Dennis Feels Menaced By Investigations, State Senator Under Federal Probe For Campaign Violations–“I’ve Only Tried To Be Agent Of Change”

Dennis Bradley
Dennis Bradley.

For Dennis Bradley, it started with frivolity March 15, 2018 as an Ides of March campaign event at Dolphin’s Cove in the East End formalizing his announcement that led to election to the State Senate.

Bradley noted in a media advance, “the day marked by history as Caesar’s pride and destruction will mark Bridgeport’s humbleness and rebirth. For God will take the stone that was discarded and use it as His cornerstone … Bringing the classics back to Bridgeport politics. It’s about time we raise the bar.”

The State Elections Enforcement Commission ruled that Bradley had raised the bar in more ways than one, violating state law by leveraging roughly $10,000 in law firm funds to finance his election, including free drinks and food at Dolphin’s Cove. It led to the watchdog agency rejecting his application for a general election grant under the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races.

Even his named campaign committee, “Attorney Dennis Bradley for State Senate” leaves residual reminders: is he promoting his profession, his political career, both? What is the purpose of mixing your profession with your run for public office in the same filing?

Now the federal government has taken notice impaneling a grand jury in New Haven that is hearing from witnesses associated with his 2018 run for state office including expenses financed by his law firm, donations made and where the money leads.

On March 15, 44 BC, Brutus and dozens of conspirators, so the story goes, plunged daggers into Caesar during a meeting of the Senate.

Bradley’s hoping the federal dagger doesn’t pierce his Senate credentials.

These are frustrating days for the outgoing Bradley whose gregarious gift for gab, alluring charm and put-together presentation wins friends fast but whose showy ambition also chafes his political enemies who see a rusty engine under the polish of the Maserati he drives. He’s perplexed by what he terms aggressive state action and further in the potential fallout of a federal investigation that could impale a rising star’s appeal.

During the March 15, 2018 State Senate campaign announcement–“Thank You” celebration sponsored by BDK Law Group–a video (no longer available) featured on Bradley’s Facebook page, references his law firm’s relationship with the community and his candidacy.

“God bless you all,” Bradley declares to hundreds of enthusiastic supporters at Dolphin’s Cove, an East End waterfront destination. “Drinks are on the house, food is on the house and love is all over the room.”

The announcement transpired as Bradley prepared to raise small-dollar donations in pursuit of close to $200,000 in public money between the primary and general election. Senate candidates must raise $15,000 in donations of $250 and less from 300 contributors to qualify for grant money.

Fundraising also took place the night of the event, according to attendees there, incorrectly recorded on finance reports by Bradley’s campaign treasurer Jessica Martinez, the current chair of the Board of Education.

Former Board of Education member Maria Pereira, with whom Bradley served prior to his election to State Senate, triggered a state investigation in a complaint filed with SEEC accusing Bradley of misusing law firm funds to finance his campaign. After approving a primary grant for Bradley, the commission rejected the general election grant application ruling that Bradley’s coordinated law firm expenditure violated state fundraising regulations. They also announced that Bradley and Martinez were subject to additional civil penalties. The case is still open.

Walker, Pereira, Bradley
Maria Pereira and Dennis Bradley during happier days.

Meanwhile Bradley didn’t do himself any favors in another matter bringing unnecessary attention. His 2018 primary opponent Aaron Turner filed an SEEC complaint based on Bradley proffering a peculiar financial overture to 2017 Stratford mayoral candidate Stephanie Philips who rebuffed in a text message exchange his offer to commit $5,000 to her campaign in return for a paid municipal job and other assistance.

Bradley thumbs up
Bradley thumb up on primary day in 2018. He was thumb down for Ganim in 2019 primary.

At the time Bradley called it fake news. In hindsight he characterizes it as a rookie mistake with good intentions.

Bradley pushed back on the watchdog agency’s public money rejection in October 2018, just a few weeks from the general election, asserting it “wronged my campaign, my law practice and the citizens of Bridgeport.”

After a competitive primary win against Turner, Bradley had no issue winning the general election without money given the overwhelming Democratic registration advantage in a district covering about two thirds of Bridgeport and a piece of western Stratford. Still, a lot of campaign workers expecting to be paid were stiffed without the near $100,000 cash infusion for the general election. Political operatives in Bridgeport rely on campaign dough to feed their people who in turn churn out a vote. Martinez, as treasurer and campaign worker for the primary, was paid $924 during a four-week period in the summer of 2018.

Bradley with his 2018 campaign treasurer Jessica Martinez.

Her boyfriend Orlando Baez, with whom she has had a violent history leading to arrests, was paid $852 during roughly the same period. (Bradley has represented her in those cases.) Tens of thousands more in public money in support of the August primary went to other wage earners, operatives on the ground such as canvassers and consultants typical of a campaign.

The well ran dry for general election workers expecting to be paid. If they were paid to quell the chirping, how were they paid?

Martinez’s campaign finance filings, a meandering Etch-A-Sketch exercise in resilient reading, included 15 amendments and corrections in support of the public grant during the primary. The financial disclosures for treasurers are signed under penalty of false statement.

Aaron Turner, Bradley’s 2018 primary opponent.

The SEEC is the civil oversight authority for campaigns waged in Connecticut. It has no criminal investigative powers. It can–and has–refer matters it deems potential criminal acts to proper law enforcement agencies.

Despite the unsettling civil news for Bradley, the immigration lawyer was appointed by Democratic leadership in Hartford Senate chair of the key Public Safety Committee which navigates gaming bills. Bradley brought his finesse to Hartford.

Meanwhile, Bradley bruised the feelings of some of his strongest supporters when he sat out the 2019 mayoral race, trying to thread a very fine needle that has come back to prick the freshman senator. He made a dubious political calculation: distancing himself from Mayor Joe Ganim will score points with backers of Marilyn Moore for whatever future office he pursued, including a run for mayor. That strategy could work if he’d embraced Moore. The end result was both sides angry at him. Pick a side, dude.

Even after Ganim won a close primary contest, Bradley did not support him in the general election while Ganim thwarted Moore’s write-in challenge. Bradley had all the cover he needed: I’m supporting the party nominee. He ducked.

Bridgeport political “chameleon” Dennis Bradley with Marilyn Moore during a 2019 summer forum in the South End.

It’s a political miscalculation, much like the misstep he made as school board chair calling for a boycott of meetings to bring pressure upon Pereira to resign. It fell flat. In politics good looks and charm can dry up fast for a young politician if it appears ambition transcends core values.

Former city Public Facilities Director John Ricci dubbed Bradley “the chameleon” who morphs into this or that for misplaced expediency.

Right now Bradley’s political skirmishes are the least of his worries in an election year.

The federal investigators assigned to his case are serious law enforcement professionals such as FBI agent Paul Takla who investigated Bernie Madoff’s historic Ponzi scheme and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Francis who’s earned his stripes putting away corrupt hedge funders and stock brokers.

It raises the question, what’s the federal angle here? Is it simply focused, or a broader investigation with underlying federal violations involved.

One thing is for sure, Bradley can’t afford to shrug it off without savvy legal counsel because way too many trapdoors exist in federal investigations. Federal law enforcement has had many successes in its “Corrupticut” probes the past 20 years. They’ve also spent a lot of time on many other elected, political figures that never came to pass. They didn’t have enough. So it’s way too soon to predict the outcome. The knee-jerk response in Bridgeport often is this one is going away or that one is going away simply by the presence of the federals. Not always true.

Still, witnesses before a grand jury means the feds have something brewing, be it at beginning stage, middle, or near the end.

Grand jury proceedings are conducted in secrecy. There is no judge in the room. Lay folk, consisting of 16-23 people, sit as the jurors absorbing information directed by a prosecutor to determine if probable cause exists to deliver an indictment via written charges. Twelve must vote for an indictment. It is merely a charge in which the burden of proof at trial, if it gets that far, is on the government. The process, although a staple of the federal criminal investigatory process, has come under fire for being a rubber stamp of the prosecutor. You’ve heard the line you can indict a ham sandwich, well the genesis is a federal grand jury.

Witnesses, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes willingly, are generally brought in under subpoena to share what they know about the government’s intended target. Witnesses are under oath. They have rights to an attorney but the legal advice must be administered outside the jury room.

The prosecutor directs the questions. Jurors can also question the witness. The process is shrouded in mystery. No one in that room can share outside the room what transpired. Here’s the cool part under federal law, witnesses are not bound by the secrecy provision. They are free to walk out of the room when done and scream from treetops this is what I told the grand jury. Now, prosecutors don’t like that, and often insist they say nothing, but witnesses are free to do what they want.

For now Bradley feels victimized by investigations that he maintains seem disproportionate to the events.

“From the bottom of my heart the fact that our government can do this hurts,” he says.”I’ve only tried to be an agent of change.”

Amateur mistakes, some argue. Perhaps.

Either way amateurs, in this case, are not investigating.



  1. No one should feel sorry for Dennis Bradley. He is as unethical, dishonest and sleazy as they come.

    He betrayed Sauda Baraka, Ben Walker, Howard Gardner before he ever took his Board of Education oath. Ben Walker and I ostracized him before the Primary because of his disgraceful behavior with our campaign finances and corresponding reports.

    I have studied his campaign reports extensively and they are a disaster. State law holds the Treasurer fully accountable for any financial discrepancies which means if Dennis Bradley goes down so is Jessica Martinez.

    Dennis Bradley, a carpetbagger from Massachussetts, had the absolute nerve to conduct a boycott of Board of Education Meetings for three months, holding our students, parents and staff hostage, demanding my resignation.

    Dennis Bradley should immediately resign, and take his buddies Chris Taylor and Jessica Martinez with him.


  2. Talk about not playing ones cards the wrong way !!! First embracing then rejecting Ganim and the corrupt DTC it appears that he must have thought he was much much smarter than he actually is, politically speaking. Then he pisses off Maria which is a HUGE mistake—CC members are you listening?!!!! LOL!
    Federal grand jury huh?!! He’s toast!!
    I can hear it now: it’s personal or you need to learn how to work with others or blah blah blah. I said it a long time ago: if we had a few more Maria’s out there Bridgeport would have a chance.

    1. Rich,

      Someone once told me that “noone should want you as an enemy.”

      I am incredibly loyal, but if you break your promises, behave unethically, demonstrate a lack of integrity, morals or values, then I am done with you.

      I am a much better friend than an enemy.

      If you ask for my support promising to be anti-DTC and then embrace the DTC and their criminal and unethical culture once elected, I will do everything in my power to defeat you at the polls and/or through the utilization of well researched and supported SEEC complaints.

      I do wish more people would join me in conducting research and filing comprehensive SEEC complaints. I spent 6 hours on SEEC complaints just today. My back is really bothering me. It takes a long time and the wheels curn slowly, but in the end getting results like this make it worthwhile.

      I have 8 more SEEC complaints ready to file, including one regarding another elected official.

      1. Maria, remember our first meeting with this joker, the meeting where you were recruiting him to run with us? What a whiny little biotch. “Oh, Maria. I could never run on Joe’s ticket. He’s a felon! I have a reputation to uphold!” Oh, I could never shake his hand, let alone have a picture taken with him.” “My reputation would be ruined by running with Ganim.” “I’ll never have a Facebook page. Those thing can kill a political career.” On, and on, ad nauseam! What were we thinking?!?

        I think he still owes us money for those walk pieces!

        1. Ben,

          I remember that meeting so well.

          He said he would not door knock, attend press conferences with or take any photos with Joe Ganim because he was a convicted felon and it would hurt his future political aspirations.

          He also told me he planned to run against Jim Himes within 10 years when Howard Gardner first asked me to meet with him in 2014. Dennis had only been elected to the 136th DTC and he was talking about running for the U.S. Congress.

          Suddenly, he was giving speeches for Joe Ganim, going to Sunday church services with him, canvassing with him, and taking as many photos as possible with him.

          Let’s not forget how I discovered their were hundreds in missing donations that you and I gave to him, including cash donations, he had not raised $1 for our BOE campaign, and he and his girlfriend had filed a disastrous campaign finance report.

          If you recall, he decided to make his girlfriend deputy treasurer without discussing it with us when we had all agreed on someone else. We didn’t find out until I was suspicious about something our Treasurer told me. I rushed down to the Town Clerk’s office and got a copy of our disastrous campaign finance report.

          There was a big meeting and I asked where the missing donations were. And this asshole narcissist stated that I was handing him donations as he was going out canvassing, therefore it was my fault they were misplaced.

          Remember his little girlfriend tried to speak and I told her we have no idea who you are, you were not approved by the three of us to be the deputy treasurer, and then I told her to STFU.

  3. Dennis Bradley is an absolute narcissist. Narcissists never take accountability for their own actions, deflect and always blame someone else for their choices.

    He is not at fault for his predicament, it’s the fault of the big, bad government.

    Take accountability for YOUR decisions, choices and conduct “Attorney” Dennis Bradley.

  4. Once again, how many OIB readers would support Kate Rivera for State Senator?

    By support I mean donating at least $25, canvassing and phone banking or all of the above.

    If you would be willing to help Kate Rivera please click the LIKE button.

    Run Kate RUN!

  5. Maria, Kate Rivera would probably be a good candidate for the seat,but Mario at this point seems like he has chosen Ernie. As long as Ernie doesn’t make any waves(aka, doesn’t question anything)in the next few months, Mario will give him the seat. This is how it’s done in Bpt.

  6. Harvey,

    Mario cannot give anyone the seat, only the voters of the 23rd District can.

    Remember, Ernie is not eligible for the the $80,000 CEP Grant. Kate Rivera can and will qualify for it.

    Harvey, trust me on this one.

    1. Maria
      I have not decided yet on running for State Senator but if I do I will raise money. John RICC called the other day and said if I decide to run he’ll help me raise what I need and many others have called also to assess if I decide to run.

  7. Maria Pereira, thanks to you and youryour support you bought the City Dennis Bradley, just look at the picture of you and Dennis. It was a team with you, Dennis and Joe Ganim for mayor so question is which Maria should be trusted, the old Maria or the Maria now? You have shown terrible judgement with your support of Joe Ganim for the past two elections, your investigation for Bradley and Ganim came up with you supporting these two, thanks for nothing.

    1. One thing you obviously don’t know about Maria is that even if she if is about to eviscerate you, she will always keep it out of the public. She will keep up a good public appearance until you publicly go after her first. It is always the other who makes the first public move, then and only then she will go for the jugular publicly. Dennis was already involved in Bridgeport politics when he ran for BOE. Maria didn’t bring him in to city politics nor did she nut him in public…until after he made the first move against her. Then the gloves came off.

      1. Ben, with all due respect to you, Maria takes pride in supporting candidates and she was a help on helping Dennis Bradley and Joe Ganim to get elected, she should have known what the City was getting with the re-election of Joe Ganim and also her strong support for Dennis Bradley on his first run for the BBOE. Ben, the re-election of Joe Ganim this time put the City in a real bad place because it is keeping Mario Testa in power over the BBOE and the City Council.

        1. Hey Ron I guess you have always made the right choices. I supported Ganim on his come back because I believe in second chances and before he went corrupt during his first go around he did a great job addressing many of the cities problems. I also considered Finch kind of a limp noodle.
          We hope for the best and have to adjust when it doesn’t work out. Like I said to you on the previous blog about the police issue: you need to find another avenue to relate your thoughts. Complaining about the past doesn’t do much. Look, I’m no fool, I know that a lot of what I write here in reference to the liquor issue is redundant but I do that because number 1, the corruption in that case by Defilippo et al is absolutely true, number 2: to remind everyone so they remember the scum they are dealing with when they encounter them and number 3: I really enjoy getting under their skin especially when as I said in a previous post: “ the eyes that look back at them know who they really are.” Right bartender?!
          No tip for you!
          Cheers Ron!!

          1. Rich, Maria won’t admit her support for Joe Ganim and Dennis Bradley and helping them both to get elected, plus she really help Joe Ganim to get reelected this time in the Democrat primary thereby giving us Mario Testa, Rich that’s real. If Maria is such a good researcher and investigator well she fucked up big time with Ganim and Bradley because she put herself out there in supporting these two men and she never said that she really fuck up and apologize to the voters that she got it wrong. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know if Joe Ganim got reelect as mayor that nothing was going to get better but more importantly it would put Mario Testa back into power and running the BBOE and the City Council, hell Jeff Kohut only got 27 votes in the general election and the Republican John Rodriguez would have a much better choice for mayor but no, Maria help put Mario Testa back in power for the next 4 years.

  8. Rich, so you gave Mayor Ganim a second chance because you thought he deserved one, how’d that work out for you? No one had to give 45 a chance to know what he would become as the president and if you did it just goes to show you that everyone shouldn’t be allowed to vote! ☻ How long did it take you realize of your monumental mistake in voting for a convicted felon who lacked an once of contrition? History will show you that both Ron and I thought Dennis Bradley would be a failure as a BBOE member, as the head of the BBOE or as a Senator from the 23rd senatorial district!

    Rich, you and Maria need to work on your skills on how to judge a person’s veracity by who they are and not by what they say because most will tell you what they want you to know and nothing about what they will do! Maria supported Mayor Ganim and Mario in the last two mayoral elections and now that he’s won she wants a different result of his actions! PLEASE!

    1. Well Don I guess you always make the correct choices as well. Oh Please, yourself, lol.
      I didn’t say he deserved it I said I believe in 2nd chances and everyone deserves that, Just like the Democratic mentality about THE SAME issue. Based upon your statement I guess I’ll switch my thinking and now say that no-one deserves a 2nd chance. How’s that for you?
      Here’s what I think: Ron & Don for office on a team ticket. It could only turn out good cause you know what not to do by now. Here’s your slogan: ‘let’s hear your voice and make the right choice: Don & Ron will fight to make it right.’
      Over and out – it’s coffee time, and, I’ll work in my skills between the donuts!!! Lighten up guys!!! Cheers!

  9. Once again, while the usual OIB bloggers continue to whine, I continue to put in the work to research those that were elected to serve those that elected them, but instead choose to serve themselves.

    I just don’t whine and complain about what’s wrong with Bridgeport or dishonest, unethical, law breaking politicians representing Bridgeport. I put in quite a few hours researching, drafting comprehensive SEEC complaints, providing as many documents as possible that support my assertions and claims, and driving to Hartford to file the complaints themselves and taking an oath under penalty of perjury..

    I have 13 SEEC complaints to go and am working on them right now. I am working on gathering a number of documents regarding two additional elected officials which requires a tremendous amount of work. The SEEC and FBI work closely together. One of these two complaints will also be delivered to the FBI.

    Get to work transforming the governance of Bridgeport, WHINERS!

  10. Rich, c’mon man it’s not that I’m always right and I truly believe in 2nd chances, but to avail oneself to this 2nd chance one needs, at the very least, say I was wrong, what I did was wrong and I violated the public trust and I received punishment that I deserved. Didn’t the court’s say the same thing when Mayor Ganim reapplied for his law license, that he lacked REAL CONTRITION?

    You can’t consider that dog and pony show at the East End church during his back to Jesus moment as being Contrite when his motives were fueled by his desire to be Mayor once more. I was taught that a Man owns his successes and his failures because one gives you knowledge and the other gives you strength. I’m still waiting for Mayor Ganim to earn his 2nd chance! This is what I was speaking to when I said Ron and I saw this coming and thought everyone else should have!

    1. Don, here’s what people like Frank and Rich don’t understand about Ganim’s come to Jesus moment and how disingenuous he was to those black ministers and the black community. Ganim gave his speech on Emancipation Day. There was NO REAL CONTRITION by Joe Ganim., Ganim used a very historical day for blacks to play blacks and to use those black ministers.

      Late in the night of Dec. 31, in African-American churches across the country, congregants gather to welcome the new year. They sing songs of freedom and overcoming. They testify to how far their faith has brought them and how much faith and courage they will need to face another year.

      The tradition is called Watch Night, and it dates back 156 years to when President Abraham Lincoln set forth an essential document of freedom that most Americans have probably never read or thought much about: the Emancipation Proclamation.


Leave a Reply