winter and now spring. Is there any end in sight? Former State Rep. Bob Keeley and zoning commissioner Anne Pappas Phillips are engaged in a tug of war, both in the streets and judicial courts, with party-endorsed Democrats Michael DeFillipo and Jeanette Herron. A third Democratic primary in the North End district will take place April 10. The four also faced off March 6 on opposing slates in Democratic Town Committee primaries. The slate of DeFilippo and Herron won all nine seats. But the campaigning endures.

133rd winning slate
In the latest battle DeFilippo and Herron’s slate won

In the most recent court action the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis who overturned the results of the previous council primaries based on absentee ballot irregularities.

The cost hasn’t been cheap. The city has paid out thousands in outside legal fees. The Democratic Town Committee, in support of the endorsed candidates, has done the same.

The first primary back in September ended in a tie between Keeley and Herron with DeFilippo the leading vote producer. A recount included a previously unaccounted-for absentee ballot for Herron giving her a one-vote edge. Keeley challenged the results. Bellis ordered a new primary.

DeFilippo, Keeley
Opponents DeFilippo and Keeley, chat during primary. CT Post photo.

In the do-over Keeley was down 18 votes to Herron with DeFilippo once again leading. Keeley, who failed to win the machine count, and Phillips challenged the legality of their opponents absentee ballot operation. Bellis concurred, ordering another primary. Bellis said Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa prevailing upon Police Chief AJ Perez to assign a police officer to pick up absentee ballots was an abuse of the election process. The case was appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court which upheld Bellis.

Bellis ordered transcripts of court testimony sent to state law enforcement officials for review. If anything’s brewing there, it’s unclear. Keeley described Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane as “chicken” in a recent Facebook comment on Black Rock In The Know. “Arrest and prosecute corrupt Democrats,” declares Keeley.

Keeley chicken comment

The top two Dem finishers will face Republicans Michele Minutolo and Neville De la Rosa in the general election.

Meanwhile, absentee ballots are now available for the April 10 primary.

What’s the over/under for another court challenge? Depends on the result.

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19 comments

  1. I have seen many a fine for absentee fraud but not a single criminal charge.
    Stealing a persons right to vote should be punished severely in the US and not a simple fine in civil court

  2. Mario Testa suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, a Napoleon complex, or both. What else could explain his singleminded persuit of a zoning variance to open a liquor store on Brooklawn Avenue?

    Michael DeFilippo is a bartender, a noble occupation. I’m sure he will bring a great deal of insight to the City Council after the absentee ballots have been counted.

    1. Thanks for bring that up again. I’ve been saying for a long time. Speaking of a long time….the over 2 year long saga continues at 6:30 tonight at the zoning board hearing where OPED is scheduled to go forward in Defilippo’s interest once again. Despite testimonies from many entities including the school board, church groups, the NRZ, real estate professionals, the public and thensome..they are still trying to change the laws for one persons interest even though absolutely no one has come forward to support the attempt. The group that opposes corruption in Bridgeport should see what has been going on with this issue. It’s a good learning tool for them to view how manipulation of the system is attempted.

      1. Lennie must be writing it up. I read it, thanks for the tip. Here are a few highlights:

        “The Supreme Court… outlined its support for Bellis having concerns about 12 absentee ballots retrieved from the City Hall mail room with no post marks. According to the justices’ ruling, the mail room supervisor — Jack McDowell — claimed he had brought the ballots straight from the post office to City Hall.

        “’This was shown, however, to be untrue,’ wrote the justices. Instead McDowell and another city employee had made three stops after the post office to pick up mail at the city’s fire, emergency operations and health departments.

        “’Additionally during each of the three stops, the mail bin was left unattended in the unlocked car,’ said the justices. Bellis, they wrote, correctly concluded that ‘the evidence established a lack of security with respect to the absentee ballots’ and “increased the likelihood that the absentee ballots lacking postmarks had originated from somewhere other than the post office.'”

        1. Haig left a voicemail for my attorney stating that she would continue the matter do we did not go. Then I was informed after 7 that she was going forward!!!! Very underhanded to say the least. My lawyer was there on another matter and she presented something new or different. I won’t know what it is until tomorrow but in any case it’s continued until the next hearing. Only in Bridgeport!!

          1. Anything “new” and we (the opposition) get to speak again. Everyone from the public in support of her amendment will be there as well which of course will be a force zero if you don’t count Haig and Willinger!!!

          2. Do you know if they ever hired that consultant for the mentioned outside professional opinion the Planning Department was seeking?
            I did notice former planning director, Mike Nifoh sitting next to Lynn last night and was wondering if he is the consultant or if they ever hired one at all?

  3. If the chief state’s attorney is uninterested in pursuing election violations maybe the Attorney General ought to. Civil court seems to be the way to go.

  4. Read the Post today. The Supreme Court released its explanation of why it upheld Judge Bellis’s decision. They basically said the law does not provide for Mario to pick a cop to pick up ballots. They said the mailroom supervisor did not go to the post office and directly to City Hall. Instead he made three stops and left the vehicle unlock at each stop.
    Golly, must be an AB fairy flying around.
    AND YET no criminal charges.

  5. These guys should not get a pass when they are found in violation of election law.
    Voting is s bedrock of democracy. It cannot be usurped. The States Attorney should act. It’s no wonder Connecticut is not attracting people or businesses

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