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Foster Declares War On Finch–Supporter Files Ethics Complaint Against Mayor

August 3rd, 2011 · 22 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events

In what amounts to an act of campaign war, Tom Kelly, a supporter of Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster, has filed a complaint with the city’s ethics commission claiming Mayor Bill Finch has an improper financial relationship with city legal consultant Bill Beccaro, a major Finch campaign contributor who controls a political action committee Foster says improperly benefits the mayor. Beccaro, a long-time friend of the mayor who has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the city since the Finch mayoralty began December 2007, also serves as a legal counsel to Connecticut Senate Democrats in Hartford.

In a news release that includes a link to Kelly’s quid-pro-quo complaint Foster charges, “This paper trail speaks for itself–payments back and forth between the mayor, those closest to him, and his political action committee for items that have nothing to do with the mission of the PAC,” explained Foster. “Financially benefiting from the office is a clear violation of the City’s Code of Ethics. Once again, Mayor Finch has betrayed the trust of the residents of Bridgeport and now he has violated his oath of office.”

Tom Kelly, who lives in Black Rock, has been involved in numerous political campaigns through the years and knows just about all of the city’s political players. He is a regular reader and occasional comments contributor to OIB. What will the Ethics Commission do with this complaint? Probably nothing. In recent years it has largely been a toothless tiger that showed nonexistent activity in the final years of the administration of Joe Ganim, as well as John Fabrizi and Finch years. The Ethics Commission ruled months ago that it was okay, following a complaint by Republican Town Chair Marc Delmonico, for City Council members and family/friends to receive VIP-like treatment at the Gathering of the Vibes, a city contract that they approve.

The bigger issue in the short term is how the Finch campaign responds to these charges, which also targets the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and chief strategist Adam Wood. The ethics complaint also strikes a personal tone by including information about the spouses of Finch and Wood. Could Foster supporter Michele Mount (OIB friend MCAT), an attorney who has no love for Finch and Wood be a research contributor to the ethics complaint? Mount supported Finch in 2007.

The Finch campaign is sitting on a mountain of cash it can use to fire back in kind. So far, enjoying a polling lead, the campaign has generally not engaged Foster. The campaign has opposition research about Foster it can unload if Finch operatives suspect she’s inching too close for comfort. See Foster release below that includes a link to the Kelly complaint.

Tom Kelly, a supporter of Democratic candidate for mayor Mary-Jane Foster, filed a complaint today with the City of Bridgeport Ethics Commission against Mayor Finch, Atty. William Beccaro, and the mayor’s Chief of Staff Adam Wood. The complaint details numerous Code of Ethics violations resulting from conflicts of interest that exist between Mayor Finch and his outside legal counsel William Beccaro, who also happens to be both the treasurer of People for Excellence in Government, the mayor’s PAC, and the attorney to the Connecticut Senate Democrats. The complaint also outlines the improper financial benefit Mayor Finch, Beccaro, the mayor’s wife Sonya, the mayor’s Chief of Staff Adam Wood, and Wood’s wife, Kerri, have received from the PAC since 2007.

“This paper trail speaks for itself–payments back and forth between the mayor, those closest to him, and his political action committee for items that have nothing to do with the mission of the PAC,” explained Foster. “Financially benefiting from the office is a clear violation of the City’s Code of Ethics. Once again, Mayor Finch has betrayed the trust of the residents of Bridgeport and now he has violated his oath of office.”

The PAC was established in January 1998 with Carmen A. Pace as Chairperson. William Beccaro became Chair in October 2004. The Chairperson changed again on January 24, 2007, when Beccaro’s mother, Gloria Beccaro, age 85, was appointed to the position.

A Freedom of Information request filed by Foster’s team earlier this year revealed that Mr. Beccaro is employed by the City of Bridgeport. As an outside Legal Consultant, he makes $91,000.00 a year. According to his contract his duties include giving advice, planning, and strategizing. Beccaro’s invoices offer no detail about the cases on which he worked.

Financial filings by the PAC reflect payments to Finch, Finch’s wife, his chief of staff, and chief of staff’s wife for everything from travel to the Democratic National Convention and Presidential Inauguration and “political consulting” to TJ Maxx and Target. Many of the expenses do not include proper documentation or are for items that sound legitimate but are not, such as a Website payment to Kerri Wood, considering the PAC does not have a Website.

Link to Kelly ethics complaint:

library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1105007951422-15/Ethics+Complaint+-+PAC+monies+-+FINAL.pdf

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22 Comments so far ↓

  • Up On Bridgeport

    It’s not about being personal. It’s about being ethical.

  • Ronin

    Tom Kelly–I want to be like you when I grow up.

  • Jim Callahan

    Campaign war? What is this, the Sunday Herald? I would hope there is a political war going on. Primary in five weeks and all.

    For this kind of boost I wanna see Finchie in the D.C. Tidal Basin with hoochie-coochie girls–plural–splashing around and–you know.

    The rest of it is just lawyers having sex with legal tender. It says right on the dollar bill they can do it in public or private.

    And everyone knows the city’s Code of Ethics isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit. Maybe if we could get a bigger bucket of spit and boil a few liberals in it it would be worth more if we could do it on McLevy Green and sell popsicles.

    Not a bad release for a slow day in August. I give it a five.

  • Corrupticut

    Why did he wait until now to file this? This information has been common knowledge for quite some time.

    On another note where can I find these polls people keep talking about? If you google Bridgeport Mayoral Polls, you get Gomes’ poll posted on Barnum’s Post and OIB’s poll. No one else has released the results of any poll. If anyone has a link to any professional polls conducted on behalf of any of the candidates, please post. Thanks.

  • flyonthewall

    It is interesting the ones claiming this isn’t a big deal are Gomes people. I would think they would be happy to hear this information. Further shores up my theory that Finch and Gomes are somehow aligned or that Finch bloggers are dressed in Gomes clothing. Gomes is just upset because he didn’t have the resources to do the legal work and he didn’t think of it first.

  • Corrupticut

    No one said it wasn’t a big deal–what I said was why didn’t he file this sooner?

    For your information, Mr. Gomes is not in bed with anyone, least of all Finch. Lest you forget, Finch arranged for Gomes’ arrest so he had a reason to fire him. Gomes’ knowledge of the truth about Finch is the reason he is running, having spent a considerable amount of his own money doing so. This man has walked the streets and gone door to door, personally, for a year now to let anyone who will listen know what this administration has done to this city. How dare you accuse him of being on the take because he refuses to give in to the demands of a handful of people on this site to drop out? You have some nerve. Feel entitled much?

    I reiterate my previous statement Foster and her supporters are bullies, no different than the bullies who currently occupy City Hall. If you cannot get your way, sling mud.

  • Grin Reaper

    Here is the fly in the ointment:

    The “City of Bridgeport” was reimbursed by this PAC on 3/5/2009 for $571.75 with no description, ck #1218.

    Why would a political PAC be reimbursing the City unless political expenses were billed to the city? Something fishy going on here.

    Someone threaten to blow the whistle on the Finchster? Maybe there is something like what happened with that State Senator who resigned for double dipping. Bill the city; bill the PAC; Bill the Double Dipping Dumb-ass.

  • charlie

    MJF:
    If you seriously think the ethics commission is going to address this, you are delusional. You need to contact the FBI and have nothing to do with the State of Corruption. You’d better do this fast or else your name will go down in the history books with all the others who caught a thief and nothing was done.

    • yahooy

      Good move on the part of MJF. Placing this before the Ethics panel will get more media attention which is the whole point of filing such a complaint at this point in the primary cycle. If the FBI thinks this is pretty then they can take a shot at it. Don’t hold your breath.

  • Follow the Money

    “There is a quid pro quo relationship between the “People for Excellence in Government” PAC and Mayor Finch. Finch for Mayor in 2007 contributed its surplus funds ($46,056.37) to the PAC and Mr. Beccaro and Mayor Finch are impermissibly benefiting from this relationship.”

    He couldn’t have donated his surplus to charity?

  • yahooy

    Now that this ethics violation has been filed, I think “Grin Ripper” should moderate his postings for a while.

  • donj

    These John Gomes people sound more like Finch supporters to me. All I hear you guys do is bash bash bash Foster. How about getting your message out there? Trust me I would have given this campaign serious thought but you guys sure have not given your own campaign serious thought so I sure as hell won’t be voting for Gomes or Finch.

    • Corrupticut

      So one of the Foster camp’s talking points continues to be to paint Gomes as a Finch supporter. If he is such a non-issue in this election then why do you all spend so much time trying to tear him down? No one is telling you who to vote for. It’s your right to vote for whomever you like, as is mine.

  • Mojo

    *** Paper trails are needed if one needs to backtrack later in the election, however the Ethics Committee has no bite as they have proven in the past. *** Dig Deeper ***

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    God bless the first amendment for allowing so many posters to question why this complaint was filed now, instead of months ago. The primary is five weeks away. Do the math.

  • Chosen 1

    Can’t we all get along?

  • MCAT

    Lennie, you would be more than correct on that.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    “… Inauguration and “political consulting” …” Let me take a wild guess at a company providing some “political consulting.” Is there a consulting Co. called Emerald Consulting? If so, who owns this so-called Consulting Company or firm these days and is it still located at 70 Crown Street?

  • Ronin

    Sonya Finch owns Emerald Consulting.

  • Mojo

    *** Go figure? ***

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