Mario’s DTC Moolah Sinks

Ganim Testa fundraiser
Ganim and Testa dialing for dollars. Image courtesy CT Mirror.

Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa needs to reload his committee treasury. The latest filing with the State Elections Enforcement Commission shows the Democratic Town Committee paid attorney Ed Maley $12,367.99 for legal representation in the challenge of City Council primary results in the North End 133rd District, leaving a $4,741 balance as of December 31. See filing here.

Testa was at the center of the court complaint brought by former State Rep. Bob Keeley and Anne Pappas Phillips when Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled the chairman prevailing upon Police Chief AJ Perez to assign a cop to pick up absentee ballots on behalf of Testa’s council candidate Michael DeFilippo violated state election law. In that case the judge ordered another new primary after previously ruling the September primary was tainted because an unaccounted-for absentee ballot found its way into a recount giving incumbent Jeanette Herron a one-vote edge over Keeley.

With March 6 Democratic Town Committee primaries on the horizon critical to the chair’s future, followed by the April 10 council district do-over, Testa will scout donations to beef up the lagging balance. But bumping against that the chairman is hosting a big-ticket event February 22nd at his Madison Avenue restaurant for Mayor Joe Ganim’s gubernatorial campaign.

Both Ganim and Testa, preeminent fundraisers, face critical financial tests in the coming months. Ganim’s Bridgeport area fundraising base is nearly tapped out following major fundraising events for Ganim’s 2019 mayoral reelection and this year’s gubernatorial campaign. They must scout other areas of the state for Ganim to compete financially presuming an August Democratic primary for governor. Beyond the money measures, a lot is riding on the town committee primaries as insurgents look to topple the chairman’s power. Shortly after the March primaries the 90-member DTC will choose a chairman. Testa wants another two years in support of Ganim.

Testa has large influence over selection of Bridgeport delegates to the Democratic endorsement session in May. Ganim needs 15 percent delegate support to make the primary ballot. Bridgeport, after New Haven, has the most delegates in the state.

For Testa and Ganim the next few months are all about votes, money and delegates.

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19 comments

  1. It would behoove those working to remake the Democratic Town Committee to take note of this development and exploit it to maximum effect. Pay no attention to that man behind the kitchen door. He has less than $5000.00 in the bank.

  2. While this is an attention getting headline, most Town Committees have low balances following a municipal election cycle. There is little money needed to run a Town Committee and local party in the ‘off’ year. After new Town Committees are formed in March, fundraising activities kick in for the election 18 months in the future.
    The Bridgeport DTC has shown its ability to raise funds as needed to continually elect city officials. I would not worry about the current bank balance.

    1. MM, how many town committees pay out $12,000 in legal fees? Mario is concerned about the town committee coffers because he’s battling competing financial interests at a time he wants two more years with several town committee primary districts in play.

      1. Lennie,
        Town Committees at times do have large legal bills. In 2013 The TDTC had to sue to force a special election for a seat on the Board of Finance when Tim Herbst illegally appointed a Republican member. The courts agreed with the Dems that the Town Charter required a certain number of days notice of vacancy to allow filing of petitions for an election. The illegally appointed member was defeated by Lainie McHugh in the special election. I don’t recall the amount of the legal fees, but it was in the thousands.

  3. Lennie, wouldn’t it be a prerequisite for the DTC town chair to have the ability to raise funds for the party? Hasn’t Mario shown a propensity to do this better than almost anyone that has held this position?

    1. @Donald Day
      A good Town Committee Chairman does not have to raise funds. He/she must be able to choose/appoint an excellent fundraising chairman (and subcomittee) who has the support of party members.

      1. Interesting point. The Connecticut Post’s coverage of Keeley’s lawsuit exposed a lot of Mario Testa’s dirty laundry RE absentee ballot manipulation. His support of Joe Ganim, a convicted felon, may give additional pause.

  4. I would think the recent revelations in repetitive front page headlines of the Post would have seriously eroded Marios foundations. People seeing the writing on the wall and withdrawing the support for what is no longer a probable winner?
    Anybody with any ethics at all would stop giving at this point.

  5. “Oh what a tangled web we weave / When first we practice to deceive.”

    Mayor Joe: Mario you paid attorney Ed Maley $12,367.99 ?!

    MarioTesta: Nobody told me not to!

    Mayor J: Our you Flucking Nuts! I’m running for Governor here!!

    Mario T: Joe you have to tap those new employees you hired last week, they should kick in a few G’s.

    Mayor J: Yea! I’ll tell Roach, Now I have to hire more deadwood, then I have to shit-can them all, if I need to run for reelection, what a cycle.

    Mario T: Wait a minute, your sitting on over 250K to run for Mayor, you can donate that to the DTC, then the DTC will pick up some of tab for your Gubernatorial.

    Mayor J: Then what do I do for Money if I have to run for Mayor?

    Mario T: The same thing!

    Mayor J: Is that legal? You Know any repercussions might fall back on me!

    Mario T: I’m Chairman of the Party, I’ll take the hit!

    Mayor J: Your like my ex-wife, I’m in jail and she’s maxing out the Flucking credit cards!

    Mario T: I’ll get a new treasurer for the DTC, someone green, ………like Stevie A.

    MJ: Mario your the best!

    Mario T : Joe have a slice of Pie.

    Mayor J: I’ll take two.

  6. For that kind of money Maley came up with the statement”They won the election fair and square”. Well I guess that was false but the statement was not illegal

  7. How can the DTC use funds to defend itself from another Democrat? That lawyer should have been paid by the Herron/Mario’s guy campaign. Something’s fishy.

      1. @flubadub
        Yes, it does make a difference that these were the endorsed Party candidates. Candidates for minor offices don’t usually establish their own campaign committees with the require treasurer, disclaimers and state reporting. They run as part of the Party’s campaign. The Party/Town Committee raises and banks the funds, pays the bills, puts its information on all advertisements and communications. It then can pay for legal defense as well. Challengers have to set up their own campaign committee if they plan to spend more than $100 total on the election. Less than $100 is exempt from formation of a committee and reporting to the Secretary of State.

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